6. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace & Harem- Small group Tour
Tour Topkapi Palace, the Harem, and Hagia Irene Museum alongside a local and licensed history-buff guide. Step into the palace that hosted the Ottoman Empire for 400 years and see where Sultans and concubines lived. As an added bonus, skip-theentry tickets to all three locations are included with your trip. After meeting your guide, take a short walk to the 15-century palace featuring four connected courtyards. Your guide will have tickets for the palace and Harem section for you to skip the tourist lines. Starting with the first courtyard where the bakery, hospital, and executioner’s fountain are located, your guide will tell you the history of each place as you explore on foot. In the second courtyard, find the empire council, kitchen, and harem (female section of the palace). Harem was the place where hundreds of concubines were brought from different counties. Hear stories about these concubines who lived here from your guide. Afterward, pass to the third courtyard, the education space where selected students were taught to become the head of the empire. Visit the ottoman treasury with one of the biggest diamonds in the world (86 carats) and the dagger made of gold and emeralds for the Iranian Shah. There are rich holly relics here, including Moses’ staff, David’s sword, Abraham’s cooking pan, and many more. Reaching the last courtyard, admire the many pavilions built for the sultans as awards for victories. Discover one of the best views of Istanbul over the Bosporus and Golden Holden standing from the edge of the European continent. On the way out, visit the kitchen of the palace and ceramics from different parts of the world. Finish the tour with the Aya Irine Church Museum (Hagia Irene), built in the 4th century A.D as one of the oldest churches in the world, used as the arsenal of the palace for centuries.