This tour captures the essence of Turkish culture and heritage - a delectable blend of art, tradition, and history. It is the only tour which visits all 10 of Turkey's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Nights: 22
- Language: English
- Visits: Ankara-Safranbolu-Amasya-Hattusa-Cappadocia-Sivas-Divrigi-Nemrut Dag-Gobeklitepe-Harran-Zeugma-Antioch-Tarsus-Konya-Pamukkale-Aphrodisias-Sagalassos-Antalya-Xanthos-Fethiye-Caunos-Ephesus-Sardis-Pergamum-Assos-Troy-Edirne-Istanbul
- Departure Dates: Saturday
- Start: Ankara
- Finish: Istanbulcappadocia balloun tour
- Category: 4 Star & Spec
Day 1, Saturday (D): Arrival to Ankara. Upon arrival, meet your representative and transfer to your hotel. Attend briefing about your journey before the group dinner. Overnight.
Day 2, Sunday 143 mi (BLD): Ankara - Safranbolu. Explore Ankara, the nation's capital since 1923. Visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizationsnemrut mountain with its rich collection from the Hittite, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman periods; Arslanhane Mosque from 13th century; Ankara Citadel with its narrow streets; and the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey. In the afternoon, drive to Safranbolu. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3, Monday 236 mi (BLD): Safranbolu - Amasya. Cultural Heritage Day:
From the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East-West trade route. The Old Mosque, Old Bath and Süleyman Pasha Medrese were built in 1322. During its apogee in the 17th century, Safranbolu's architecture influenced urban development throughout much of the Ottoman Empire. Stroll this museum town to discover the Cinci Caravanserai, Kaymakamlar Kiosk, Izzet Pasha Mosque, Clock Tower, and Kazdaglioglu Mosque, as well as bazaars (blacksmiths and shoemakers). Lunch at the village Yoruk famous for its old houses Drive to Amasya to see its impressive remains. Appreciate the special architectural features of old mansions (konak). Marvel at the Ancient Castle, the Pontic Kings' tombs, and Gok Medrese, as well as Torumtay Turbesi (Seljuk mausoleum with Mongol mummies). Visit the medieval mental hospital Ilhanli Bimarhane, and the beautifully landscaped Sultan Beyazit Mosque. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4, Tuesday 266 mi (BLD): Istanbul kiz kulesi. Amasya - Hattusa - Cappadocia. Drive to Bogazkoy. After lunch, visit Hattusa, Hittite capital in the second millennium BC. Discover the city's Lion Gate, Great Temple, Walls, Royal Gate, and Tunnel. Continue to Yazilikaya, a rock sanctuary decorated with reliefs of deities of the Hittite pantheon. Continue to Cappadocia. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5, Wednesday 40 mi (BLD): Cappadocia. Take a full day to discover Cappadocia. Visit the Goreme Valley, an open-air museum with rock-hewn churches (7th-13th c.) adorned with biblical frescoes. Marvel at the cave dwellings and fairy chimneys. At a handicraft center, learn about the arts of rural Turkey and watch a demonstration of rug weaving. Tour an Underground City, a multi-level labyrinth for protection during invasions. Take photos at Uchisar and Avcilar, magnificent vista points. Admire the impressive rock formations at sunset. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6, Thursday 170 mi (BLD): Cappadocia - Kayseri - Sivas. Drive to Kayseri, ancient Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia region. Visit Honat Hatun Mosque from Seljuk period and make a picture stop in front of Selcuk Kumbets, funerary monuments from the 13th century. Continue to Sivas, an important trade city in medieval Anatolia. In this old Seljuk city, see the Buruciye Medresesi; the Ulu Mosque; Kursunlu Han; Tas Han; and the intricately carved façade of the Sifaiye Medresesi. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7 Friday 277 mi (BLD): Sivas - Divrigi - Kahta (Nemrut). Cultural Heritage Day:
Drive to Divrigi to see the complex built in the 13th c. by Emir Ahmet Shah, ruler of the Seljuk Mengucek Emirate (Beylik). Admire the exquisite geometric and floral reliefs of the Great Ulu Mosque and its hospital, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to Kahta in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight.
Day 8 Saturday 150 mi (BLD): Kahta - Mount Nemrut - Gobeklitepe - Urfa. Early morning, ascend Mount Nemrut to explore the site where King Antiochus I of Commagene erected a sanctuary of huge statues in the 1st C BC. Return to Kahta for lunch. In the afternoon, drive to Urfa, the ancient city where Abraham allegedly spent several years. On the road, make a stop at Gobeklitepe to investigate the recent discovery of the oldest temple in the world. Dinner and overnight.
Day 9, Sunday 146 mi (BLD): Urfa - Harran - Gaziantep. In Urfa, visit Abraham's Caves and Balikli Gol, a large carp-filled pool reflecting mosques. Drive to Harran to see beehive houses with cone-shaped roofs. Return to Urfa for lunch. In the afternoon, drive to Gaziantep. On the road, we'll make a picture stop for the ancient city of Zeugma, partially covered by the dam water. At the Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep, admire magnificent mosaics from Roman era discovered at Zeugma. Dinner and overnight.
Day 10 Monday 233 mi (BLD): Gaziantep - Antioch - Adana. Travel to Antakya, ancient Antioch, where the disciples of Jesus were first called "Christians." After lunch, visit the Mosaic Museum, which displays one of the richest collections of Roman and Byzantine mosaics in the world. Tour the Grotto of St. Peter (designated by the Vatican as a place of pilgrimage) where the Apostle Peter allegedly preached. Drive through the Plain of Issus (Dörtyol) where Alexander the Great crushed the Persian army of Darius III and Crusaders built the Fortress of Toprakkale. Continue to Tarsus, birthplace of St. Paul. Visit St Paul's Well, Ulu Cami Mosque, and Eski Mosque, as well as the Gate of Cleopatra. (Note that Mark Anthony allied with Cleopatra VII in Tarsus.) In the evening, arrive in Adana for dinner and overnight.
Day 11, Tuesday 261 mi (BLD): Adana - Silifke - Konya. Cultural Heritage Day: Drive to Silifke. En route, visit the Roman-Byzantine city of Kanlidivane with its enormous red-walled chasm. Stop at Kizkalesi, see the "Fortress of the Beauty" built on an island off in the distance. Drive high (3,700 ft.) in the Taurus Mountains to admire Alahan Monastery, an excellent example of early Byzantine architecture (tentatively a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Travel to the holy city of Konya, capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum (11th-13th c.). Dinner and overnight. Drive to Silifke. En route, visit the Roman-Byzantine city of Kanlidivane with its enormous red-walled chasm. Stop at Kizkalesi, see the "Fortress of the Beauty" built on an island off in the distance.
Drive high (3,700 ft.) in the Taurus Mountains to admire Alahan Monastery, an excellent example of early Byzantine architecture (tentatively a UNESCO Drive to Silifke. En route, visit the Roman-Byzantine city of Kanlidivane with its enormous red-walled chasm. Stop at Kizkalesi, see the "Fortress of the Beauty" built on an island off in the distance. Drive high (3,700 ft.) in the Taurus Mountains to admire Alahan Monastery, an excellent example of early Byzantine architecture (tentatively a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Travel to the holy city of Konya, capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum (11th-13th c.). Dinner and overnight.
Day 12, Wednesday 252 mi (BLD): Konya - Pamukkale. Visit the Museum of Mevlana honoring the famous mystic poet who founded the Sufi Order of the Whirling Dervishes; Alaaddin Mosque from 13th century; and Karatay Medresa, today a tile museum. Drive to Pamukkale to admire the unreal landscape at the "Cotton Castle" with its white terraces of limestone deposited by thermal waters through the ages. See the ancient spa still used today at Hierapolis. Discover the necropolis, one of the largest cemeteries of the ancient world. Dinner and overnight.
Day 13, Thursday 256 mi (BLD): Pamukkale - Aphrodisias - Sagalassos - Antalya. Tour Aphrodisias, the ancient site dedicated to the goddess of beauty, love, and fertility. Appreciate Anatolia's best-preserved stadium. At this site which drew artisans to its famous school of sculpture, enjoy the Temple of Aphrodite, the Tetrapylon, the Theater, and the Museum. After lunch, continue to Sagalassos to visit the remains of this Greco-Roman city recently discovered. The site is exceptional for its natural beauty. Drive to Antalya. Dinner and overnight.
Day 14, Friday 60 mi (BLD).
Also see tour packages in:
Middle East Turkey History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey