Day 1 / Flight day Day 2 / Istanbul Arrive to Istanbul, meet at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Meet with your guide at the hotel for short brief of orientation. We will leave the hotel for sightseeing to visit the museum of Hagia Sophia, built by the Roman Emperor Justinian in the […]
Day 1 / Flight day
Day 2 / Istanbul
Arrive to Istanbul, meet at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Meet with your guide at the hotel for short brief of orientation. We will leave the hotel for sightseeing to visit the museum of Hagia Sophia, built by the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th Century AD and the largest building in the world for at least a thousand years and the Hippodrome where Romans raced chariots. Welcome dinner. Night at Daphne hotel.
Day 3 / Istanbul / Trabzon
We tour the main sites in Istanbul, including; The Blue Mosque, built in the 17th Century and still one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world; and Topkapi Palace, the fabulous home of the Sultans and their harems. In the afternoon we will be transferred to airport to catch our flight to Trabzon. Meet with our driver at Trabzon airport and transfer to Hotel. Dinner and overnight at Grand Zorlu Hotel in Trabzon.
Day 4 / Sumela Monastery / Erzurum
We will visit the 13th century Hagia Sofia of Trabzon built by Komnenos Dynasty and the Monastery of the Black Virgin of Sumela, built on a edge of sheer rock in the 14th century. We will drive through the Black Sea Valleys to Erzurum in the afternoon. Erzurum is the largest city of eastern Turkey. Dinner and overnight at Polat Renaissance in Erzurum.
Day 5 / Erzurum / Kars
After breakfast, visit the Cifte Minare and Yakutiye Medrese, the finest examples of Seljuk architecture. Free time in Rustem Pasha Bedesten, devoted manufacture and sale of Oltutas jewelry. Drive through the pasture of Eastern Turkey to Kars with various stops en route in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Kars Simer Hotel.
Day 6 / Ani / Kars
Half day tour to visit the Medieval Metropolis of Ani, which locates the Turco Armenian border. After visits of Kars Castle and Archeological Museum in the afternoon, rest of the day will be at your leisure. Dinner and overnight at Kars Simer Hotel.
Day 7 / Ishak Pasa Palace / Van
Drive to the small town of Dogubeyazit. Visit the 18th century palace of Ishak Pasha, which displays a unique architectural style combining various influences. We will view the spectacular sight of Mt. Ararat, where Noah’s Ark is said to have landed. Stop at the Muradiye Waterfalls on the way to Van. Dinner and overnight at the Merit Sahmaran Hotel in Van.
Day 8 / Van
Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, and known for its unique cats with their long, white fur and multi colored eyes. A pleasant boat ride on Lake Van will take us to the Akdamar Island on which the Church of the Holy Cross stands in solitude. Well-known stories from the Old Testament are depicted on its walls in low relief. King Gagik, who had the church built, is shown carrying of model of it. Visit Cavustepe, one of the most important Urartian fortress settlements in the area. Some 25 miles to the east of Cavustepe, Hosap Castle stands on steep, rocky terrain, north of Hosap Stream. The castle was built by Sari (Blond) Suleyman Bey in 1643. Drive back to Van, dinner and overnight at the Merit Sahmaran Hotel in Van.
Day 9 / Ahlat / Tatvan
Leave Van in the morning and continue to Tatvan. We will take the local mini buses to the crater lake of Mount Nemrut. The Nemrut Lake is located inside the crater area of Nemrut Mountain at an altitude of 6800 feet and it is the biggest crater lake of Turkey, the second big crater lake of the world. Continue to Ahlat, where is famed for its Seljuk period mausoleums, whose magnificent architecture and stone carving have led historians to describe it as the land of the Seljuk renaissance. These tombs are considered among the greatest monuments of early Turkish civilization in Anatolia. The history of this region can be traced back to the 15th century BC. Drive back to hotel Kardelen in Tatvan for dinner and overnight.
Day 10 / Hasankeyf / Midyat
Today is a long drive via Bitlis and Tigris river basins south to Midyat. Visit Hasankeyf en route, which was a major city in the region which controls the east-west crossing over Tigris River. Continue to Syrian Orthodox village of Anitli with it is exclusive monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary. Midyat is a small town of Mardin and famous with it is Silversmiths using a unique traditional technique for silver jewelry. As time permits you will see these masters working on their small workshops. Dinner and overnight at Matiat Hotel in Midyat.
Day 11 / Dayrul-Zeferan / Mardin
Drive to Mardin and visit the medieval town of Mardin and the Monastery of Dayrul-Zeferan. This impressive old city completely enlisted in UNESCO’s worldcultural heritage list with it is marvelous stone buildings. Visit the ancient city and remains of Dara located very close to Syrian border. Dinner and overnight at Artuklu Kervansaray Hotel.
Day 12 / Diyarbakir / Kahta
Drive to Kahta via Diyarbakir where you will visit the Grand Mosque of Diyarbakir. Black basalt ramparts of the city rise high above the banks of Tigris. After exploring the city drive to Ataturk Dam Lake to catch a local ferry to Kahta. Dinner and overnight at Zeus Hotel in Kahta.
Day 13 / Nemrut Tumulus / Urfa
Early departure for sunrise at the top of Mount Nemrut, climbing up to Tumulus of Antiochos, the king of Kommagene. We will visit Nemrutdag National Park before returning hotel for breakfast and check out. Visits to the Cendere Roman bridge, Arsameia and the Karakus Cemetery, the tumulus where the royal women of Kommagene were buried. Drive to Urfa. Stop at one of the world’s largest irrigation projects, Ataturk Dam, on the Euphrates River. Free time afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Urfa Edessa Hotel.
Day 14 / Gobeklitepe – Harran / Urfa
Visit the village and ruins of Harran in the morning and continue to Gobeklitepe, world’s known earliest Neolithic site. Return to Urfa. Visit the Cave of Abraham which is considered to be his birthplace. Also visit the Sacred Pool, and then walk through the Urfa Bazaar. Dinner and overnight at Urfa Edessa Hotel.
Day 15 / Halfeti / Gaziantep
This morning we will drive to Birecik to see the Northern Bald Ibis used to nest here and winter in the deserts of Arabia. Now a few dozen birds remain and these no longer migrate but remain protected year-round in Birecik. Later we will drive to Halfeti, which is a small farming district on the east bank of the river Euphrates. We will take a ferry to see the Rumkale, which is perched on a long and steep rock. We will proceed to Gaziantep and overnight.
Day 16 / Gaziantep / Istanbul
In the morning we will first visit the mosaic museum; where many unique frescoes and mosaics from the 3rd century Roman frontier city of Zeugma on the Euphrates River are displayed; we will fly back to Istanbul and the tour will culminate upon arrival to Istanbul airport.