The Magnificent Ottomans

* Private tours are upon request.
** The price above is quoted per person
Old city
6.5 hours

Meeting at your hotel

Private guide in your language

Museum tickets

Fast-track at the museums

Neighbourhood Maps (Online)


Lunch and transportation

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“My husband, two children (12 and 18) and I did the Magnificent Ottomans tour. It was an excellent introduction to the history of Turkey, and gave us a good feel for the city. Our guide, Betul Basak was great. She was very warm, engaging and knowledgeable, able to answer all our questions about Turkish history and about modern Turkey. I was worried about how my son (aged 12) would cope with about 6.5 hours of walking and history but he enjoyed the tour and seemed to learn a lot.” Read more on Tripadvisor

The Magnificent Ottomans

Founded in 1299 AD, the Ottoman Empire lasted nearly seven hundred years. Its founder, Osman (Turkish for Ottoman), and his family ruled the empire for 36 generations. The Hanedan (royal family) built countless palaces, pavilions, mosques, madrasas, bazaars and other buildings in and around Istanbul. But the Empire was more than just a set of buildings. It was formed of a huge variety of ethnic and religious groups. It was a giant mosaic of ethnic groups, religions and civilizations. Our Magnificent Ottomans tour goes beyond the Ottoman’s monumental architectural legacy to focuses on the everyday life, culture and habits of Istanbulites living in the Ottoman era.

Important note: Topkapi Palace Museum and Harem are closed on Tuesdays.

Our Ottoman Tour Highlights

  • Topkapi Palace Museum: the private residence of the Sultan and the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire was built in 1461 by Mehmet the Conquerer.
  • Süleymaniye Mosque and Complex: one of the largest mosque complexes in Istanbul, it was built on one of the seven hills of the historical peninsula by the famous Ottoman architect Sinan. The vast complex includes the mausoleum and tombs, hamam (Turkish bath), library, hospital, imaret (public kitchen) and four medreses (schools).
  • Spice Bazaar: built in 1664, this is one of the most colorful and aromatic places in the city. Today, the bazaar is still home to a wide range of spices, Turkish delight, dried fruits, nuts, and more.
  • Galata Bridge: the first known bridge over the bay of Golden Horn dates back to the Justinian era and is among the most iconic landmarks of Istanbul.
  • Lunch at Karakoy Lokantasi: a hidden gem, that is one of the best fish restaurants of Istanbul with a daily changing lunch menu. (lunch fee not included in the price)
  • Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque and Complex: this charming mosque was built on an artificial island on the Bosphorus Strait as a result of a rivalry between two Ottoman Paşas with a very unique interior design. It is also connected to one of the city’s best recently renovated hamams.
  • Authentic Nargile Experience: For those interested in having an authentic nargile/hookha/shisha experience, there is a street lined-up with nargile cafe's next to the the complex.
  • Tophane Fountain: the third biggest historical fountain of Istanbul with four facades decorated with Ottoman calligraphy and floral motifs.
  • Tophane Pavilion (Köşk): built by Sultan Abdülmecid as his private pavilion, it was designed by British architect  W.J. Smith. (visit from outside)
  • Tophane (Arsenal): one of the biggest armories built by the Ottomans, the building is now used by Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts. There are temporary collections exhibited in Tophane i Amire that we may be able to visit. (visit from outside)

Who is this tour for?

  • Anyone that want to learn about one of the world’s most intriguing empires. By focusing on one (lenghty) era of Istanbul’s history, we go beyond the sights to introduce you to an important part of Istanbul’s multilayered past. 

Why book with Istanbul Tour Studio?

  • We’ve worked with local historians and archaeologists to devise a tour that provides the perfect introduction to Istanbul’s Ottoman past.
  • Istanbul Tour Studio is rated "Excellent" on Tripadvisor. Click to read the latest reviews about us.
  • We have a team of knowledgeable personnel that are trustworthy, friendly and always on time.

How much is the private Magnificent Ottomans tour per person?

  • Our private Magnificent Ottomans tour price is $125 USD/person for two people. ($250 USD/total for two adults)
  • Our prices are quoted per person. We require minimum two participants to organise this private tour. Please contact us if you'd like to book a private tour for one person. The prices include English speaking professional guidance and museum entrance fees. We offer dynamic pricing which means as the number of people on your private group increase, our per person prices decrease. 
  • This tour costs $125 USD/person for two people; $100 USD/person for three people; $90 USD/person for four people; $80 USD/person for five people and $70 USD/person for six people. You will automatically get the dynamic pricing at the booking phase once you select the total number of people.
  • We give 50% discount for children between 7-12 years old; meanwhile our tours are free for kids under 7 years old.
  • The prices quoted above are for the walking tour. If you are staying at Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu (Taksim) or Karaköy areas you can use public transportation such as tram, ferry or taxi. It would cost approx. $4 USD/person. Alternatively, we also offer private transportation with luxury Mercedes vans with professional drivers for $225 USD/day.
  • Please contact us for custom pricing for groups over six people.

Important Note:

  • Istanbul Tour Studio reserves the rights to adjust ticket prices based on the potential increase. Thank you for your understanding.

 Contact us for more information

Tour Curator
Tarkan Okçuoglu
Assoc. Prof. Dr at Istanbul University, Ottoman Historian
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