Turkish Delight

Feature Image

This is a great way to see Turkey’s many famous attractions. Your 2-night Istanbul stay includes visits to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Seraglio, and the Grand Bazaar. Cross the Bosporus into Asia Minor and continue to Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Here, guided sightseeing features the Green Ottoman Complex and the Great Mosque. Via Eskisehir, stop in Gordion, where Alexander the Great cut the proverbial “Gordian Knot.” Enjoy a guided visit that includes the tumulus of King Midas. On to Ankara, capital of the Turkish Republic since 1923. Visit the Mausoleum of Atatürk and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. In Cappadocia, visits to the early Christians’ Rock Chapels and the underground city of Oykonak are included. Explore the exotic Caravansaries of Agcikarahan and Sultanhani, as well as the fascinating archaeological site of Hierapolis in Pamukkale. Discover the fascinating histories of Ephesus and Troy, and the World War I Cemetery on your way back to Istanbul.

Highlights Hagia Sophia
Blue Mosque
Topkapi Seraglio
Grand Bazaar
Green Ottoman Complex
Tory Archaeological site

Transatlantic flight.

images Day 1: Board your overnight transatlantic flight.

Arrive in Istanbul

images Day 2: After arrival at Atatürk Airport, check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to start soaking up the unique atmosphere of this city built on two continents. At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.

Istanbul

images Day 3: Founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, renamed Constantinople in 330 AD when Constantine the Great elected it the capital of the Roman Empire, and finally called Istanbul after the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century, the city on the Bosporus always was and still is one of the most exciting places in the world. Its strategic location as gateway between Orient and Occident, the Islamic and the Christian world, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, predestined it for a turbulent history. Start your sightseeing at Emperor Justinian’s HAGIA SOPHIA and Sultan Ahmet’s BLUE MOSQUE, magnificent monuments to two competing world religions standing peacefully side by side. Next, turn to the TOPKAPI SERAGLIO, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Admire its exquisite collection of Chinese porcelain and the stunning Imperial Treasury including the “Spoonmaker’s Diamond.” After a lunch break, tour the GRAND BAZAAR (arranged next morning if closed today) with its 4,000 tiny shops. The rest of the afternoon is free. For a taste of Turkish nightlife, join our optional dinner outing and discover the fascination of belly dancing.

Istanbul–Bursa

images Day 4: Set out today on your discovery tour of a country with the population of Britain and more than three times its size. Cross the Bosporus and then follow the shores of the Sea of Marmara to the Gulf of Gemlik. Here you head inland towards the Uludag, also called the Mount Olympus of Mysia, a 7,700-foot skiing mountain. Bursa lies in its shade, surrounded by lovely orchards and tobacco fields. Founded by the Greeks and hotly contested during the Crusades, Bursa had its heyday as the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. In the afternoon, visit the great monuments to this period: the ornate GREEN OTTOMAN COMPLEX and the GREAT MOSQUE (Ulu Camii) and the ancient Covered Bazaar.

Bursa–Ankara

images Day 5: Motor into the heart of the Anatolian Highland. After a break at Eskisehir, whose meerschaum pipes are world famous, head for GORDION. Tour the excavations of the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Phrygia, where Alexander the Great cut the proverbial knot and thus opened the way to Asia. Hear about the legend of King Midas with the golden touch as you visit the ruler’s great EARTH TUMULUS. Overnight in Ankara, capital of the Turkish Republic since 1923 and the country’s second-largest city.

Bursa–Ankara

images Day 6: Motor into the heart of the Anatolian Highland. After a break at Eskisehir, whose meerschaum pipes are world famous, head for GORDION. Tour the excavations of the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Phrygia, where Alexander the Great cut the proverbial knot and thus opened the way to Asia. Hear about the legend of King Midas with the golden touch as you visit the ruler’s great EARTH TUMULUS. Overnight in Ankara, capital of the Turkish Republic since 1923 and the country’s second-largest city.

Cappadocia

images Day 7: Today, visit the unreal moon-landscape of Göreme with its ROCK CHAPELS carved by the early Christians and decorated with frescoes dating from the 6th to the 10th centuries. Next are the byzantine MONASTIC COMPLEX of Zelve, the TROGLODYTE VILLAGE of Avcilar, and the UNDERGROUND CITY of Özkonak. Before returning to the hotel, enjoy the sweeping panorama at ancient Ortahisar.

Cappadocia–Konya

images Day 8: West today to the land of the Whirling Dervishes. Morning break south of the great salt lake Tuz Gölü in the fortress-like CARAVANSARY OF SULTANHANI. Afternoon in Konya. The Iconium of antiquity occupies a fertile island in the arid Anatolian steppes. Man has lived here since the early Stone Age, and the town had its moment of glory as the capital of the mighty Seljuk Empire from 1078 to 1307. Today it thrives on agriculture and the manufacture of fine carpets. Afternoon sightseeing features visits to three outstanding Seljuk structures: the MEVLANA MONASTERY of the Dervishes, now a museum; the KARATAY MEDRESE (theological school); and the elegant INCE MINARET.

Konya–Antalya

images Day 9: Drive west to Aksehir, then south across the Taurus Mountains into the luxuriant green forests, orchards, and olive groves on the hills sloping down to the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. You enter an area only recently discovered by discerning European vacationers.

At Leisure in Antalya

images Day 10: A full day to enjoy this Mediterranean paradise and to discover its antique treasures. If you wish, join an optional excursion to the Pamphylian cities of Perge and Aspendos.

Antalya–Pamukkale

images Day 11: Morning drive inland across two mountain passes to Pamukkale. The name means “Cotton Castle” and refers to the spectacular white lime cascades formed by its hot springs. Visit the fascinating archaeological site of HIERAPOLIS, the thermal resort founded by a Pergamene king in 190 BC and greatly enlarged and embellished by the Romans. At the hotel tonight, a leisurely bath in a pool of hot thermal water might be just the way to relax.

Pamukkale–Izmir

images Day 12: Follow the valley of the Menderes River to Ephesus, home of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus and later the capital of Roman Asia Minor. When St. Paul arrived here he was so awestruck that he asked: “Is there a greater city?” Visit one of the best-preserved ancient AMPHITHEATERS, then drive up to the CHAPEL marking the site where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. Overnight in Izmir (Smyrna), Homer’s birthplace on the Aegean coast.

Izmir–Troy Area

images Day 13: Start with visits to the ACROPOLIS OF PERGAMUM, an ancient center of learning and the arts, and the ASCLEPION, a shrine to the Greek god of medicine. Then, enjoy vistas of the Greek island of Lesbos as you follow the shores of the Bay of Edremit. Continue to TROY, the perfect place to brush up on Homer’s Trojan War, hollow wooden horse and all. Spend the night at nearby Canakkale.

Troy Area–Istanbul

images Day 14: By FERRY across the Dardanelles back to Europe and the 20th century. Visit the World War I battlefields on the Gallipoli Peninsula, where Allied troops, mainly Australians and New Zealanders, suffered heavy casualties in a disastrous campaign. Pay tribute to the heroes of those tragic months of 1915 at the ANZAC CEMETERY. Then, drive along the European shore of the Sea of Marmara back to Istanbul. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your traveling companions.

Homebound flight.

images Day 15: Your homebound flight from Paris arrives the same day.

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