Historical Turkey (14 Days)
DAY 1 Istanbul Upon your arrival to Istanbul Airport, you will be escorted to your hotel. Depending on arrival time, we will have some time to start to explore the magnificent city.
DAY 2 Istanbul Today we have a full day to discover Istanbul, which was declared as ’New Rome’ by Constantine, its founder. We start our tour with Sultanahmet Square, Visit ancient Byzantine Hippodrome, the important monuments of the Hippodrome are; Egyptian Obelisk dating back to 16th century B.C., Serpentine Column from 5th century B.C., and the Stone Obelisk erected in 10th century A.D. Sultanahmet Square which is surrounded by Blue Mosque famous for its six minarets and beautiful İznik tiles as interior decoration, Topkapı Palace was once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans located on a hilltop dominating Boshporus and Golden Horn. Today it’s used as a museum where precious displays such as Porcelains, Crystals, Sultan’s costumes, Books, Portraits, and Diamonds can be seen. We travel from Istanbul to Ankara by high-speed train.
DAY 3 Ankara-Cappadocia Our first stop Anatolian Civilization Museum, is one of the best museums in turkey, has won many awards. It has a wide collection of artifacts from all periods of Anatolian history and prehistory. Next is the great mausoleum of Atatürk, founder of modern Turkish Republic. It will give you full idea about the process of independence battle and Atatürk’s life. Then we leave Ankara. We have a 3-4 hours drive to Cappadocia where we will spend the next two days. On the way we stop to visit Haci Bektas Museum. Haci Bektas is known one of the founder of heterodox sect of İslam.
DAY 4 Cappadocia Cappadocia is a great harmony of history and unique landscape in the hearth of central Anatolia. You will be enchanted by the rock-cut churches, volcanic formations, deep valleys, rock dwellings, traditional life and cuisine. The walk in Devrent valley’s lunar landscape will be illustrative about the geology of the area. We head on the Zelve Open Air Museum, famous with rock dwellings next to Paşabağ where there are great examples of hermitages hollowed out from the volcanic rocks. After lunch in a local restaurant in Avanos where we will explore the pottery art still made with traditional techniques since Hittite Period, 2. millenium B.C. Highlight of the tour is the famous Open-Air Museum of Göreme, the rock-cut churches are decorated with beautiful wall paintings. There are well surviving icons of scenes from the Bible, dated to 9.to13.centuries. Tour ends with the picturesque stops in Uchisar and Pigeon Valley.
DAY 5 Cappadocia. (Optional Hot Air Balloning) Today we explore the less known part of Cappadocia; Soğanlı valley. On the way to Soğanlı we visit the town Mustafapaşa
known as Sinasos before the population exchange between Turkey and Greece at 1924. You will feel like in the past when wondering in the streets of the town. The scenery of Soğanlı is a combination of traditional village life and old Christian monasteries. The wall paintings in Soganlı Churches are unique in the area. Lunch in a restored old house. Afternoon program is Kaymaklı underground city. The amazing underground city was made by carving into solid rock into the ground. It consists of 5 levels. The deepest level is 30 meters under the ground. It is one of the wonders of Cappadocia and largest in the other forty of them.
DAY 6 Cappadocia- Konya In the morning drive to Ihlara for a short walk at the bottom af the valley. The path beside the Melendiz River will give you the opportunity to see churches and wall paintings in the local style. Hike finishes in old village Belisırma. Selime monastery is one of the most beautiful corners of Cappadocia. On the way to Konya we will stop for a visit to Sultanhanı Caravanserai. It was an overnight stop for merchants and camels on the silk road via Anatolia. Konya; capital of Anatolian Seljuks once upon a time is now famous with Mevlana Museum (Whirling Dervishes). Mevlana who was a great theologist and the founder of suffism lived in 13. century and well-known with tolerant doctrine.
DAY 7 Konya – Antalya We head on to Mediterranean region after a long drive. On the way through the Taurus Mountains we visit the Tinaztepe caves. The nicely illuminated cave system is an amazing example of nature’s silent beauty. Then we drive to Aspendos which is the most standing theater in the Mediterranean world. After seeing the glorious aqueduct of the site, we get to our hotel in Antalya part of old city district near ancient harbor.
DAY 8 Discover ruins of Termossos on the summit of Güllük mountain (Solymeus). Termesssos, quite unique site with its settlement on slope of mountains , panaromic view ,never occupied even by Alexandar the Great, the site of Necropolis is one of the most amazing parts of the city. National park surrounding the city is pleasant. In the afternoon, free time to admire the old city district of Antalya or optional visit to the Antalya Archeology Museum.
DAY 9 Kekova – Kas We head on to west part of Antalya for our tour. We get to Kekova region to get on board. Full day on boat for relaxing with a touch to history. Kekova is famous with the sunken city which sank in an earthquake in 2.century A.D. Many breaks, in turquoise color hidden bays for swimming. Barbeque lunch on boat with special appetizers. We are on land shortly for climbing the crusader castle in Simena village located at the tip of a peninsula and reached just by water. The Castle which was built on the remains of a big necropolis with sarcophagus and rock-cut tombs, has a standing view over all region. Overnight in the lovely Mediterranean town with the lively streets, restaurants and bars.
DAY 10 Kas-Pamukkale Saklıkent Canyon is a nice chill-out point. We walk in the cool water with high deep walls surrounding and keeping the sun shine out. We head on to Pamukkale travertines and ancient site Hierapolis. Site was an important settlement by the hot springs in the Roman period. The cotton looking travertines are formed by the hot calciumed water for thousand of years and one of the wonders of nature in Anatolia. Pool which is known as Cleopatra pool with hot springs has ancient remains in it and unique in the world. Overnight is in spa hotel with different facilities for relaxing!
DAY 11 Pamukkale-Sirince Along the high plateu passing tobacco fields and flat plains, imposing site Aphrodisias will welcome us. The ancient city of Aphrodisias is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Greek and Roman periods in Turkey. Aphrodisias lies in the Maeander River basin, in a fertile valley 100 miles southeast of the port of Izmir. Famous for its sanctuary of Aphrodite, the city’s patron goddess, Aphrodisias enjoyed a long and prosperous existence from the first century B.C. through the sixth century A.D. The ancient stadium of Aphrodisias is the largest and most standing one in Anatolia from the Romans. After lunch we head on to Selçuk and visit St John Basilica, Isa Bey Mosque and Temple of Artemis which was one of the seven wonders of ancient world. Overnight in a Rum (Anatolian Christians) village, Şirince. Village is also famous for home-made wines.
DAY 12 Ephesus-Istanbul Ephesus is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the world. In ancient times, its convenient location at the mouth of the Cayster River made it the foremost commercial city of a coastal region, but the silting up of its harbor gradually resulted in the loss of this importance. Ancient site is being excavated for more than one hundred years. Some of the stunning ruins are Temple of Hadrian, Celsus Library, Terrace Houses, Theater. After Ephesus we visit an important Christian site, the house of Mother Mary. It is known with certainty that Virgin Mary has been to Ephesus and lived there for some time. Whether or not she died in Ephesus is not certain. The house which is 10 km away from Ephesus is visited by millions of Christians as a sacred place today. After we complete the tour we are transferred to Izmir Airport and fly to Istanbul. Private transfer to Hotel.
DAY 13 Istanbul Last day starts with Hagia Sophia, glory of the Byzantine Empire, built in the 6th century and houses magnificent gold-leafed mosaics. The Church was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in the 15th century and than into a museum after the Republic. After walk around the streets of Istanbul get to Grand Bazaar the biggest covered bazaar in the world. Spice Bazaar to smell and buy hundreds of lively coloured spices; you can also explore small street markets around it. Then take a ferry to start your cruise on the Bosphorus Strait, while sailing along the European and Asian shores enjoy viewing Ottoman Palaces, Fortresses, Ottoman wooden houses, Suspension bridges, and fishermen. After this lovely cruise get to Sariyer district on the edge of Black Sea.
DAY 14 Leave Turkey.