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Marmara Region

Culture & History

Our most recommended Marmara Region Culture & History

Istanbul: Bosphorus Music and Dinner Cruise w/ Private Table

1. Istanbul: Bosphorus Music and Dinner Cruise w/ Private Table

Join a sightseeing dinner cruise along the Bosphorus Strait. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and dine with live entertainment. Pass some of Istanbul's most famous monuments, including Dolmabahçe Palace. Cruise between Europe and Asia and pass under the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge. See the summer palaces of the Ottoman sultans, including Dolmabahçe Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace. Admire the fortifications of Rumeli Castle and Anatolian Castle, and marvel at the mansions that line both coastlines. Watch live folk dances from the regions of Turkey, be seduced by a belly dancer, and relax to international music played by the on-board DJ.

Istanbul: Mevlevi Sema and the Whirling Dervishes Show

2. Istanbul: Mevlevi Sema and the Whirling Dervishes Show

Witness the Mevlevi Sema ceremony at the HodjaPasha Culture Center in central Istanbul and see the whirling dances and dervishes. Enjoy complimentary drinks during the show. Step inside a 550-year-old Ottoman Turkish bath in Sultanahmet-Sirkeci and take your place. Learn more about the Mevlevi Sema from the provided booklet. Marvel at this cultural dance that dates back 800 years. The program begins with a classical Turkish music concert. See the dervishes and sheikh take their place and praise the Prophet Mohammed. Following the chant, hear the drum voice as the dervishes perform the seven-part Sema ceremony which represents the birth of humanity. The Sema ends with a Fâtiha for the souls of all prophets, martyrs, and believers, and a prayer for the salvation of the country.

Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour

3. Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour

Travel back in time to experience the story of the ancient Hagia Sophia on a guided tour in Istanbul. Trace how this iconic site has transformed over time with a local guide. Uncover stunning details as you explore this architectural gem. Meet with your professional local guide in front of Hagia Sophia. Hear a short history of the Old City then start the Hagia Sophia Tour.  Your guide will explain the mystery of the magnificent Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum at the Turkish Republic, Hagia Sophia has always been a precious building. 

Istanbul: Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table

4. Istanbul: Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table

Enjoy magical views of Istanbul from the Bosphorus on this dinner cruise. Sail on a yacht and view a show which includes traditional Turkish Folk Dancing. Sip on unlimited soft drinks while seeing sights like the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Galata Tower, and the Bosphorus Bridge.  Have the option to choose from a tour with hotel pickup and drop-off from select locations in Istanbul. With this option, enjoy being transported to the boat in an air-conditioned van. Select from tour options with or without unlimited alcoholic drinks. Savor an appetizer plate with options like a seasonal salad or hot starters. Choose a main course like mixed grilled meat, seasonal fish, or a vegetarian menu. Savor fruit and finish your meal with a sweet dessert.  Dine on your tasty food while watching live entertainment like Turkish folk dancing, Latin flamenco dancing, and a DJ. Gaze out the window at the Maiden's Tower, which has stood since the medieval Byzantine period and the imposing Galata Tower.  Capture pictures of the stunning Baroque Revival architecture or Dolmabahçe Palace and Ortaköy Mosque. Admire the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges which span the Bosphorus strait. Take in the waterside Ottoman architecture of the Beylerbeyi Palace.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Strait Catamaran Cruise with Dinner

5. Istanbul: Bosphorus Strait Catamaran Cruise with Dinner

Enjoy Turkish food and entertainment with the mesmerizing Istanbul views at night on an unforgettable dinner cruise. While enjoying very delicious dishes on board, you will come across some of the best city views of the Bosphorus Strait at night. Feast on amazing foods with unlimited alcoholic drinks while cruising along the European and Asian continents and enjoying traditional Turkish dances and shows. Start with pickup from the European side of Istanbul or arrive at the meeting point by yourself, depending on the option chosen. First of all is the Whirling Dervishes Show (Sema), a spiritual ritual performed by the followers of famous mystic Rumi. Then, watch Zeybek, an Aegean folk dance giving some epic, heroic vibes. Start with some Latin and Halay which is an energetic traditional celebration dance from Central Anatolia. There will also be some Turkish classic Belly Dancing. It is time to heat up the place some more with some Roman dance, which is a very rhythmic and exhilarant performance. Moving on to the Caucasian legacy, watch jaw-dropping Kafkas dance performance with traditional Caucasian music and costumes. Last but not least, visit the Black Sea region to witness their traditional dance Horon and set a high note before ending the night. The main dishes are served at 10:00 PM. The delicious food of fish or mixed grilled meat plate will be accompanied by unlimited soft drinks as well as alcoholic drinks. After dinner, a live DJ performance starts to make this magical night even more unforgettable before heading back to the port.

Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour

6. Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace Admission and Guided Tour

Explore Dolmabahçe Palace - the biggest royal residence of the sultans and the imperial family of the Ottoman Empire. Meet your licensed English-speaking guide outside the monument and enter with your skip-the-line admission ticket. Begin a guided tour of the stunning interiors. Learn about how the palace was built by the orders of Sultan Abdülmecid I and opened in 1856. Admire the greatest collection of Baccarat and Bohemian chandeliers on the planet, including the biggest Bohemian chandelier ever. Marvel at the vast collection of gold inside, specifically on the ornate ceilings.  As you continue the tour, learn about the distinct differences between the Dolmabahçe Palace and the Topkapı Palace - for example, the architectural style and the way that the furniture was used. Find out how the Dolmabahçe Palace was the last headquarters of the empire and was served until 1922. At the end of your tour, you can explore Imperial Harem on your own freely, without a guide.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Sightseeing Cruise from the Old City

7. Istanbul: Bosphorus Sightseeing Cruise from the Old City

A Bosphorus cruise is one of the best things to do in Istanbul. Get on the boat and start discovering the long waterway which separates Europe and Asia. Discover Istanbul’s main attractions, including magnificent palaces, ancient castles and famous hills and parks, as well as spectacular seaside residences from different centuries while passing under famous bridges. You will start your tour from the Old City in Eminönü and cruise along the European side until the 2nd Bosphorus bridge and return back along the Asian coast. You will pass by Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress and Beylerbeyi Palace. You will aslo get to see some historical landmarks from a distance such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden Tower, and Galata Tower. 

Istanbul: Turkish Dance Show at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

8. Istanbul: Turkish Dance Show at Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

Get tickets to the Turkish Dance Show at the Hodjapasha Cultural Center for an entertainment-filled evening in Istanbul. Watch a lively performance with traditional dances, folk music, colorful costumes, and video projections in a former hammam built in the 15th century. Be enticed by Turkish folklore dances from different regions of Anatolia performed by professional dancers, blended with modern choreography, stunning costumes, and live music. Enjoy the intimate and authentic atmosphere of this evening show inside the Hodjapasha Cultural Centre, situated within the ancient construction of the Hodjapasha Hamam, a restored 550-year-old Ottoman bath. Admire the original architecture of the building and discover the Dervish exhibition, presented in the foyer area.

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

9. Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line

Skip the line and visit the most important museum of Turkey and the Balkan Peninsula. Discover how the Topkapi Palace was built between 1466 - 1478 and served for over 400 years as the residency and administrative headquarter of the Ottoman Sultans. The guide will explain to you the entire story of the Palace during a one hour tour. Marvel at the great architectural beauty of this important monument of the Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

10. Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

Discover the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Hippodrome on a private or shared guided walking tour in Istanbul. Admire the historic architecture and unique views of the city. Get an insider perspective of these must-see sights. Meet your guide in the Sultanahmet neighborhood at an easy spot and check out Istanbul's greatest monuments on a walking tour with an expert guide. Start with the Blue Mosque, the most visited monument in Istanbul famous for its stunning blue tiles. Marvel at this imperial Ottoman Mosque, commissioned by Sultan Ahmet. Witness the evocative power and splendor of its past as you enjoy a comprehensive guided tour of the Blue Mosque. Afterward, enjoy the courtyard for breathtaking views of modern Istanbulites and take a stroll around the neighborhood. Walk through the Hippodrome, the social and political center of the city, and learn about the significance of the famous obelisks. Visit the Hagia Sophia and witness the most significant site of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul and learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Explore the stunning monument with elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica’s stunning dome and minarets, and countless mosaics, paintings, and Roman columns. Learn how the impressive İznik tiles were added over time in the Mosque, how the stunning Virgin Mary mosaic was made, and why the Ottomans chose to bury their sultans in the courtyard. Explore the Arasta Bazaar nestled right under the shadow of the Blue Mosque to understand 17th Century architecture of public buildings. It is a well-known but modest open-air market in the heart of Sultanahmet. Enjoy a last-minute tea break and hunt for gifts to take home. End your tour in Sultanahmet Square with enough information and hints to help you be independent for the rest of your time in Istanbul.

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What people are saying about Marmara Region

Overall rating

2.6 / 5

based on 5 reviews

Ali, our guide was a charismaric Istanbulite, who has an immense knowledge of the city of Istanbul and it's forebear, Constantinople. Great tour to get a real feel for the history and culture of the city.

The tours were great and Stoneland travel did a great job setting up it all, being available for any questions at all times on WhatsApp and helping with extra travel arrangements while we were in town.

Abaolute worth doing ad you skip all the lengthy queues for the sites. Our guide Hal was amazing and very interesting to listen to. A pricier way of skipping the queues.

Great experience! Loved all the dances and food was great! Service was great! Nice to be out on the water :)

Everything was great! It’s an unique experience and worth every penny. We will definitely come back!