Mystical Path of Culture

  • Destination: Turkey Package Tours
  • Duration: 17 days
  • Price: $2900

*This tour we need a minumum 12 people, please contact us for booking* (Prices are per person in 12 participants)

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Day 1

Arrive Kusadasi harbour and our driver meets you at the exit gate, with a board on which your name is written and we start private group tour. Today 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

Day 2

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

Day 3

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

Day 4

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

Day 5

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a daily boat tour. After boat tour we drive to Fethiye. Rest of day on your own.  Overnight in Fethiye

Day 6

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour.  We drive to the Lycian, Byzantine and Ottoman ruins at the ancient city of Tlos, home of the winged horse Pegasus. Explore the remains of rock tombs, a theatre and the hilltop castle; which has amazing panoramic views of the surrounding area. From here we will head to the beautiful trout farm of Yakapark. The soothing sound of ever flowing ice-cold waters gushing out of every rock bottom and tree root, and the cool atmosphere will relieve you from modern day’s cares and worries. After lunch at a trout-farm restaurant, we will proceed to Saklikent, which is situated near Taurus mountains, between Fethiye and Kas for thousands of years. Situated east of Esencay Valley, Saklikent has been discovered recently. Villagers living in this region discovered Saklikent almost 20 years ago. Saklikent Gorge (“Hidden Valley”) is the longest and deepest gorge in Turkey – 18 km’s long and so steep and narrow that the sun does not penetrate the water, leaving it deliciously icy-cold in the summer. Once inside, water-sculpted limestone canyon walls soar above you. Saklikent is a Canyon which is unbelievably beautiful, mystic and fascinating. We will walk one kilometer through water to reach Saklikent. Totally 16 caves have been discovered among the rocks, whereas prehistoric men encountered in this place and used it for shelter. There is 700m. difference in height between the entrance and the exit of Saklikent. While walking through Saklikent you generally sink deeply into wet clay. On the way you can take a quick shower under small waterfalls. Overnight in Fethiye

Day 7

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour.  Demre (Myra); To the north of the church of Saint Nicolas, the ruins of Myra city and rock tombs can be found on the slope of a mountain .It is understood from the ancient city walls that this ancient side which is right next to the theater, was built on a steep hill.Kekova (Sunken City); it has a surface area of 5,7sq km. On the north shore of Kekova, the ruins of a city, which are situated under the sea, can be viewed. Most of the buildings have two floors.St. Nicolas Church; According to ancient sources, St. Nicolas was born towards the end of the 3rd century in Patara, 60 km west of Demre in a wealthy family. He had a good education and devoted himself to mankind.Simena; the village of Kale, previously known as Simena, is very attractive. The castle of Simena which is the main attraction was used during the middle Ages by the Byzantines. In the medieval walls of the inner keep are a few blocks of all that remains of ancient temple. Inside the castle is a small natural theater carved into the rock. Overnight in Çıralı

Day 8

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour.  We drive to ancient Lycian cities of Phaselis, Olympos and Limyra. Standing on a wooded promontory surrounded by three harbors, Phaselis is one of the most romantic sites in SouthernTurkey. However, there was nothing very romantic about its ancient inhabitants who were famous for their sharp, not to say unscruplulos, commercial instincts. For a time they even practiced piracy until the Romans lost their patience and put a stop to it. The site is traversed by a very grand paved Street bordered by step sand statue-bases. Arrayed around it are a theatre, three agoras, an aquaductand an extensive necropolis. Beyond Phaselis the road climbs into the mountains, before descenting dramatically to Olympos, which lies concealed in a narrow river valley opening on to one of the finest beaches in Turkey. The ruins are little hard to explore due to the dense under growth, but the setting is very lovely. We drive on through Kumluca to Limyra , one of the most unusual of the Lycian sites. The lower part of the city is criss crossed by streams that break from thefoot of the acropolis hill, and is divided into two walled enclosures. The one to the West contains the tall Cenotaph of Gaius Ceasar, The Emperor Augustus’s grand son and designated heir, who died here in 4 AD. The eastern enclosures there are numerous, splendid rock-hewn tombs of a kind that are unique to Lycia, and a remarkably well-preserved theatre. Overnight in Çıralı

Day 9

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour.  Termessos The ruins of the city of Termessos are perched on a 1050 metre high plateau on the west face of the Güllük Mountain (Solymos) found in Mt.Güllük National Park on the northwest of Antalya. A wild and splendid landscape surrounds the monumental traces of this city.Termessians (Pisidian people) lived in their impregnable fortress city and guarded their independence fiercely. Alexander the Great was fought off in 333 B.C. and the Romans accepted Termessos as an independent ally, not as a subject city in 70 B.C.Düden Waterfall The wartefall is situated in the state park. It has been used as a settlement area dating back to 5th century BC. Ancient graves built near the waterfall, dating to 3rd century BC can be seens. Discharge of the river is 25 million m3 per year. It is 25 meters deep. Let’s conquer the City which Alexander the Great could not conquer in his times because of its location. Overnight in Antalya

Day 10

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day tour.  Visit the great classical cities of Aspendos and Perge. The former has what may be the world’s best-preserved Roman theatre, as well as a magnificent agora and a fine aqueduct . Perge, which is only a few miles away, has a stadium, a theatre, a city gate, two bath complexes, an elegant agora, and it traversed by a very grand colonnaded Street. We visit the Antalya Archeological Museum, which has a rich collection of sculpture from the many nearby archeological sites, including Perge. We then explore Kaleici, th ecity’s old quarter, which has many superb Ottoman mansions and is a model of conservation and restoration. It is ringed by walls dating from Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk periods. The view from the harbor to the mountains of Lycia is one of the most enchanting and picturesque to be found any where in theMediterranean. Overnight in Antalya

Day 11

Our driver meets you at the hotel and transfers you to Antalya Airport for the flight to Kayseri. Our guide and driver meet you at Kayseri Airport on your arrival and start a full day tour.  Mustafapasa (Sinasos), an ancient Greek town with its spectacular old Greekhouses: very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Further stops include Ayvali and Taskinpasa, a 900 years old village thats how sits Seljuk roots in its Medrese (theologicalschool) and a mosque. During the Middle Ages, the Byzantine carved hundred of churches out of the soft the malleable rock and sheltered themselves from armies of the Abbasid Caliphate in refuges descending hundreds of feet into the earth. Between 9th and 11th centuries, many of the churches were lavish decoreted with frescoes, many of which can still be seen. We will start our tour with a visit to Keslik Monastery, which houses the well-preserved 9th century Chapel of St. Stephen, several refectories and the Archangel Chapel; and Cemil Village, home to descendents of the village’s earliest Orthodox Christians. Overnight in Cappadocia

Day 12

60 minute hot air balloon ride over the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at dawn. 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 60-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 09:30 for a full day private tour. We departure to the Agzikarahan Caravanserai, a glorious masterpiece of early 13th century Seljuk Turkish architecture. The landscape of this western region of Cappadocia is magnificent and through its heart runs the Ihlara Valley, a narrow, steep-sided yet verdant ravine that conceals many painted churches and monastic complexes. We are turn to Urgup via the “underground city” of Derinkuyu. Cappadocia has at least seven “undergroundcities” – vast labyrinths of corridor sand chambers complete with churches, stables, wine-presses and sophisticated ventilation systems that still function remarkably well. At Derinkuyu eight levels have been excavate dandare open to the public, but it is throught that there may be more than twice that number. Once back in Urgup, we spend the evening getting to know the locals. Overnight in Cappadocia

Day 13

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day private tour. Full day private sight-seeing 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

Day 14

Our driver meets you at the hotel and transfers you to kayseri Airport for the flight to Istanbul. Our guide and driver meet you at Istanbul Ataturk Airport on your arrival and start a full day tour.  We visit the Rustem Pasa Mosque. Designed by Sinan, the greatest of Ottoman architects, 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 Market, 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. Then proceed to the Suleymaniye Mosque. Designed by Sinan for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, this is the grandest and largest mosque in Istanbul, and great dome and soaring minarets dominate the skyline of the Old City. The mornings end at the  Church of St. Savior in Chora, which has beautifully preserved early 13th century mosaics and frescoes that are among the supreme masterpieces of medieval art. In the afternoon, we visit the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, which contains a priceless collection of Ottoman calligraph 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 the former palace of Ibrahim Pasha, one of Suleyman the Magnificent’s grand viziers. Overnight in Istanbul

Day 15

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day private tour. Our tour will start at the Hippodrome, which was the scene of chariot races and great public occasions throughout the immensely long history of the Byzantine Empire. Close by looms the enourmous mass of Hagia Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian and inaugurated in 537 AD. For over 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 hounting Virgin and Child in the eastern apse. Just across a park stands the Blue Mosque, so called because of its exquisite Iznik tile decoration. Thousands and thousands of these exteremly precious tiles line the walls in a mezmerizing display of floral extravangance. The mosque’s courtyard is exceptional beautiful, and it is the only mosque in Istanbul to have six minarets. Our next stop is the Underground Cistern which , like Hagia Sophia, is the work of Justinian. Its roof a supported by a forest of over 300 columns. Nearby lies the Mosaic Museum, which has magnificent 6th century floor mosaics from the Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors. We finish our tour with a visit to the Cinili Kiosk, the oldest Turkish building in Istanbul, dating from 1472, to see the museum’s collection of ceramic tiles dating from the 12th-19th centuries. Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 16

Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:00 for a full day private 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. Next we move on the Church of St. Savior in Chora, which has beautifully preserved early 13th century mosaics and frescoes that are among the supreme masterpieces of medieval art and indicate that the political and economic decline of the Byzantine Empire in no way affected its creative expression. Then proceed to the Suleymaniye Mosque. Designed by Sinan for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, this is the grandest and largest mosque in Istanbul, and great dome and soaring minarets dominate the skyline of the Old City. Sinan, the graeatest of Ottoman architects, was perpetually challanged by the size and symmetry  of Hagia Sofia, and this mosque is one the most impressive reflections of that competition. We will complete our tour at the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar’s first phase of construction began in 1455 under Mehmet the Conqueror, but it was added to many times over the centuries. The result is an enourmous labyrinth of covered streets lined with thousands of shops selling for example, hand-woven carpets and kilims, gold and silver jewelry, hand painted ceramics, leather goods, fine antiques amd illuminated manuscripts. Overnight in Istanbul

Day 17

Our driver meets you at the hotel and transfers you to the Istanbul International Airport for your homebound flight.

 

Including

– Antalya/Kayseri/Istanbul flight tickets (Turkish Airlines)

– 60 minute hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

– Boat Tour in Bodrum.

– 16 night’ accommodation including breakfast at the mentioned hotels

– Air conditioned luxury midibus with driver on tours and transfers

– Professional guiding on tours

– Lunches on tours

– All admission fees to the museums and sights

– Taxes

Excluding

– International flight tickets

– Dinners

– Drinks during the lunches

– Not mandatory but customary tips

Hotels

I recommend the following hotels:

– Kusadasi

La Vista Boutique Hotel  www.lavistahotel.net

– Pamukkale

Richmond Hotel www.richmondhotels.com.tr

– Bodrum

The Marmara Hotel  www.themarmarmarahotels.com

– Fethiye

Ece Saray  www.ecesaray.net

– Çirali

Myland Nature  www.mylandnature.com

– Antalya

Latanya Hotel www.latanyacity.com

– Cappadocia

Dere Suites  www.deresuites.com

– Istanbul

Daru Sultan  www.darusultan.com

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