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SULTAN AHMET MOSQUE – THE BLUE MOSQUE

INTERIOR OF THE EXQUISITE RUSTEM PASHA MOSQUE, ISTANBUL

ISTANBUL’S INTRIGUING SPICE MARKET

Church of St. Savior in Chora Istanbul

DOLMABACHE PALACE, THE LAST OTTOMAN PALACE BUILT IN 1854

PRIENE, ANCIENT CITY OF ATHENA

MILETOS, WITH ITS HUGE HELLENISTIC THEATER THAT SEATED 15,000 PEOPLE

APHRODISIAS CITY OF THE GODDESS OF LOVE

THE LIBRARY OF CELSUS AT EPHEUSUS

Pamukkale Pools

Detail of Marble Carving in Phaselis

Antayla Museum - Marble Bust of Apollo

Aspendos Theater

KONYA, HOME OF THE MEVLANA MUSEUM WITH ITS TOMB OF THE POET AND MYSTIC, RUMI

IHLAR CANYON, CAPPADOCIA

PASABAG, OR MONK’S VALLEY, IN CAPPADOCIA

11TH CENTURY FRESCO, APPLE CHURCH, CAPPADOCIA

Fresco in Dark Church in Cappadocia

THE TOWN OF UCHISAR IN CAPPADOCIA

 

 

 

Historical Exploration of Turkey

Travel in a very small group with a maximum of 10 passengers!

This small-group tour begins in Istanbul and visits Kusadasi and Pamukkale, as well as biblical Cappadocia and the ancient cities of Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Didyma, Hierapolis, Miletus, Priene, Perge and Aspendos.

This is a marvelous way to see the highlights of historical Turkey in two weeks.

SATURDAY DEPARTURE DATES FROM THE
UNITED STATES IN 2012:

MAY 5, MAY 12, MAY 19, MAY 26, JUNE 2
SEPTEMBER 1, SEPTEMBER 15 AND SEPTEMBER 29
All of Our Guides are Highly Trained, Licensed University Graduates

DAY 1: US DEPARTURE DATE

DAY 2:
Arrive in Istanbul, where you will be met at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport and transferred to your hotel in the heart of the historic district, Sultanahmet. Before dinner you will meet your guide and others on the trip for cocktails and a briefing of the trip. This will give you a chance to get to know your new traveling companions. Overnight at the Blue House. DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 3:
You will be met by your guide after breakfast for a tour of Ottoman Istanbul, which will include the monumental Blue Mosque which was completed in 1616. Your next stop will be the sumptuously rich Topkapi Palace, which houses a superb collection of ceramics, textiles and jewels, as well as its famous Harem replete with walls of exquisite tiles.

You will then stop on Divan Yolu, a road laid out by Constantine the Great in 300 AD, and once the Imperial Road to Rome. Here you will have lunch at a local restaurant.

Next you walk through the old streets down to the most attractive of Istanbul's smaller mosques, the gem of Rustem Pasa. The tiles, inside and out, are among the most profuse of any mosque in Turkey and mainly from the finest period of Iznik tile production. It was built by Sinan for Rustem Pasa, son-in-law and Grand Vizier of Suleyman the Magnificent.

After the mosque you will visit the Spice Market, where you will see the best of fresh herbs and spices, amazing spices, dried foods and a great variety of oils and nuts of every description. You end your tour with a visit to the Grand Bazaar.

Dinner will be at a restaurant serving you fine Turkish Specialties. Overnight at the Blue House. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 4:
Today you will explore, with your guide, the Byzantine Sites of Istanbul. You will walk to the Byzantine Hippodrome which is a great park surrounded by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern. Within the Hippodrome are the Walled Column, The Serpent Column and the Egyptian Obelisque, all from the Byzantine era. Next you will visit the greatest surviving example in the world of all Byzantine buildings, Hagia Sofia. The original was built on this site in the fourth century by Constantine the Great.

After lunch at a local restaurant, a short drive will take you to the Church of Holy Savior in Chora, considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. The original church on this site was built in the early 5th century, and stood outside of the 4th century walls of Constantine the Great. The interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes, considered among the finest in the world. Overnight at the Blue House. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 5:
On your last day in Istanbul, you will take a short drive to the shores of the Bosphorus to visit the Dolmabache Palace, built as a residence for the Sultans in 1854. The design contains elements from the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, blended with traditional Ottoman architecture. The largest palace in Turkey, it shows the increasing influence of European styles and standards on Ottoman culture while retaining elements of Ottoman palace life and traditional Turkish homes.

After visiting Dolmabache you will be taken on a trip up the Bosphorus, seeing from the boat, among many others, the beautiful Dolmabache and Cirigan Palaces. You will pass by the massive Rumeli Hisar, built by the very young 21-year-old Sultan Mehmet as a staging area for his siege of Constantinople which began in early April of 1453. The city was finally taken on May 29, 1453 and he became known as Mehmet the Conqueror.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the Istanbul Airport for the 5:00 pm flight to Izmir, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Kusadasi. Overnight at the La Vista Hotel. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 6:
You will have an early morning start after breakfast, first visiting the House of the Virgin Mary. Next you will have a comprehensive tour of Ephesus which is considered to be the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and the best place to understand what life was like in Roman times. This Ionian refuge became the second largest city in the Roman Empire, the site of a Christian shrine, and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Your guide will take you through the entire city, explaining its history as you stroll.

Along the way you will visit the Library of Celsus, one of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus. The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls and was the third richest library in ancient times after the Alexandra and Pergamum.

In the afternoon you will visit St. John's Basilica, believed to be the tomb of the Apostle John, the beloved disciple of Christ. The day will end with a visit to the Isa Bey Mosque. Overnight at the La Vista Hotel. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 7:
On today's tour you will first stop at the peaceful site of Priene, an ancient Hellenistic city, the home of an important temple of Athena, considered a classic example of pure Ionic style. Prienne's ruins still have several standing columns of the Temple of Athena, as well as much of the city wall and a well-preserved theater.

A short drive from Prienne takes you to Miletos, which was on the sea in ancient times. Its magnificent theater was built during the Hellenistic period and held 15,000 people, and it was the home of the wise philosopher-scientist Thales of Miletus.

Driving on, your last stop will be Didyma, an important sacred site in the ancient Greek world and its famous oracle who, it is said, predicted the victory of Alexander the Great at Gaugamela. Its Temple of Apollo brought large groups of pilgrims as it was second in importance only to Delphi. The name Didyma means twins and refers to the twins Apollo and Artemis.

Of the 122 original 60' tall Ionic columns that surrounded the temple, only three remain intact. With the advent of Christianity rites were forbidden on pain of death and a Byzantine church was erected on the site. Overnight at the La Vista Hotel. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 8:
After checking out you will be taken to Pamukkale, giving an en route visit to Aphrodisias, a city that has been here for millennia. One of the region's most interesting and less crowed archeological sites, this is where pilgrims came to pay homage to the Goddess of Love at her temple. Called Venus by the Romans, it is easy to conjure ancient fertility rites being performed in her temple here.

With the coming of Christianity, her temple, the site of rites in worship of love, was converted into a chaste church. Sadly, without the money from pilgrims coming to visit the goddess, the city declined.

Because of a fine marble quarry nearby, Aphrodisias had a famous sculpture academy in Roman times. The museum there has a fine collection of Roman sculpture and your guide will be sure to show you the beautiful faces of Aphrodisias. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will continue on to Hierapolis. Upon arrival you will have time to stroll over the calcareous terraces of Pamukkale, or to enjoy the thermal facilities.Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale. Overnight at the Richmond Thermal Hotel. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 9:
After a spectacular drive enjoying views of the mountains, pine and cedars, you will arrive at the beautiful coastal route which is bordered by the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean and the pine forests above. Phaselis, where Alexander the Great wintered before he marched on for the rest of his campaign, is a beautiful Roman port city. Here you can enjoy swimming in the same harbor as Alexander, with a view of the ruins and the Taurus Mountains.

Upon arrival in Antalya you will visit the Archaeology Museum which was once awarded the Museum of the Year in Europe.Overnight at the Rixos Downtown Hotel. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 10:
This morning you will first visit Perge, one of the most impressive sites of Pamphylia, and then the world's best preserved ancient theater at Aspendos. After lunch at a local restaurant near the Aspendos Theater, you will have time in the afternoon to rest at the Lara Beach. Overnight at the Rixos Downtown Hotel. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 11:
Today, after breakfast, a scenic drive through Burdur takes you to the beautiful site of Sagalassos. This is one of the ancient cities where you can witness how sacred fountains worked. After lunch, you will continue to the town of Beysehir to visit Esrefoglu Mosque. You will arrive in Konya in the late afternoon in time to visit the world famous Mevlana Museum, where the mystic philosophy of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi was taught. Overnight at the Rumi Hotel Konya. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 12:
Today's drive will take you to Cappadocia, with an enroute visit to Sultanhan Caravanserai, once an overnight stopping place for medieval merchants. After this fascinating caravanserai, you will have lunch by the river in the Ihlara Valley. After lunch you will have a chance to walk through the canyon via the Steps of Anatolia to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema. Set by the Melendiz River, this is known as the "Valley of the Sky". Along the walls of the canyon are churches carved from the rocks, replete with early paintings that are remarkable for their accuracy. Overnight at the Yunak Evleri. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 13:
After breakfast this morning you will visit the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at Dervent Valley, then continue on to Zelve Open Air Museum, which is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements of Cappadocia. Seeing the best examples of the fairy chimneys at Pasabag Fairy Chimneys Valley, you will then visit Avanos, famous for its pottery. In the afternoon you will see the Goreme Open Air Museum, know for its rock carved churches and colorful frescoes. The day will end with a hike up to the top of Uchisar Castle, a high and dramatic point, giving you a breathtaking panoramic view of the area.Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia. Overnight at the Yunak Evleri. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 14:
On tour today, your first stop will be the Soganli Valley, which is one of the earliest settlements in Cappadocia. You will then drive back to Urgup through the unspoiled villages of Cappadocia, surrounded by "table-top" mountains. On the way you will visit the Medrese in Taskinpasa, a Theological School of the Seljuk Turks. After lunch in Mustafapasa at an old Greek house, you travel towards the center of the earth with a trip to the Underground City of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia's many ancient settlements. Overnight at the Yunak Evleri. BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED

DAY 15:
You will be transferred to the Kayseri or Nevsehir Airport for a morning flight to Istanbul where you can extend your stay or take you homeward or continuing flight. You may book additional nights in Cappadocia or Istanbul. BREAKFAST INCLUDED

PRICE

PRICE, PER PERSON: $4,365.00

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1,000.00

CHILD AND STUDENT DISCOUNTS ARE AVAILABLE

INCLUDED:

  • ACCOMMODATION AT THE HOTELS IN THE ITINERARY
  • BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER AS OUTLINED IN THE ITINERARY
  • TRANSPORTATION IN A LUXURY, AIR CONDITIONED MINIVAN
  • PROFESSIONAL GUIDING
  • ADMISSION FEES TO ALL MUSEUMS AND SIGHTS LISTED
  • FLIGHT WITHIN TURKEY
  • TAXES

NOT INCLUDED:

  • INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
  • VISA FEE UPON ARRIVAL IN TURKEY (ABOUT $20.00)
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE
  • DRINKS
  • ITEMS OF A PERSONAL NATURE
  • CUSTOMARY TIPS

 

SULTAN AHMET MOSQUE – THE BLUE MOSQUE

Tile Detail in Rustem Pasha Mosque

Tile Shop in Istanbul

THE GREAT BYZANTINE CHURCH OF HAGIA SOFIA, ISTANBUL

BASILICA CISTEREN, ISTANBUL

Ortakoy Mosque in Istanbul

Didyma

Aphrodisias pomegranates

CURETES STREET EPHESUS

Phaselis Beach

Antayla

Antayla Museum - Sarcophagus Detail

Backgammon Players in Antayla

PASABAG, OR MONK’S VALLEY, IN CAPPADOCIA

PASABAG, OR MONK’S VALLEY, IN CAPPADOCIA

Cave dwellings in Cappadocia

Cave in Goreme

 

ADVENTURE IN TRAVEL
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