You will be met at the airport by a Gemini representative and transferred to your Hotel for your three nights stay.
Enjoy the welcome dinner tonight in Kumkapı, former fisherman’s quarter and the most colorful
and atmospheric place in Istanbul. Enjoy a traditional meal of Turkish appetizers (meze) and seafood.
Return to the hotel for ovenight.
Start the day with a traditional Turkish breakfast including a variety of different cheeses and olives.
Next, visit Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman sultans from 1453 until 1856, when Abdulmecid moved to more western style Dolmabahçe Palace.
See displays of Turkish and Chinese porcelain in the palace’s kitchens and visit the dormitories of the many servants who looked after the palace’s 5800 inhabitants and guests. In the Royal Treasury, the Topkapi dagger and the 84 carat Spoonmaker Diamond are the most famous among the dazzling, bejeweled items on display.
Continue to the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Built in 1609, this is probably Istanbul’s most known mosque complex. The mosque derives its name from the stunning interior walls which are covered in the predominantly blue and white Iznik tiles. After this, a short walk brings you to the Hippodrome Square, built by the Romans as a venue for chario races. Here you will see the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine and Constantine Columns. Enjoy lunch at one of best fish restaurants in the Old City, Balikci Sabahattin. Proceed to the Church of St. Saviour in Chora. This beautiful church, located just outside superbly preserved stretches of Constantinople’s city walls, contains some of the most outstanding examples of Byzantine mosaics and frescos to be found in Istanbul.
Careful restoration has made it possible for visitors to see sequential stories of the Bible which have adorned the ceiling of the church since the 11th century. Tonight you will enjoy one of the highlights of your trip with a cookery class and dinner at the Feriye Restaurant where you will learn how to make dishes which are, quite literally, fit for a king! This restaurant, situated in the Ortakoy province is renowned for preparing fine Ottoman cuisine based on authentic recipes retrieved from the palace archives.
Return back to the hotel for overnight.
After a morning at leisure, visit one of Istanbul’s most famous coffee & tea houses, Markiz, the most popular meeting place of 19th century authors, journalists and intellectuals. With a refurbished face, it is once again a preferred spot for one of Turkey’s favorite pass times, sipping coffee. Turkish coffee is a drink which is short and very strong and is made by boiling very finely ground coffee with water and as much sugar as you prefer. After a short lecture about traditional Turkish coffee, its roasting and preparation, you will have time to enjoy a cup or two over lively conversation with your fellow travelers. Return to the hotel to freshen up before dinner at Ottoman, a boutique style restaurant specializing in southeastern Anatolian cuisine, a current favorite of discerning locals.
Return to the hotel for overnight.
After a morning at leisure, transfer to the Istanbul Ataturk Airport by private vehicle.
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