Istanbul University

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Istanbul University: Our most recommended tours and activities

Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

1. Secrets of Istanbul: 5-Hour Walking Tour with Lunch

Your 5-hour guided walk begins in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll head to the Blue Mosque, where you’ll admire the 6 minarets and stunning tiles that were made in Iznik, the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire. Next your guide will tell you about Hagia Sophia and the Roxana Baths before continuing on to the ancient Hippodrome. Hear about the famous obelisk that was shipped from Egypt to the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius in 6th century A.D. Walk along the ancient roadway past the Ottoman Parliament House and then make your way to the Grand Bazaar. Marvel at the labyrinth of streets lined with textiles and most every other kind of product as well! You can learn the local art of bargaining here. Enjoy a stroll to the nearby Sahaflar Book Market, where books were printed for the first time during the Ottoman era. Learn about Islam and its holy book, the Koran. On the way to the Suleymaniye complex you’ll pass by the spectacular façade of Istanbul University and enter the Cagaloglu district, which is a shopping hub for locals that’s far from the main tourist attractions. Once you reach the Suleymaniye complex you’ll see the Turkish bath, the library, the madrasah, eateries, and the grand Suleymaniye Mosque that dominates the skyline along the Golden Horn. Learn about the history of the Mosque, named after the most famous and powerful of sultans, Suleyman the Magnificent. Your guide knows a great hidden teahouse here where you can drink çay (tea) and try a nargile (water pipe) with its intoxicating aroma and fruity flavors. After the break, you’ll continue on through the hidden streets of Istanbul. See local markets where products are made on site. Visit the hidden Rustem Pasha Mosque and admire its lovely tiles. Then it will be time to taste some baklava, a delicious Turkish dessert. Explore the spice market and see a mountain of Turkish spices, Turkish delight, and local handicrafts. From the Spice Bazaar you’ll take a walk so that you can appreciate the views of the picturesque Galata Bridge. Finally it’s time to relax for a delicious lunch of local specialties. After lunch your guide can tell you how to get back to your hotel and give you some advice on other things to do in your free time.

University to Findikzade & Samatya Full-Day with Lunch

2. University to Findikzade & Samatya Full-Day with Lunch

Istanbul University, established by Constantine the Great, is likely one of Europe’s oldest universities. You’ll begin your walking tour with a the stroll starting from the Roman Forum of Taurus. On this full-day tour, your guide will show you interesting parts of the Bayazit district, and tell you stories about unlucky Sultan Mustafa III. You’ll also hear about the Byzantine Monks of the Myrelaion Monastery and see the square used for executions in Byzantine Constantinople. In Haseki you’ll see amazing mosques, a variety of churches, Roman remains, and many historical sites. Samatya is an area that historically has been inhabited by Armenians. See their Surp Kevork, also known as Sulu Monastery, dating to a time before the Ottoman conquest. Visit Greek orthodox churches such as Hristos Analipsis and Haghios Menas. There are Latin churches to see, as well as impressive mosques such as Ramazan Efendi Camii and Kocamustafapaşa Camii, which was at one time the Byzantine Church of St. Andrew.

Other Sightseeing Options in Istanbul University

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What people are saying about Istanbul University

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 67 reviews

So this tour was amazing!! It turned out that I was the only one on the tour but Salih was so nice it felt like walking around with a friend. Even though it was 5 hours the time flew by and wasn't even tiring. It was helpful that there were enough stops throughout that it felt like a leisurely wander through the old city. The stops on the tour were many of the famous places including the Grand Bazaar and the spice market, but I was able to learn some history I might not have discovered on my own, thanks to Salih. The book market was lovely, the walk to the stunning Suleymaniye mosque was beautiful, and the inclusion of a visit to the jewel-like Rustem Pasha mosque was worth it alone. The stop for tea and nargile was the highlight of the tour for me, particularly since I would not have tried that on my own, though I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were snacks and a yummy lunch. Everything about this tour was wonderful and I would recommend it to anybody! Thank you, Salih!

Salih, my tour guide, was absolutely fantastic and full of knowledge. He was very understanding with my needing to reschedule and immediately offered an alternate time to accommodate. His English is impeccable and his knowledge and understanding of his city of Istanbul is vast. I'm so grateful I took his tour as we got to be around the wonderful locals and take a break and get out of the touristy, yet history rich neighborhoods of Istanbul. He is full of great tips on what to do to get the most out of the city. I'm very happy I took his tour and would take again.

Top private tour of Istanbul

Our guide Öner was very friendly and adapted the tour to our wishes and took a lot of time. The food was very tasty and you can tell that Öner is very familiar with the culture and history of Istanbul. He loves what he does, you can tell! There were two of us, as the rest of the group only spoke Turkish that day. Our tour was in English. could not have been better. Thanks!

Salih is a fantastic guide! He is very knowledgable and personable. We absolutely loved the tour, and definitely will use him again. Highly recommended!

Worth the tour if you want to understand the history behind all the majestic places in Istanbul.