Home Up Istanbul Dikili Athens Patmos Bodrum


This was our first visit to Istanbul, and the main reason for taking this particular cruise.  We decided that our plan would be to see as much in as we could in a short time, but only at a high level.  We could them make a return visit at a later date, and visit the sites in more depth.

We caught the tram (only a 10 minute walk from the ship  and around 50p a journey), and after a 10 minute ride we were in the old city.

We started off at Topkapi Palace, the principal residence of the 15th - 17th century Sultans, and now a museum.  We saw the Harem with it's brilliantly tiled rooms, the additional courtyards and the Chamber of Sacred Relics, however the queues for the Treasury were so long that we decided to give them a miss.


After this, we then bounced around Sultanahmet Square.  On one side is Hagia Sophia, an enormous church going back 1400 years with a mosaic of the Virgin and Child going back to 867AD, and  on the other is the Blue Mosque, an equally large and stunningly decorated 17th century mosque.  Also near the square is the Basilica Cistern, a underground reservoir build in the 6th century (and used in the James Bond film From Russia With Love).  Finally, as time was now running out we paid a quick visit to the Grand Bazaar (no pictures) and then caught the tram back to the ship after a very full day!