The successive capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul has been at the centre of major political events for more than 2,000 years. The historic peninsula, surrounded by the waters of the Bosphorus, is home to an array of impressive monuments which bestow glory to the city. Nearly every visit starts with a walk through the historic quarter, recognised by Unesco for the unique architectural masterpieces. From Fatih neighbourhood and beyond, here are the historical sites you can’t afford to miss.
Rumelihisarı, also known as Rumeli Castle, is a fortress occupying roughly 6.5ha (16 acres) of high walls, towers and green surroundings. Situated on the European side of Istanbul, at the narrowest section of the Bosphorus Strait, it was built over the course of four months in 1452 by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II in preparation for a final assault on Constantinople and the eventual downfall of the Byzantine Empire. Much of the interior structures have suffered considerable damage after a string of devastating earthquakes hit the city. Today, the site is open to the public as an open-air museum and frequently hosts concerts and performances in its amphitheatre.
The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora is a former Byzantine church and, in more ways than one, can be thought of as the Hagia Sophia’s little sister. Like the Hagia Sophia, it was converted into an Ottoman mosque in the 16th century and later secularized as a museum. Despite the smaller dimensions, it’s no less beautiful. Situated in Erdinekapi district, just outside of the original city walls, the interiors are covered in gorgeous medieval mosaics and frescoes dating back to 1312.
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.