DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Arrival in Istanbul, welcome & assistance at the airport and transfer to hotel. Free day.
We begin our tour from the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul at Agia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses.
Next, we visit the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial Mosque with six minarets. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100.000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. After a lunch break, we continue our tour at Topkapi Palace which, from the 15th to 19th century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
The final visit will be to the Grand Bazaar which was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4.000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons and leather goods.
Half-day cruise through Bosporus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosporus wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and Rumeli Hisari, a massive fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy on this tour are the 19thcentury mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultans’ fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges Disembarkation at the European part of Turkey and transfer to the airport for your flight to Izmir. Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.
The tour starts with Isa Bey Mosque, then drive to an ancient Greek city, later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor which called Ephesus, stroll past the Celsus Library, the Temple Of Hadrian and the Trajan Fountain in the Ancient Ephesus.
After walking on the historical marble street the Great Theater where St. Paul preached will meet at the end. Open buffet lunch in a local Turkish restaurant. In the afternoon will visit the carpet cooperative to see how the Turkish carpets are made by hand.
Proceed to the shrine of Mother Mary, it is believed where she spent recent years of her life. Temple Of Artemis (Diana), on the side of one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World.
Return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.
It takes 3 hours to get to Pamukkale (Hierapolis) from Kusadasi. There will be a break halfway for the needs. You will have an open buffet lunch upon arrival in Pamukkale, then head to the South Gate of Pamukkale (Hierapolis). After that, we will see the Necropolis (cemetery) of Hierapolis which is one of the biggest ancient cemeteries in Anatolia with 1.200 graves, Roman Bath, Domitian Gate, and the Main Street, Byzantium Gate.
After the tour in Hierapolis, there will be a break in which you can spend your time swimming in the Ancient Pool (aka. Cleopatra Pool). Please note that swimming in the pool costs an extra fee. The Cleopatra Pool is warmed by hot springs and littered with underwater fragments of ancient marble columns. It is possibly associated with the Temple of Apollo. The pool provides a rare opportunity to swim among antiquities to visitors! During the Roman period, columned porticoes surrounded the pool; earthquakes toppled them into the water where they lie today.
If you want you can walk to the natural warm water terraces which were formed by the hot water that contains calcium. The temperature of the water is about 35 degrees. You can see the gleaming white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, located next to the ruins of Hierapolis.
The extraordinary effect is created when water from the hot springs loses carbon dioxide as it flows down the slopes, leaving deposits of limestone. The layers of white calcium carbonate, built up in steps on the plateau, gave the site the name Pamukkale (cotton castle).
After the tour you will be transferred to your hotel in Pamukkale for dinner and overnight
DAY 6: PAMUKKALE – CAPPADOCIA
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the bus station to take the intercity bus that will take you to Cappadocia. Upon your arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Our first real encounter with Cappadocia almost Martian landscape is in the Derwent valley. We visit Pasabag’s “fairy chimneys”, where the voice of the wind harmonizes with songs of the fairies. From here we pause at Avanos centre of terracotta art which is a popular destination because of its attractive old town with cobbled streets, and views over the river and is its production of earthenware pottery, it is also the most economic activity in the town. The ceramic trade in this district and its countless pottery factories date right back to the Hittites, and the ceramic clay from the red silt of the Kızılırmak has always been used. A visit to the ceramic & tile centre to see how the ceramics are made by hand.
After lunch, we visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. People of Goreme, at the heart of the Cappadocia Region, realized that these soft rocks could be easily carved out to form houses, churches, monasteries. These Christian sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art from the post iconoclastic period. These frescoes are a unique artistic achievement from this period.
You visit a carpet cooperative, where you’ll see how exquisite Turkish carpets are hand-woven. We complete the tour with a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Istanbul to connect with your international flight.
STARTING POINT: Istanbul Daily January to December
TRAVEL PLAN: 8 Days/ 7 nights
* 2 nights accommodation in Istanbul on a bed and breakfast basis
* Full day Istanbul old tour with lunch
* Half day Bosporus cruise
* 2 nights accommodation in Kusadasi on half board basis
* Full day tour to Ephesus and the house of Virgin Mary with lunch
* Full day Pamukkale and Hierapolis tour with lounch
* 1 night accommodation in Pamukkale on half board basis
* 2 nights accommodation in Cappadocia on half board basis
* Full day Cappadocia north tour with lunch
* Intercity bus tickets (Denizli – Nevsehir)
* Entrances to historical sites during guided excursions
* All private transfers as per the itinerary
* Daily breakfast
* Hotel taxes
* Air ticket Istanbul – Cappadocia – Izmir – Istanbul are not included