TOUR 54: Pearls of Anatolia
8 DAY TOUR

DAY 1: ISTANBUL

Your guide will meet you and, as is customary, will present you with a welcome gift. You will then start your Istanbul city tour. You will visit;

The Hippodrome

The Hippodrome has been a center for sports and entertainment in the old Constantinople, the Roman capital; as well as a very important political center for politics, as sports and politics were closely knit during these times.

No wonder that the Hippodrome has been a starting point for revolts and political movements throughout history. Echoes of cries by slaves riding chariots in ferocious races; and the passionate words of intellectuals and poets that lit the flame of public movements are still reminiscent, to those with a powerful imagination.

Sultan Ahmet Camii / The Blue Mosque

It was the dying wish of Sultan Ahmet, who perished at a young age in the 17th century, due to a disease, to finish the mosque so that his name would live forever. It is called the Blue Mosque by visitors who felt in the awe of the delicate designs of Ottoman tiles that decorate the walls of the shrine. The floral patterns of the tiles, as well as the well-lighted, capacious internal spaces are a testimonial of the eternity of the soul.

A group photo will be taken in front of the Blue Mosque and given as a present of the sweet memories of Turkey.

Next visits will be;

Ayasofya / The Haghia Sophia

The "Shrine of Holy Wisdom", the marvellous Byzantine basilica built in the 6th century marks the true beginning of the golden age of Justinianus, the conqueror of Africa and Italy, who achieved lasting fame through the complete revision of all Roman law, resulting in what is known today as the Corpus Juris Civilis.

The domed construction of the sanctuary is an architectural innovation; and was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian proclaimed, "Solomon, I have outdone thee!". Mankind would have to wait for millennia before being able to built a cathedral that would surpass the gigantic size of Haghia Sophia.

It was converted to a Mosque following the Ottoman conquest of the city, by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453; as the young Sultan fulfilled a divine premonition by the Holy Prophet Mohammad himself.

In 1935 the building was converted to a museum, by the executive order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace has been the Imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to the 19th century. Its design hides clues of both the rituals and structure of Ottoman hierarchy and the running of state affairs.

Home to the imperial treasury and the cabinet, as well as being the site of the barracks for the Janissaries, the elite of the army, every corner of the palace tells about the splendor of the Ottomans. Apart from the priceless treasury, a distinguished collection of Chinese porcelains, holy relics, sultan's costumes and imperial weaponry are exhibited in different sections of the palace.

Lunch will be served at a restaurant in the old town.

Grand Bazaar

Last visit will be to the Grand Covered Bazaar of Istanbul, which is not simply a complex of buildings but a real city covered by hemispheric domes with its streets. This is the largest and the most attractive covered bazaar in the world; where people have been trading diamonds, carpets, food, perfumes, and, even gossip for centuries!

You will then check in to your hotel and have a rest. Your first dinner in Turkey will be at a typical Istanbul restaurant.

DAY 2: ISTANBUL > GALLIPOLI > TROY > ASSOS

The second day will be a journey to the land of gallantry, as you will travel to Homer's Troy. Troy has been a true land of battle and gallantry; where the heroes and mythological figures fought each other. The site of the Trojan War, which was described in Homer Iliad and which has been an inspiration for some of the greatest motion pictures in our day waits for your discovery.

Your tour will start with an early morning departure from the hotel at 06:00 am. You will drive along the European shore of the Marmara Sea. You will also travel by the shores of the Dardanelles, as you will pass by Gallipoli, and other land of gallantry where the famous "Gentlemen's War" was fought between the Ottoman and Anzac troops during the WW1.

As you cross the Dardanelles by ferry, and drive the last 25 minutes to the site of Troy; you will become a part of Homer's legends; seeing the symbolic Trojan horse, the city walls, The Athena Temple and the Odeon.

Your journey will then take you to Assos the ancient Greek city of philosophers and scholar. You will be transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 3: PERGAMUM > IZMIR > KUSADASI

You will have another early breakfast, before leaving early towards Kuşadasi via Izmir, the 3rd largest city in Turkey.

On this trip, you will follow the route taken by those who have escaped the fall of Troy, fleeing from the wrath of Agamemnon, and stop for lunch at Bergama, or Pergamum, the birth place of parchments. It is believed that the word parchment is a derivative of Pergamum as, according to Pliny the parchment was invented under the patronage of Eumenes of Pergamum, as a substitute for papyrus.

Once, Pergamum hosted one of the biggest libraries of ancient ages, before it was destroyed. Pergamum is also the original home for the Great Altar of Pergamon, on display in the Pergamon museum in Berlin, Germany. Still in its original site, is the base of the altar, believed to have been dedicated to Zeus, and believed to be the "Satan's Throne" referred by John of Patmos in his Book of Revelation.

You will again walk through the ages at this site; visiting the Acropolis and the Asklepion, the Pre-Roman temple that was was consecrated in honor of Asclepius, god of medicine; and which indeed has been an inspiration, as well as a prototype for the modern healthcare center of our day.

You will then be transferred to the coastal town of Kuşadasi for dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 4: KUSADASI > EPHESUS > PAMUKKALE

Feel free to spoil yourself with a little extra sleep this morning (as long as you don't overdo it!); as this morning's drive will be a relatively short one.

You will visit the ancient city of Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia Minor. Your tour will include the Odeon, the Marble Street, the Hadrian Temple, the Celcius Library and the Great Theatre.

You may opt for lunch in a local restaurant, before paying a pilgrimage visit to the House of Virgin Mary. This Christian and Muslim shrine is located in the vicinity of Ephesus; and it is believed by many that Virgin Mary, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there.

After the tour of Ephesus, you will be driven to Pamukkale town, where white will be the color of order for the afternoon. Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site that is created by hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water.

The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white "castle" which is nearly 9 thousand feet long and more than 500 feet wide. This amazing sight can be seen even from 15 miles away in a clear day.

You will visit the Cotton Castle itself, the ancient Hierapolis, the Necropolis, the Roman Baths and the Theatre. You will have dinner and spend the night at your hotel in in Pamukkale.

DAY 5: PAMUKKALE > KONYA > CAPPADOCIA

You will have an early morning breakfast, as the day's trip will take you to Cappadocia, via Konya.

This will be very special day, as you will visit Konya, home town of Jellaleddin Al Rumi, the great philosopher, mystic and the founder of the Whirling Dervishes' order who lived in Konya. His poems, teaching love among mankind and good manners, have been widely translated into many of the world's languages. He has been described as the "most popular poet in America" in 2007.

The visit to Konya will not only be an unforgettable trip to where this mystic lived, loved, preached and died; but it will also be a journey to the depths of your soul. You will visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana; as well as the 13th century theological schools of Karatay and Ince Minare.

You will have lunch at Konya.

We are sure that the drive to Cappadocia region, for dinner and overnight stay, will be an adequate time for you to take a journey inwards, perhaps reciting the words of Mevlana:

Lover's nationality is separate from all other religions,

The lover's religion and nationality is the Beloved (God).

The lover's cause is separate from all other causes

Love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries.

DAY 6: CAPPADOCIA

After your breakfast at the hotel you will start your discovery of Cappadocia. You will first visit the town of Urgup, built at the foot of sloping plateau.

Cappadocia was an object of desire to men, even before it was mentioned in the Holy Bible. Once the capital of the powerful Hittite empire, later a refuge for early Christians; it is a land of magic, a region of exceptional natural wonders (in particular characterized by fairy chimneys) and a unique historical and cultural heritage. Prepare yourself to travel back in time, and prepare your mind to wander between the images of ancient people and the breath taking beauty of the landscape.

You will then visit the Goreme valley. The valley is home to rock churches and monasteries, going back as far as the 2nd century AD, which are richly decorated with colorful frescoes.You will then visit the Zelve valley. The village was built in the erosion furrows and into the rock-face, carving the tufa rock and sometimes exploiting large openings eroded by water.

After the lunch, you will visit the underground city of Kaymakli; the complex comprises several floors, sometimes connected by steep air shafts terminating in cisterns. The following visit, to the town of Avanos will be a trip to the the Bronze age. Avanos is famous for its terracotas. Typical vases and tiles are crafted by the regional potters, following the techniques devised by the Hittites, circa 2000 BC!

You will then visit Ortahisar, which is distinguished by a series of buildings which are picturesque in their simplicity; before returning to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay. (Optional tours to a simple wine house or to a local folkloric performance after dinner are available).

DAY 7: CAPPADOCIA > ANKARA> ISTANBUL

Breakfast will be served at the hotel; and then you will leave Cappadocia for Istanbul, via Ankara, the capital of modern Turkey. During the trip you will see the Salt Lake, a vast ocean of white.

Your half day tour in Ankara will include the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Mausoleum of Atatürk, the founder and the first president of Turkish Republic.

You will have lunch in Ankara and drive to Istanbul.

Upon arrival to Istanbul, you will check in to your hotel and have a rest. You will have a farewell dinner; in one of Istanbul's famous seafood restaurants with the magnificent view of the Bosphorus; and the return to your hotel for an overnight stay.

DAY 8: ISTANBUL

After breakfast and the check-out processes, you will have free time until transfer to the airport for the flight back home.

PRICES

Prices do not include 18 % V.A.T.

Number of Guests Prices per person
1 6,200 €
2 4,390 €
3 3,745 €
4 3,370 €
5 3,210 €
6 2,970 €
7 2,780 €
8 2,675 €
9 2,595 €
10 up 2,515 €

INCLUDES

  • • Transportation by air conditioned vehicles.
  • • Fully escorted by an English speaking tour guide.
  • • Admission fees.
  • • H/B Accomodation
  • EXCLUDES

  • • Drinks and all personal expenses.
  • TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • • Rates for tours out of Istanbul that has overnight stay include half board accommodations in a 4 star hotel. Rates are per person with double occupancy. Upgrades are available upon request for an additional fee.
  • • Cancellation policy for tour out of Istanbul can be done up to 48 hours before the tour to avoid any penalties, otherwise full tour rate will be charged.
  • • Children 11 and younger receive 50% discount.
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