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Private excursion to Hagia Sophia

Perhaps the most famous of all sites in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia dates back to 537 AD, when it was built as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral under the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian. 

It was then converted to a mosque in 1453 before being declared a museum in 1935 by Atatürk, which it remains today, consecrated for its outstanding beauty and architectural form, not to mention its religious import and lengthy history.

Relatively uninspiring from the outside, the interior of Hagia Sophia is simply extraordinary, filled with ornate calligraphy and stunning mosaics in place of frescoes.

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Audley Travel Specialist Layla

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Other experiences in Istanbul

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

  • Blue Mosque guided tour
    Blue Mosque interior, Istanbul

    Blue Mosque guided tour

    Blue Mosque guided tour

    Take a guided tour of the Blue Mosque, perhaps the most photographed site in Istanbul with its distinctive shape dominating the Sultanahmet skyline.

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  • Bosphorus cruise
    Dolmabahce Palace seen from the Bosphorus, Istanbul

    Bosphorus cruise

    Bosphorus cruise

    Starting from the marina just in front of the Spice Market, your cruise will take you out onto the Bosphorus to view many of Istanbul's different architectural styles.

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  • Full day visit to the Gallipoli battlefields and Troy
    Battlefield memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula

    Full day visit to the Gallipoli battlefields and Troy

    Full day visit to the Gallipoli battlefields and Troy

    Travel to the Gallipoli Peninsula, where you'll explore the beach cemeteries of fallen Allied soldiers from World War I and the ancient city of Troy.

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  • Guided tour of Suleymaniye Mosque
    Suleymaniye Mosque

    Guided tour of Suleymaniye Mosque

    Guided tour of Suleymaniye Mosque

    This excursion will take you to the Suleymaniye Mosque, which dominates Istanbul's skyline, to see its Iznik tiles, mother of pearl inlays and stained glass windows.

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  • Guided visit to Cukurcuma and the Museum of Innocence
    Cukurcuma, Istanbul

    Guided visit to Cukurcuma and the Museum of Innocence

    Guided visit to Cukurcuma and the Museum of Innocence

    Experience Cukurcuma with its tree-lined streets and winding alleys before visiting the Museum of Innocence, a creation of author Orhan Pamuk.

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  • Private tour of the Basilica Cistern
    Basilica Cistern

    Private tour of the Basilica Cistern

    Private tour of the Basilica Cistern

    Visit the Basilica Cistern’s underground cavern. Descending beneath the streets, you’ll be met with the sight of hundreds of columns rising from the waters, with towering, arched brick ceilings overhead.

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  • Shared tour of Dolmabahce Palace
    Dolmabahce Palace

    Shared tour of Dolmabahce Palace

    Shared tour of Dolmabahce Palace

    Take a guided tour of the interior of the Dolmabahce Palace, which is sumptuously decorated from floor to ceiling with gold and crystal.

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  • Spice Market tour
    The Spice Market, Istanbul

    Spice Market tour

    Spice Market tour

    Experience the smells and sounds of the Spice Market with this guided tour through its narrow streets and stalls selling herbs and spices, Turkish delight, tea and other delicacies.

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  • Tour of the Grand Bazaar
    The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

    Tour of the Grand Bazaar

    Tour of the Grand Bazaar

    This privately guided tour will take you beneath the domed roof of the Grand Bazaar to explore its labyrinthine alleys and stalls.

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  • Trip to the Topkapi Palace
    Topkapi Palace

    Trip to the Topkapi Palace

    Trip to the Topkapi Palace

    Learn about life in the imperial household of the Ottoman sultans with this guided excursion of the Topkapi Palace’s buildings and Treasury.

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