IstanbulIstanbul, known as Constantinople until the early 20th century, is a city much immortalized in
art and literature.
Istiklal StreetEnjoy walking and shopping in Istiklal Street, formerly the Grande Rue De Pera. It has stylish
shops, several large Embassies and Churches, many impressive residential buildings and a
scattering of tea shops, cafes and restaurants.
Dinner in a Local Restaurant
Blue MosqueVisit the impressive Blue Mosque also known as the Sultanahmet/Suleymaniye Mosque; this
is the masterpiece of Sinan, the Chief Architect of the Ottoman Empire, and is considered to
be one of the best amongst the Imperial Mosques.
Sunken PalaceExplore the Sunken Palace, a huge 6th century Byzantine cistern that was originally used to
supply water to important parts of Constantinople. Its use continued even into the 15th
century AD when the Ottoman Empire made use of the water collectors.
Hagia SofiaHagia Sofia, originally a Christian basilica erected in 360 AD, is a thousand years older than
St. Peter's in Rome. First a church, then a mosque and now a museum, it is considered to be
the supreme masterpiece of Byzantine architecture.
HippodromeVisit the city's former stadium, which today features a Brazen Column, the
Serpentine Column and an Egyptian Obelisk.
Topkapi PalaceDiscover Topkapi Palace - a luxurious preserve that was the imperial seat of the Ottoman
Empire. The Palace complex is surrounded by three miles of walls and is the oldest and
largest Palace in the world. We will walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul and visit the
elegant little Sokullu Pasa mosque and the hidden underground Theodosian Cistern (or a visit
to Suleymaniye Mosque may be made).
Turkish DinnerThis evening we will enjoy a Turkish Dinner, followed by a spectacular Oriental Show with
belly dancers and folk singers.
Day4Istanbul - Ankara - Cappadocia
Grand BazaarVisit the Grand Bazaar - one of the oldest covered market places in the world. The Bazaar's
labyrinth of tunnels contains over 4,000 shops where all kinds of carpets, trinkets, jewellery
and clothes can be purchased.
Flight from Istanbul to Ankara
AnkaraAnkara was once a Hitite town, then a Roman city, and now is the capital of modern
Museum of Anatolian CivilisationsVisit the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, one of the most important museums in the world,
to explore its collections of artifacts for an in-depth introduction to Hattian, Hitite and
Phyrigian and Assyrian Civilizations. We will also see the excellent collection of relics dating
from the Paleolethic, Neolithic, Calcholitic and Bronze Age eras excavated in some of the
oldest towns of Anatolia.
Continue from Ankara to Cappadocia
CappadociaCappadocia has been referenced by Persian Kings as far back as the sixth century BC. It is
known for its incredible geographical features such as the famous fairy chimneys and
expansive, undulating rock formations.
Goreme and the Open Air
MuseumWhile in Cappadocia we will visit the ancient monastic site of Goreme and the Open Air
Museum, the best known and most visited site of all the monastic settlements in the
Cappadocia region. This steep-sided little valley once housed a thriving monastic community,
living and worshipping in houses and churches cut into the surrounding cliffs. It is also the
largest of the religious complexes, and its churches contain some of the most fascinating of
all the frescoes in Cappadocia. The frescoes in these churches, which date from the 5th to
the 12th centuries, are true masterpieces of Byzantine art.
Uchisar CastleOur day continues with a visit to Uchisar Castle, the highest peak in the region and the most
prominent land formation. We will climb 120 steps to the summit of the fortress, where we
will enjoy spectacular views of the rocky landscapes of Cappadocia.
Kaymakli Underground CityOur afternoon concludes with a visit to the Kaymakli Underground City, a wonderful example
of a functional subterranean complex. The complex, believed to descend 65 feet into the
earth, was home to approximately 15,000 people at a time, with air shafts, water wells and
storage spaces capable of supporting the population for several months. We will enjoy a tour
of the four levels that have been cleared out since 1964, including kitchens, stables, a winery
and a chapel with a confessional.
Day6Konya - Pamukkale
Continue from Cappadocia to PamukkaleWe continue on our journey from Cappadocia to Pamukkale. En route, we will stop and visit
KonyaKonya is the oldest city in Turkey, the capital of the Seljuk Empire and home to the world renowned
sect of the Whirling Dervishes.
Melvana's MausoleumExplore and discover Melvana's Mausoleum, home of the Whirling Dervishes.
Tomb of Celaleddin RumiThe highlight of our trip to the Mevlana Mausoleum is the Tomb of Celaleddin Rumi, founder
of the sect and later awarded the title of Mevlana. The room is highly ornamented with
Islamic script and enameled bas-relief, and contains the tombs of several of the more
important figures of the dervish order.
PamukkalePamukkale has been hailed for millenia as a center of healing due to the carbon-rich hot
springs that have resulted in the formation of white travertine in the area. The travertine
deposits make Pamukkale a beautifully unique place to relax and experience history.
Sacred PoolSwim in the effervescent waters of the Sacred Pool, which is the main source for the springs
feeding the travertines. The pool lies in the center of a lush garden and cay evi (teahouse).
Scattered about at the bottom of the crystal-clear pool is an amazing collection of striated
columns and capitals, a striking reminder of the pool's pedigree. The thermal water maintains
a relatively constant temperature of about 95°F.
HierapolisVisit the impressive remains of the ancient city-spa of Hierapolis, where emperors and kings
weekended around 2,000 years ago. The city of Hierapolis was founded in 190 B.C. by
Eumenes II as part of the great Empire of Pergamum and was probably named after Hiera,
the wife of the legendary founder of Pergamum. Considered a sacred site for the magic of its
healing waters, Hierapolis reached its peak of development under the Romans at the end of
the 2nd and 3rd centuries. During the Byzantine Era, a large church was erected to St. Philip,
who was martyred here in A.D. 80.
Our tour will include the stunning remains of the best preserved
Ancient Theater in Turkey, the Temple of Apollo, the Plutonium, the Martyrium of
St. Philip, the Byzantine Gate; the Colonnaded Street; the monumental Arch of Domitian, and
the Necropolis, stretching for over 1 mile and ending at the northern entrance to the site.
Day8Pamukkale - Kusadasi
Travel from Pamukkale to KusadasiToday we travel from Pamukkale to Kusadasi. En route, we will stop and visit Aphrodisias.
AphrodisiasVisit the ancient remains at Aphrodisias, the best-preserved example of a Hellenistic
civilization in Turkey. It is commonly believed that the cult of the mother goddess was central
to the origins of Aphrodisias and as early as the 1st century BC it was recognized as a
sacred sanctuary, and was awarded special privileges that began with Julius Caesar and
lasted through the end of the Roman Empire. Aphrodisias is still undergoing excavations,
compliments of New York University, and the site covers an area of 1,284 acres. Highlights of
our tour will include the Temple of Aphrodite, built around the 1st century BC; the immense
Stadium of Aphrodisias, an elongated oval, which rivals in grandeur the stadium of Pompeii;
the truly Olympic-size Pool; the Theater; the Portico of Tiberius; and the Baths of Hadrian.
EphesusEphesus is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world. Long considered by the
ancients as the ideal city, all wanted to see Ephesus at least once in his/her lifetime. It was
founded at the end of the old Silk Road, where the merchants from east and west used to
meet and has always been coveted by different conquerors because of its location.
Tour of EphesusWe will visit many sites in Ephesus, beginning with the Temple of Diana, one of the Seven
Wonders of the Ancient World. Our tour includes the Forum, the Odeon, the Fountain of
Trajan, the Temple of Hadrian, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika and the Great Theatre, built
in the Greek era and reconstructed in the Roman period. Our tour will conclude along the
Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession.
Church of the Virgin MaryOur afternoon visit will include a trip to the Church of the Virgin Mary, originally used as a
Roman mercantile center but later converted to a basilica in the 4th century. The church
played an important role in the evolution of Christianity in two ways: as the first to take
Mary's name and secondly as the site of two important ecumenical councils in 431 and 449,
in which the natures of Christ and Mary were hotly disputed.
Mt. KoressosVisit the humble Chapel which lies on the site of the little house where the
Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her final days. Despite many controversies, the
Christian World still favors this belief and the Vatican has officially sanctioned the site for
Day10Kusadasi - Canakkale
Continue from Kusadasi to CanakkaleWe continue on our journey from Kusadasi to Canakkale. En route, we will visit Izmir and
IzmirIzmir (the ancient and medieval city of Smyrna) is the third most populous city of Turkey and
the country's largest port after Istanbul.
Archaeology MuseumWhile in Izmir, we will visit the Archaeology Museum, highlighted by the Treasury, which
houses gold jewelry dating from the 6th to 3rd centuries BC and offers ample proof of ancient
artistic talent. The museum also features Roman and Byzantine silver and gold coins as well
as artifacts from the Bayrakli Mound.
PergamonVisit the ancient remains of Pergamon, perched on a hilltop of the modern city of Bergama.
Enjoy a guided tour of the remains, highlighted by the City Walls; the Temple of Trajan, built
in white marble; the Library Ruins, which once housed 200,000 parchment scrolls; the Altar of
Zeus, whose altar was rebuilt in Berlin; the Upper Agora; and the Theater, constructed in the
3rd century BC.
CanakkaleCanakkale is one of the only cities aside from Istanbul that has land in both Europe and Asia.
Evidence of human activity in the area dates as far back as 6000 BC. It is also the largest
city near the ancient site of Troy.
Day11Canakkale - Istanbul
Continue from Canakkale to InstanbulWe continue on our journey from Canakkale to Istanbul. En route we will stop and visit Troy.
TroyThis morning we will visit Troy, the pivot of Homer's Iliad and the site of the decade-long
Trojan War. We will take a tour of the site known as Hisarlick, where we will view a defensive
wall, two sanctuaries from the 8th century, houses from various periods, a Roman Theater
and the Pillar House, thought to be the palace of King Priam.
Trojan HorseWe will also view the Trojan Horse, which is a reconstruction of the device used by the
Greeks to deceive and ultimately vanquish the Trojans.
Boat Trip on the Istanbul StraitEnjoy a boat trip on the Bosphorus, or Istanbul Strait.