As cities go, Istanbul has had more than its fair share of history. In fact, it is one of the very few cities on Earth that has such a steep tradition in terms of cultural mix. And therefore, although you can go about the city by yourself, it is not recommended. Particularly because watching a city and learning about it are two entirely different things. We at Istanbul Chauffeur make it a point that you get to know everything about each of the places you visit. As such, we have dedicated multi lingual guides who will help you each step of the way.
Ata Sofya and Sultan Ahmed Mosque- twin wonders
Most tourists who come to visit the Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofya) come, marvel at its golden interior and leave. Few know about the rich history that encompass the walls that the building has gone through. This includes transition from a mosque to church and back. This is why it remains the one of the very few structures till date which has both Islam and Christian symbols under the same roof. Talking about symbolism, look no further in modernism than the Blue mosque.
After all, the intricate carvings have inspired generations, including Walt Disney himself (Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland being proof of that). Rest assured that normal guides do not even have the time for explaining such intricate details. At Istanbul Chauffeur, it is our pleasure to make sure that you receive the special treatment. After all, you would not be visiting such an esteemed city all the time. You should leave with a piece of the history yourself.
Shopping at its best
Istanbul is one of the very few cities in the world that has been able to stress on modernism while holding out on its own flavor of tradition. The Grand Bazaar is the epitome proof of that. It is one of the largest markets in the world with more area than you can cover in a day (with more than 5000 shops in around 60 streets, judge it yourself). Such intricate is the interior of the area that it is often very easy for the tourists to get lost inside it and come out from a completely different exit from the one they entered through.
Suffice to say, it is replete with people who are after your money, one way or the other. Guides abound in plenty, but unless you know if the person can be trusted, you are in for one big surprise. Not to fret, we offer specialized people who will help you steer the roads of this winding maze, staying clear of scammers all the way. A piece of advice for everyone- try out what you will buy before taking the leap. If a batch of almonds taste rancid, it is most likely that, and not some exotic spice despite what the shopkeeper may claim.
The Great palace and Little Hagia Sophia
Although the guided tours of the city cover most of the major landmarks, skip out on the special ones which are tucked away at the sides even though they are just as much important. The Great Palace of Constantinople is one such prominent example. Even though the main complex is in ruins today, you can see the detailing which had gone into making it at its time of construction. In fact, the awe that it inspires even today through the detailing of the mosaics that have survived is absolutely worth the visit.
The palace compound itself is a little way off from the main area of Istanbul, being located in what is now called Old Istanbul. Do not let people dissuade you from going there since besides this gem, tucked away at this small centre of bustle from bygone eras, stands another often ignored monument- the Little Hagia Sophia. This exquisite structure is so fine in its detailing that visitors are often heard exclaiming for the first time they enter. This, like quite a few others in Istanbul is presently a mosque, but was originally conceived as a church dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus. Even Constantinople compares it to its bigger sister, the Aya Sofya.
Istanbul has not forgotten the needs of the modern tourist either. If you want to get a peek at history, the doors of its various museums are ever open to you, along with the treasures stored in there for public viewing. From the royal gems at Topkapi Palace to the sarcophagus of Alexander the great at Istanbul Archaeology Museum, you will not be disappointed. Go to the zoo or the aquarium if you want to entertain your young one. They are wonders of modern architecture. Finally, watch the sunset from atop the Galata Bridge and unwind at one of the many bath houses in the city (the grandest by all means being the Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam) to leave feeling refreshed, thinking of the Sultans of the bygone era.
All in all, no matter the kind of tourist you are, Istanbul is a city which will be ever there to cater to your needs. We at Istanbul Chauffeur will look to it that you get the best that you can. After all, every tour is special and every tourist more so.