1st Day : ISTANBUL
Arrival to Istanbul Airport. After customs clearance, reception of the group. Transfer to your hotel in Istanbul.
2nd Day : ISTANBUL
Situated on two continents, Europe and Asia, inheritor of a three millennia past, where we can still witness the remnants of five civilizations, Istanbul is, above all, one of the fascinating cities of the Orient. Ancient Byzantium became Constantinopolis in the 4th Century, the 'New Rome'' and Christian capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, lasting over a millennium. In 1453 from Christianity, the city passed to Islam under the rule of Ottoman Sultans. Istanbul has since been symbolized by the minarets of its mosques, the distinguishing feature of the city's profile. Today you will plunge to the heart of the old Istanbul and discover its principal Byzantine and Ottoman monuments.
St. Sofia Museum:
You will discover the famous Basilica of St. Sofia: Built by Justinian in the 6th Century. In this extraordinary masterpiece of byzantine architecture, you will admire the remarkable cupola and the galleries covered by the splendid mosaics dating back to the 11th and 12th Centuries.
You will then visit the At Meydani: Ancient Hippodrome of Septimius Severius (2nd Century): The Obelisk of Theodosius, The Serpentine Column and The Column of Constantine
Then, you will discover the majestic Mosque of Sultan Ahmet called Blue Mosque for its marvelous interior decoration of turquoise tiles. The harmonious grandeur and the elegance of its six minarets of this admirable mosque, built at the beginning of the 17th Century and the purity of its lines, will impress you.
You will visit Topkapı Palace, the first residence of the Ottoman sultans. Built on the ancient location of the Byzantine Acropolis, Topkapı Palace has a splendid location with a view of the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Mehmet the Conqueror built this palace with immense wall and gardens. You will visit its Treasury section, and several buildings and halls. This palace is now a museum.
3rd Day : Istanbul - BURSA
Departure to Bursa. Visit Bursa, the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire. TheTurks call is Green Bursa due its green surroundings. with its wooden houses with green gardens. It is situated on the slope of Uludag, ancient Mount Olympus of Bithynia. You will discover its most interesting mosques and mausoleums where sultans were buried — Muradiye Mosque: Mosque of Murad II with the marvelous blue-turquoise tiles, and the Turbes or mausoleums. Then Yesil Camii or Green Mosque, with green colored tiles: this is just the beginning of a new Turkish Islamic art.
Our visit to Bursa will end with the Great Mosque and Grand Bazaar of Bursa, where you will see the silk products.
4th Day : Bursa - ANKARA
Departure to Ankara. On the way, visit the ruins of Gordion. Arrival to Ankara. The capital city of Modern Turkey, since the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, was originally called Ancyra. It has a fortress dominating the whole city.
First, you will visit the Museum of Ancient Civilizations of Anatolia better known as the Hittite Museum.
Its rich collections will give you an idea of the prodigious variety of civilizations that existed in the actual Turkish territory, from the Neolithic statues dating the 5th millennium BC.
Its marvelous collection of Hittite Art gives the museum its inappreciable value. You will remark numerous antiquities from the big capital city of the Hittite Empire: Bogazkale ( Hattusa).
Ataturk Mausoleum :
We will end our visits to Ankara by the Mausoleum of Ataturk.
5th & 6th Days : Ankara - CAPPADOCIA
Departure to Cappadocia via the Salt Lake Road.
Cappadocia: This region is exceptional with its surreal landscapes. It is certainly one of the strangest regions on earth. Several thousands of years of erosion of the earth formed the so-called Fairy chimneys.
Cappadocia saw the penetration of Christianity in Anatolia, following the footsteps of St. Paul, the first Christians came to settle in the almost inaccessible natural grottoes of this lost land. They created the rock-carved churches and the underground cities. The rock-carved churches were painted with naive and brilliant colors relating to the important episodes of the Bible. The apogee of Byzantine and Christian Cappadocia took place between the beginning of the 10th Century and the second half of the 11th Century. Its magnificent rock churches and Byzantine paintings constitute an important part of Eastern Christian art.
You will discover the fantastic panorama of the Goreme Valley and some of its most famous rock carved churches.
Then visit Zelve Valley, The Uçhisar Village, Çavusin Village, The Pottery Village of Avanos, Soganli Valley, and the Underground city of Ozkonak.
7th Day : Cappadocia – Konya - ANTALYA
Early morning departure to Konya by the road, once used by caravans, for connecting Konya, the capital city of Seljuk Empire to Persia and Central Asia. On the way, you will see the remnants of the old caravansaries; monumental constructions served as hotels in the past. You will admire one of the most beautiful Caravanserai of Turkey: Sultanhani. Arrival in Konya, a green oasis in the middle of Anatolia, known for its Seljuk Art and mysticism. In antiquity, the city was known as Iconium; this was a prosperous city on the way to the Orient. However, the apogee of the city took place after the conquest of Seljuk Turks. In the 12th century, the city became an Islamic cultural and spiritual center. You will visit in Konya, the Tekke of Mevlana, the Monastery of Whirling Dervishes.
Then proceed to Antalya.
8th Day : ANTALYA
Antalya has a wonderful location on the Mediterranean and offers a splendid view over the bay, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of ancient Pamphylia. You will depart to discover the antique cities of Pamphylia with rich remains from the Hellenistic and Roman Civilizations: Aspendos, with the best-preserved Roman Theatre in Asia, Side with the splendid ruins near the sea and Perge with its magnificent antique royal road. In the late afternoon, you will visit the old harbor of Antalya and Hadrian Gate.
9th Day : Antalya - PAMUKKALE
Departure to Pamukkale. On the way, visit Aphrodisias.This recently excavated city is still not very well known in the world. However, its ruins are as impressive as those of Ephesus. The Temple of Aphrodite, the marble stadium, the theatre, the Odeon, the agora, and the Roman baths are very well preserved. Continue to Pamukkale. Visit Pamukkale and Hierapolis which was once among the most elegant thermal cities of the antiquity.
10th Day : Pamukkale - KUSADASI
Departure to Kusadası.
Ephesus is the biggest and most famous site in the ancient world. By 3rd Century BC Ephesus, located at the crossing point of two trade routes, gathered all the riches of the Orient. This city offers us a chance to witness the splendor of Asia Minor in the Roman Era.
Among its numerous monuments, you will see its famous Arcadian Street, its big Hellenistic Theatre, the Celsius Library, and the magnificent facade of the Hadrian Temple in Corinthian style ( 2nd Century).
Visit the House of Virgin Mary.
11th Day : Kusadasi - ÇANAKKALE
Departure to Çanakkale. Visit the Acropolis of Pergamum and The Asklepeion.
Pergamum was one of the largest cities of the whole Mediterranean in the Hellenistic period. It was the commercial rival of Ephesus and the rival of Alexandria and Antioch in literature and the Arts. It had magnificent temples and a very important library known throughout the Mediterranean world. Parchment, called pergamen, was invented in Pergamum. The ruins are impressive. You will discover the famous acropolis constructed according to the model of the Athenian acropolis.
Visit of Asclepeion : the sanctuary dedicated to the god of Health, Asclepios.. Then proceed to Çanakkale. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Çanakkale
Visit of Asclepeion: the sanctuary dedicated to the god of Health, Asclepios... Then proceed to Çanakkale.
12th Day: Çanakkale - ISTANBUL
Visit Troy which is situated at Hisarlik, ancient Ilion of the Homeric period, first established in the 4th Millennium BC.
Departure to Istanbul. Cross the Dardanelles Strait by ferry to reach Istanbul, passing over the plain of Thrace, the European land part of Turkey.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Istanbul
13th Day : ISTANBUL
Visit the Egyptian Bazaar. Then, you will have an excursion on a private boat on the Bosphorus. This strait, a marvel of nature, is a bit longer than thirty km and is located between the hills of Asia and Europe, connecting the waters of the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea. It is lined by yalis: seaside mansions. Especially the wooden yalis built in the 18th and 19th centuries are exceptionally beautiful.
In the afternoon, visit the Church of St Savior in Chora and the Grand Bazar. You will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
14th Day : Departure
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Istanbul Airport.