EASTERN TURKEY

eastern turkey

DAY 1 : İSTANBUL -TRABZON

Upon arrival in İstanbul flight to Trabzon, the main city of the Black Sea Region. meet with our representative and transfer to the hotel. Dinner.

 

DAY 2 : TRABZON-ERZURUM (B-L-D)

Morning  departure for the visit of  old Haghia Sophia Church (turned into a museum), decorated with wonderful 13th century frescoes which are the most beautiful from this period that can be seen in Turkey; the Byzantine Monastery of Sumela located hinterland in a breathtaking site, hanging on the face of a 1,200m / 4,000 ft high steep rock. Lunch and drive to Erzurum located on a plateau at an altitude of 1905 m/ 6,250 ft. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY3 : ERZURUM-KARS (B-L-D)

Morning, visit the Seljuk monuments of Erzurum, large city of eastern Anatolia which has a reputation for beeing the coldest in Turkey: visit Cifte Minare Medresesi, the old school of theology with two minarets covered with tiles; Ulu Cami, the oldest mosque in Erzurum with its beautiful wooden dome; the “turbe” which are domed tombs. After lunch in Kars, continue to Ani, the ancient capital of the Bagratid Armenians, founded in the 9th century. Visit the site located on a plateau near the gorges of the Arpa Cayi which course has delimited the border between Armenia and Turkey. Drive back to Kars, a city with a stereotyped architecture left by the Russians.Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 4 : KARS-DOGUBEYAZIT-VAN (B-L-D)

Morning you will head  to Dogubayazit located at the foothills of Mount Ararat. This volcano that culminates at 5,165 m/ 16,945 ft and whose summit is always capped with snow, is the highest mount in Anatolia where Noah’s Ark is thought to have landed after the Deluge. visit Ishak Pasa Palace where Persian, Armenian, Georgian, Seljuk and Ottoman styles have been mixed in an harmonious way Lunch and continue to Van, the ancient Tushpa and the capital of the Urartu Kingdom. Van is  located on the eastern bank of Lake Van,Turkey’s largest (salted) lake. Visit the citadel from where there is a panoramic view over the lake. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 5 : VAN-HOŞAP-AKDAMAR  ( B-L-D)

Morning, drive to Cavustepe and visit the 8C BC Urartian citadel. Continue to Hosap village impressively crowned by a castle. From the top you will enjoy most astonishingly shaped landscapes. Drive back to Lake Van. After lunch in Gevas, boat excursion to Akhtamar island where stands the 10C Holy Cross Church whose facades are ornemented with beautiful reliefs depicting scenes from the Bible, Armenian king Gagik, animals and vine.Visit of a typical kilim veaving center.  Return to Van. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

 

DAY 6 : VAN-TATVAN -DİYARBAKIR (B-L-D) 

Morning, drive along the north shore of Lake Van.. Continue to Tatvan and Bitlis and stop in this picturesque town located in a narrow and deep valley.Lunch on the way. Arrive in Diyarbakir, a big city located near the right bank of the Tigris River (Dicle) and named “the Dark” because of its black basalt walls which are one of the best examples of medieval military architecture. Visit the impressive city walls and the Grand Mosque which includes many re-used building materials from the Byzantine and more ancient periods. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 7 : DİYARBAKIR –HASANKEYF-MİDYAT-MARDİN-URFA (B-L-D)

Morning, drive through the oil field area of Batman. Arrive in Hasankeyf, located at the end of an impressive large gorge formed by the Tigris River, in the middle of which stand the huge piers of the Old Bridge. Visit the capital of the Artukids in the 12th century, the Roman ruins of ancient Cephe set on top of the cliff from where the view over the region is splendid. Continue to Turbadin Plateau where a Syriac-Jacobite community lives, and visit the old town of Midyat, a small treasure of architecture. After lunch, visit Mar Gabriel Monastery. Continue to Mardin that rises in tiers on the mountain slope and overlooks the vast plains of Mesopotamia. You will stroll through the alleys and stairs of the town to discover its typical houses and monuments such as Sultan Isa Medrese, the Great Ulu Camii Mosque, the buildings of the Post-office. Also visit the Syriac-Jacobite Deyrul Zaferan Monastery located outside mardin. Continue to Urfa.  Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY8 : URFA-HARRAN (B-L-D)

Morning, drive to Harran to visit this village whose houses are called beehive-houses because of their most surprising cone-shaped roofs, and the ancient city where Abraham is said to have spent several years of his life. Arrive in Urfa for lunch. Discover the “City of the Prophetes” whose past is rich and eventful: you will see Abraham’s Caves; Balikli Gol, a large pool full of sacred carps with the mosques reflected in its waters; the busy and colorful bazaar and the “hans” with their different guilds; the old quarter and traditional corbelled houses. Drive back to Urfa. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 9:  URFA-NEMRUT-KAHTA (B-L-D)

Morning, depart for Kahta. On the way, stop at Ataturk Dam built on the Euphrates River. A full day to explore Eski Kahta: you will see Karakus Tumulus, a burial sanctuary; Cendere Bridge, erected by the XVI Legion in the honour of Roman Emperor Septimus Severus; Arsameia on the Nymphaios (Eski Kale) with its cult monuments and reliefs. Then you will drive inside the National Park of Nemrut Dag to start the ascension of Mount Nemrut, the highest mountain (2150 m / 7,000 ft) in northern Mesopotamia, on top of which, in the 1C BC, Antiochus I king of Commagene erected a sanctuary where he was venerated like a god, and where he was buried. You will visit the breathtaking site with its monumental statues located on terraces from where you will watch, according to the season, an unforgettable sunrise or sunset. Drive back to Kahta. Lunch during the visits. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 10 :KAHTA-HALFETİ-ZEUGMA-GAZİANTEP-ANTAKYA (B-L-D)

Morning, depart for Halfeti located at the bottom of a picturesque canyon hollowed by the Euphrates. Boat ride to explore the canyon, Rumkale Fortress and the valley submerged by the rising waters from Birecik Dam. After lunch at Birecik, proceed to the ancient Roman city of Zeugma, the most famous crossing spot on the Euphrates for the caravans of the “Silk Road” and the military convoys of antiquity. Beautiful mosaics have been brought to light inside Roman villas but the site is today partly submerged by the waters of the dam. Continue to Gaziantep, the Turkish pistachio capital. Visit the old quarters surrounding the fortress, and the Archaeological Museum where the superb Roman mosaics from Zeugma are displayed. Continue to Antakya;the ancient Antioch whose people lived in exuberant luxury and where the disciples of Jesus were called “christians” here for the first time Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 11 : ANTAKYA-ADANA (B-L-D)

Morning, , visit the Mosaic Museum which displays one of the richest collections of Roman and Byzantine Mosaics in the world. Also visit the Grotto of St Peter where the Apostle Peter is believed to have preached, and which has been designated by the Vatican as a place of pilgrimage. Drive through the Plain of Issus (Dortyol), whereAlexander the Great crushed Darius III‘s Persian army, overlooked by the Fortress of Toprakkkale built by the Crusaders. Continue through the rich agricultural plain of Cilicia to Tarsus, the birthplace of St Paul and the home to one of the first Christian churches in Asia Minor: visit St Paul’s Well, the Gate of Cleopatra crossed by the Egyptian queen and Mark Antony when they met in Tarsus. In the evening, arrive in Adana, Turkey’s fourth largest city. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

 

DAY 12 : ADANA-İSTANBUL (B-L-D) 

In the morning, depart to the airport  for a flight to Istanbul. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
*Possibility to extend your stay in İstanbul

 

DEPARTURES:

PRİCE :   USD 2890     / İN DBL  PER PAX

The price including :
- Transportation in air-conditioned vehicles throughout as stated in the tours general features
- Escort by a professional guide-lecturer throughout
- Entrance fees to the museums stated in itinerary
- All meals mentioned in the program
- Accommodation in shared twin rooms in stated or similar hotels
- Arrival and departure transfers from Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

Not Included
- Visits and services not mentioned in program.
- Domestic flights
- Insurance
- Personal expenses and all beverages
- Gratuities to the guide and driver
- Visa fee

 

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