Port of Call Istanbul, Turkey
Cruise ships dock at the Karkoy Yolcu Salonu terminal, on the north east side of the Galata bridge. The old and interesting part of Istanbul is situated at the other end (southern side) of the bridge.
Istanbul Shore Excursions
Topkapi Palace was the residence of Ottoman sultans for over 300 years. The palace functioned as the administrative center of the huge Ottoman Empire, ruled by the sultan, who lived in Topkapi with his harem and many children, served upon by legions of servants. Situated near the eastern tip of Istanbul’s horn, about a mile east of the southern side of Galata bridge.
The Hagia Sophia (or Ayasofya) was built around 350AD to be the biggest Christian church in the world. It’s huge dome was an incredible engineering achievement at the time, and still invokes awe today. A thousand years later, in the 15th century, it fell to Turkish invasion, and was converted to a mosque by the addition of minarets. Today the building is largely a museum, with just one section still an Islamic prayer room. The Hagia Sophia is near Sultanahmet Square, just to the south-west of the Topkapi Palace walls.
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque was built in the 17th century, as Islam’s answer to the Hagia Sophia. It’s a magnificent building, with a truly vast dome. The integrated Imperial Pavilion is home to a carpet museum with exhibits covering the 16th to the 19th centuries. If you are a non-Muslim visitor you must enter by south door. Situated just south of the Hagia Sophia.
The Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum
Beautiful works of art from the Seljuk (11th to 13th centuries) and Ottoman (14th to 20th centuries) fill the Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum. Displays include illuminated Kurans, carpets, calligraphy, marquetry, glass, ceramics and carved stone. The Museum faces the Blue Mosque on the Hippodrome.
Turn back the clock 5 centuries, then go out to the shops. That’s how it feels at the Grand Bazaar a truly medieval shopping experience. There are thousands of stalls selling an astonishing array of goods, from leather to furs, from spices to fruit, and from tiles to carpets (to name just a few). About half-a-mile south of the southern end of Galata bridge.
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