When the main concern of the human being was to continue their species through reproduction and make best of the nature for production, Mother Goddess was the symbol of existence. When self sustainability and self sufficiency was no longer the motto of the societies, the God of War replaced the honored position of the Mother. But the "mother" never disappeared. Her presence can be felt in the land, in the woman and at the sites of her homeland, Anatolia. Two weeks devoted to nine millennia of women's traditions in Anatolia from worship of the Great Mother to the Mediterranean Goddesses, from Christianity to Islam!
Inspired by informative talks by two outstanding Institute Leaders, participants will make daily excursions to well-known Goddess sites AND to newly-discovered sites well off the beaten path PLUS experience immersion in women's lives, crafts and culture - ancient and contemporary. And, as part of this extraordinary Institute, participants will share the life-changing experiences of community building, re-creation, and celebration of women's cultural heritage and spirituality. This tour will be offered upon request from a group.
Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul. Depending on which flight you might be taking the last plane in will be at 3:00 PM arriving from the USA so the group will meet at 5.00 PM in the lobby of the hotel. Short introduction to what we are doing on that day. Visit the Blue Mosque before dinner. Dinner at an old Istanbul house in the neighbrhood of the Blue Mosque (Dinner is included). Overnight at Hotel Ayasofya.
Day 2: (Mara teaching at St. Sophia 20 minutes). Start at 0845 visit the Cistern, Turkish Islamic art Museum the rich ethnographic display in the museum will be used to interpret the role of the Turkish women in different socioeconomic communities in Turkey- the nomad, town, village and city women. The quiet surrounding of the museum will be used for an introduction to the History of Anatolia using the history of the city of Istanbul After lunch we will visit St. Sophia (We will have 20 minute of Mara's teaching on St. Sophia - the wisdom followed by a visit the museum of St. Sophia) Topkapi Palace.
In Topkapi palace we will see the Harem of the palace and try to understand the institution of Harem and the role it played in the History of Europe. Before dinner we will have a group meeting to establish a better understanding of the tour and tour members can ask questions about how the tour will be conducted. This tour meeting is very important. It will be great to see all the tour members at the meeting. The dinner will be at a fun local dining area of Istanbul Dinner/lunch is included.
Day 3: We will start the day at 09.00. After the Covered Bazaar we will visit the church of Chora which is a very unique museum of Mosaics from the 12th century depicting the role of Virgin Mary as the mother of God with the emphasis on her being mother rather than Jesus being the God. The tour members will be on their own for lunch at the 19th century neighborhood of Istanbul we will meet at 03:30 PM at the Pera Palas hotel where Agatha Christie wrote her famous book "The Murder on the Orient Express."
We will get a chance to visit her museum room and go to the Spice Market the last stop of the Silk Road before the riches of the East were distributed to Europe. At 17.00 we will take our private boat and cruise in the Bosphorous towards the Black Sea. Dinner will be on the Asian side of Istanbul. We will take the night train to Ankara 2 people in one compartment their luggage will travel with them. Lunch is not included. Dinner is included.
Day 4: Mara will give us an introduction of the goddesses before the touring of the museum. We will visit the Anatolian civilizations museum. We will learn about the evolution of man kind following their ability to control nature. We will understand how the importance of the cult of the mother goddesses is very closely related to economic system of the community. The museum will give us a good insight to various different civilizations of Anatolia and how they had interpreted the role of women in their communities.
After lunch we will visit the Mausoleum of the founder of our republic to have a better understanding of the modern Turkey. We will drive for 3 hours to Konya. For part of the ride the tour members will introduce themselves and will talk about why they have chosen to come to Turkey on this tour so that the tour can be tailored to their expectation when possible. Over night at Sifa Hotel At night we will have a music recital with Turkish instruments. Lunch and Dinner included.
Day 5: Mara's lectures in Catalhoyuk/Rituals/Dancing. This will be the longest day on the tour We will start the day at 08:00. At the near by mosque using the mosque as an auditorium we will learn about Rumi. We will leave for Catalhoyuk at 10:00 We will arrive at Catalhoyuk at 11:15 We can have rituals, teachings at the site picnic will be available so if the group decide to spend long time there (Physically there is not much to see it takes 45 minutes to walk around the site) we can use as much time as they wish. We need to leave the site by 2.30 PM. Drive over the Toros Mountains. Overnight at Antalya at a 200 year old beautiful house in the old city of Antalya, picnic lunch. Woman in community meeting at the hotel in Antalya. Dinner served in the garden of the hotel included.
Day 6: Drive to Side Perge And Aspendos. At Perge on the main street we can see the columns adorned with the images of Artemis. The group can do their rituals and studies at the site .If the tour members can prepare a dance or a song that they would like to perform in Aspendos, we can have a little time for our individual performance. We will be at the best preserved roman theater that we have in Turkey in Side which is a very terribly touristic town there is good swimming. We will try to avoid seeing the tourists but enjoy a good lunch and 1 hour of swimming For those who are not interested in swimming we have a great museum that they can go and a fabulous ancient site to visit. We will finish the day with a great experience in a Turkish Bath. Lunch in Side. Dinner on your own. Woman in community presentation. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 7: We will have a full day on a gullet. Lunch will be served on the boat. We will go swimming We will have a great superb location for a ritual in the ruins of Olympos. If the tour members are willing to have a more private place than Aspendos for performing in a superb setting they can use this theater and its excellent surrounding for a great spiritual experience. We will finish our boat ride in Phasalis which is a stunning little Roman City on the Mediterranean. Dinner will be on your own. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 8: Drive north to Pamukkale visit the Nomads en route. Observe the matriarchal nature of the nomad women. Swim in the natural pool of the hot springs of Hierapolis. Overnight in Pamukkale. Woman in community.
Day 9: Drive to Aphrodisias. Visit the museum and the site. Picnic lunch free time at the site for tour members to enjoy the site on their own and have rituals at the Temple of Aphrodite. For those who prefer a guided tour Meli will try to bring her favorite city alive. Overnight at Selcuk at Hotel Kalehan. Picnic lunch and dinner included.
Day 10: Metropolis and Notion Colophon Temple of Aappollo and Leto. Very leisurely day. Visit to unknown new excavations. Visit the new excavated site Metropolis which was the cult center for the Mother goddess Artemis. Visit Notion for the temple of Athena picnic lunch and visit the temple of Apollo and his mother Leto.Swim in the Aegean. Overnight at Selcuk at Hotel Kalehan. Lunch and dinner included.
Day 11: Visit the local Market of Tire see lots of hand crafts. Lunch at a very beautiful place opportunity to have a ritual. Free time in Kusadasi Swimming, Shopping. Overnight in Kusadasi. Dinner on your own.
Day 12: Mara will teach about the Oracles. The oracle center where the women oracles changed the history with their prophesies The temple of Athena-Prienne. The temple of Artemis - Magnesia ad Meandros. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 13: Visit Ephesus Museum, The Temple of Artemis and the grand city of Ephesus If the site is open to Public in the evening an evening ritual at the library of Ephesus. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 14: The tour is over after breakfast.
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