Alumni & Friends pause for an Ottoman history lecture at Topkapi Palace – One has to get ahead of the crowds to fully take in Topkapi Palace in peace. This palace served as residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans. Led by guide and native Mert Taner, our group strutted in the footsteps of sultans, wandered the courtyards and quarters of thousands of palace residents and browsed the sensational treasures of Topkapi palace, We emerged from the morning in Topkapi to an astounding sea of visitors waiting anxiously to enter, grateful for our savvy head start.

Istanbul: Byzantine and Ottoman Relics

Visit glorious Hagia Sophia, one of the most extraordinary  buildings in the history of architecture. Constructed in 532 AD, for 1,000 years it remained the  world’s largest and most magnificent cathedral before the Ottomans converted it to a mosque in  1453. See the Blue Mosque exterior (interior is under restoration), nicknames so for its interior covered with 20,000 brilliant, shimmering handpainted blue Iznik tiles. At the Islamic Arts Museum, see the examples of impressive Turkish decorative arts including illuminated manuscripts, and ancient carpets. Tour of the the famed Grand Bazaar, the world’s largest covered market housing some 4,000 shops. 


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