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was the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life. Monuments decorating the Hippodrome include the 3500-year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius, brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius in 390 AD.
was built by Constantine the great and is considered as the masterpiece of Byzantine art. Its first construction dates back to the end of the 4th century. Hagia Sophia served as a church for 916 years and as a
mosque for 477 years until Ataturk ordered for it to be converted into a Museum. In 2009, new mosaics were discovered dating the depiction of seven-winged Angel Gabriel to the days of its construction. It still is the largest wooden dome ever built in the world, rivalling the stone construction of the St. Peter Basilica in Italy.
Then the group will proceed to the
Sultan Ahmet Camii
which is also called the Blue Mosque. It is one of the most famous monuments in both Turkish and Islamic worlds, being the only mosque built with 6 minarets. It is decorated with gorgeous “Iznik” tiles, world famous blue ceramic tiles.
Last stop will be the
In this historical place one discovers the grandiose nature of the past while touring through Istanbul’s largest and the most magnificent Underground Cistern. It was built by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century to supply water to the nearby palace complex. The cistern has 336 decorated columns and the ceiling of this beautiful column forest is cross-vaulted and made of bricks. During the restoration works, two spectacular Medusa head carvings were discovered.
is a must to see when you come to Turkey. This palace was the imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans and it is the most extensive and fascinating monument of Turkish civil architecture in existence. In addition to its historical and architectural interest, it houses extraordinary collections of porcelain, armor, fabrics, jewelry, miniatures, calligraphy and many other precious objects that once belonged to the sultans and their court. We will also visit the “Harem” section. Harem is one of the most intriguing aspects of life in the ancient orient. There are splendid rooms and quarters in the Harem section which was hidden from eyes for a long time.
restaurant is spectacularly located in the garden of the Topkapı Palace with a magnificent view of the Bosphorus and the calming effect of the garden. It was once used as the police station and is now transformed into a fine dining restaurant that promises its guests an unforgettable experience. We will be met with traditional lemonade.... and music by Fasıl Ladies – playing traditional Turkish music.
may be one of the most visited sites in Istanbul, but very rarely do tourists get to go behind the scenes. With an expert guide, you’ll get a rare glimpse of the inner workings of this Bazaar, go through the secret passages, stroll maze-like streets, visit a silversmith performing his excellent workmanship, the same way he learned it from his father and grandfather, using the same tools and techniques as his predecessors.
As John Freely so aptly describes in his book "Strolling through Istanbul," there are streets of jewelers, goldsmiths, silversmiths, haberdashers, shoemakers, ironmongers... One can find brass and copper of every description, ancient weapons and swords, antique and modern jewelry, costumes, pashminas, glassware, antique coins, classical and Byzantine pottery and figurines. In short every taste is catered to, and one has to wander and inspect and bargain. Bargaining is most important; nobody expects to receive the price first asked, and part of the fun consists in striking a good deal. Almost all the dealers speak half a dozen languages, and there is little difficulty in communication. But time is essential. A good bargain can rarely be struck in a few moments. Often it requires a leisurely cup of Turkish coffee, offered by the store owner...
You will be given free time to explore this labyrinth, which comprises over 4,400 shops, in which one takes delight in getting lost and finding one's way out, after who knows how many purchases and other adventures....
is such a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. First, guests will be taken to the dressing/resting rooms to change. Then given a traditional bath cloth to wrap themselves with… When you are ready, you will be taken into the Hammam – hot room, where you will be washed. You can experience the body scrubbing (all dead cells are peeled off by a special cleaning glove) and the soap massage.
But this bath is so much more……!! This bath was a gift from Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to his favorite bride Hurrem Sultan, a native of Ukraine. It was restored to its former glory with no expense spared in 2010. With its gold covered faucets and original features it is a sight to see on its own.
is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Remains of towns at this location date to earlier than the year 1000 BC, and Mtskheta was capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during the 3rd century BC – 5th century AD. It was a site of early Christian activity, and the location where Christianity
was proclaimed the state religion of Kartli in 337. Mtskheta still remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
which may be translated as "The life-giving pillar” is the main church of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. An enormous cedar tree grew on a place where Christ's robe was buried. The place was chosen as a site for the future church. The branches of this magic tree served for constructed pillars. This bright example of Georgian renaissance architecture was erected by architect Arsukidze in 11th century, in the place where the first church in Georgia once stood in the 4th century.
In order to see the high peaks, roaring rivers and mountain lifestyle of Georgia’s Northern borderlands we will travel toward Mtiuleti and Khevi provinces via one of the oldest roads in Georgia, which the Russian Tsar Alexander I named "the Georgian Military Highway." If weather conditions permit we'll see ‘Mkinvartsveri’ or Kazbek meaning ‘ice-top’ in English, a spent volcano soaring to height of 5047 meters. Mount Kazbek is the third highest and one of the best known peaks in the Caucasus. Its white pristine beauty wrapped in the rays of the sun almost fills the sky. Grand and dignified, it is at times capricious, even savage. Natives of Khevi often call this giant volcano looming over their homes ‘the bride of the Khevi.’
(6th-7th centuries) a masterpiece of the early medieval Period; in 4th century St. Nino erected the first wooden cross at the site. Its pedestal can still be seen in the center of the church. This example of classic tetra conch design with all its miniature size, strikes the viewers with its grandeur and integrity.
16th – 17th century fortress and church. The complex comprises fortification, 2 churches and civic buildings. Ananuri was a kind of a guardian of north boarders of Georgia.
Gergety Trinity Church
the most important altar of 14th century, located on the slope of Mount Kazbek. A two hour walking tour in a nice area of green fields and lush forest is required to reach the church.
Lunch and Dinner at a local traditional restaurants.
Explore Tbilisi, a capital of Georgia founded in the 5th century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali. Take a walk around the old town, called Kala, which developed within the walls of a citadel and reached the bank of the river Mtkvari; visit centuries old churches, treasuries of museums and other important cultural and religious sites.
(12th -13th century) was built under the order of king Demetre the 2nd ('The Devoted'), although the former church stood here already in 5th century. This area was considered both religious and a royal site, in 12th century the royal palace was moved near the church.
Lunch at a local traditional restaurant
(7th -19th century) was started in 500. The cathedral has been ransacked, and damaged many times through its history. Despite all the havoc and destruction Sioni has survived and in such terms may be judged as a symbol for the city as a whole.
(4th century) is the main citadel of the city and overlooks the oldest part of Tbilisi. During the centuries Narikala was considered the best strategic point and every ruler, local or invader was adding some new construction to the previous fortification.
basilica and bell tower (5th -18th century) is the oldest church in Tbilisi.
Holy Trinity Cathedral
built in 2004 as a symbol of united Georgia;
The Treasury of State Museum of Fine Arts
was founded in the second half of the 19th century, and developed further in the early 20th century, creating a centerpiece for the Georgian National Treasury. The majority of the materials presented in its exhibitions are the works of Georgian Masters. The treasury preserves and presents works from the Bronze Age, Antic-Hellenistic, and medieval periods, as well as significant modern artifacts up through the 20th century.
Explore the picturesque and most fertile part of Georgia - Kakheti, which borders the Great Caucasus range from the north Alazani Valley. This region is known as a birthplace of viticulture and wine - making. The rich land, a burning sun and hard work have developed about 500 varieties of vine in Georgia. The history, culture and lifestyle of Georgians are embodied in Georgian wine. It is a symbol of Georgian hospitality, friendship, tolerance and a key to the mystery of Georgian longevity. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Kizikhi area and the unusual charm of Signagi Royal Town. Have a walk in the narrow streets of the old town in the shadow of wooden balconies richly decorated with the lace of carved ornaments.
Tsinandaly Family Estate, with a beautiful English style park and centuries old wine cellar.
Alaverdi Cathedral an 11th century symbol of the blossoming of Georgian culture.
Gremi Complex an 11th century cultural, religious and educational center of Eastern Georgia.
Lunch at Pheasant's Tears Winery
Signagi a royal town surrounded by the defensive walls with 23 towers. Each of these towers were named after nearby villages and respective families and served as a refuge in case of danger. The town was mainly inhabited by merchants and artisans. It had many gates through which numerous Silk Road travelers from Asia and Europe passed on their way.
Bodbe Convent was founded during St. Nino's earthly life, in the first part of the fourth century. During the middle ages, Bodbe Convent represented ecclesiastical and cultural centers of the country.
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