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PROPOSED ITINERARY

FULLY ESCORTED 18 DAY TOUR


DAY 1 ARRIVE STANBUL
Arrive at stanbul Atatrk International Airport where we meet our professional Turkish guide and driver. After an introductory tour, we will be transferred to our hotel for a welcome meeting, dinner and overnight. (D)
 
DAY 2 STANBUL - ANKARA CAPPADOCIA
   Early breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for our Turkish Airlines flight to Ankara, the administrative capital of Turkey. We visit the award winning Museum of Anatolian Civilizations with its rich collection of artifacts dating as far back as the Stone Age. After lunch, proceed by coach for the start of our tour through Anatolia to Cappadocia, the fairy chimney wonderland. We check-in to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B.D)
 
DAY 3  CAPPADOCIA
After a breakfast at the hotel, we visit Camel Valley and Paaba where one can best see the fairy chimneys. We will explore this spectacular landscape incorporating Gremes Open Air Museum with its cave churches and abundance of frescoes, and then the pottery town of Avanos. Return to Ottoman House for dinner and overnight. Tonight a Turkish Folk night with dinner . (B.D)
 
DAY 4 CAPPADOCIA ADANA
After breakfast we visit the amazing underground city of Kaymakl. Departure leads us further into biblical times as we visit Tarsus, the birthplace of St Paul (also claimed to be the meeting place of Cleopatra & Mark Antony). In the surrounds we visit Cleopatras Gate, the Well of St Paul, Tarsus waterfalls and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers.
On arrival in Adana, check-in at Seyhan Spa Hotel for dinner and overnight.  (B.D)
 
DAY 5 ADANA HATAY (ANTIOCH)
After breakfast, before our drive to Hatay (Antioch), we visit the Sabanc Mosque, a fine example of modern Turkish architecture. Our visits today will include the St Peters Grotto where, in this natural cave, St Peter gathered the first Christian community around him; the Archaeological Museum, famous for its important collections of mosaics including those from Zeugma, then a drive to Seleucia ad Piera to see the massive diversion tunnels dug by the Roman emperors Titus and Vespasianus to protect both the harbour from silting up and also to protect the fertile plain from being flooded by the waters of the Orontes River.
Late afternoon we explore the old streets of Antioch before dinner and overnight at Byk Antakya Hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 6 HATAY - KAHTA
After early breakfast we commence our drive to Kahta where we check-in to our hotel. En route we pass the still in use, Roman, Cendere Bridge and Karaku, said to be the funeral mound of Antiochuss wife. From Kahta we drive to the top of Nemrut Da where the colossus of the gods of antiquity lie scattered at the artificial summit, a legacy of King Antiochuss delusions of grandeur. We watch the sunset from Nemruts summit - a coat, blanket and torch will be necessary for increased comfort.
A late dinner and overnight at Zeus Hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 7 KAHTA ANLIURFA
Following breakfast at the hotel, we drive to anlurfa. En route we visit the village of Harran with its beehive-like dwellings. The location has strong biblical links as, according to the book of Genesis, the prophet Abraham lived in Harran on his way from Ur to Canaan. In anlurfa visits to the El Rahman Mosque with its fabled carp pools and the Castle for great views are included. Well also stroll through the colourful Urfa Bazaar (Bedesten).
Dinner and overnight at the El-Ruha Hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 8 ANLIURFA - MARDN
Breakfast at the hotel. Today we travel on to Mardin, Turkeys most Arab influenced city and the centre of an important community of Syrian Orthodox Christians, the Jacobites. Church services here are still conducted in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke. We visit the Syrian Orthodox monastery complex of Deyr-ul-Zaferan, the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch until the 1920s. In the afternoon we will visit Sultan Kasim Medrese. It was built in 1385 and is one of the best examples of Artukid craftsmanship. On to the Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque) and Mardins current Post office a fine example of a recently abondoned extended family home. Dinner and overnight at Erdoba Evleri. (B.D)
 
DAY 9 MARDN DYARBAKIR
Today we travel to Midyat where we see silver smiths at work in the old town.Then a visit to Mar Gabriel, a working Syrian Orthodox Monastery before continuing on to stunning Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris river. Here the Tigris river passes through a narrow defile and is under threat of being dammed and Hasankeyf, consequently, flooded. We visit the 15th century Zeyn El-Abdin Turbesi, said to be the most Persian influenced monument in Turkey with its turquoise glazed tiles and red brick. Onwards through northern Mesopotamia to Diyarbakr, one of the oldest cities on earth, situated on the Tigris flood plain. Here we visit Ulu Cami, constructed in 639AD making it one of Turkeys earliest Muslim places of worship. We see a section of the 6km long, basalt, city walls overlooking the Tigris. These walls are second in length only to The Great Wall of China. Finally we see the Drt Ayakl Minare (Four-Legged Minaret), the last Akkoyun monument before the Ottomans reign, and the Armenian Keldani Church.
 Dinner and overnight at Dedeman Hotel (B.D)
 
DAY 10 DYARBAKIR VAN
An early start sees us on our way to Van, Turkeys largest lake, via Silvan, Bitlis and Tatvan. We pass the beautiful Artukid built Malabadi Bridge with its enormous single arch and built-in rooms used for stopovers by Caravansary. A visit to the expansive Seljuk cemetery at Geva with its fine examples of Seljuk headstones.
Dinner and overnight at ahmeran Hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 11 VAN
After breakfast at the hotel we visit Van Castle the headquarter of the Urartians a good opportunity to see an authentic Carpet Weaving village .We then have a 45 minute drive and a 2km boat trip on Lake Van to visit the Church of  the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. Dinner and overnight at ahmeran Hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 12  VAN DOUBEYAZIT
Following breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Doubeyazt. On the way we get views of Mt Ararat (Ar Da). Few mountains west of the Himalayas have as compelling a hold on western imagination. We visit shak Paa Palace nestled in a high valley above Doubeyazt and then continue on to the second largest meteorite crater in the world. Enjoy the spectacular view of Mt Ararat from our hotel.
Dinner  and overnight at Doubeyazts Sim-Er Hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 13 DOUBEYAZIT KARS
After breakfast we will set out for Kars with its Russian influenced architecture and city plan. The distance is comfortable and we will visit the ancient city of Ani on the Armenian border before checking-in to our hotel.
Dinner  and overnight at Sim-Er Hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 14  KARS ERZURUM
Following breakfast at the hotel we drive to the almost 2000m above sea-level city of Erzurum (Turkeys highest). We visit the ifte Minare Medrese built in 1253 by the Seljuk Sultan as a koranic academy; the Ulu Mosque constructed in 1179 and rebuilt in 1939 after an earthquake; Yakutiye Medrese as an example of the Mongol influence dating back to 1308; and the Lala Mustafa Paa Mosque built in 1563 at the time of Suleiman the Magnificent and said to be designed and constructed by the most famous of all Turkish architects, Mimar Sinan. We also visit the citadel which originally was constructed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I (378-395AD).
Dinner and overnight Palan hotel. (B.D)
 
DAY 15  ERZURUM TRABZON
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Trabzon via Bayburt and visit the Sumela Monastery, clinging to the almost perpendicular cliff some 273m above the Altndere valley near Maka. Trabzon (or Trebizond) lies in the Eastern Black Sea Region. Founded in the 8th Century BC, it was one of the most prominent active Byzantine Christian worship centres in Turkey. Trabzon is full of ancient history and places of invaluable historical importance. We have time to visit the romantically set, Byzantine, Church of Haghia Sophia with its wealth of frescoes that will delight all.                                
Check in at Zorlu Hotel for dinner and overnight. (B.D)
 
DAY 16 TRABZON - STANBUL
After breakfast transfer to Trabzon airport for our Turkish Airlines flight to stanbul. On arrival we proceed to our hotel for check-in. Today we explore on foot, Sultanahmets famous and ancient monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman period. Our visits include the world famous Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome once a place for chariot races, Yerebatan Cistern and Haghia Sophia the biggest church in Christendom until 1453 .The Grand Bazaar a dizzy atmosphere with many shops and the Spice Bazaar with its abundance of Turkish Delight and aromatic spices.
Return to the hotel Yamak Sultan. Dinner at Masal Restaurant (B.D)
 
DAY 17 STANBUL
Following breakfast we take a cruise between the shores of the Bosphorus  which are lined with palaces and stately homes from bygone eras. Aftering disembarking, we explore the vast grounds and museums of Topkap Palace the centre of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 4 centuries (B.D)
                               
DAY 18  STANBUL
We today enjoy a nostalgic trip of stanbul starting with Dolmabahe Palace, a late residence of the Ottoman dynasty following the abandonment of Topkap Palace . We then take a walk through Taksim, stiklal Street and Beyolu the centres of modern entertainment and culture - ending our day at the Galata Tower with its breathtaking views of stanbul. (B.D)  
 
DAY 19 DEPART STANBUL
      Leisurely breakfast at hotel.
     Time for some last minute shopping, sightseeing or just generally relaxing before transferring to airport. (B.D)
 

 

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