Walking up to 1 mile on cobblestone streets
Breakfast at the hotel.
This morning, after breakfast, you will first visit the Dolmabahce Palace, the second palace of the Ottoman Sultans built in mid-19th century. Visiting this Palace will provide a better insight to the socio-economic and cultural changes that the Ottoman Empire was going through in 19th century. Dolmabahçe Palace was ordered by the Empire's 31st Sultan, Abdülmecid I, and built between the years 1843 and 1856. The construction cost five million Ottoman gold coins, 35 tons of gold, the equivalent of $1.5 billion USD in today's values. Fourteen tons of gold in the form of gold leaf were used to gild the ceilings. The design contains eclectic elements from the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, blended with traditional Ottoman architecture to create a new synthesis. The palace layout and décor reflect the increasing influence of European styles and standards on Ottoman culture and art during the Tanzimat period. Previously, the Sultan and his family had lived at the Topkapi Palace, but as Topkapi was lacking in up-to-date luxury and style, Abdülmecid decided to build the Dolmabahçe Palace on the Bosporus. Whereas the Topkapi has exquisite examples of Iznik tiles and Ottoman carving, the Dolmabahce palace contains much gold and crystal. The sultans lived here from 1856 to 1922. With its columns and pediments, the opulent palace has a very European appearance, and the interior is a mid-Victorian statement in over-the-top luxury.
Lunch at a local restaurant in Ortakoy.
After visiting the Palace, you will drive to Ortakoy, a charming district on the Bosphorus frequented by young people and artists. After strolling through this colorful seaside district, drive to the Galata Tower, to catch a glimpse of the old city from the top of this 14th century tower. The tower was built as the Tower of Christ in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. The Galata Tower was the tallest building in Istanbul at 219½ feet when it was built in 1348. According to the Ottoman historian and traveler Evliya Çelebi, in circa 1630-1632, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early intercontinental aviator using artificial wings for gliding from this tower over the Bosphorus to the slopes of Uskudar on the Anatolian side, nearly 3 miles away. Rest of the day free on your own.
Dinner at the hotel.