SIHDA 2015


Within the city walls, Istanbul holds the footprints of various civilizations: Eastern Roman Empire, Republic of Genoa, Ottoman Empire, … Many historical landmarks such as Hagia Sophia, Chora Church, Hippodrome, Maiden’s Tower, Galata Tower, Topkapı Palace and Blue Mosque will welcome you.

A rich cultural and historical heritage is not all that Istanbul has to offer. In Istanbul, you can also enjoy the stunning and unique view of Bosphorus, take a walk on the picturesque streets, enjoy a delicious selection of mezes with a glass of rakı, go shopping at fancy and fashionable malls or move away from the crowd to relax at a quiet, modest neighborhood.


Istanbul offers a variety of options, from large and luxurious hotels to smaller and cheaper ones. Hotels can be booked online at and

MEF University is located in the Maslak district, very close to the ITU Ayazağa station on the M2 Metro Line (passing from Taksim). We recommend you to chose a hotel in Maslak or close to other metro stations on the Taksim Metro Line (In increasing order of distance from the Maslak station: Levent / Gayrettepe / Şişli Mecidiyeköy / Osmanbey / Taksim / Şişhane). This way you can avoid the traffic jam and arrive at campus relatively quickly.

A couple of 4+ and 5 star hotels accepted to offer SIHDA participants discount prices. Below is a list of these hotels. Their offers and information on booking was sent to participants along with the 2nd circular. If you have not received this information, you may request it from

Please note that no rooms have been booked for you and availability of these hotels is not guaranteed. We urge you to book your accommodation as soon as possible so that the hotels are available.

If you wish to consider other and cheaper alternatives, you may book yourself from the Internet or contact Prometheus Tours from, +90 212 250 16 02 or +90 533 962 74 33 (mobile).

  1. Avantgarde Hotels (3 Hotels, 1 in Levent and 2 in Taksim)
  2. The Marmara Hotels (3 Hotels in Pera, Şişli, and Taksim)
  3. Rixos Taksim (IMPORTANT: This hotel will change its name after May 1, 2015. The new name cannot be disclosed yet due to legal reasons. The prices will still be valid after this date, and the contact e-mail address will still respond.)
  4. Şişli Radisson Blu
  5. Sheraton Maslak/ Steigenberger Hotel Maslak (IMPORTANT: The hotel is changing its name from Shareton Maslak to Steigenberger Hotel Maslak. The prices will still be valid and the contact e-mail address will still respond.)
  6. Titanic City Hotel Taksim
  7. Wyndham Grand


The optional excursions will take place on Saturday, September 12th 2015. We have also arranged several excursions for accompanying persons. These excursions are scheduled during the weekdays (September 8-10), while the conferences are taking place.

Below is a list of all options and their detailed descriptions. Please refer to the 2nd circular for detailed information regarding registration for the excursions, payment and deadlines.

All tours include an English speaking licensed guide.


  1. Underground of Constantinople (30-90 persons)

Duration : 6 hours

Pick-up : 10:00 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 17:00 Taksim Square

This full day excursion draws your attention to the civilizations buried beneath Istanbul: The church of Saints Karpos and Papylos, Aspar Cistern, Ipek Cistern, Pantocrator Cistern, ruins located at the basement of Antik Hotel, Soganaga Han Terrace, Kafar and Servet Han basement ruins, Sphendon, Nakkaş (Nakilbent) Cistern, Ruins of the Magnura Palace and nuptial chamber of the Emperor.

  1. Mythos and Talismans of Istanbul (30-90 persons)

Duration : 6 hours

Pick-up : 09:00 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 16:00 Taksim Square

According to Evliya Çelebi, 27 talismanic monuments were placed all around Istanbul to protect the city and its citizens from natural disasters. We will visit following sites; Çemberlitaş, the Column of Constantine, Ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpent Column, The walled Obelisk, Üçler Mescidi and Server Dede Shrine, The Martyrdom of Saint Euphemia, 18 Vanguard’s Martyrdom, Column of Marcian, Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa Complex, Shrine of Merkez Efendi.

  1. Byzantine Monasteries of Istanbul (30-90 persons)

Duration : 6 hours

Pick-up : 09:30 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 16:30 Taksim Square

This tour allows you to walk in the footsteps of Byzantine rulers who once called Istanbul home. Visit the Church of St. Polyeuctus ruins, Pantocrator Church, Aspar Cistern, Pammakaristos Church (Fethiye Camii), Church of Chora, and Tekfur Palace.

  1. Prince’s Isles and Church of Panagia (30-90 persons)

Duration : 8 hours

Pick-up : 08:30 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 16:30 Kabataş Port

You will go to the largest and most interesting one of the Princes’ Islands: Büyükada. It was used as an exile destination and a monastery region during the Byzantine Christian period. Byzantine Empresses Irene and Zoe and Anna Dalassena were sent there on exile. After his deportation from the Soviet Union in February 1929, Leon Trotsky also stayed there for four years. You will amble through the streets with your guide in horse-drawn carriages. You will have lunch at a seafood restaurant and then visit the Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary).

  1. Byzantine Architecture in Istanbul (30 persons)

Duration : 6 hours

Pick-up : 09:00 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 16:00 Taksim Square

After visiting the Church of Chora, you will drive along the restored city walls to the Golden Horn Gate and Seven Towers where Roman armies entered the city. You will visit the Church of Sergius and Bacchus, palace chapel of Justinian, Mosaic Museum, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Obelisk of Theodosius and the bronze Serpentine Column, and finally Hagia Sophia.

  1. Christian Tradition of Istanbul (30-90 persons)

Duration : 6 hours

Pick-up : 09:00 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 16:00 Taksim Square

This trip aims to explore the role of Christianity in Constantinople. You will visit the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate at Fener and the Turkish Orthodox Church, where you will talk with members of the clergy.  Then you will see the Church of Chora which houses remarkable mosaics and frescoes depicting the life of Mary and Jesus. Finally, you will continue to the Beyoğlu district to visit the Roman Catholic Church of San Antonio. If time permits, you will also visit St.Pier and St.Paul Churches in Karaköy.


  1. Sights and Sounds of Istanbul by Night (30-90 persons)

Duration : 3 hours

Pick-up : 19:30 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 22:30 Taksim Square

This is more an evening sightseeing than an entertainment – after dinner, meet with your guide and start discovering Istanbul after dark: Drive to Galata Bridge to see the lively restaurants, watch the evening praying at Yeni Camii (Valide Mosque), walk through restaurants in Kumkapı to witness the musical performances of trios playing around and finally continue to İstiklal Street to see night life and the 19th and early 20th century European Architecture.

  1. A Spiritual experience: Whirling Dervishes (30-90 persons)

Duration : 3 hours

Pick-up : 19:00 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 22:00 Taksim Square

After a brief visit to the Valide Mosque, you will proceed to Hodjapasha Art Center to observe the Whirling Dervishes ceremony. The Dervishes wear long white robes and conical hats and spin in meditation accompanied by verses recited from the Quran.


  1. Istanbul Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar Shopping Tour (25-90 persons)

Duration : 4 hours

Pick-up : 13:00 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 17:00 Taksim Square

The tour starts with Egyptian Bazaar, or Spice Market, a colorful market dating back to 17th century. You will then visit a traditional ceramics workshop to watch craftspeople make terracotta pottery and quartz Iznik tiles. Finally, you will head for the Grand Bazaar, where around 4,000 stalls make up one of the world’s biggest indoor markets housing jewelry, gold, rugs, ceramics, etc.

  1. Bosphorus Cruise & Asian Side of Istanbul (25-90 persons)

Duration : 7 hours

Pick-up : 09:30 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 16:30 Taksim Square

Start your excursion with the famous Egyptian Spice Bazaar, then use the public ferry to cross the two continents, from Europe to Asia. In this cruise, you will see two Ottoman palaces-Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi, observe wooden mansions from 18th and 19th century, enjoy the panaromic view of Istanbul on the highest hill of the city-Çamlıca Hill.

  1. Islamic Practices & Islamic Art (25-90 persons)

Duration : 7 hours

Pick-up : 10:00 Taksim Square

Drop-off : 14:30 Taksim Square

In this trip, you will visit the famous Blue Mosque, the 17th century Ibrahim Paşa Palace that now houses the Turkish Islamic Arts Museum, and then Eyup. You will have the chance to learn about Vakıf practices and social solidarity.

For all your questions regarding the Excursions, please contact Prometheus Tours from, +90 212 250 16 02 or +90 533 962 74 33 (mobile). Please mention that you are a participant of MEF University SIHDA Organization. DO NOT USE THIS ADDRESS FOR REGISTRATION OR CHOICE OF EXCURSIONS. PLEASE REFER TO THE 2ND CIRCULAR.


If you wish to extend your stay and enjoy Istanbul or other parts of Turkey, you may contact Prometheus Tours to help you arrange your stay or additional excursions. Here is a list of various alternatives offered by Prometheus Tours, but they are also willing to help you create different itineraries. Please note that these options are not part of SIHDA 2015, and will not be organized by the SIHDA Organization Team. However, Prometheus Tours will offer SIHDA participants discount prices.

– Gallipoli battlefields and ancient Troy (daily tour from Istanbul)

– Bursa & Cumalıkızık Village (daily tour from Istanbul)

– Bursa hot springs and thermal tour (daily tour from Istanbul)

– Ancient Ephesus & House of Mary (daily tour from Istanbul by flight)

– Edirne (daily tour from Istanbul)

– Pamukkale & Hierapolis  (1 night/2 days)

– Konya and Çatalhöyük excavation area (1 night/2 days)

– Western Turkey, Ionian Civilizations (1 night/2 days)

– Southern Turkey, Antalya (1 night/2 days tour from Istanbul)

– Cappadocia (2 night/3 days)

– Ephesus & Bodrum (2 night/3 days)


Prometheus Tours arranges private transfer services from and to Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airports. They offer a discount to SIHDA 2015 participants. If you wish to arrange your transfers, you may contact them.