2014 (date to be decided)
Istanbul, the only city in the world built on two continents, Europe and Asia, stands on the shores of the Bosphorus. It has been a unique link between east and west since it was founded in the 7th Century BC and has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Today Istanbul with its amazing architecture and art treasures is one of the most fascinating cities in the world offering a wonderful insight into so many cultures. Enjoy experiencing this wonderful city with a group of like minded people.
Accommodation and Meals
Our charming hotel is in a unique location in the historic city centre in Sultanahmet Square opposite the world famous Blue Mosque and a few minutes from Haghia Sophia. The rooftop restaurant has one of the most magnificent views in Istanbul looking across to the Blue Mosque, Haghia Sophia and the Sea of Marmara - and has been offered to us as a chamber music playing area where we sometimes meet around sunset with a glass of wine, a memorable time! This hotel could not be better located for exploring this amazing city. So many places are within walking distance (see below) and the area around the hotel has interesting shops and restaurants. The decor is traditionally inspired but with all modern comforts. Concierge services are provided by highly qualified and friendly staff members. There is a computer in the lobby with high-speed Internet connection for the use of guests and wireless internet connection all over the hotel for those with their own laptops. Rooms have air conditioning, minibar, cable TV, direct dial phones, hair dryer and radio/music system. En-suite bathrooms have either bath or shower and most rooms have wonderful views. Breakfast is an extensive buffet. The excellent restaurant specialises in sea food and Ottoman cuisine and we have four special dinners here and three lunches or dinners in other interesting and traditional restaurants - relaxing and sociable occasions.
We have the excellent guide Ertan who will be with us on five afternoons. The places we shall visit include:
- Sultanahmet Square, the location of our hotel, which has so much of interest.
- The Blue Mosque (150 metres walk) one of the most famous and wonderful religious buildings in the world. Built from 1609 to 1616 the striking six minarets and the dome are an inspiring symbol of the city.
- On the other side of the Square across the beautiful gardens is Haghia Sophia (250 metres walk): built over 1,400 years ago, it is one of the world's greatest architectural achievements and is still a place of pilgrimage for the Orthodox Church, even though it was converted into a mosque in the 15th Century by the Ottomans.
- The Basilica Cistern (400 metres walk): one of the most extraordinary pieces of Byzantine engineering, this beautiful and vast underground watery world is one of the Istanbul sights that must not be missed.
- The Ancient Hippodrome Square, of which three monuments are still visible being the Egyptian Obelisque, the Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. (Just 200 metres).
- On Seraglio Point is the Topkapi Palace (300 metres walk), a vast and sumptuous monument to the Ottoman empire with its exhibition of famous treasures. There is so much to see here we shall spend one of our afternoon guided tours exploring the harem, pavilions, libraries, picture galleries, many priceless collections and of course the incredible Treasury, its prize exhibit being the famous Topkapi dagger amongst so many other objects glittering with rich jewels and precious metals.
- The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (250 metres walk): a fascinating place to spend a few spare hours.
- The Archaeological Museum (300 metres walk) with three buildings, the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art, it houses over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history.
- The Bazaar Quarter has so much of interest with street traders in colourful narrow streets and the world famous Grand Bazaar with its thousands of shops selling a huge variety of goods. The cafes and restaurants on the roof tops have wonderful views and are good places for a few minutes to relax.
The Spice Bazaar is a "must see" and has an enormous range of spices, herbs and other foods. In this area is the magnificent Suleymaniye Mosque which we shall also visit.
- Bosphorus Trip: not to be missed is our afternoon cruise up the Bosphorus passing palaces, mosques, wooden waterside villas (yalis). We return to stop on the Asian side to watch the sunset over the city, a breathtaking sight followed by the magical lighting up of the Bosphorus bridge.
- In the Beyoglu area we visit the Galata Tower and the Mevlevi Lodge where we attend a performance of the Whirling Dervishes.
Two concerts, dates and details to be listed when they are published. Chamber Music playing with a limited number of participants.
We shall attend a performance of the world famous Whirling Dervishes, an opportunity to witness a moving spiritual ritual which is presented with reverence and grace, accompanied by wonderful music.
PRices and Payment
This will be listed once the dates are set.