OTTOMAN HERITAGE TOUR
The tour of Ottoman Heritages will give you a chance to enjoy the distinctive and characteristic skyline of Istanbul which was built up over many centuries; covering the 17th century Blue Mosque and Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts before a nice local lunch (at your own expense) and then continuing Spice Market (Misir Carsisi), with the Suleymaniye Mosque complex and Sehzade Mosque complex, works of the Chief Architect Sinan, reflecting the climax of Ottoman architecture in the 16th century.
Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish is an imperial dedication from Sultan Ahmed I in the 17th century, renowned for its magnificent more than 20.000 thousand handmade blue tiles with tulip, flower and cypress designs. It is the only mosque with 6 minarets and was built as a large complex with a madrasa (Moslem Theology School), Sultan's Resting Mansion, hospital, bath, primary school, fountain, rental rooms, and homes. Today it's an active place of worship for the Moslem.
The nearby Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts is where Seljuk and Ottoman artifacts are displayed; among them are glazed pottery, valuable antique carpets, Qurans from the 9th to 19th centuries and fine inlaid Ottoman woodwork.
The Suleymaniye Mosque will be our next visit; the largest one in the city, Architect Sinan's most splendid work that was built at the zenith of the Ottoman Empire which shapes the well-known silhouette of Istanbul. It was a complex of social and religious buildings consisting of a hospital, public baths, primary, theology and medical schools, public kitchen to serve the poor and a caravanserai, an inn for travelers. It was built by Sultan Suleyman (Suleyman the Magnificent) during his reign in the 16th century and was finished in a miraculous 8 years. The exterior shows all the glamor of the empire and Sinan's architectural genius to construct and stabilize such a heavy building with an immense dome. The interior is relatively simple with elegant calligraphy and a limited number of Iznik tiles as to humble the person and glorify God. The richly decorated tombs of Suleyman and Roxelana, (Hurrem Sultan) are in the garden behind the mosque and tomb of Mimar Sinan is outside the complex.
The Spice Market will be the last stop and you’ll be dazzled by a unique environment in the world that is created by the uncountable varieties of Turkish delight, fantastic colors and exotic fragrances of the spices and herbs, varieties of dried fruits, nuts, and souvenirs. This 17th-century Ottoman market is called Misir Carsisi (Egyptian Market) and was the final stop for camel caravans that traveled the Silk Route from China, India, and Persia.
Eminonu district is where the ancient Byzantium was located at the entrance of the well-protected Golden Horn. That first anchorage in the 7th century BC, would be the main harbor of the city for the coming hundreds of years and still is an important social and commercial center of this mega city.