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Private Archaeology And Art In Istanbul

For guests wishing to look at this fascinating city from a slightly different perspective, this full-day tour offers art, archeology, and architecture.

Private Archaeology and Art in Istanbul

After meeting your professionally trained guide, set out on a drive through the business center of the modern city to the Archaeology Museum of Istanbul. It was built at the end of the 19th century by the architect Vallaury on land that was previously gardens for the Topkapi Palace. The museum occupies two buildings, the main building whose facade was inspired by the Alexander Sarcophagus, and the museum of Ancient Orient that was originally a Fine Arts School. There is also the Tiled Kiosk, originally built as part of the Topkapi Gardens in 1472, it is now used as additional galleries for the museum. Your guide will show you the highlights of the museum's collection, which includes artifacts and works of art belonging to ancient Greek, Roman and other Anatolian civilizations dating back to the 6th century BC.

You will finish the morning portion of your tour with a visit to the Byzantine cistern. Dating from the 6th century, it was built by Justinian I and is located southwest of Hagia Sophia. The water was brought from Belgrade Forest, 12 miles to the north of Istanbul, and it could store 100,000 tons of water. It features fine brick vaulting supported by 336 various types of columns brought from different parts of the Empire. There are two Medusa friezes brought from the Temple of Apollo in Didyma (today's Didim). You will then drive to a former Turkish home built in 1927 that is now one of the city's best restaurants. Here you will enjoy lunch with wine.

After lunch, you will drive to the Hippodrome, which was once the scene of horse and chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. All that remains is an Egyptian Obelisk, a stone obelisk, and the Serpentine Column which were originally brought by the emperors and used for the decoration of the Hippodrome.

After a short walk, you will reach the Ibrahim Pasa Palace and visit its fine collection of art and ethnography in a lovely setting. It was built in the 16th century and donated to Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha by the great sultan Soliman the Magnificent. After Ibrahim's death, the palace was used as a military barracks and made into a museum during the Republic. Your guide will intrigue you with the exhibits and their history.

You will end your tour with a trip to the exotic Grand Bazaar area. After free time in the Bazaar, you will be returned to the pier.

Please note: The covered area of the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays; a visit to the Spice Market will be substituted. This tour does not operate on Mondays as the Archaeology Museum of Istanbul is closed.

Starting At
 
Tour Type
Private
 
Group Size
Private
 
Activity Type(s)
Cultural, Scenic
 
Tour Duration
9 Hours
 
Activity Level
Moderate
 
Tour Leaves From
Cruise Ship Pier
 
Food/Beverage Provided
Lunch
 
Special Instructions
Comfortable clothing and and sensible walking shoes are recommended. Sun glasses and sunscreen are suggested.
 
Restrictions
Walking is predominately on paved flat surfaces at most sights. There are stairs required to reach the inside of museums and the cistern is reached by a set of stairs with a railing. The Grand Bazaar Covered Section is closed on Sundays.
Location Overview
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About Shore Excursions Group
ABOUT US
Shore Excursions Group was created with one goal in mind: to provide exceptional travel experiences to cruise passengers in the ports they visit around the world. To accomplish this, we have compiled an exceptional array of tours delivered by local experts with decades of experience serving travelers and delivering excellent tours. Our owners and management team are comprised of seasoned travel industry executives who leverage their considerable experience to deliver memories of a lifetime.

We are experts in providing exceptional shore excursions. We understand that in today's fast paced world, vacations have become an increasingly important way to relax, reconnect with family and friends, and experience new and interesting places. With this in mind, we provide the highest quality tours by performing extensive research, and detailed reviews. While other companies also offer excursions, we strongly believe our expertise and approach set us apart. The large cruise lines sell shore excursions - typically in very large groups visiting high traffic sites. We focus on smaller groups visiting more interesting and authentic locations using more personalized local operators. While the cruise lines are experts in delivering cruises, we are experts in delivering shore excursions.

Our Approach
We believe quality service is not only highly valued by customers, but ultimately leads to better experiences and higher satisfaction. Unlike the cruise lines and other tour companies that rely almost entirely on websites, we encourage customers to call us. We want to invest our time answering your questions, providing input, and selecting the excursions that best meet your needs.

Our Tours
Our goal is to provide customers a wide array of exciting, appealing, and enriching tours. For those customers who prefer to travel in smaller groups with more personalized service, we offer a wide variety of small group tours around the world. These tours generally range in size from 2-12 people compared to larger tours which can number up to 50 people. While exploring the destinations and ports on this website, feel free to search for these "Small Group Tours". For those customers interested in private tours, we offer many outstanding excursions that allow you to travel with your party alone and, in many cases, to fully customize your tour. Search for "Private Tours" if you are interested in this experience. Our "Scenic" tours provide up close and personal access to some of the most spectacular natural environments on Earth from majestic glaciers in Alaska to spectacular reefs in the Caribbean. Our "Cultural" tours allow customers to experience local customs, entertainment and culinary delights ranging from tribal dances in Alaska to an outstanding local meal in Santorini, Greece. Our "Active" tours offer a multitude of exciting and adventurous ways to experience our destinations. Our customers can kayak the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, hike to a spectacular waterfall in Hawaii, or bicycle through quaint villages in France. Our "City" tours allow travelers to see the highlights of great cities around the world with unique insights provided by our expert tour guides.

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In our experience, exceptional travel experiences are almost always delivered by exceptional people. With that in mind, we utilize a comprehensive approach to select and employ the leading tour guides and tour providers around the globe. We hold our people to very high standards which we measure by our comprehensive Quality Control process and, most importantly, by our customer feedback, which we will actively seek from each of our customers.

Our Owners
Shore Excursions Group is owned by seasoned travel executives possessing extensive experience across many sectors within the travel industry.

Bradford J. Miller
Mr. Miller is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Abercrombie & Kent, the World's leading luxury travel company. In that role, Mr. Miller was responsible for contributing to Abercrombie & Kent's international growth through the development and acquisition of tour products and travel experiences around the world with a specific focus on cruising and land based experiences. Prior to joining Abercrombie & Kent, Mr. Miller held a variety of executive positions with Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises for more than a decade. These positions included Vice President of Guest Sales & Service, Vice President of Brand Development, and Vice President of Onboard Revenue (which included shore excursions). Mr. Miller also led Celebrity Expeditions, a collection of outstanding and unique tours around the World.

Michael Bonner
Mr. Bonner has over a decade of experience working in the cruise industry in a variety of roles for both Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Viking River Cruises. Most recently, Mr. Bonner was the Chief Operating Officer for The Scholar Ship, a Royal Caribbean program aimed at providing college students onboard educational programs in conjunction with enriching shore excursions around the world. Mr. Bonner also helped co-manage Viking River Cruises U.S. Operations, and he ran the corporate, strategic, and deployment planning functions at Royal Caribbean. While at Royal Caribbean, Mr. Bonner was responsible for forming Royal Celebrity Tours, Royal Caribbean's land-based tour operation in Alaska, which takes cruise passengers on multiple day tours through the interior of Alaska either before or after their cruises. Prior to working at Royal Caribbean, Mr. Bonner was a consultant for Booz Allen & Hamilton.

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Prices are per-person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted.