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Turkey's Magical Hideaways 2014

Pre-trip: Istanbul, Turkey

Expand your understanding of Turkey in its largest, most vibrant city: exotic Istanbul. The only city in the world to straddle both Europe and Asia, it offers a wealth of influences and attractions. Included and optional tours, plus our centrally located accommodations, put the essence of the city easily within reach.

It's Included:
Accommodations for 3 nights in Istanbul
3 meals—3 breakfasts
2 small group activities
Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader who speaks English and the native language
All transfers
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    Depart the U.S. today on your overnight flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

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    Arrive in Istanbul today, where you'll be met at the airport and transfer to our hotel. We'll enjoy an orientation walk and then are free to explore Istanbul at leisure. Today might be the perfect opportunity to visit the imposing Mosque of Suleman, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a dome that rises over 150 feet, it is Istanbul's largest mosque. Your Trip Leader can provide recommendations for dinner on your own in Istanbul tonight.

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    After breakfast today, we enjoy an Aspects of Istanbul tour, which includes a visit to the Istanbul Archaeological Museum—actually a group of museums—located inside the first court of Topkapi Palace. Among the treasures of antiquity, you'll see the celebrated Alexander Sarcophagus. Also displayed here are artifacts from the Sumerian, Assyrian, Hatti, and Hittite civilizations. We’ll also visit the Underground Cistern and Chora Museum. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

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    Today, you have many options for soaking up more of Istanbul’s unique melange of sensations. Blend into the hustle and bustle on the streets, or contemplate three millennia of history in quieter corners. If you haven't yet gotten to visit the famous Kapali Çarsi (Grand Bazaar), with its 3,600 shops, this will be a good chance to do some shopping there. Everything from intricate carpets to camel-bone jewelry to antique samovars to T-shirts can be found here under one giant roof.

    Or, join an optional Crossing Between Continents tour, which begins with a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace, the opulent residence of the Ottoman sultans. We'll then cross the Bosporus by ferry to its Asian shore, stopping in Kadikoy, where you’ll tour its market and stop for tea at Camlica Hill, one of the highest spots in the city. Then, back on the European shore, we’ll enjoy a walk around the Ortakoy, one of Istanbul’s trendiest areas.

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    • Meals included:

    We meet our fellow travelers this afternoon, and begin our adventure into Turkey's Magical Hideaways.