Fly London to Istanbul, drive to our hotel.
Byzantine Constantinople: start with the great basilica of Haghia Sophia, the church of the Holy Wisdom of God, built by Justinian in the early sixth century. Justinian’s contemporary, the historian and writer Procopius, (who was not a fan of the emperor), wrote that it was ‘distinguished by indescribable beauty, excelling both in its size, and in the harmony of its measures, . . . magnificent and elegant, full of light and sunshine.’ Mehmet the Conqueror turned the great church into the city’s imperial mosque. Today it is a museum. Some of Constantinople’s greatest engineering was concerned with its water supply. The Yerebatan Sarayi, a cavernous and palatial Byzantine underground water cistern, supplied the imperial palaces, until they fell into ruin and it was forgotten. After lunch, we stroll in what was the central spina of the Hippodrome - its soaring seating accommodated tens of thousands of spectators, or, on occasions, angry citizens taking noisy part in political meetings. We cannot leave this part of the city without visiting the mosque of Sultan Ahmet (the Blue Mosque), with its high dome and semi-domes, multiple minarets, and beautiful interior richly blue with the finest tiles from the imperial tile-makers of Iznik.
Ottoman Istanbul: The Topkapi Palace was the rambling palace complex of the Ottoman sultans until they moved in the 19th century to a French-style palace on the Bosphorus waterfront. Now a museum, it is a veritable treasurehouse of architecture and applied arts. The archaeological museum was built by the sultans in the late 19th century to house their collections from across the Ottoman empire.
Free day in Istanbul - your Guide Lecturers will have lots of suggestions.
The Bosphorus: we travel on our private boat up the majestic waterway that separates Europe from Asia, and links the Black Sea ports of Russia and Ukraine to the Mediterranean. This really puts the city into its context. There is much to see on either side of the waterway as we make our way to the Sadberk Hanim Museum, a major private collection of archaeology, Turkish art and costumes.
Spend the morning close to the great walls of the city built by Theodosius II in the early 5th century. Just inside the walls lies the ruined Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, where some of the last Byzantine emperors preferred to live. Close by is Kariye Camii, formerly the church of St Saviour in Chora. We complete our tour with a visit to a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture, the Sülemaniye Camii, built by Sinan and magnificently situated on the old city’s third hill.
Private coach to Istanbul airport for group flights to London.
- Flights - Scheduled flights from London to Istanbul.
- Local Travel - Airport transfers, private boat on Day 5
- Guide Lecturer - Terry Richardson (Nov 13, Mar 14, Nov 14); Dr Julian Bennett (Dec 13, Dec 14). Not to be confused with "guest lecturers"! The guide lecturer will be with you from breakfast to supper, and probably even a drink in the bar afterwards. There is the occasional site where they may not be allowed to guide because of local regulations (we normally manage to circumnavigate these) but otherwise the guides are just that. They will have been chosen because of specialist knowledge and their ability to communicate and interest you. After 26 years of making tours worldwide, we are highly appreciative of the attributes of a good guide, and intensely critical of people who do not possess them
- Tour Manager - Seyhun Aktoprak (Nov 13); tbc (Dec 13). We never know how best to call the very special people whom we choose to accompany you on your tour. They are usually employed in this capacity only by us, and have been trained to do things in the Andante way - unobtrusive, friendly and quietly efficient
- Local Guide
- Meals - All meals included except lunch and dinner on Day 4; drinks (except water) are not
- Entries & tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
NB radio headsets are used for ease of hearing your guide in busy places, especially inside buildings.
Nov: 6 nights in a wonderfully situated hotel set just off the main tourist area, yet right in the heart of old Sultanahmet. There is a rooftop restaurant with views out to the Sea of Marmara and Haghia Sophia. The dining room (waiter service, not buffet) was appreciated by former guests.
Dec: 6 nights in a very comfortable hotel further from the centre, towards the Grand Bazaar. It has been much enjoyed by previous guests.
|Mon 18 - Sun 24 Nov 2013 with Terry Richardson
||Twin/Doubles: Last one
|Mon 23rd - Sun 29th Dec 2013 with Julian Bennett
| Mon 10th - Sun 16th Mar 2014 with Terry Richardson
|| Singles: Available
|| Twin/Doubles: Available
| Mon 17th - Sun 23rd Nov 2014 with Terry Richardson
|| Singles: Available
|| Twin/Doubles: Available
|Mon 22nd - Sun 28th Dec 2014 with Dr Julian Bennett