Myths & Heroes of Asia Minor
Day 01 – ARRIVAL IN ISTANBUL
Arriving at Istanbul Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 02 – FULL DAY ISTANBUL
After breakfast meet your guide at lobby of your hotel and start your day Hippodrome Square, once the sporting and social centre of Constantinople. Visit Blue Mosque known for its Turquoise colored tiles made of quartz minerals. Continue to explore home of the Ottoman Sultans; Topkapi Palace! Tour Harem and Treasury. Next will be Basilica of Saint Sophia built by Justinian the Great during 6th century. Your guide will lead you to the bustling atmosphere of the Spice Market, dating back to the 17th century, but still the most popular bazaar visited by locals to shop for fresh ingredients to spice up the dishes prepared in the kitchens of Istanbul. At the end of your tour, your guide will escort you back to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 03 – ISTANBUL - BURSA
After the breakfast, you will set out from Istanbul and drive partly along the southern shoreline of the Sea of Marmara to Bursa (approx. 3 hours), the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. You will stop en route to visit Iznik (Ancient Nicea), founded in the 4th century BC by the Macedonian King Antigonus I Monophthalmus. Nicea was an important center in late Roman and Byzantine periods. Among a number of important Ottoman edifices you may see upon your arrival in Bursa are the mausoleums of the early Ottoman Sultans, Green Mosque with a beautiful interior decoration of blue and green tiles and Great Mosque. Great Mosque with a total of twenty domes and a fountain was built in 1396 and you will find it unlike any other mosque you may have seen up to now. Bursa, famous for its thermal baths, is also the heart of the country's silk industry with several lively bazaars. One of the oldest market courts is Koza Han, once the major center of Turkey’s silk trade and where you will spend some free time today before carrying on to your hotel. Overnight in Bursa.
Day 04 – BURSA - CANAKKALE
The legendary city of Troy - with nine different layers of occupation revealed during the excavations started in 19th century by Heinrich Schliemann - is approximately a 4-hour scenic ride from Bursa. Observe the ruins of the ancient city that has witnessed the battle of Achilles and Hector, the story of which has been immortalized by the famous historian Homeros in his legend Illiad. The excavations of Troy constitute the beginning of modern study of archaeology. Continue towards the southern regions on the western coastline, famed for its olive oil that is said to be the best in Turkey. The end of the day brings you to Assos, a tranquil fisherman town on the Aegean. Overnight in Canakkale.
Day 05 – CANAKKALE - IZMIR
Drive through the pretty scenery of the fertile fields of the Aegean Region for an excursion to the Greco-Roman city of Pergamon, famous for its remains of the Acropolis as well as Asclepion, the ancient medical center where the father of doctors, Galen, cured patients during the Roman era. Overnight in Izmir.
Day 06 – IZMIR
This morning you will be having your first stop at the remains of Temple of Artemis. Then, you will have a short drive and reach the city of Ephesus where history and archaeology will offer you their majesty with incredible richness. You will be walking on the Marble Road that runs through the city, having various structures resting on it: Temple of Hadrian is a unique beauty with its articulate facade while Library of Celsus has all the expression of the grandeur of “good old days” of the Roman Period. Today you will also tour the Terrace Houses, the ancient residential section of Ephesus. Among all the archaeological remains, the Great Theater of Ephesus bears the major Biblical importance. Overnight in Izmir.
Day 07 – IZMIR - DENIZLI
Today you will enjoy the picturesque scenery of the fertile fields and fabulous vineyards of the Aegean Region during your ride to the ancient city of Sardis. Serving as the Capital of Lydian Kingdom that ruled the west of today’s Turkey during 7th century BC, Sardis maintained its prosperous and strong presence through the Roman Empire. At the end of your tour, you will be transferred to your hotel in Denizli. Overnight in Denizli.
Day 08 – DENIZLI - ANTALYA
Today, you will ride from Denizli to Antalya (approx. 4 hours) and en route you will visit the site of a well-preserved ancient Greco-Romen city, Aphrodisias dedicated to Aphrodite, the Goddess of love. Centuries ago, residents of Aphrodisias were famous for with their talent in sculpture and studies about medicine and astronomy. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 09 – ANTALYA
Today, you will explore ancient Roman city of Perge, known for its well preserved stadium. Continue with a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Antalya, where works of art unearthed from Perge are on display. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 10 – ANTALYA - CAPPADOCIA
Today, you will be met by your private guide at the lobby of your hotel and start exploration with Aspendos, the ancient city well known for its Roman Theatre that is the best preserved Roman Theater in the world and still used for classical music events during the festival of Antalya. Heading on to Cappadocia en route, you will arrive in Konya to visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the founder of Whirling Dervishes. Before reaching Cappadocia, you will enjoy touring ancient motel build for Silk Road merchants during 13th and 14th century, named as Sultanhan Caravanseraglio. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 11 – CAPPADOCIA
Your expedition will start with the Monastic Center of Goreme serving as an open-air museum. Then, move forward to walk through the valleys of Zelve, a rock-carved town occupied until 1942 by both Muslim and Christian communities. You will then appreciate the breathtaking scenery of the Pigeon Valley. Later, you will be touring Avanos, founded by Hittites and famed for its pottery studios. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 12 – CAPPADOCIA - ANKARA
Depart Cappadocia for a ride that will take you to Ankara (approx. 5 hrs), the capital city of Turkey. The captivating view of the Salt Lake will catch you by surprise during the ride. You will also visit the famed 13th century Seljukian caravanserai Agzikarahan en route. Discover the treasures of Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara here you will have the chance to observe the archeological findings that belong to Hittites, Urartians, Phrygians and many other civilizations which have left traces in the cradle of civilizations, Anatolia. You will also visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the great leader of the Turkish Nation during the World War I. Ataturk is more than a political leader; further to his position as the first President of the Turkish Republic, he was given the titles of the head-commander and head-teacher by Turkish nation. The massive structure will remind you of a Babylonian temple while making you comprehend the great achievement that he performed transforming Turkish society into a democratic one. Overnight in Ankara.
Day 13 – ANKARA - ISTANBUL
Set out for the return journey to Istanbul (approx. 6 hrs) where you will continue your explorations from where you left off with a visit to Beylerbeyi Palace which was built in the 19th century as a summer residence for the royal family of the Ottoman Empire. A following ride over the Bosphorus Bridge promises you for one last time a breathtaking panoramic view of the strait while enabling you also to experience again the wonder of changing continents within minutes only. In the afternoon, you will visit Grand Bazaar and Nuru Osmaniye District where you can find opportunities of fine shopping especially for jewelry, leather products and many other handcrafted souvenirs.You will then carry on to your property to check in for your final overnight in Turkey. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 14 – DEPARTURE FOR HOME
In the morning, you will be transferred from your hotel to Istanbul International Airport for your flight back home.
Tour Package Inclusions:
- Airport transfers in Istanbul.
- Accommodation on BB basis at the selected category of properties.
- Services of the same English speaking professional guide throughout the program.
- Transportation by A/C non-smoking brand new deluxe vehicle throughout the program except for the walking tour on Day 02.
- All entrance and parking fees for the sightseeing in the mentioned program.
- Private visit to the studio of a pottery artist in Cappadocia.
- Meals except for the breakfasts at hotels.
- Porterage at airports and hotels.
- Visa fee.
- Personal expenses.
- Honorary gratuities for guide and driver.
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