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Obelisk of Theodosius III

Obelisk of Theodosius III: Our most recommended tours and activities

Historical Ambiance of Istanbul: Private Full-Day Tour

1. Historical Ambiance of Istanbul: Private Full-Day Tour

You will be picked up at your hotel at around 09:30 and head out to see the historic sites of the city on this full-day, private tour. Hippodrome and Obelisks (15th century) At this Byzantine site from the 4th century, your guide will show you the Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Obelisk of Constantine, and the German Fountain. Blue Mosque (1609-1616) This ornate Ottoman mosque dating from the 17th century is the second-largest mosque in Turkey, and is known for its brilliant Iznik tiles and minarets. Hagia Sophia (532-537) One of oldest Greek Orthodox churches of the Byzantine era dates back to the 6th century. During the Ottoman Empire it was used as a mosque and today it is a museum. Grand Bazaar (1461) One of the oldest and biggest bazaars in the world features over 4,000 shops in a covered marketplace. Wander through the bazaar and marvel at the vast array of goods on offer. Enjoy a lunch of fresh, traditional Turkish dishes at a cozy restaurant. Topkapi Palace (1478) For more than 400 years, the Palace was home to Ottoman sultans and their courts. Visit the imperial treasury, and see sacred relics of the prophet Mohammed, John the Baptist, and the prophet Musa. See one of the most valuable diamonds in the world, weighing 86 carats. Note that the Harem section is not included in the program, and an additional fee applies for admission. Little Hagia Sophia Mosque (527-536) This early domed basilica is one of the oldest standing churches in Istanbul. It was originally a temple founded by Emperor Justinian during the golden age of the Roman Empire. This church was converted into a mosque in 1497, during the Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

2. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

Explore Istanbul on a guided tour. Choose from a 1-day tour to top attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, or a 2-day tour with a cruise on the Bosphorus straight and a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace and Istiklal Street. Pick from a walking tour or a driving tour.  Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this private full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, from the Hagia Sophia Museum to the iconic Blue Mosque, to the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. The excursion starts with a pick-up from your Istanbul hotel and a walk through the lively streets of Turkey’s largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still holds the position for the 4th largest dome. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Move on to the Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque’s striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Continue to Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years.  Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. Visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. See the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column, the 3 remaining monuments from the original building. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Complete your day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. Day 2 – Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, Taksim The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because, during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there.  The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus and there are magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name, in Turkish, Dolma means 'filled' or 'stuffed,' and bahce means 'garden'. Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars. From there, it is a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

3. Istanbul Private Full-Day Classics Tour with Options

Your full-day tour begins with a morning visit to the Hippodrome, which at one time was the center of Byzantine social and recreational life. A few parts of this spectacular site remain, including the Obelisk of Thutmose III and the Serpent Column. The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is located next to the Hippodrome. Its exceptional architectural design features 1 main dome, 8 secondary domes, 6 minarets, and a vast number of blue tiles – hence the name. Built during the reign of Ahmed the First, the Blue Mosque continues to function as a mosque as well as being one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Next is a visit to Topkapi Palace, which dates back to 1459. It served as the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 4 centuries. In 1924, the palace was officially declared a museum. The Palace covers a large site and features several buildings. You’ll see a fine collection of Imperial and Ottoman utensils, relics, caftans, and portraits of the sultans. Following your visit to Topkapi Palace it will time for a lunch break, and your guide will recommend some restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine. After lunch you’ll take a tour of Hagia Sophia, which served both Christianity and Islam at different times in history. When it was first built in 537, it was an Eastern Orthodox church. In 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, the hall was transformed into an imperial mosque. Approximately 5 centuries later, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum. After visiting Hagia Sophia you’ll travel to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, comprising 61 covered streets and more than 3,000 shops offering almost anything you might need. The bazaar is a part of the walled city and was built during the years 1455-1461.

Historic Istanbul Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

4. Historic Istanbul Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

Discover the historic sites of Istanbul on a half-day sightseeing tour with round-trip transfers from centrally located hotels. A local guide will accompany you all the way, starting at the Hagia Sophia. Learn about the ancient Basilica that was started by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, and completed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. For 1,000 years it was the world’s largest cathedral. Today, it has been converted to a museum. Admire the impressive dome and minarets, as well as the beautiful mosaics, sculptures and columns inside. Your next stop will be the legendary Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known around the world as the Blue Mosque. Get up close to this symbol of Istanbul and see the vibrant blue tiles that adorn its interior walls. Stroll around its beautiful courtyard, and see the 6 graceful minarets. Continue to the Hippodrome, site of chariot races during the Byzantine Empire. Admire the 3 remaining monuments; the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine. End with a walk around the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar to haggle for bargains among some 4,000 jewelry, pottery, spices, carpet, and leather stores.

Istanbul Private Guided Tour

5. Istanbul Private Guided Tour

Discover the highlights of Istanbul on a private full-day tour that takes in the major attractions. Begin with a walk through the lively streets of Turkey's largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of the Hagia Sophia; a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Move on to the Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. It is the mosque's striking blue tiles that give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul's most iconic attractions. Continue to Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. You will also visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 A.D. by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. See the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. You'll also get to check out the gazebo-like German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Finally, stop at the Grand Bazaar; one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee.

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Customizable Guided Tour

6. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Customizable Guided Tour

Explore Istanbul according to your own interests on a tailor-made sightseeing tour. Meet your guide at your hotel or port and work together to create an itinerary that suits you best, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul. On 1st day, marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and Byzantine Cistern. On 2nd day, take the public ferry to Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. From here, visit Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, Galata area and the Spice Market. On 3rd day, guide takes you on a walk through the streets of Fener-Balat neighboorhood. Enjoy a cable car ride and soak up views of Pierre Loti Hill, then visit Iron Church, and see the Suleymaniye Mosque. You can create your own itinerary with your tour guide on tour day, to have an idea, here you can see our suggested tour itineraries are below; Day 1 - Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome Square, Byzantine Cistern, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Irene Church, Sogukcesme Street, Grand Bazaar Day 2 - Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, Cicek Passage, Galata Tower (from outside) Day 3 - Suleymaniye Mosque, Fener and Balat Districts, St. Stephen Church (Iron Church), Pierre Lotti Panoramic Hill, Rahmi Koc Museum (or alternative options)

Private Walking Tour: Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia

7. Private Walking Tour: Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia

Admire some of Istanbul’s most wondrous monuments with an expert local guide on this private, half-day walking tour. Relive the days of thrilling chariot races at the ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople. Today the Hippodrome is an open-air museum where you can see remnants of the original structure as well as the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column, and the Fountain of Wilhelm II. Next, visit one of the most majestic adornments of Istanbul's skyline ̶ the Blue Mosque. Officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, it is the mosque’s striking blue tiles that give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. The mosque also features a beautiful courtyard and six towering minarets. Then explore the ancient basilica of Hagia Sophia, one of the finest and largest architectural marvels in the world. The largest church in the world for over a thousand years, Hagia Sophia is now a museum featuring beautiful Byzantine mosaics, paintings, and sculptures.

Byzantine & Ottoman Relics of Istanbul Full Day Tour

8. Byzantine & Ottoman Relics of Istanbul Full Day Tour

On this full-day tour, you will discover some of the most magnificent sites of historical Istanbul, coming into contact with the historical wonders of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires and uncovering the roots of modern-day Turkish culture. See the heart of the Old City, the seat of two of history's most notorious empires. Visit Hagia Sophia, a wonder of ancient architecture, a basilica constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Just across from the Hagia Sophia stands the famous Blue Mosque with its striking blue iconic tiles and unique 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. The Hippodrome was a center for sporting events, such as chariot races, as well as political activities in the Old City. Decorated by the Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, the Hippodrome is one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions. Next, you will visit the world-famous Grand Covered Bazaar, the world's largest "souk" (market) with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets, leather wares and more. You can even see a demonstration of the making of a traditional handmade Turkish carpet! Enjoy lunch, then move on to Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans. This sumptuous residence contains imperial treasures, sacred Islamic relics of the prophet Mohammed, Chinese porcelain, weapons, and more. You'll get to visit the Sultan Tombs at the Hagia Sophia, too!

Istanbul Classics Half-Day Morning Tour

9. Istanbul Classics Half-Day Morning Tour

Experience Istanbul's remarkable and historic highlights on a half-day tour through the city's most picturesque area, a must for any visitor to this unforgettable city. Our day will begin at the Hagia Sophia - The Church of Divine Wisdom. This amazing structure was first dedicated as a church by the Roman Emperor Justinian in the year 360, was turned into a mosque during Ottoman rule, and was opened to the public as a museum in 1935. Admire the layers of history in this beautiful building. Next, you will see the German Fountain, a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid. Hear the fascinating story of the Kaiser's trips to the Ottoman Empire, and the relationship forged between the two rulers. Then, walk along the nearby and beautifully preserved Hippodrome, where the chariot races were once organized by the Romans and Byzantines. The Hippodrome is home to even more impressive monuments, including a magnificent Egyptian obelisk. Finally, explore the Blue Mosque, Istanbul's first mosque with six minarets, dating back to 1616. This stunning piece of architecture takes its name from the amazing blue tiles that decorate its interior.

Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome & Bazaar

10. Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome & Bazaar

Your 6-hour tour begins in the morning with a short drive from your hotel to the the ancient Byzantine Hippodrome, where your guide will show you the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Fountain of Wilhelm II. Afterwards you’ll visit the Blue Mosque, known for its 6 elegant minarets and blue Iznik tiles. See the Saint Sophia Museum, built as a church during the reign of Emperor Theodosius and destroyed in the fire of Nika Revolt in 532 A.D. After a lunch break at a local restaurant (excluded in the tour price), you’ll visit the Topkapi Palace, the residence and administrative center of the Ottoman sultans. You’ll also have the chance to shop for some Turkish handicrafts before the transfer back to your hotel.

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What people are saying about Obelisk of Theodosius III

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 901 reviews

This was a fantastic tour! Istanbul is a wonderful city and Ekrem was an outstanding guide. The tour was well organized, covering all the main sites such as Aya Sofia, Topkapi palace, Dolmabahce palace and more . Ekrem was very knowledgeable and provided us with interesting historical and cultural insights, all in perfect English. He was also kind and patient in answering all of our questions. He was flexible, adjusting the program to avoid the rain, beat crowds and for us to spend more time at the Grand Bazaar (which we loved!). He also suggested great food and was very helpful in guiding us on how to use the tram and find our way around the city. Overall, my husband, adult daughter and I highly recommend this tour - be sure to ask for Ekrem as your guide!

Our guide was very respectful and informative. His knowledge of city and it’s history was much appreciated. He made suggestions on visiting sites that tried to minimize waiting time. This flexibility in scheduling allowed us to learn and see more of the city We highly recommend this tour with our guide Musa

Amazing tour and tour guide Dogus is absolutely the best. Very knowledgable and friendly enjoyed all the areas and the end of grand bazaar were shown a nice souvenir shop. Thank you

We booked this tour at short notice. Nevertheless, we got an individual and super interesting tour with lots of information about this wonderful city.

We really liked the two-day tour; we have seen the main places of interest and our guide Alper gave us very good explanations