2. Istanbul: Hidden Spots & Mihrimah Sultan Mosque Day Trip
The first stop of the day is Nakibent Cistern, a beautifully preserved sixth-century Byzantine cistern hidden underneath a carpet shop! Explore this ancient water tank and marvel at marble columns, brick arches, and expansive space.
Next, you’ll head to Binbirdirek Cistern, the second-largest underground cistern in Istanbul – it is estimated to hold up to 40,000 cubic meters of water! Learn about the history of this 1,600+-year-old cistern, including how it was continually rediscovered over time.
Then you’ll make your way to the Million Stone, which is the last remaining stone of the 4th-century triumphal gate that served as the Byzantine zero-mile marker. This gate was considered the origin of all roads leading to the European cities of the Byzantine Empire
After listening to the history of the Million Stone, you’ll head to the next stop, the Yedikule Dungeons Museum. Also known as the Yedikule Fortress, this fortified historic structure was once home to a notorious royal dungeon that housed notable figures throughout its history.
Up next is the Palace of Porphyrogenitus. Also known as Tekfur Palace, this well-preserved structure was originally built as an annex to the Blachernae Palace in the late thirteenth century. Marvel at one of the best-preserved Byzantine palaces still standing in the city before heading to our last stop, Mihrimah Mosque.
While not as popular as Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, Mihrimah Mosque is no less stunning it is beauty and design. This 16th-century mosque was commissioned by Mihrimah, the daughter of the sultan, and designed by the imperial architect, Mimar Sinan. Rumor has it that Mimar was desperately infatuated with Mihrimah and built the mosque to symbolize his love for her.