Istanbul is very rich in culture and history and I so love this city. I should say, History and Geography had always been my favorite subjects during my school years. I could still remember my teacher discussing about Constantine the Great and the Ottoman Empire. Those lessons I’ve learned are now coming back and I’m now having a clearer picture of Istanbul History.
Below is our itinerary for our five-day visit to this wonderful and incredible City of Istanbul
Day1 & 2: Istanbul – The Old City
Our group embarked on our first day tour in Sultanahmet District, the Old City of Istanbul, from where Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled. We visited Byzantine Hippodrome, which was the center of sports events such as chariot races and political activities of the old city. Around the Hippodrome you will find the Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpentine Column and Fountain of Welhelm II. We also visited the Blue Mosque, which has been the iconic symbol of Istanbul, famous with its six minarets. Then we came across Haghia Sofia, constructed as a Basilica in the 6th Century, later turned into an Imperial Mosque, and now a museum.
By the way, we were surprised to see some of our Dubai friends at the airport. They were also on the same travel group as ours, except that they stayed on a different hotel. We went with the group for the free tours (The Old City Tours) and for the remaining tours, since the agency tour is charging us almost double the actual rate, we separated with them and together with our Dubai friends, created our own journey in Turkey.
DAY 03: Trip to Bursa
After our breakfast, we depart for Bursa through a ferry boat. Bursa is said to be the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. We first went to Koza Han or the Bursa Silk Bazaar, then to the Green Mosque and the neighboring Green Mausoleum, both world-renowned for their superb tile decoration. For our Lunch we had a mouth watering Kebab, a famous local delicacy. Then we climbed the Mount Olympus (Uludag) and made our last tour to Cumalikizik Village, the last remaining early Ottoman Village. We did not however enjoyed the last tour as it was too dark when we reached the village. We should have appreciated it more if our tour guide brought us first to this place than the other ones.