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Drinks, tips to guide and driver, personal expenses and optional tours:
Day 1 :
ISTANBUL; Welcome to Turkey. Transfer from airport to hotel.
Day 2 :
ISTANBUL; In the morning at 09:00 pick up from the hotel. You will be visiting the Topkapi Palace , Hagia Sophia(St. Sophia), SULTANAHMET IMPERIAL MOSQUE (Blue Mosque) and Hippodrome (Roman and Byzantine era). Back to hotel
Day 3 :
ISTANBUL; In the morning at 09:00 pick up from the hotel. The Spice Market, Beylerbeyi palace, CAMLICA HILL and Bosphorus on the boat as well. Back to hotel.
Day 4 :
Bursa; 08:00 am pick up from the hotel in Istanbul and drive to Bursa. In Bursa visit the Grand bazar, Ulu (Grand) mosque, Green Mosque and Kozak han. Over night stay in Bursa.
Day 5 :
CANAKKALE; I08:30 am pick up from the hotel and drive to Troy . Visit legendary Troy (famous for the Trojan Horse). Over night stay in Assos.
Day 6 :
Pergamon ; In the morning at the 08:30 pick up from the hotel. Visit the Pergamon tours.Tour in Pergamon. Greco Roman city built on four rising terraces, Acropolis ,The Asclepion and The Red Basilica. Drive to Ephesus. Over night stay in Kusadasi or Sirince.
Day 7 :
Ephesus; In the morning at 09:00 pick up and drive to Ephesus.Take a tour in the UNESCO world cultural heritage site, pacing through the antique city after St. Paul, visit the Library, Temple and Ampitheater, St John Church and the Virgin Mary’s House. Over night stay in Kusadasi.
Day 8 :
Pamukkale ; Pick up from the hotel in the morning at 08:30. Drive to Pamukkale and on the way visit the Afrodisias. Pamukkale walk along the Hierapolis ancient city ruins, see the huge Necropolis, and feel the warmth of the natural spring as you go barefoot on the Travertine.
Day 9 :
Kalkan ; In the morning at 08:30 drive to Kalkan and to visit the best examples of Lycian tombs at Myra . Over night stay in Kalkan.
Day 10 :
ANTALYA; In the morning at 08:30 daily boat tour in Mediterranean. Drive to church of St. Nicholas the saint to whom is referred as Santa Claus and Antalya. Over night stay in Antalya.
Day 11 :
ANTALYA; In the morning at 09:00. We will depart in the morning to visit Perge , which was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC. We will visit the impressive colonnaded street, baths, nymphaeum, and agora and see the fountain of the River God, where waters once poured down the center of the city. We continue to Aspendos to see one of the best-preserved amphitheaters in the world, and the Manavgat Waterfalls . Finally a visit to the sea side town of Side. L. Back to hotel in Antalya.
Day 12 :
KONYA & CAPPADOCIA; In the morning at 08:30 drive to Cappadocia but on the way visit Konya . Feel the mysticism of the whirling dervishes as you visit the Mevlana Museum (the poet and philosopher Sufi founder of the Whirling Dervishes Sect) and Sultan hani(13th century Seljukian caravansaray on the silk road). Over night stay in Cappadocia.
Day 13 :
CAPPADOCIA; In the morning at 09:00. Devrent Valley imagination valley(a lunar landscape), Zelve open air museum(houses carved in rock, Seljukian mosque & remains nearly from all the ancient civilizations), Pasabag (Fairy chimneys), Avanos (pottery demonstration with the Hittite tecnique), Lunch in the Pigeon valley (in a cave restaurant – open buffet), Uchisar rock-castle, Esentepe(panoramic view of Goreme valley) and Goreme Open Air Museum rock cut churches, frescos, monastery). Over night stay in Cappadocia. Hotels in Cappadocia: Dedeli Konak
Day 14 :
CAPPADOCIA; In the morning at 09:00. Mustafapasa (old Greek village Sinasos), Keslik monastery, Taskinpasa medresesi (an Ottoman theological school), Soganli Valley (3 km walking in the traditional village, churches and Lunch), *!Cemil!* (Greek-orthodox church) and Kaymakli underground city. Over night stay in Cappadocia. Hotels in Cappadocia: Dedeli Konak
Day 15 :
*!Gaziantep!*; Departure from your hotel at 08:30. Drive to Karatay kervansaray and visit the kervansaray. Stop at Kahramanmaras for lunch and a taste of its famous ice cream. Continue ontp visit the world famous Gaziantep Mosaic Museum. This museum becomes after the discoveries from Zeugma.. We will also visit the old city castle, copper bazzar and the famous Baklava shop (Baklava is originally from Gaziantep). Hotels in Gaziantep: Anadolu Evleri
Day 16 :
SANLIURFA; Today we drive to Sanli Urfa . On the way we stop at Nizip (soap and olive oil district) and see the remains of the old city of Belkis or (Zeugma) by the River Euphrates. Importance of this settlement which demonstrates an uninterrupted inhabiting since prehistoric ages, is that it is one of the two points allowing the easiest passage across the River Euphrates with a bridge first built by Alexander the Great. The city was an important trade center of Hellenistic Era. The site of *!Zeugma!* was lately discovered and been excavated. Archaeologists discovered many of Roman Villas with beautiful and well preserved floor mosaics. These remains dating back to the Hellenistic Roman and Byzantine times. Lunch in Urfa and after a walk through the local covered bazaar. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel by the pool or walking through the town to discover the many hidden treasures. Hotels in Urfa: Urfa Evi Day
Day 17 :
SANLIURFA; Urfa, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. Urfa has been occupied since the Babylonians followed by the Hurrites, Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks. We will visit nearby Harran and see the incredible beehive houses. Harran according to the Bible was the site where prophet Abraham spent a few years with his family before moving on to Israel, the promised land. We will also visit the holy sites at the Ainzelha, a lake with millions of domesticated fish. While in Urfa we will visit the cave where the prophet Abraham was born and visit a bustling sheep market as well. There are exceptional photo opportunities in this area. In the afternoon drive to Kahta city on the way see the Ataturk dam, third largest in the world. Hotels in Kahta: Nemrut Tassaray or Zeus Hotel
Day 18 :
Mount Nemrut ; In the morning 03:30 am departure. Hike to the summit of the mount Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites), watching the sunrise , be amazed by the colossal heads and statues of ancient deities, as you step into mythology. There we will hire small mini-buses to drive up the mountain. This extraordinary landmark rests at an elevation of 8000 ft. The mountain top complex is composed of two flattened areas strewn with statues and separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antiouchus built the entire complex approximately 2000 years ago as a monument to his divine ancestry. Also definitely take time to visit the old castle, Arsemeia, cross over the still functioning Cendere Bridge (Septimius Severus bridge) dating all the way back to the 3rd century and the Tomb of Karakus. Then drive back to the hotel for breakfast. We then depart to Mardin with a lovely ferry ride across the dam and lunch in Siverek. We will reach Mardin around 16:00 check into hotel. We will take the time to visit, walk in its busy streets and bazaars, and admire the stonework all around the town Hotels in Mardin: Artuklu Kervansaray, Erdoba Evleri
Day 19 :
*!Mardin!*; In the morning visit Mardin. Mardin is very unique with lovely old-Arabic style houses. It is a city that played an important role in the early development of Christianity.. We will also visit the Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan just outside of town, founded in 762 A.D. It was the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch for almost 800 years. This monastery is built on top of a 4000-year-old temple used by sun worshippers. We will visit the monks in this extraordinary place. In the afternoon drive to Batman, a little province which takes its name from the river flowing on its west. The Batman river, spanned by the old Malabadi Bridge, draws the province’s border with Diyarbakir, and then joins Tigris (Dicle) River passing through the land. Here is one of the main crude oil production centers of Turkey, and the refinery at Batman was the first founded in the country. Continue to Bitlis and stop in this picturesque town located in a narrow and deep valley for some great photo;s. Onto Tatvan, a small village on the edge of Lake Van. Overnight in Tatvan and watch the sun set over the lake.
Day 20 :
Van ; Today we visit the crater lake of Mount Nemrut. The Nemrut Lake is located inside the crater area of Nemrut Mountain and is the first greatest crater lake of our country and is the second greatest crater lake of the world, Van city was established 13th century BC, when the Hurrites arrived. Then the Hittites, Urartians, Persian, Armenians, Macedonians, Romans and finally in the 11th century the Turks came here. From here, we will take a ferry across the lake to visit the finest Armenian architectural wonder of the Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. Step over to the huge Van Castle from the days of Urartu and see the hieroglyphs as you sense the spirit of the once Urartu capital Tushpa, feel the salty waters of the great Lake Van called as ‘the Sea’ by the locals. Also visit the very impressive Hosap castle (Built to celebrate the first millenium) near the city of Van, and learn about how and where and when Turkic existence in Anatolia commenced. Over night stay in Van. Hotels in Van: Tusbag Hotel.
Day 21 :
Kars ; In the morning drive to Dogubeyazit (Mt. Ararat). “Silk Road” to Dogubeyazit. At the Iranian border we will see a site known as the Crater Hole. This is a beautiful, yet rugged area. We will have the opportunity to see Mt. Ararat from all sides. It is believed by some to be the resting-place of Noah’s Ark; but to date no one has found anything that has been verified as the Ark – yet the search is still on. We will stop and see the Ishak Pasa Palace. This complex is a combination of a mosque, a fortress, and a palace which originally had a room for every day of the year! Below you can also see the remains of Eski Beyazit, and Urartian City which flourished in 1000 BC. Over night stay in Kars. Hotels in Kars: Simer Hotel.
Day 22 :
Erzurum , Kars (Ani); An early morning departure from the hotel and get permission to visit Ani at the Turkish-Armenian border. We will take a 45-minute drive to the medieval Armenian City of Ani, which lies mostly in ruins. Impressive fortified walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries. Enjoy a walk around the ruins and see the beautiful view to the Armenian border imagining it as a city with one million people rivaling Bagdad in its time! This city has experienced the cultures of Urartians, Armenians, Georgians, Mongols, Russians and finally the Turks. Drive back Erzurum. Over night stay in Erzurum. Hotels in Erzurum: Dilaver or Esadas Hotel.
Day 23 :
Trabzon ; Erzurum rests at a base altitude of 6600 ft. Here, the Hittites had already occupied the site for a millennium when the Armenians arrived around the 6th century. It became a Byzantine city starting with the Emperor Thedosius. Mongols in 14th century and the Ottomans took it in 1515. Therefore in Erzurum we’ll be able to taste all of these civilizations at Erzurum citadel, Double Minaret Medrese (university), many tombs, *!Ulucami!* (The Great Mosque). From Erzurum we will drive five hours to Trabzon, with many stops. This is a very beautiful drive following various rivers and passes throughout. Over night stay in Trabzon. Hotels in Trabzon: Cobadere Serander Hotel or Zigana Holiday Village.
Day 24 :
TRABZON; Trabzon (Sumela). Today we will drive on the beautiful wooded coast of the Black Sea. This was the often forbidding coastline seen by Jason and the Argonauts and the scene of many of their legendary adventures. The following day we will visit theSumela Monastery and enjoy a lovely picnic nearby. This monastery is from the Byzantine Era of Turkey’s history. One of the remarkable features of this site is that it is carved into a cliff face! With lush, green vegetation throughout the region, this area is a very unique part of Turkey. Trabzon is an ancient Black Sea port with its recorded history dating back to 746 B.C. and it was one of the Silk Road ports. Fly back to Istanbul or another city in Turkey.
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