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Day 1 Arrival to Istanbul

Our representative will be at the airport to welcome you to Turkey and transfer you to your hotel. Nothing has been organized for today as flight arrival times differ. Relax and enjoy. Overnight in Istanbul

Day 2 Full day tour in Istanbul

An all-day tour of the ancient Byzantine capital. We start at the famous Hippodrome, which was commenced in 203 AD, but was not completed until the foundation of Constantinople by Constantine the Great in 330 AD. Subsequent emperors extended and improved it so that by the time of Justinian it was 530 meters long, with seats for 100,000. As in all Roman Circuses four colors identified charioteers. Our guide will explain its history and the significance of the extant remains. From there we proceed to Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Cathedral consecrated on St. Steven's Day, 26 December 537 AD. Following the fall of Constantinople in 1453 it was converted into a mosque and the magnificent mosaics were plastered over. Since becoming a National Museum in 1933 many of the mosaics have been uncovered and can be admired during the visit. After a short walk we enter Sultanahmet Camii, better known as "The Blue Mosque". It was built in 1619 and is so named due to the interior decoration of 21,043 blue Iznik tiles. After lunch we proceed to the magnificent Topkapi Palace, the seat of the Ottoman sultans, which covers a large area overlooking The Golden Horn. See the Treasury with its enormous emerald in the hilt of the sultan's dagger and other precious jewels is an experience not to be missed. Visit the Grand Bazaar before we return to our hotel.  Overnight in Istanbul

Day 3 Istanbul to Urfa through an early morning domestic flight – Gobeklitepe – Urfa

After a a flight of 1 hour 30 minutes arrive in Urfa Drive to Gobeklitepe considered to be the world's oldest religious construction. What makes Gobekli Tepe unique in its class is the date it was built, which is roughly twelve thousand years ago, circa 10,000 BC. One of the best ways to comprehend just how ancient Göbekli Tepe would had been, is to compare it to other things that are considered incredibly ancient. Göbekli Tepe predates Stonehenge, one of the most famous prehistoric construction feats in human history, by over 6,000 years. The site predates the era of Sumer, considered one of the earliest true civilizations, and the invention of writing, by a similar, 6,000-ish year margin. To really put things in perspective, there was about as much time between the construction of Göbekli Tepe and the construction of Stonehenge as there was between the construction of Stonehenge and today. It was built right around the same time that the last ice age ended. Göbekli Tepe then went  on to be an active civilization for nearly three millennia before being abandoned under mysterious circumstances around 9,000 years ago. Overnight in Urfa. (B,D)

Day 4 Urfa to Harran

Visit the Prophet Abraham’s cave and the Pools of holy carp surrounding it then drive to Harran a village of spellbinding mud–brick beehive houses where Abraham spent last years of his life mentioned in the book of Genesis. Next Drive to Harran the ruins of Harran including city walls the oldest Islamic University and the Castle dated to 8th century. The ruins of the ancient city of Harran date back to the 3rd millennium BCE when the area was a cultural, religious, and commercial center. From the Early Bronze Age to the Early Christian period, get to know the fascinating story of this ancient city that continues to stun visitors.  Overnight in Urfa (B,D)

Day 5   Urfa to Gaziantep through Zeugma Muesum

Upon arrival, visit the Gaziantep Archaeological Museum which houses spectacular mosaics recovered from the ancient site of Zeugma. Due to its location near an easy crossing of the Euphrates River, Zeugma was an important center of the Kommagene Kingdom. In the 2nd-century BC, the Roman Empire occupied Zeugma and established a garrison there. The city continued to grow and prosper until it was destroyed by the Persians in the 2nd-century AD. In the year 2000, an international effort rescued a rich trove of mosaics from the site prior to the flooding of the area by a new reservoir on the Euphrates. In the historical Tepebasi district, see fine examples of southeastern Anatolian architecture from the mid-nineteenth-century. During World War I, Tepebasi was a destination for Armenian refugees, whose craftsmanship is still visible in intricate ironwork, carved stone arches and columns, basalt ornamentation, and colorfully tiled courtyard fountains. Next, enjoy some free time for shopping in the Copper and Mother of Pearl Workshop Bazaar. Overnight in Gaziantep (B,D)

Day 6 Gaziantep – Kahta Mt Nemrut

Today first we will see the  splendid collection of Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep alone is probably sufficient to attract enthusiasts of history and culture as well as art historians and archaeologists of the world to visit Turkey. In terms of the floor area of the museum, as well as the surface area of the mosaics exhibited, it is the second largest of its kind in the world. (The largest mosaic museum also is in Turkey). The outstanding artistic quality of the main exhibits as well as the collections of Late Antiquity Church Mosaics and Early Chaldean and Christian iconography attracts visitors to the museum. Some of the scenes depicted in the mosaics are related to ancient literary texts which were lost over the time, raising their importance in terms of the cultural history. Amongst the most exciting archaeological finds of our times, the mosaics unearthed in Zeugma ancient settlements cover a total of 2,500 square metres, and reveal the highest level that the arts reached at the time. There is also a collection of sculptures, columns and fountains from the Roman period. In particular the beauty of the bronze statue of Ares the God of War could easily take the limelight away from the mosaics. Then A scenic drive to Kahta in the afternoon climb up to Mt. Nemrut to see the sunset and colossal statues of Paganistic gods and goddesses from the top of the sacred mountain of Commonage Empire and enjoy the breathtaking sunset. Crowning one of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range in south-east Turkey, Nemrut Dağ is the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) as a monument to himself. The mausoleum of Antiochus I (69–34 B.C.), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander's empire, is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. The syncretism of its pantheon, and the lineage of its kings, which can be traced back through two sets of legends, Greek and Persian, is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom's culture. Stone chips cover the forty nine meter high by funerary mound that has a one hundred and fifty two meter diameter. The statues stand nearly seven meters tall and some of the blocks here are believed to weigh over nine tones. Five seated limestone statues of gods…four male and one female stand in a row with statues of a lion and an eagle at each end. Inscriptions on the statues identify them as Apollo, the goddess Tyche of Commagene, Zeus, Antiochos himself and Hercules. The statues are well preserved. The heads have fallen to a lower level and now stand upright where they fell. Next drive to our hotel in Adiyaman. Dinner and overnight in Adiyaman (B, D)

Day 7 Mt Nemrut- Diyarbakir

Continue onto Diyarbakir formerly called Amed. Diyarbakir is a cultural capital in Turkey that is located on the banks of the Tigris River in the Southeastern Anatolia. The city, where many civilizations and cultures have lived in its history of nine thousand years, has the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, Diyarbakır Castle, and Hevsel Gardens, as well as the world's second-longest wall. The region, named after a nomadic tribe called Bek Bekir Vail en which settled in the region and called as the land of Bekir, was named as Diyarbakır. visit some of the longest city Walls of the World. These four‐gated walls were restored in 349 AD during the reign of Constantinus III of Rome surrounding the old part of the city. They are also famed for being the second largest walls in the world after the Great Wall of China. Then we will pay avisit to the Grand Mosque of the City, Ulu Camii, which dates back to the pagan period, was later rebuilt as a church by Christians. The place that Muslims converted into a mosque was an ancient place used as a place of worship throughout history. As it is one of the first mosques in Anatolia, it has an important place in Islamic history. The architectural structure and the reliefs on the door are worth seeing. Overnight in Diyarbakir  (B,D)

Day 8 Diyarbakir- Van

Leave Diyarbakir early this morning and set out for North East to visit the Akdamar Church en route near  Van. We will take a small boat ride to get to Akdamar Island on Lake Van. we will head to Lake Van to see the Akdamar Church on an island in the lake. The Church of the Holy Cross was once an important Armenian cathedral. The seat of the Armenian Orthodox patriarch, the cathedral was founded by King Gagik between 915 and 921 as part of a royal complex that included a palace, monastery, streets, gardens and terraced parks. The church is all that remains today. We will take a small boat ride to get to Akdamar Island. This church has one of the most complete scene collections of the Old Testament carved on the façade of the churchThis church has one of the most complete scene collections of the Old Testament carved on the façade of the church. Overnight in Van. (B,D)

Day 9 Van: Van Castle

After breakfast you will have half day free for a lazy morning and in the afternoon, we will proceed first to the Van Urartu Museum which is the largest of its kind. Nearly half of the the museum's collection is from the Urartu civilization, dating back to the 7th and 8th century B.C., although they have artifacts from the Ottoman and Seljuk empires. While some 2,542 artifacts are on display at the museum, their inventory has about 45,000 items. Then proceed to Van Urartu Fortress. The Fortress includes the royal buildings of capital of the Urartian Kingdom, which became a state in the ninth century BC in the heartland of eastern Anatolia. In this regard, it bears the impressive traces of the 250-year reign of the kingdom: walls and foundations, building floors carved out of levelled bedrock, rock chambers for the kings, open air sanctuaries, royal annals inscribed on the rocks, inscribed stelae, building inscriptions and so on. In this respect, the citadel has all the components of a large-scale and developed state structure. The magnificent walls of the citadel were largely built on the rock terraces, stepped rocks peculiar to Urartian architecture that can be seen all around. The large blocks of the lower courses are mostly Urartian, on which mud brick and stone additions were made until the Ottoman era. Sardurburç (Sardur Tower) located on the western tip of the Van Fortress is considered as the earliest building of the citadel. Sarduri I (840-830 BC), the founder of the Urartian Kingdom, declared his foundation of the capital in the Assyrian inscription repeated six times on the Sardurburç. The building itself lies in north-west direction and is measuring 47x13 m with a height of 4 m. The “Inner Fortress” built on the highest point of Tushpa is surrounded by walls that rise as high as 10 m. The entrance is from the west and it is composed of a palatial complex and a temple. It is named as the Old Palace due to the resemblance of its carefully worked calcareous blocks to those of Sardurburç. The New Palace and its surroundings present basic features of construction and infrastructure of the Urartian buildings. The area rises immediately to the south of the road climbing up to the Upper Citadel. The bedrock was worked to facilitate foundations and rooms, and the area has evidence for a three-storied plan. The ground floor has platforms for storage rooms and service rooms, above which rise the upper stories on foundations carved out of bedrock. In the east is a levelled space, the largest of the New Palace. The infrastructure, drainage remains and bronze dedication plaques hint at an important building complex. There are eight rock-cut tombs on the south face of the Van Fortress. Four of them are multichambered tombs dated to the Urartian period along with another one named as the “Cremation Tomb.” These have some common features: A platform in front of the entrance, a main hall reached via steps from the platform and adjoining chambers all connected to the hall. The architectural features of these tombs are the main reason for ranking the Urartian architects among the most skilful architects in the Near East. In some examples, the chambers reach 9 m in height and cover an area of 200 m2. Carving such a large mass and execution of a regular/symmetrical plan also require specific mathematical and architectural knowledge. Return to the Hotel and overnight in Van. (B,D)

Day 10 Van- Dogubeyazit

Departure for Dogubeyazit a border town with Iran .We will encounter the beauty of the Mt. Ararat from a distance. Then we will continue to Ishak Pasa Palace which is one of the oldest and most complete palace complexes in the World. Then we will continue to Kars the city built on top of the high cliffs. Ishak Pasha Palace is more of a complex than a mere palace. It is our second administrative campus after the Topkapı Palace in İstanbul and the most famous of the palaces built at recent decades. The palace which was built on a hill at the side of a mountain 5 km. east of Doğubeyazıt District is the last large monumental structure of the Ottoman Empire in the "Lale Devri" Period. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history. According to the top of the door inscription at the Harem Section it was constructed in 1784 (1199 H.) according to the Islamic calendar. As the ground building sits on is a valley slope, it is rocky and hard. Despite the fact that it is at the center of the Old Beyazıt city its three sides (north, west, south) are steep and sloped. There is a suitable flat area only to the east. The entrance of the palace is on that side. It's also its narrowest façade. As the palace was built in an age when the castles ceased to be special and fire arms were developed and were abundantly available its defense towards the hills on the east is weak. Its main gate is the weakest point in that respect. The structure of the main gate is no different than those seen in the palaces built in İstanbul and elsewhere in Anatolia and has a neat stone workmanship and carving. In the late afternoon we will walk the bazaars of Kars to get ourselves into the atmosphere of the East. Overnight in Dogubeyazit (B,D)

Day 11 Dogubeyazit-Ani- Kars

Ani is one of the cities which were evacuated when Turkish Government reciprocated its people with Muslim Greeks. Since then the town has not been settled therefore it looks like a ‘’ghost but beautiful ‘’ town with its intricately carved stone work. Ani, located on a hilltop of a volcanic tuff layer on the Turkish-Armenian border, 42 kilometers east of Kars, was an important medieval city. The name of the city was derived from Ani-Kamakh, the Armenian fortress city and pagan center, located in Daranaghi region of Armenia. The history of Ani dates back to 5,000 B.C. to the Chalcolithic period. Ani was the capital of the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia between 961 and 1045. The city of Ani prospered in the tenth and eleventh centuries and flourished as a branch of the Silk Road. It is known that the population of Ani was more than 100,000 at its peak. In 1236, Ani was captured and sacked by the Mongols. By the fourteenth century, the city had been ruled by several dynasties such as the Jalayirids and the Kara Koyunlu (Qara Qoyunlu). The city was damaged by an earthquake in 1319. After the death of Timur who captured Ani in the 1380s, the Kara Koyunlu regained control of Ani, but they transferred their capital to Yerevan. The Safavids ruled Ani until it became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1579. The site of Ani was totally abandoned by 1735 when the last monks left the monastery in the Virgin's Fortress. In 1878, Kars region was incorporated into the Russian Empire. During the World War I, the Ottoman armies fought and captured Kars in 1918. However, after the end of the World War I, Ani was under the control of Armenia. After the treaty of Kars held in 1921, Ani became a part of the land of the Republic of Turkey. In the archaeological site of Ani, one can see a comprehensive overview of the development of medieval architecture including the cathedral, Surp Stephanos Church, the church of St Gregory of Tigran Honents, the church of the Holy Redeemer, the church of St Gregory of the Abughamrents, King Gagik's church of St Gregory, the church of the Holy Apostles, the mosque of Manuchihr, the citadel and the city walls, dating from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. The inner castle, forming today’s archaeological site, was built in the time of the Armenian Kamsarakan dynasty in the fourth century A.D. Fortified outer walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravanserais that were built under the reign of Ashot III in 964. The walls were later reinforced by order of Sembat II in 978. The third wall was constructed at the order of Ani Bey, Ebul Menucehir in 1064-1072, after Seljuk Sultan Alparslan conquered Ani in 1064. Overnight in Kars  (B,D)

Day 12 Kars-Erzurum

Head out to Erzurum to visit the Great Mosque, Twin Minaret religious school and Tiled Minaret of Yakutiye religious school. Dinner and overnight in Erzurum (B, D)

Day 13 Erzurum –Trabzon

We begin a beautiful 5 hour drive to Trabzon, winding along the rivers with many photo stops and Karaca Cave along the way. Visit the Sumela Monastery, also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary. It has been said that it is neither on earth nor in heaven. Carved on the slope of a mountain, it looks like a nine story high building hanging down from the clouds and sitting on the top of the forest. A short hike through the rain forest will leave no question in your mind about where you are in Turkey. Evening at leisure and overnight stay in Trabzon. (B,D)

Day 14 Trabzon- Amasya

This morning we will wake up to a very romantic and historic town, Amasya which played an important role in the formation of Republic of Turkey during the Transition period afer the collapse of the Ottoman Empire . Located in between two high mountains this town is renowned for its royal rock tombs carved into the mountain slopes. We will wonder around the city touring Maiden s museum, Clock Tower, Amasya Tower, walk along the Green River , see the the Beyazit Mosque known as the first university in Turkish History, the Statue of Strabon, the history master and Amasya wooden houses. Next drive down to Amasya. Overnight in Amasya. (B,D)

Day 15 Amasya –Divrigi-Kangal-Sivas ( Visit to Doctor Fish Springs  and Farm of gigantic Kangal Dogs)

Drive to Divrigi , this region of Anatolia was conquered by the Turks at the beginning of the 11th century. In 1228–29 Emir Ahmet Shah founded a mosque, with its adjoining hospital, at Divrigi. The mosque has a single prayer room and is crowned by two cupolas. The highly sophisticated technique of vault construction, and a creative, exuberant type of decorative sculpture – particularly on the three doorways, in contrast to the unadorned walls of the interior – are the unique features of this masterpiece of Islamic architecture with highly sophisticated technique of vault construction, and a creative, exuberant type of decorative sculpture – particularly on the three doorways, in contrast to the unadorned walls of the interior. Next continue onto Balikli Kaplica , thermal spring filled with small fishes surviving in hot water; these fishes are well known to cure  skin diseases and  to Kangal to see the famous giant size Kangal Dogs. Dinner and overnight in Sivas.  (B,D)

Day 16 Sivas-Hattusas-Cappadocia

Today we will set out for Hatussas , the Capital City of te Hittites. The history of Hattusas can be traced back to the 3rd millennium B.C. to the settlement of an Anatolian tribe of unknown origin called the Hatti stable period of Hittite rule continued from 1650 to 1200 B.C. and apart from ruling most of Anatolia, the Hittite rule spread to northern Syria as well. This became a bone of contention between the Egyptians and the Hittites, which resulted in the historic Battle of Kadesh. However, with the war ending in an impasse, a truce was called. This is considered to be the first such treaty in human history.There we will see the 4000 years old Hittite City of Hatussas with its Lion Gate , great Temple and many impressive structure. Then drive to Yazilikaya where there are two recesses in the rock, one to the northeast and the other to the east, form natural open‐air galleries. In a northeastern recess is carved a long procession of mostly male figures to the west and female to the east, meeting on the far northeastern wall. The east gallery contains a relief of a procession of warriors; on the opposite wall is a large relief showing a king in the embrace of his patron. We will see and get to know the Hittite pantheon, old religious traditions and their reflections to the present day. Overnight in Cappadocia (B,D)

Day 17 Cappadocia

Begin your discovery of Cappadocia with Goreme’s “Caves of God” a Unesco world heritage site. Monasteries and churches hewn into volcanic tufa rock reached their peak between 7th and 13th centuries. Natural formations from the landscape of Avcilar and Red valley of Dervent will offer you a large palette of colors through the hours of the day. You will see the ongoing erosion on the fairy chimneys of Pasabagi and natural fortress of Uchisar. Learn about the art and crafts of rural Turkey at a handicraft center, and attend a lecture on Turkish hand-made rugs. In the afternoon, visit the Underground City, a multi-level labyrinth for protection during invasions. Admire the impressive rock formations by sunset, photo stops at Uchisar and Pigeon Valley, best view points on our way to the hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 18 Cappadocia-Istanbul- Back to USA

Transfer to Kayseri airport as appropriate.

EASTERN TURKEY  17 NIGHTS 2022 EASTERN TURKEY  17 NIGHTS 2023 EASTERN TURKEY 17 NIGHTS 2024 Per Person in a double or twin Room Single Supplement
May 27-Jun 13 May 26-Jun 12 May 24-Jun 10  $ 3,175.00  $ 1,125.00
Jun 24- Jul 11 Jun 23- Jul 10 Jun 28- Jul 15  $ 3,175.00  $ 1,125.00
Aug 26- Sep 12 Aug 25- Sep 11 Aug 23- Sep 9  $ 3,175.00  $ 1,125.00
Oct 21- Nov 7 Oct 20- Nov 6 Oct 18- Nov 7  $ 3,175.00  $ 1,125.00
Included in the Tour:
  • All transportation in air-conditioned vehicle
  • 17 nights hotel accommodation in 4*-5 * hotels Daily breakfasts and dinners, (no dinners in Istanbul).
  • All domestic Flights (Istanbul-Urfa/ Cappadocia- Istanbul)
  • Professional English-speaking guide throughout
  • All entrance fees to museums
  • All local taxes and service charges
  • Flo Tours Travel Documentation Kit

Tour Exclusions:

  • International flights
  • Visa fee
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary Extra drinks with meals
  • Tips for your tour guide and driver

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