Arrive at Istanbul airport, our driver meets you at the exit gate, with a board on which your name is written and transfers you to your hotel. Rest of the day on your own. Overnight in Istanbul.
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. Our first stop will be the Dolmabahce Palace. Streching expansively along the European shore of the Bosphours, this ornate Baroque masterpiece, built in 1854 was the home of the late Ottoman Sultans. No expense was spared in decorating its interior, which boasts no less than fourteen tons of gold. The palace houses rich collections of Bohemian crystal and 19th and 20th century Turkish painting and sculpture. Rustem Pasha is not the largest or the best known mosque in Istanbul, but this often over looked treasure is certainly the most exquisitely decoreted. Every inch of the interior is covered with briliantly colored Iznik tiles. Close by is the 17th century Spice Bazaar, where you can find a vast diversity of spices, sacks of henna, many varieties of oil sand herbs, and of course the world’s very best Turkish Delight. We next visit Hagia Sofia which was built by the Emperor Justinianan dinaugurated in 537 AD. Forover nine centuries it was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it remains the world’s 4th largest church. Hagia Sofia contains some of the finest mosaics to have survived from the Byzantine period, including a truly remarkable mosaics of the Virgin and Child. We finish our day with visit to the Archaeological Museum, built at theend of the 19th century by Osman Hamdi, Turkey’s first modern archaeologist and the discoverer of the Alexander Sarcophagus, one of the highlights of themuseum, as well as a notedpainter in his ownright. The variety and quality of the objects on display make this among the most outstanding institutions of its kind, with fine Greek and Roman sculpture, Mesopotamian jewelry and an important collection of Hittite artifacts. Overnight in Istanbul.
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We visit the Topkapi Palace Museum, lavish home to the Ottoman Sultans. For centuries, this was the place from which the sultans rule dover an empire that streched from Western Iran to the Atlantic Ocean. Arranged around a series of spacious court yards, it contains a priceles scollection of jewelry , porcelain and costumes. Legend claims that the ancient rod on display in the Pavilion of Holy Relics is the one used by Moses top art the Red Sea. Its Pavilion sand fountains evoke a sacluded, hedonistic World. At one end of a large park stands the Blue Mosque, socalled because of its exquisite tile decoration. Its courtyard is exceptionally beautiful, and it is only mosque in Istanbul to have six minarets. Next we move on to the Hippodrome, which was the scene of chariot races and great public occasions through out the immensely long history of the Byzantine Empire. The afternoon starts at the Church of St. Chora, which has immaculately preserved early 13th century mosaics and frescoes that are among the supreme masterpieces of Medival art, with the Harrowing of Hellbeinge specially note worthy. We proceed to the Suleymaniye Mosque. Designed by Sinan for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, this is the grandest and largest mosque in Istanbul. Its great dome and soaring minarets dominate the skyline of the Old City. Overnight in Istanbul.
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. West art the day a visit to the Sadberk Hanim Museum situated in the picturesque and historic Azaryan Yali, now a museum, where the collection includes prehistoric artifacts as well as Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Byzantineand Roman pieces, along Seljuk and Ottoman tiles and remarkable collection of Ottoman textiles. Our next stop is the Sakip Sabanci Museum, where we view its rich collections of calligraphy, antiques and Anatolian art andrelics, all in thebeautifully appointed rooms of a privateresidence. Themuseum’scalligraphyandilluminatedmanuscriptcollection is among the finest in the World, and a portion of the collection was displayed at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in an exhibition entitled “Letters in Gold”. In the afternoon, we visit the Turkish Islamic Arts Museum, which contains a priceless collection of Ottoman calligraphy in gold, intricate miniatures, ceramics, and magnificent carpets, some dating back to the 13th century. What makes the museum unique is the fact that it is housed in theformer palace of IbrahimPasha, one of Suleyman the Magnificent’s grand viziers. After this we move on to Istanbul’s World-renowned Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar was built between 1455-1461. There are thousands of shops that offer hand-woven carpets, kilims, hand-made gold items and silver jewelery, burnished beaten copper, inlaid wood, hand painted ceramics, leather goods, illuminate dmanuscripts, inlaidebony, and jewelry boxes and Greek and Roman artifacts. Learn about Ottoman textiles and caftans, handmade and unique archeolagical jewelry, Ottoman and Central Asian carpets, and World famous Iznik and Kutahya tiles and ceramics from one of Turkey’s leading collector sand dealers. Overnight in Istanbul.
Our driver and guide meets you at the hotel and transfers you to Istanbul Airport for the flight to Ankara. Arrive at Ankara airport, our driver meets you at the exit gate, with a board on which your name is written and we start full day tour. Ankara is Turkey’s capital in 1923, Ankara is by no means a new city, indeed it is considerably older than Istanbul, having been founded by the Hittites, circa 1200 B.C. It was soon taken over by the Phrygians whose vast necropolis come to light in 1925. It prospered under the Romansx and a number of monuments have survived from this era, including a Temple of Augustus and a Column of Julian. It is therefore appropriate that the city should be home to The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, where we will spend the morning. The museum has a priceless collection stretching from prehistoric times to the classical period. It is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest museums, and is housed in a restored Ottoman Han. The diffrent cultures of Anatolia are presented in chronological order. Here you will find outstanding examples of the art of the Hatti, Hittites, Phrygians and Urartians. Visit the Mousoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to gain a better understanding of Modern Turkey. There will also be time to visit Ankara’s delightfully picturesque old quarter, which is surrounded by massive Byzantine ramparts of the early 9th century. Just outside these walls stands the Aslanhane Mosque. Constructed in the second half of the 13th century, this is a rare example of the Seljuk, wooden hall-mosque. Its elaborately carved ceiling is supported by a forest of 24 elegant, wooden pillars. Overnight in Ankara.
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour.We drive South-East to the land of wonders that is Cappadocia. In the Neolithic period Cappadocia was caught between two active volcanoes, Mount hasan and Erciyes, which buried under a thick layer of ash. This formed the soft malleable stone known as tufa, and over the centuries erosion and human effort combined to create the fantastic landscape we see today, with its many thousands of varicolored pinnacles and surreal rock formations hollowed out with hundreds of dwellings and churches.The Byzantines carved hundreds of churches into the rock of Cappadocia, and sheltered themselves from the armies of the Abbasid Caliphate in emormous refuges descending hundreds of feet into the earth. Many of the churches are lavishly decorated with frescoes dating mostly from the 9th to 11th centuries. We continue to Uchisar, an extraordinary rock formation towering above the landscape and visible for miles around. The rock, which is riddled with Windows and tunnels, was ones used as a fortress and affords magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and majestic Mount Erciyes in the distance. Next we will meet a local nomad family in their home, which will enable us to experience at first hand something of the region’s traditional way of life and wonderful hospitality. The day ends at the magical Valley of Dervent, with its extraordinary rock formations resembling a menagerie of fantastic animals. Overnight in Cappadocia
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We will start with the magical valley of Goreme,which is now an open-air museum. We will see hundreds of rockpinnacles, known as fairy chimney sand Byzantine Churches. GoremeValley was home to hundreds of monks who lived in cells carved from the rock. Several of the churches in Goreme have well preserved frescoes, for example the Karanlik Kilise (thedarkchurch), the Elmali Kilise(1190-1200) and the Church of St. Eustace(970-1148). Finest of alla re supremely elegant frescoes in the Tokali Kilise, which were painted in the 10th century by a certain Nikephoros, who probably come from Constantinople. . We move on to the Uchisar, an extraordinary rock formation towering above the landscape and visible formiles around. This rock, riddled with chamber sand tunnels, was once used as a fortres sand offers a magnificent panaromic view of Cappadocia and over 13,000 footpeek of Mt. Erciyes in the distance. From Uchisar we will drive to Dove cote Valley (Guvercinlik Vadisi), so called because of thehundred of dovecoatsper for ating the rock faces. The birds droppings provided valuable fertilizer fort he neighboring farmers. We will also explore the regian’s traditional handicrafts, carpet-weaving and pottery making in Avanos.Next we will visit the church of John The Baptist at Cavusin which is the oldest surviving church in Cappadocia. Beyond Cavusin lies the Zelve Valley, where there are monasteries and convents carved from the rock. Nearby Pasabag, also known as Monk’sValley, has amazing examples of hermitages hollowed out of volcanic rock formations. Overnight in Cappadocia
Optional Activity: At five in the morning, smoke is beginning to rise from the village chimneys below you. The barking of dogs, startled by the balloon, attracts sleepy villagers outside to wave enthusiastically. The weird twisted landscape of corroded rock to which you have partially become accustomed from the ground level, becomes even more unearthly when viewed from several hundred feet above. A 90-minute hot air balloon flight culminating in a champagne breakfast on landing. In two words? Breathtaking and Unforgettable!
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We departure to the Underground City of Kaymakli. Signs of an early troglodytic lifestyle are evident in communal kitchens blackened by smoke, stables, churches, wine presses, and storage spaces carved into the rock as the need arose. Carved into a White cliff-face just above these restaurants is the Direkli Kilise (the Church with Pillars), which is of impressive size and has some of the finest frescoes in Cappadocia. Continue to Konya, stopping off at the magnificent, early 13th century Sultanhan Seljuk Caravanserai. Overnight in Konya
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, one of the most enlightened and tolerant states of the entire medival period. It was also home to the great Sufi mystic and poet Rumi, who founded the Mevlevi Order of Whirling Dervishes. We will visit the Museum and Tomb of Rumi and Karatay Medrese, which is one of the supreme achivements of Islamic Art. Its dome is completely covered with an amazingly intricate faience mosaic. Here you can also see highly unusual, figurative tiles from the Seljuk summer palace of Kubadabad. After this we will see Ebru (Marbling) art show. Marbling (Ebru) is the art of creating colorful patterns by sprinkling and brushing color pigments on a pan of oily water and then transforming this pattern to paper. The special tools of the trade are brushes of horsehair bound to straight rose twigs, a deep tray made of unknotted pinewood, natural earth pigments, cattle gall and tragacanth. It is believed to be invented in the thirteenth century Turkistan. This decorative art then spread to China, India and Persia and Anatolia. Overnight in Konya
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We drive to Pamukkale stroll over the calcareous terraces and giving an en route visit to Aphrodisias, Hierapolis, meaning “Sacred City,” was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center in the first century. According to tradition, the Apostle Philip lived and was martyred in Hierapolis. It was the likely the hot springs of Hierapolis in contrast to the cold mountain springs near Colossae that combined to bring application to the “luke warm” Laodiceans. This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians. Colossae is well-known throughout Christian circles as the receiver of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Today, the town has fallen into obscurity and nothing remains. Laodicea contains many acres of ruins to visit including a stadium and remnants of a sophisticated water system. Overnight in Pamukkale
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We move on to the fashionable resort town of Bodrum. Bodrum stands on the site of ancient Halicarnassos, capital of the Carian Kingdom whose most famous king. Mausolus, was buried here in a spectacular tomb known as the Mousoleum, which was also numbered among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Sadly, very little of ithas survived. One of Bodrum’s greatest attractions today is its enchanting old quarter of narrow lanes lined with whitewashed houses draped in purple bougainvillea. Overnight in Bodrum
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We depart fort he ancient cities of Didyma, Miletus and Priene. In ancient times, Didyma was linked to Miletus by a sacred way. Like Claros, this was a sacred dedicated to Apollo and the seat of an oracle, but it dwarfs Claros. With a double-colonnade of over 150 columns, the temple can only be described as stupendous. Its design was so over-ambitious that work continued in it for 500 years without ever being completed. Miletus is a much larger and more important city and for many centuries was an extraordinary center of intellectual ferment. Beginning in the late 7th century BC, the city produced a succession of distinguished figures, including the philosophers Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, who are generally credited with the invention of true, scientific inquiry, and the architect and town-planner Hippodamus, who if he did not actually invent the grid-plan, gave it a new sophistication and popularity. The destruction of Miletus in 479 BC by the Persians presented him with a golden opportunity, enabling him to redesign the city according to rational principles. Although Miletus has suffered many vicissitudes since (including the silting up of its harbor), the broad outlines of his plan, which was centered on three spacious agoras, are still visible. Other notable Milesians are the geographer Hecataeus, the enterprising and highly intelligent courtesan Aspasia, who became the mistress of Pericles and the friend of Socrates, and the architect Isodoros who, along with Anthemius of Tralles, designed Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia. Fort he non-specialist, the site’s most striking features are the Roman theatre, the vast Baths of Faustina and the exquisite early 15th century Mosque of Ilyas Bey. Hermogenes, the architect of the temple of Artemis Leukophryene (Artemision) at Magnesia and noted aeshetic thinker whose work centered on the issue of rationally based architectural proportions, was a native of Priene, which is our next point of call. This is perhaps the most enchanting of the Ionian sites and has a fine location situated on the slopes of Mount Mycale. It is not an especially large site, but that only adds to its charm. Virtually everything you will see at priene dates from the Hellenistic period, since the Romans largely ignored the city. It is thus a perfect example of a Hellenistic city with a Hippodamian grid plan. Overnight in Kusadasi
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We first drive to the Virgin Mary’s House; after that we visit to the Church of St. John for a tour and a scenic overview of the surrounding area. From here our guide will point out the location of the ancient harbor of Ephesus and describe the silting process that led to the demise of this important Roman city. Of special interest is the tomb of John and the baptismal where new believers were immersed. We will also be able to view the site of the ancient wonder – the Temple of Artimus and the nearby Mosque of Jesus (Jesus is a respected prophet to Muslims). This afternoon we’ll view a wealth of artifacts awaiting us at the Museum of Ephesus and visit the archeological site of Biblical Ephesus, which hosts a large restoration effort and miles of ancient treasures. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city where we view the Library, Agora, theatre, colorful mosaics, a panoramic view of the surrounding ancient port area including a wealth of church history and cultural insight. Overnight in Kusadasi
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. We will have a day trip to Pergamum. A step back in ancient times today with a visit to hiltop ruins of Pergamum which once boasted library of the ancient World which once held 200,000 scrolls. The Asclepion and Acropolis of Pergamum are world famous. Pergamum is where parchment was first invented. It boasted the contents of a fabulous library, given by Anthony to Cleopatra and later lost in a fire at Alexandria. The Temple of Zeus was another ancient marvel although much of it is now in a specially constructed museum in Berlin. The Asclepion was the center of healing an done of its great doctors was Gelen(120-190AD). We will also explore one of the famous colorful weekly food markets of Bergama, the modern name of Pergamum. Overnight in Bergama
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour. The tour beginning with modern city of Canakkale ,visit the museum ,cannon and clock tower.After that drive to Troy Ancient City,For most of the last 3000 years, people assumed that Homer’s Iliad was fiction, and that Troy never existed.From seeing Troy’s ancient walls, climbing around the ruins, and gazing across the Troad (the plains of Troy) towards the waters of the Dardanelles and the hills of Gallipoli beyond.Troy is impressive for its great age (the oldest ruins date from 3000 BC) and beautiful situation. The hokey wooden horse is just for fun ( especially for kids) . The Movie, with Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger, was released in May 2004. After the lunch drive to Assos Ancient cityAssos was an ancient harbor city which was also famed due to the stay of the philosopher Aristotle for three years as the head of a philosophy school. The Stoic philosopher Cleanthes was from Assos too. Lesbos Island in the Aegean Sea can be seen from here on clear days. Though it is not visited by many foreigners Assos is well known and has many of its archeological finds exhibited in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Archeology in Istanbul. With its natural appearance and exotic atmosphere rather than its historical background, Assos has recently become very popular among Turkish people. Overnight in Canakkale.
Our driver and guide will pick you up at 09:00from your hotel. We will inbound ferry from Canakkale and cross to Eceabat then drive to İstanbul. Free day. Overnight in Istanbul
Our driver will pick you up from your hotel to Istanbul International Airport connecting with your home bound flight.
– Istanbul/Ankara flight tickets (Turkish Airlines)
– 60 minute hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia (Optional)
– 16 night’ accommodation including breakfast at the mentioned hotels (standard rooms)
– Air conditioned luxury minivan with driver on tours and transfers
– Professional guiding on tours
– Lunches on tours
– All admission fees to the museums and sights
– International flight tickets
– Drinks during the lunches
– Not mandatory but customary tips