Get an intimate look at Turkey’s rich heritage
through private tours of Ottoman mansions and palaces.
At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul stands as a cultural bridge between continents. Begin your transcontinental journey with breakfast on the Aqua terrace at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, taking in views of boats bobbing on the Bosphorus and maybe even a few dolphins. The celebrated author of Ottoman Chic and The Grand Bazaar, Serdar Gülgün, will join you for the meal before leading you through layers of Istanbul history.
You and Gülgün will depart by private boat and admire intricate mosques, modern bridges and the elaborate wooden mansions (known as yalıs) that line the Bosphorus Strait, each with a story to tell. As you head toward the rolling Asian shore, Gülgün – a designer, historian, Ottoman art expert and storyteller – shares his own “tale of two continents.” Your destination is Gülgün’s home, a meticulously restored Ottoman mansion and the former hunting lodge of Feyzullah Pasha. Learn Gülgün’s process of restoring the home to its former imperial-era glory. He’ll share with you the Ottoman sense of style and its evolution through both European and Asian influences that came into the then-capital city via land and maritime trade routes.
Over dinner or high tea as a guest of honour in Gülgün’s home – served by the Hotel’s Executive Chef Savaş Aydemir – swap stories and pick up your host’s tips on where to meet the best artisans and craftspeople in the Grand Bazaar. At the end of your extraordinary day, you will be presented with a signed copy of The Grand Bazaar to serve as a take-away guide for your own exploration of the six centuries of history represented in the Bazaar today.
This experience is based on Gülgün’s availability. Advance booking is required.