Day 1: Arrival at Diyarbakir airport where you will be met by your private guide and driver. Visit Diyarbakir famous for its fortress and walls believed to be built by the Hurrians. The walls are the second most extensive walls in the world after the great Wall of China. One can trace back twelve different civilizations from inscriptions on these massive constructions. If you wish you can visit the ruins of the Armenian church and or the orthodox Christian church of the Chaldeans mentioned in the bible.
Continue on to Hasankeyf where you can have lunch in a cave restaurant on the banks of the river Tigris. Visit Hasankeyf castle, then depart on to Midyat, where you will have a chance to see the typical Syrian houses. Travel through the green Mesopotamian landscape to the Monastery of Mor Gabriel, the oldest still functioning Christian monastery in the world founded in 397 AD. Visit the cloister and the church, where you can view original manuscripts written in ancient Aramaic language. Continue on to Mardin. Dinner and overnight in Mardin in a typical hotel with local charm.
Day 2: After breakfast walking tour on the old brick roads of Mardin, then visit to the Deyrul Zafaran Syrian Ortodox Monastery. Departure to Sanliurfa. En route stop at the cave that according to legend gave shelter to biblical Job. Visit his grave in Eyyup Nebi, the venerable Prophets Village hosting the tombs of Job, his wife Rahime and the Prophet Elyasa. Continue on to Sogmatar a renowned center of a Babylonian and Assyrian cult in which the Moon, the Sun and the planets were considered sacred. The seven ruined constructions situated above the hills to the west and northwest of the Sacred Hill are temples representing the planets.
The order followed in the construction of these temples is matched with the position of the planets in ancient times.Travel to the biblical city of Harran renowned for its conic domed houses, medieval castle and an ancient university. In the famous "Harran School" Sabian, Christian and Moslim scholars could carry on their studies freely and translate the ancient Greek scripts to Syriac and Aramaic. Among these famous scholars are Cabir Bin Hayyam who is considered the father of the atomic theory (722-776 AD) and Battani who calculated the correct distance from the Earth to the Moon (850-926 AD). Dinner and overnight in Sanliurfa.
Day 3: Tour of Sanliurfa the biblical Ur of the Chaldeans located between the Euprathes and the Tigris rivers, a city that has been inhabited since the dawn of human kind. It is believed that Abraham, the father of prophets was born in Sanliurfa, whose citadel was the scene of his struggle with King Nimrud and whose lake was created from the flames in which Abraham was supposed to burn. Abraham is claimed by three world religions as a recognized prophet of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Visit the cave where he was born and the lake with the sacred fish pool, as well as the fortress that overlooks these holly sites. Continue on to the Ataturk Dam located 20 km from Sanliurfa. Departure for Mount Nemrut via Adiyaman, once important center of the Kommagane kingdom. Continue up to Mount Nemrut, the fabulous archeological site, located 2150 meters high, a surviving testament to the magnificence of the Kommagane kings. Walk up to the famous tumulus (burial mound) and hierothesion of King Antiochus I of Kommangane who ruled from 69 to 36 BC, heroically resisting the annexation of his kingdom by the mighty Roman Empire.
This mausoleum has a very distinguished feature; sun rises and sets from the foot level of the gigantic sculptures. Walk around the well-preserved colossal statues of the Greek-Persian cult established by the Kommagane rulers. The heads of the deities have toppled over onto the ground in the intervening centuries. Their finely sculpted facial features are striking examples of the idealized late Hellenistic style fused into harmony by Persian elements. The highlight of your tour is to watch sunset with champagne glass in your hands from the summit where the gods reside. Overnight at Kahta.
Day 4: After breakfast visit the Karakus Tumulus of the Kommagane royal ladies, Cendere Roman Bridge, Yeni Kale Kommagane fortress with the Nymph river and Arsemia on the Euphrates, the antique sacred settlement. The rest of our journey will take us on the ancient Silk Road to Rumkale, the ancient castle city of Hromgla surrounded by an artificial lake that was created by the construction of the dam. With its strategic position overlooking the passages of the Euphrates, Rumkale has been inhabited since Assyrian times. It is considered a sacred place of Christianity where St. John the Apostle copied the drafts of the New Testament and hid them among the castle walls.
Visit the church of the great Saint Nerses the Graceful, who served the Armenian people as Patriarch from his headquarters in Hromcla in the 12th century. "He was a great man of God, with strong faith and deep love. Saint Nerses had a special gift for reconciling and peace making between different peoples. It is his moral presence, and also the place where his remains were committed, which make this site holy and special for pilgrims," The ancient ruins will shiver you with their awesome look. You will share the feelings that St. John felt in his room at the end of a secret corridor that can be reached through the spiral well. Overnight in Gaziantep.
Day 5: After breakfast tour of Gaziantep including a visit to the local museum with its beautiful Roman mosaics excavated from Zeugma Antique Site.In the historical Tepebasi district, fine examples of mid-nineteenth-century southeastern Anatolian Architecture may seem an incongruous feature of this once-wealthy trading center in southeastern Turkey, but are only one of many elements in a well-preserved example of cultural and religious integration in the late Ottoman Empire. The missionary hospital and school constructed at the request of Tepebasi's merchants still stand alongside a collection of synagogues, Mosques, and Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches in the historical district of Gaziantep.
At the center of the district is the Millet Hanı, the largest and grandest of the city's hans, or travel lodges, featuring kitchens, animal stalls, and guestrooms that welcomed both wealthy merchants and refugees. During World War I, Tepebasi was a destination for Armenian refugees, whose craftsmanship is still visible in intricate Ironwork, carved stone arches and columns, basalt ornamentation, and colorfully tiled courtyard fountains. Sightseeing tour and free time for shopping in the Copper and Mother of Pearl Workshop Bazaar. Dinner at a traditional restaurant (extra cost). A large, rich, delicious varity of kebaps and deserts will be served. Overnight at Gaziantep.
Day 6. After breakfast transfer to the airport. End of services.
Also see tour packages in:
Middle East Turkey History Whiz Archeology/History
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