The Anatolian Civilization Tour (15 Days, 14 Nights )
DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Arrival, clear through the customs and transfer to your hotel.
DAY 2: ISTANBUL
Full day city tour, including visits to Topkapi Palace (including Harem), Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Underground Cistern and Hagia (St.) Sophia
DAY 3: ISTANBUL & BURSA
Morning drive to Bursa, the first capital of the young Ottoman Empire, now famed for its green slopes, abundant fruit and modern commercial power. Visit the graceful Green Mosque, the harmonious Green Tomb, Grand Mosque, Silk Market and Old Covered Bazaar. Overnight in Bursa.
DAY 4: BURSA & ANKARA
After breakfast, depart for the drive up to great Anatolian plateau, towards Turkey's capital city Ankara. En route visit Cumali Kizik Village, the oldest Ottoman village founded in 13th century. Visit Gordion where according to legend, Alexander the Great cut the Gordion Knot and King Midas's Tomb. Overnight in Ankara.
DAY 5: ANKARA & CAPPADOCIA
Ankara was once a Hittite town, then a Roman city, and now is the capital of the modern Turkey. Tour to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, housed in a restored caravansary, especially to see its Hittite treasures and artifacts from different part of Turkey belong to different civilizations. Onward visit the great Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. Drive by spacious lakes, across rolling wheat lands and past ancient camel caravansaries to Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B.D.)
DAY 6: CAPPADOCIA
Full day tour of Cappadocia, including visits to Goreme Open Air Museum with its dozens of painted cave-churches from early Byzantine period, Zelve Valley famous for its rock dwellings, and Soganli Valley a picturesque valley of many chapels and stone houses. Overnight in Cappadocia.
DAY 7: CAPPADOCIA
Morning visit to Underground City and Ihlara Valley a canyon for its rock dwellings and cave-churches with frescoes. In the afternoon visit to Avanos, famous for pottery making for centuries and time for shopping to buy handicrafts produced in Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia.
DAY 8: CAPPADOCIA & ANTALYA
After an early breakfast, drive along old trade routes Konya. En route visit the famous early 13th century Selcuk Kervansaray and explore Konya's beautiful Selcuk-Turkish Architecture, including the Mevlana Museum, a 13th century whirling dervish monastery. Jelaleddin Rumi, mystic poet and founder of the dervish order, is buried here amid great pomp. Then continue to Antalya driving through beautiful Toros Mountains and countryside. Overnight at hotel in Antalya.
DAY 9: ANTALYA
Day long excursion to the ancient Pamphylian, Hellenistic and Roman cities of Perge, Aspendos and Side. All have impressive buildings, but the theater at Aspendos is the best preserved in the entire Mediterranean. At Side there is a Turkish seaside resort village amid the ruins of an ancient city, including theater, museum and Agora. Overnight in Antalya.
DAY 10: ANTALYA & PAMUKKALE
Morning departure for Pamukkale. Drive North-East into the mountains to Pamukkale, a mineral water spa since ancient times. In the afternoon visit Pamukkale with its brilliant white calcium rock formations and also the ruins of the Roman health spa of Hierapolis, opportunity to swim in healing thermal pool in hotel. Overnight in Pamukkale.
DAY 11: PAMUKKALE & KUSADASI
After breakfast drive westward through cotton fields and fruit orchards to Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite. Visit the best-preserved Roman stadium, bath, theater, Odeon and Temple of Aphrodite, some of them were restored by National Geographic Society. Continue to Aegean resort of Kusadasi. Overnight in Kusadasi.
DAY 12: KUSADASI & IZMIR
Drive to nearby Ephesus for a full day tour, including visits to the Basilica of St. John, Virgin Mary's House, Ephesus Museum and the extensive ruins of ancient Ephesus, capital of Roman Asia. St. Paul preached here and was brought to trail in the great theater, then continue to Izmir for overnight and dinner.
DAY 13: IZMIR & CANAKKALE
Drive north in the morning to ancient Pergamum, today called Bergama. Parchment was invented here to make books for city's great library. After visiting the high Acropolis and the ancient medical center of the Asclepion, then continue north to Canakkale. En route visit to fabled Ancient City of Troy with its legendary walls, buildings and wooden horse. Overnight in Canakkale.
DAY 14: CANAKKALE & ISTANBUL
After breakfast, drive to Istanbul, cross by the Dardenelles (or Hellenspont) by ferry for the drive along the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul. In the afternoon visit to Grand Bazaar. Farewell dinner. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 15: DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.