Eastern Turkey Tour

 

  • Day 1


Upon arrival meet with our representative and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Istanbul. 4 Star Hotel or similar. Dinner is included, if arriving in time.

  • Day 2


Istanbul - Ankara
This morning we cross the Bosphorous and drive to Turkey's capital, Ankara. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the superb Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Our next stop is Anitkabir, the gigantic mausoleum of Ataturk. Overnight in Ankara. 4 Star Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner

  • Day 3


Ankara - Hattusas - Cappadocia
This morning we drive east from Ankara into the heartland of traditional Turkey to visit the site of the Hittite capital, Hattusas. As well as the ruins of the palaces in the main site, we visit the open air religious sanctuary at Yazilikaya and the Bronze Age site of Alacahoyuk with its Sphinx Gate. From Bogazkale National Park we drive south to Cappadocia. First of 2 nights near Urgup town, Cappadocia. 4 Star Hotel or similar. B & D

  • Day 4


Cappadocia Tour
Today we enjoy guided sightseeing in the unique Cappadocia region. We visit the Ozkonak underground city, carved into extensive passages and hidden rooms by 7th Century Christians fleeing from persecution. As we travel around the Cappadocia region we will see dozens of "fairy chimneys" and other hoodoos. We also visit the Goreme Valley, designated by the United Nations as a World Heritage site. Here many brightly painted churches have been carved into the rocks. In this area we also visit the Sarihan caravansarai. This is one of a chain of fortified hotels built by the Selchuk state in the 12th century to encourage caravans of traders to pass through their land. Second of 2 nights near Urgup town, Cappadocia. 4 Star Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

  • Day 5


Cappadocia - Kayseri - Mount Nemrut
This morning we drive east from Cappadocia to visit the Selcuk city of Kayseri. Today the city is famous for its huge traditional bazaar and 13th century Ulu Cami mosque. Overnight in Adiyaman. 3 star Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

  • Day 6


Mount Nemrut - Urfa
Early this morning we witness one of the most extraordinary sights in the world - the sunrise at Mount Nemrut. On top of a 2,000 metre (6,500 ft) mountain in the middle of nowhere King Antiochus, of a little-known people called the Commagenes, built his massive funeral monument. We see giant figures of animal and human-form gods from many religions and local traditions. Their heads alone are 2 metres (6.5 ft) high! Later this morning we drive south from Adiyaman, stopping at the enormous Ataturk Dam. We make our way to the city of Urfa. The city is believed to be where Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. The Cave of Abraham, where legend says the prophet was born, is one of the most important pilgrimage places in the Islamic world. Later King Nimrod of Assyria built an immense pyre to have Abraham burnt at the stake but God intervened and turned the fire into what is today called the Pool of Abraham. The pieces of wood on the pyre were turned into the fish that still inhabit the pool. Overnight in Urfa. 3 Star Hotel or similar. B & D

  • Day 7


Urfa - Harran - Diyarbakir
South of Urfa, we visit the ruins of Harran,. According to the Book of Genesis, Abraham and his family lived here for several years. We explore the ruins of this once-great city and see the mud-brick bee hive houses of the local people. Later today we journey from Urfa to Diyarbakir. Some archaeologists believe that this may be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Remains dating back to the Stone Age have been found here. First of 2 nights in Diyarbakir. 4 Star Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

  • Day 8


Diyarbakir + Mardin
Today we explore on foot the old city of Diyarbakir, protected within its walls. Walking through the narrow, cobbled streets amid the ancient buildings is like stepping back into the Middle Ages. We climb up on the walls to look down on the fertile gardens along the banks of the Tigris River. The walls still have 60 of their 72 towers intact. The Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) is over 900 years old and incorporates the remains of the Byzantine church of Martoma. From the "Black City" of Diyarbakir we drive south to the "White City" of Mardin. Here we overlook the Mesopotamian Plains, the breadbasket of the ancient world. We also hope to visit the Saffron Monastery, which was the centre of the Syrian Orthodox branch of Christianity for over 700 years until the 1920's. Second of 2 nights in Diyarbakir. 4 Star Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

  • Day 9


Diyarbakir - Van
Today we travel from Diyarbakir along the banks of Turkey's largest lake, Lake Van. The town of Van is the centre of an area which is home to many nomadic tribes. Van was the centre of the Urartian Kingdom in ancient times and we can see many beautiful gold artifacts from this period at the Van Museum The old town was built around the Rock of Van, which provides commanding views of Lake Van and the surrounding countryside. On the Rock are the remains of many fortifications from different periods including a Urartian castle where you can see cuniform writing. Below one can just make out the outlines of the old city of Van. First of 2 nights in Van. Superior 3 star Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

  • Day 10


Akdamar Island 
Today we take a relaxing excursion by ferry across the azure Lake Van to the tiny island of Akdamar. King Gagik constructed a palace on this island and built the exquisite Church of the Holy Cross. The carvings on the walls of the church are in a distinctive flat, high relief style showing Biblical scenes such as the whale swallowing Jonah and David about to slay Goliath. On our way back to Van we stop at Gevas to admire the intricately carved 14th century tomb of a Turkish princess. This afternoon you can either enjoy free time to explore the town of Van or join us on an excursion south into the heart of the area. Here we visit the 8th Century BC Urartian palace-city of Cavustepe.. Further down the rugged valley we come to the stunningly-located castle of Hosap, perched on a tall rock outcrop with ranges of mountains marching off into the distance beyond. This 17th century fortress was the stronghold of a local warlord who ruled this remote and wild region with an iron fist. Returning again to Van, we have the chance to admire the many styles of carpets indigenous to this region and the surrounding areas. Maybe we will see one of the famous Van cats. They have one blue eye and one green eye and are reputed to enjoy swimming! Second of 2 nights in Van. Superior 3 star Buyuk Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

  • Day 11


Van - Mount Ararat - Dogubayazit - Kars
As we head north from Van we skirt the eastern shore of Lake Van on our way to the frontier town of Dogubayazit. This is the home of one of Turkey's most beautiful buildings-Palace of Ishak Pasha, If the weather is clear we will have close-up views of 16,400 ft (5,000 metre) Mount Ararat, the legendary last resting place of Noah's Ark. Travelling round the mountain we head north to the town of Kars. Overnight in Kars. 3 star Hotel or similar. B & D

  • Day 12


Kars - Ani - Erzurum
This morning, we make our way from Kars to the ruins of the capital of the Armenian kingdom, Ani. This "ghost city" is dramatically set on the edge of a gorge which separates Turkey from the Republic of Armenia. At the height of medieval Armenia's golden age in the end of the 10th century Ani had a population of 100,000 and is said to have had 1,000 churches. We visit the ruins of several churches including the Church of Our Saviour and the Cathedral of the Apostles. Many of the churches have beautiful painted frescoes. From Ani we return to Kars and travel across the Anatolian plain to the Selchuk city of Erzurum. Overnight in Erzurum. 3 star Hotel or similar. B & D

  • Day 13


Erzurum - Trabzon
Erzurum is the highest city in Turkey and has been conquered by a succession of invaders who have entered Turkey from the East. The Cifte Minareli Medrese, with its impressive facade and twin minarets, is an excellent example of early Turkish muslim architecture. From Erzurum we head down from the Anatolian Plateau towards the Black Sea coast. First of 2 nights near Trabzon. 4 star Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

  • Day 14


Trabzon + Sumela Monastery
In a secluded valley, we stop to visit Sumela Monastery. This was one of the holy centres of the Byzantine church for many centuries, despite its remote and inaccessible location. The monastery clings high on a vertical cliff face above a pine-clad valley with a rushing river far below. The monastery was occupied by Greek Orthodox monks right up until the 1920's. This afternoon we explore Trabzon, which has traditionally been the main town on the Turkish side of the Black Sea and formed one end of the Silk Route. After 1204, when the Crusaders sacked Constantinople, the Byzantine court fled here and established what became known as the Trapezuntine Empire - essentially the Byzantine Empire in exile. Many of the important buildings in the town date from that period. The Aya Sofia is a church modelled after its namesake in Istanbul and featuring excellent frescoes. On a hillside above the town looking out over the Black Sea is Ataturk's Villa. This elegant white mansion is built in the Crimean style from the north side of the Black Sea. Second of 2 nights near Trabzon. 4 star Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

  • Day 15


Trabzon - Istanbul
This morning we fly from Trabzon back to Istanbul. The rest of the day is free for you to explore some of Istanbul's many delights. An excursion that many people like to make is to take one of the ferries travelling up the Bosphorous towards the Black Sea. This is a relaxed way of seeing the towns along the European and Asian shores. Overnight in Istanbul. 4 Star Hotel or similar. B & D

  • Day 16


This morning we fly from Istanbul to Home

 

 

 

 

 

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Discoer Travel Turkey - 2005