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(Prices are per person in 15 participants)
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Arrive at Kayseri Airport, meet our driver. Transfer you to your hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day tour. 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. Our next stop is 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. Overnight in Cappadocia.
60 minute hot air balloon ride over the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at dawn. Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day tour. Our full day sight-seeing will start with 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 move on to 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 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
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day tour. We departure early to the Ihlara Valley. On our way we stop off at 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
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 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 medieval period. It was also 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 the Karatay Medrese, which is one of the supreme achievements 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. Visit to one of the largest carpet establishments and learn about antique and contemporary carpet production techniques. We will drive to nearby village and see dyes, carpet, washing, design making and the many other processes required before and after carpet weaving. Next we will visit a felt maker’s studio and learn about traditional Turkish felt making, a craft that traces is origins back to the Turks’ nomadic roots on the Central Asian Steppe. Overnight in Konya
Drive to Antalya, one of the largest and most attractive cities on Tuerkey’s south coast. The rest of the day will be spent at your leisure. Overnight in Antalya
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 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 the Mediterranean. Overnight in Antalya
We drive to Finike via the 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. Once the Finike we board our gulet (a traditional Turkish yacht) to sail the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Overnight in Gulet
Early in the morning we set sail fort he enchanting region of islands, bays, promontories and inlets collectively known as Kekova. For many, this will be the highlight of the tour. Apart from being astonishingly beautiful, it is only place on earth where you look down the deck of a boat into the submerged houses, streets and churches of a Byzantine town. There will also be time for swimming, and visits to the charming villages of Kalekoy and Ucagiz. The former stands on the site of ancient Simena and is picturesquely situated on a high promontory capped by a crenellated Byzantine castle. Just below the castle is what may be the world’s smallest classical theatre, which is cut entirely from the living rock. The village is under a preservation order and any new construction (of which there is very little) has to be in traditional style. Ucagiz has an extensive Lycian necropolis to itse ast, and is set amid the ruins of the Byzantine town of Tristomon. Overnight in Gulet.
Starting early, we cruise to Kas, a small, attractive town on a beautiful bay. It stands on the site of ancient Amthipellos, and a small but perfectly preserved theatre, the ruins of a temple and a number of impressive tombs can still be seen. The view from the theatre accross to the Greek island of Meis is particulary lovely. We sail on the former Greek fishing village of Kalkan from where we drive to Xanthos, one of the most important Lycian cities. Its rtuins stand on a hill high above the Xanthos River, and make a very striking impression. Not much is known of its early history, but since the city is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad it must date back to atleast the 8th century BC. The most remarkable thing about its later history is fact that the Xanthians twice burnt their city to the ground and committed mass-suicide when threatened with conquest, which suggested that they had a somewhat exaggerated attachment to their independence. On both occasions the city rapidly recovered, and today much remains to be seen, including a theatre, two agoras, two acropolises, city walls, a monastery, a Byzantine basilica with handsome floor mosaics, and, of course, many splendid Lycian tombs. Sadly, virtually all of these tombs were stripped of their remarkable relief sculptures by the English archeologist and adventurer Sir Charles Fellowes in 1842. We next move on the ruins of Patara, which lie only a short distance from Xanthos, and are on our way back to Kalkan. The city covers a vast area, surrounding a now silted up harbor. It is highly evocative and the ruins include a perfectly preserved triumphal arch, two monumental bath complexes, an elegant temple, a Hadrianic granary, several churches, a wide colonnaded Street, an exquisite theatre, and a truly enormous necropolis. But, for many people, the chief attraction of Patara is its glorious sand-beach, over ten miles long, which is one of the most pristine in Turkey, on which no construction has ever been allowed. In the evening we return to Kalkan. Overnight in Gulet.
Our next destination is Gemiler Island, sailing along a dramatic and unspoilt stretch of coastline dominated by the majestic peak of Mount Cragus. Gemiler Island stands in a setting of quite extraordinary natural beauty, but that isn’t all it has to offer. The island’s landward side is completely covered with the ruins of the 6th century Byzantine town of Lebissos. There are churches, tombs, cisterns, houses, and fine mosaic floors, but the site’s most unusual feature is a long, vaulted Street (still showing traces of frescoes) that leads up to an eleborate ecclesiastical complex, which may have served as a centre of pilgrimage. From Gemiler Island we transfer to the mainland, and drive to remarkable Greek ghost-town of Kayakoy, which was abondoned in 1923 as a result of the “exchange of populations” between Turkey and Greece. There are three churches with frescoes (one of them medieval) and innumerable ruined houses, some of which are currently being restored. We spend the night anchored off Gemiler Island, once again dining beneath the stars. Overnight in Gulet.
From the shelter of Gemiler Island we sail out into the vast Gulf of Fethiye, which is framed by mountainous peninsulas and scattered with islands, some of which have small but picturesque ancient sites, for example, submerged Roman bath known romantically but erroneously as Cleopatra’s bath. We drop anchor in the secluded cove of Agalimani from where we climb a hillside fragrant with herbs to the ruins of ancient Lydae, an idyllic and secluded spot that very few visitors have the privilage to explore. The ruins include two massive Roman tombs, an agora, a council, chamber and a fortified acropolis. In the evening we set sail fort he small but sophisticated resort of Gocek, where we will moor fort he night. Overnight in Gulet
In Gocek we say goodbye to our crew and drive to attractive, riverside village of Dalyan. We board a riverboat and glide gently past rock-cut tombs with elegant temple facades, before winding our way through the narrow, reed-lined channels of the Dalyan Delta to ancient Caunos. The highly evocative ruins include a theatre, Hellenistic city walls, temples, a public fountain, and an unusually large and well-preserved Byzantine cathedral. The views from the acropolis are magnificent. From Dalyan we drive to the fashionable resort town of Bodrum. Overnight in Bodrum
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day tour. Bodrum stands on the site of ancient Halicarnassos, capital of the Carian Kingdow whose most famous king. Mousolus, was buried here in a spectacular tomb known as the Mousoleum, which was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Sadly, little of it remains today. Much of it masonary was used in the great Crusader Castle of St. Peter, which now dominates the town. The castle now contains the Museum of Underwater Archeolgy, where there is an exceptionally fine display of glassware retrieved from ancient and medival shiprecks. We now make a tour of the Bodrum Peninsula, stopping at the pretty little village of Gumusluk, which stands on the site of ancient Myndos. Some of thecity’s harbor Works can still be seen beneath the waters of the bay. Overnight in Bodrum
After breakfast, Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 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 precinct 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 on 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, invluding the philosophers Thales, Anaximander and Anazimenes, 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 oppurtunity, 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 if his plan, which was centered on three spacious agoras, are still visible. Other notable Milesians are the geographer Hecataeus, the enterprising and highly intellegent courtesan Aspasia, who became the mistress of Pericles and the friend of Socrates, and the architect Isodoros who, along the 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 largerly ignored the city. It is thus a perfect example of a Hellenistic city with a Hippodamian grid plan. Its architecture is remarkable elegant and well-preserved, including a theatre, a bouleterion, an agora and a magnificent Temple of Athena, which was considered by contemporary authorities to be the masterpiece of the architect Pytheos, who also designed the Mausoleum in Bodrum – Halicarnassos. Overnight in Kusadasi
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 for a full day tour. We depart for Ephesus. If you’ve ever heard the words “an epistle to the Ephesians”, now is your chance to sit in the theatre where St. Paul preached, St. John evangelized and the Virgin Mary spent the last years of her life. Walk along colonnaded streets imagining them crowded with people visiting the shops and taverns or simply strolling in the shade. Ephesus was one of the greatest cities of antiquity. It contained everything that was necessary for education, policies, religion, entertainment and sport , including the Library of Celsus, bathhouses, a gymnasium and luxurious mansions. Ephesus is among the best preserved classical cities of the Mediterranean World, and perhaps the best place in the world to get a feeling for what life in Roman times. Its Temple of Artemis was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Overnight in Kusadasi
Early morning transfer to Izmir Airport for a morning flight to Istanbul. 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 09:30 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 ıstanbul
Our guide and driver will pick you up at 09:30 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 meets you at the hotel and transfers you to Istanbul International Airport that gives best connection to your international flight.
– 14 night’ accommodation including breakfast at the mentioned hotels (standard rooms)
– 5 night yacht tours
– Izmir/Istanbul flight tickets (Turkish Airlines)
– 60 minute hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
– Air conditioned luxury bus 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