Details: Istanbul city walk
The dynamic gateway between Europe and Asia, Istanbul straddles the two continents with grace. Open-air markets, little changed since the Ottoman Empire, offer silks, carpets, and spices, while cars speed past the modern hotels, cafés, and skyscrapers catering to the city’s newfound popularity as a tourist destination. Domes and minarets still dot the skyline, however, from the immense church of Hagia Sophia -- the absolute masterpiece of Byzantine architecture and the fourth-largest church in the world, with a dome 180 feet high -- to the beautiful Blue Mosque, designed for the 19-year-old Sultan Ahmet in 1609.
Details: Blue Mosque visit
With its six staggering minarets that salute its eight cascading domes, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque may appear to be a dominating piece of architecture from the outside. But visitors have given it the friendly nickname, the Blue Mosque, because of its beautiful blue handmade Iznik tiles that grace the interior. Look carefully and you’ll even spot some that are decorated with cypresses, fruits and flowers. As one of the last mosques of the classical period, visiting the Blue Mosque is a must. And those who come in summer will be wowed by a light show and historical narrative held every evening.