1- WELCOME TO ISTANBUL! Saturday (D)
We meet your flight at Istanbul's Atatürk International Airport
and escort you to your hotel located in the heart of the city's
historic district. After freshening up, we visit the spectacular
Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, followed by complimentary dinner at
2 - Belle Epoque - ISTANBUL! Monday (BL)
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning walking
tour: We start with our guide in Karaköy where the foreign bankers
and shipping companies had their headquarters, then take the Tünel
up to istiklal Caddesi; stop in the whirling dervish tekke, and
walk past the various old embassy buildings (now consulates), and
point out the architecture. Stop for tea (included) at the famous
Pera Palace Hotel. Walk at least as far as Galatasaray Square, and
have lunch in the Çicek Pasaji (Flower Passage); then walk up to
Taksim Square and be picked up for the afternoon tour. In the afternoon
the tour visit the Military History Museum enjoy "Mehter" Ottoman
Military Band Concert. "Mehter," or Ottoman military band (mid-afternoon).
3 - ISTANBUL'S TOP SIGHTS - Monday (BL)
Today we explore Istanbul's top sights, including the imperial palace
of Topkapi, with its sumptuous 500-room Harem, ruled by the second
most powerful person in the vast Ottoman Empire: the Valide Sultan
(Queen Mother). A short walk takes us to the Byzantine Hippodrome
and, beneath it, the eerie Sunken Palace cistern. Finally, we dive
into the Grand Bazaar, the world's oldest "shopping mall," to look
for treasures in its 4000 shops. Complimentary
entrance tickets to the Harem's Quarter in Topkape Palace in Istanbul,
when you book your tour/cruise with us
4 - ISTANBUL: BOSPHORUS CRUISE- Tuesday (BL)
In the morning we board a traditional Istanbul ferryboat for a cruise-tour
up the Bosphorus, the broad waterway which joins the Black and Marmara
seas while dividing Europe from Asia. We cruise north past a half-dozen
Ottoman imperial palaces, traditional yalis (waterside villas)
and shore villages. Later, as we drive south, we stop to visit the
castle of Rumeli Hisar and the sumptuous imperial palace of Dolmabahçe.
Returning to the mouth of the Golden Horn, we delve into the colorful
sights, vibrant sounds and intriguing scents of the Egyptian Market
(Spice Bazaar), on to the Süleymaniye
Mosque before returning to our hotel.
5 - ISTANBUL / Cappadocia : Wednesday (BD)
This morning the city is yours. Just relax, or re visit the bazaar,
or join one of our optional tours.
afternoon flight takes us across Anatolia ("Great Mother" in Turkish)
to Kayseri, from which we drive into the eerie volcanic landscape
of biblical Cappadocia. We settle at our hotel and enjoy a typical
6 - EXPLORING CAPPADOCIA Thursday (BLD)
Today we explore the foremost sights in this historic, visually
striking region. Our first stop is the Göreme Open Air Museum,
with its dozens of ancient cave-churches carved from the soft volcanic
stone. Many still contain their beautiful colored fresco decoration.
Next we explore the monastic valley of Zelve, where whole monasteries
were carved into the rock. In the Pasabag and Dervent valleys we
view the "fairy chimneys," pinnacles of volcanic rock formed by
wind and water erosion over millennia. We stroll through the typical
Cappadocian towns of Ürgüp and Ortahisar to experience
daily life in this rich farming region, and perhaps to do some shopping.
Just before lunch we enjoy a panorama of the Red and Rose Valleys.
In the afternoon we make the short drive to Avanos, a traditional
pottery-making town, to visit its innovative "cave cultural center"
. The staff and students welcome us to enjoy Turkish tea and sweet
cakes. We return to Ottoman House for dinner and a good night's
7 - MONASTERIES & MARKETS Friday (BD)
Today we visit some of the most interesting sights in Cappadocia:
the striking scenery and cave churches of the Pancarlik Valley,
the Keklik Monastery complex in Soganli Valley, and the Ottoman
village of Mustafapasa, filled with graceful old Greek and Turkish
houses. Then we visit the colorful and bustling markets. Afternoon
at leisure. In the evening The Ottoman House's chef briefs us on
some of the dishes served to the sultans and sultanas, including
a variety of traditional meze (Turkish hors d'oeuvres) made with
eggplant, garlic, spiced yoghurts, salad greens, and goat cheese;
oven baked lamb or skewered meats; and plump figs, apricots and
the evening we visit an underground restaurant for a traditional
Turkish folklore show, with dances and costumes from several regions
rich in folklore, including Gaziantep, the Mediterranean, and the
Black Sea. The mysterious and alluring art of belly-dancing, round
out this enjoyable evening of traditional Turkish dance.
8- CANYONS & LABYRINTHS / Konya -Saturday (BLD)
We drive across the rolling steppe of Central Anatolia to the dramatic
canyon of Ihlara, filled with historic churches. A leisurely walk
takes us through this dramatic scenery and past a dozen churches
to the villages of Belisirma and Selime. Following our canyon walk,
we drive to the town of Derinkuyu and descend into an underground
labyrinth carved thousands of years ago. Hundreds of cave-rooms
and passageways descend eight levels into the earth. Store-rooms,
kitchens, larders, and churches show that this "underground city"
was capable of housing thousands of people when danger threatened.
On our way back to our hotel , we stop at the striking Agzikarahan
Caravansaray, built by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century as a
way-station for the rich camel caravans plying the Silk Route between
Europe and Asia. WE continue driving to Aksaray , Sultanhan and
on to Konya. Dinner at your hotel ( modest accommodation)
9- Konya / Pamukkale -Sunday (BLD)
Konay was the capital city of the Seldchuk
Turkish Empire during the Medival times, later on it became better
known for the Whirling Dervishes and Mevlana Mausoleum and Museum.
Mevlana is the world famous Poet : RUMI. We
tour the 13th century school of Karatay before we head for Pamukkale
and dinner at the hotel
10 -Pamukkale / Hierapolis - Aphrodisias - Kusadasi - Monday
the "Cotton Fortress," where cascades of gleaming white
calcium cover a hillside. The warm mineral-laden waters attracted
the Romans, who built the spa-city of Hierapolis here. We tour its
ruins, and enjoy the swimming pool at our hotel
, before we head fro Aphrodisias , the city of Aphrodite the goddess
of love . After our visit , we continue to Kusadasi .
DAY 11 - EPHESUS & KUSADASI. Tuesday .(BL)
In the morning light. Then it's off to biblical Ephesus to see the
Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, who came here with the Virgin
Mary. Passing the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven
wonders of the ancient world, we reach Ephesus, the most impressive
ancient city on the Mediterranean. Lunch at a local restaurant.
After our tour, we continue to the fine Ephesus Museum and the hilltop
House of the Virgin Mary, said to be her last home on earth. We
spend the night again in the Aegean resort of Kusadasi .
12 - KUSADASI - Wednesday (B)
We spend another full day at leisure in this delightful Aegean resort
of Kusadasi .
13 -Istanbul - Thursday (BLD)
Driving west along fertile river valleys crowded with fields and
fruit orchards, we reach Izmir, where we board our flight on to
Istanbul and your hotel.
14 -Istanbul - Friday (B)
Full day at leisure in Istanbul .
15- RETURN HOME - Saturday (B)
We escort you to the airport for your onward or homeward flight.
(per person) in USD