Istanbul - Ankara - Cappadoccia - Konya - Pamukkale - Izmir - Ephesus - Bergama - Troy
1st day: Arrival at Istanbul. Transfer and accomodation at the hotel. Free time. You will be offered additional evening programs: "The Turkish Night" or boat trip on the night Bosphorus.
2nd day: Istanbul tour with visits to the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Suleymaniye Mosque and the Beylerbeyi Palace. Then, following the ancient Silk Road, you will journey to Ankara. However, rather than riding camels along an ancient road paved by centuries, you will enjoy a comfortable bus and a modern highway. Upon your arrival and accomodation at the hotel, you will have an opportunity to walk along the lively avenues of the evening Ankara.
3rd day: Ankara tour. A visit to the Ataturk Mausolem, consecrated to the founder of the Turkish Republic, and to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations which hosts a large collection of historical artefacts. After that you will be transferred to Cappadocia. The road passes by the «Tuz Golu», or “The Salt Lake”, sometimes called “the Dead Sea of Turkey”, the second largest natural water reservoir in country and is remarkable for extremely high salt concentration in water. After arrival at Cappadocia and accomodation at a hotel, you can participate in the “Turkish night” program. The program includes wine-testing of legendary Cappadocian wines and watching the whirling dervishes. The monastic order of whirling dervishes originates from the great Persian Sufi poet Celalettin Rumi. You will see the monks’ residence later, during your visit to Konya
4th day: You will have a unique chance to watch the sunrise from the Cappadocian balloons. A magnificent view opens from high above ground: 3 millions years ago, Erciyes and Beydagi volcanos erupted, creating an amazing landscape. On this day you will also visit the underground city of Kaymakli – a mysterious residence where Christians hid during the Arabo-Byzantine wars. Next destination is the town of Avanos, also known as the city of ceramics masters, followed by the Uchisar fortress and the Goreme monastery complex. The latter is especially astonishing, with its ancient rocky constructions and churches. Moreover, you will visit the capret centre, for which the region is so famous, and will learn exciting details about the hand and machine production of Turkish carpets.
5th day: On this day you will make a trip to Pamukkale. The road to Pamukkale lies through Konya, one of the most important waypoints of the Silk Road. Today Konya is an important religious centre of the Islamic world. The second part of the transfer to Pamukkale starts at the religious complex “Mevlana” – the whirling dervishes’ monastery and Celalettin Rumi mausoleum.
6th day – Hierapolis is an anthique city that was especially respected by the Romans for its mineral waters. You will walk along the Travertines – the limestone terraces of the clearest white colour. Cleopatra’s swimming pool is located here. You will also visit Our Lady’s house in Kusadasi. As the legend says, John the Apostle brought Mother Mary to Ephesus, as Jesus had told him. Here, in Ephesus, Mary spent her last days. This house was discovered in the vicinity of Ephesus and, since being declared holy in 1904, has become a place of pilgrimage.
7th day – A visit to Efes (Ephesus), one of the largest cities of the ancient times, famous for the Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the World. When the Romans ruled the country, Ephesus was the most important town in Eastern Rome and the capitol of the Anatolian province. The remains of one of Rome’s largest libraries, Celsius’ Library, and well-preserved theatre will undoubtedly impress you very much. A visit to Pergama – the magnificent capitol of the Pergama Kingdom. This is the place where parchment was invented. Acropolises, and Eskulap (Hippocrates) Temple, which at the same time had been a hospital, are just a few of the remarkable places in this city. Then, you will journey to Ayvalik – a town on the Aegean seacoast.
8th day – A visit to the legendary Troy. This city, located near the Hellespontis (now the Dardanelles), once had been the gate to Asia. For centuries this city had been only legend until German archeologist Genrich Schliemann at last found it on the hill of Hisarlik. You will follow the ways of ancient heroes and Gods, put yourself into the shoes of this doomed city’s defenders. Never ever will you feel the air of Homer’s tradegies better than here. Then, you will transfer to Bursa – the first capital if the Ottoman Empire. This city is sometimes called the Turkish Emerald for abundance of trees and green streets. Besides, you will have a chance to visit the well-known Turkish saunas, and taste one of the most delicious Turkish dishes – the iskender kebap.
9th day – Bursa tour, including a visit to the Green Mosque, the Green Mausoleum, the Ulucami Mosque, and the Silk Bazaar. Transfer to Istanbul by ferry via the Sea of Marmara. Transfer to airport. Flight.