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3 Hours Before Flight Time
Explore the timeless region of Southern Turkey with its labyrinth of ancient civilization and cultures. Rich in Biblical importance, archaeological sites and fascinating ruins, this centuries old land will provide a major insight into the history and peoples of this diverse country. Visit the lunar landscape and rock-hewn churches of Cappadocia, experience the spectacular sunrise at the Nemrut Mountain with the famous god statues of King Antiochus. Journey south to the ancient city of Sanliurfa; the Old Testament home of the Prophet Abraham, and the beehive homes of Harran, the oldest inhabited settlement in the world. Have meals in traditional villages, visit nomadic camps and enjoy the hospitality and charm that is so unique to Turkish people.
Arrive in Istanbul Atatürk airport where your guide will meet you and assist you with your transfer to hotel. After checking in and freshening up, we highly recommend that you take a good rest, both because of the jet lag and also because you will be starting on your wonderful trip of Turkey early the following morning. You will meet your traveling companions over dinner at a traditional restaurant in the Kumkapi district, accompanied by gipsy music. Overnight Istanbul (D)
Today a morning flight from Istanbul will bring us to Kayseri. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your Hotel in Cappadocia. After check-in we will visit the Göreme open Air Museum and the troglodyte village of Cavusin as well as the Pasabagi Fairy Chimneys, and visit the village of Avanos, famous for its pottery artisans. Visit Ortahisar, a typical Cappadocian village and enjoy a panoramic view over the Cappadocian lunar landscape from the Rose Valley. Overnight Cappadocia (B/L/D)
A full day traveling through the Pancarlik Valley to visit the cultural sites of Cappadocia; Visit the village of Mustafa pasha (Sinasos), renowned for its excellent Ottoman and Greek architecture. We continue to Taskinpasa Caravanserai, and Sahnefendi before arriving at the remote village of Guzeloz with its many Byzantine period rock tombs enjoy a leisurely hike through exploring the Armenian style churches and monastery ruins. We continue to the Soganli Valley also known as the ‘Valley of Dolls’. Also pay a visit to the fascinating multilevel underground city of Derinkuyu, an absolute highlight of the region. Overnight Cappadocia (B/L/D)
Cross the scenic Taurus Mountains and continue the journey along the plains of Mesopotamia for the destination of the day at Nemrut Dagi. Overnight Nemrut mountain hotel (B/D)
Early morning departure for the spectacular sunrise over the stone heads and god statues of the pre Roman King Antiochus, continue to a 14th Century castle at Eski Kale and a magnificent 3rd Century Roman bridge. Pass through the plains of Mesopotamia and the giant Ataturk Dam that tames the Euphrates River and enter the biblical town of Sanliurfa. Overnight Sanliurfa (B/D)
Travel in the morning to the beehive houses of Harran; reputed to be the oldest continually inhabited community in the world. Return to Sanliurfa and explore the fascinating sites of this Old Testament town, the Sacred Carp Pools of Abraham, his birth cave and then the exquisite mosque complex, the fortress and the most traditional covered bazaar. Afternoon is free to explore Sanliurfa at leisure. Overnight Sanliurfa (B/D)
Follow ancient historic trade routes to the Ottoman City of Gaziantep. Visit the Emperor Justinian citadel and walk amongst the bustling neighborhoods featuring local traditional old wooden houses. Continue along the ancient silk route to Antakya or Antioch of Biblical times. Overnight Antakya (B/D)
Antakya is believed to be the place where the word “Christian ” was first pronounced by St. Peter in the famous cave church. This town is now a rich blend of Arabic and Turkish cultures. Visit the Mosaic Museum, reputed to house the finest collection of Roman Mosaics in the world. Then continue to the coastal ruins of Seleucra and Piera, once the holiday retreat of Roman Emperors. Overnight Antakya (B/D)
A leisurely drive to Iskenderun, named after Alexander the Great, before traveling on to Adana. Visit the magnificent Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Caravansary and “Fortress of the Genies” before entering the less known Karatepe National Park. Once the summer retreat of Hittite Kings, the extant ruins date from the 13th Century BC. Continue to the ancient Roman capital of Anazarbus, a magnificent Roman hilltop fortress city. Overnight Adana (B/D)
Early morning transfer to Adana airport for the flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival in Istanbul, we get aboard a private boat for a cruise up the strait of Bosphorus, passing half a dozen Ottoman imperial palaces, traditional Yalis (waterside villas) and shore villages. Disembark at Sariyer for lunch at a seaside restaurant. Then drive south, and stop to visit the Castle of Rumeli Hisar and the sumptuous imperial Dolmabahce Palace. Overnight Istanbul (B/L/D)
Start your day by visiting the magnificent Haghia Sophia, and then continue to the marvelous Topkapi palace, that served as the palace of the Ottoman Sultans between the 16th and 19th centuries. Optional visits: to the Treasury, where the extensive exhibits include priceless world-class collections of jewelry, porcelain, textiles and costumes of the Sultans, as well as to the Harem quarters, which is an absolute highlight. Have lunch in one of the special traditional restaurants in Topkapi. Then we continue to visit the famous Blue Mosque, the Byzantine Hippodrome and the incredible Underground Cistern. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight Istanbul (B/L)
Today, accompanied by your escorting guide you explore the Grand Bazaar (Kapalıcarsi), the world’s oldest “shopping mall“, to look for treasures in its 4000 shops and then dive into the colorful sights, vibrant sounds and intriguing scents of the Egyptian Market (Spice Bazaar). Return to your hotel and in the evening, enjoy a traditional farewell dinner. Overnight Istanbul (B/L/D)
Free morning for last minute shopping; time permits, before transfer to Istanbul airport for departure to ongoing destinations. (B)