DAY 1: IZMIR > PERGAMUM > IZMIR
Upon arrival in Izmir, you will depart for for Bergama, 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 the ancient ages, before it was destroyed.
Pergamum is also the original home for the 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 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 return to Izmir for a seafood dinner and overnight stay at your hotel.
DAY 2: IZMIR > EPHESUS > IZMIR
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 HadrianTemple, 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 return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 3: IZMIR > APHRODISIAS > PAMUKKALE
"White" will be the dominating color of the fourth day of your journey; as you will visit the famous "cotton castle" and witness the amazing level of mastery the skilled sculptors of Aphrodisias have demonstrated while creating marble statues.
Pamukkale "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" You will visit the Cotton Castle, the ancient Hierapolis, the Necropolis, the Roman Baths and the Theatre.
After an optional lunch, you will drive to another land of dreams; this time to Aphrodisias. The city was especially well known with the temple dedicated to its protecting Goddess Aphrodite and its sculptors.
Your tour of the ancient city will include the Theater, the Basilica, the Roman Baths; and the biggest stadium of the ancient time. Aphrodisias museum with its magnificent marble statues will be visited as well.
You will then be transferred to the hotel in Pamukkale for dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 4: PAMUKKALE > ANTALYA
Following breakfast at the hotel; you will depart for Antalya. A northern shore to the Mediterranean sea, Antalya has been settled since pre-historic times; with evidence of human habitation dating back to the early Paleolithic age. It has been an important city to all the dominant civilizations of Anatolia, and it holds today an amazing legacy of incredible historic treasures. Antalya has more the offer, with its beautiful beaches and waterfalls.
Recently, the city has shown major progress towards becoming a fresh and hot golfing spot; as many top-level courses have been settled. Upon arrival in Antalya and check in to your hotel, you will have free time at your leisure.
DAY 5: ANTALYA, ASPENDOS, KURSUNLU
Breakfast will be served at the hotel, before your full day tour. The first visit will be to the ancient city Aspendos. The city's history goes back to 1000 BC, and many historians link it the Greek sailors of the Argos. Though that it has later been a part of the Roman Empire, Aspendos always kept its Hellenistic heritage which can be seen in the design of the city's theater. With a capacity of 7.000 people, the theater is so well preserved that it is being used even today on a regular basis.
Afterwards you will visit the beautiful Kursunlu waterfalls; before returning to the hotel in Antalya for dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 6: ANTALYA > 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 philanthropist, Islamic philosopher, mystic and the founder of the Whirling Dervishes' order who lived in Konya, the Anatolian capital of the Great Selcuk Empire, during the 13th century. His poems, teaching love among mankind and good manners, have been widely translated into many of the world's languages and transposed into various formats; 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 (with an opportunity to see practicing Dervishes); as well as the 13th century theological schools of Karatay and Ince Minare.
You will have lunch in Konya.
We are sure that the drive to the 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:
Come, as who you are
You may have repented for a thousand times; and have broken you vow again and again,
Come, however, as who you are,
For this is not the door of despair.
DAY 7: CAPPADOCIA
After your breakfast at the hotel you will start discovering Cappadocia. 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 first visit the town of Urgup, built at the foot of a sloping plateau.
You will then visit the Goreme valley. Turks have a legend that explains the etymology of the name as: "Gör, Emi (see it for sure)". This is not without a reason, for this is the most important site of the region. 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.
DAY 8: CAPPADOCIA > ANKARA
Breakfast will be served at the hotel; and then you will leave Cappadocia for Ankara, the capital of modern Turkey, situated at the heart of the extensive Anatolian plateau. 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 dinner and spend the night in Ankara.
DAY 9: ANKARA > ISTANBUL
Breakfast will be served at the hotel; and then you will leave Ankara for Istanbul. You will enter Istanbul from the Asian part of the city, and the first stop will be at Çamlica Hill, overlooking the Bosphorus with a magnificent view. You will be transferred to your hotel, and have some rest; before the Majestic Istanbul welcomes your with a sea food dinner near the Bosphorus.
DAY 10: ISTANBUL
You will have breakfast at the hotel, before the full day tour starts.
You will visit;
The Hippodrome has been a center for sports and entertainment in the old Constantinople, the Roman capital; as well as 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 the 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 at the 17th century, due to a disease, to finish the mosque so that his name would live forever. It is called Blue Mosque by visitors who fell 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 over a 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.
The Topkapi Palace has been the Imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to the 19th century. Its design, initially devised by Sultan Mehmed himself and then enhanced by Sinan, hides clues of the rituals of the 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.
DAY 11: ISTANBUL
Following the breakfast, the day will start with a refreshing cruise on the Bosphorus. A poet once described the Bosphorus as "God's beautiful calligraphy written by an ink made of sapphires". This straight, separating (and connecting) to two continents that form the two faces of a city, takes its name from a mythological legend. Ever since those ancient times, it had marveled people with its beauty.
The cruise of the Bosphorus will start at Sariyer or Kabataş piers; and while cruising along the Asian and European shores, you will be surprised to see the harmony of Ottoman and modern architecture; as well as having an opportunity to see the major highlights of the city's fairy tale-like skyline from the sea.
Along the cruise, you will pass by;
The Rumeli Fortress; Built by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.
Ortaköy; A very famous area for handicrafts and nightlife.
Bebek; It was a popular wealthy residential district under the Ottoman rule, and continues to be so today.
Beşiktaş; Commercial district of the new city.
Dolmabahçe; Magnificent 19th century palace, which had been the home to the Ottoman Sultans in the last century of the Empire.
Çıragan Palace; This magnificient marble palace, built by Sultan Abdulaziz, was designed and constructed by Balyan family between 1863 and 1867. Today, it serves as luxury suites for the five star Kempinski hotel.
Kızkulesi (Maiden's Tower); An ancient lighthouse, which had inspired many legends.
Yalı / Wooden Wealthy Houses: Wealthy houses constructed at immediate waterside in Istanbul and usually built with an architectural concept that takes into account the characteristics of the coastal location, mostly dating from 19th century.
Beylerbeyi Palace; One of the largest, lavishly furnished 19th century summer residences of the Ottoman Sultans.
After the cruise, you will visit 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 traded diamonds, carpets, food, perfumes, and, even gossip for centuries!
On this last night in Turkey, there will be a farewell dinner; a perfect opportunity to talk about the lovely days in Turkey.
DAY 12: ISTANBUL
After the breakfast at the hotel transfer to the airport for the flight back home. Make sure to have drunk a glass of water; as there is an old saying: "He who drinks from Istanbul, will keep coming back to this city of marvels!"
Prices do not include 18 % V.A.T.
|Number of Guests||Prices per person|
|10 up||3,420 €|
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