Today we reflect on the insights of our trip and enjoy the sites and sounds of Turkey as we take a ferry from Canakkale to Istanbul. In the afternoon, we will have time to shop for souvenirs in the famous Egyptian Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar, a labyrinth of narrow streets and passages housing more than 4,000 shops. Then after dinner, we will enjoy the evening with a private cruise on the Bosphorus.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will depart to visit the stunning remains of ancient Constantinople. We will begin at the site of the ancient hippodrome--the large, open square that was once the site of a Roman circus that rivaled the Colosseum in Rome and could seat a quarter of a million spectators. Monuments on the site include the Snake Column from Delphi and an Egyptian obelisk taken from the Temple of Karnak at Luxor. Our tour continues to the Blue Mosque, famous for its six minarets and magnificent interior blue tiles. Built in the 17th century, the Blue Mosque takes its name from the thousands of Iznik tiles lining the walls. Next we visit the Hagia Sophia, & the great Byzantine Basilica built in the 6th century by the emperor Justinian and for centuries the largest Christian church in the world.
After lunch we will enjoy the mystical ambiance of the Underground Cistern built by Justinian as a water supply for the city--and a popular filming location for several Hollywood movies. Our tour will conclude with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, the former residence of the Sultans who ruled the Ottoman Empire. We will see a famous jewel-studded dagger, a unique collection of Chinese porcelian, imperial costumes, and the 86-carat Spoon Maker's Diamond. The Topkapi Palace also is home to the Chamber of the Sacred Relics. Relics on display include the cloak of the prophet Muhammad, one tooth, a hair of his beard, his battle sabres, an autographed letter and other relics, and supposedly the staff of Moses.
After three weeks traveling through the Bible Lands, our trip has come to an end. While it will be good to be home, you'll never forget the experience we shared together.