Precious Journeys Turkey

Discover the richness of this ancient culture and its extraordinary heritage sites.

Country Information

Turkey

Precious Journeys Turkey Precious Journeys

(Countries Visited)

Turkey


(Interest Type(s))

Recommended


(Tour Length)

10 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $4,940
  • Explore Istanbul on the Bosphorus, which connects Marmara Sea and Black Sea – known as the place where Europe and Asia meet
  • Travel to Cappadocia, an intriguing region of other-worldly rock formations, subterranean churches and underground cities that served as a refuge for the early Christians
  • Discover the ancient Ionian city of Ephesus, dating from the 1st century B.C., and one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor and home to the Temple of Artemis
  • In Bodrum, enjoy time on your own to savor a treatment at the luxurious Six Senses Spa, relax on the private beach or discover some of the region’s 3,000 years of history
  • Turkey has ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which the World Heritage Committee considers to be of outstanding universal value to humanity

 

 

Day 1:  Arrive Istanbul, Turkey
Welcome to Turkey!  At Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport you are greeted and privately transferred to your hotel.  Although it is not the capital, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the leading industrial, commercial and cultural center.  It spreads out along both sides of the beautiful Bosphorus, formed many centuries ago as the sea entered the deep and narrow valley.  The Bosphorus connects the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea, and is known as the place where Europe and Asia meet.  Istanbul has been the capital for three empires.  Originally called Byzantium, the city was renamed Constantinople in A.D. 330 by Emperor Constantine, who chose it as the site of the capital of the Byzantine Empire.  Today, Istanbul is a multifaceted city of ethereal minarets, monumental mosque domes and a wealth of historic sites as well as all the signs of modern life from high-rise buildings to cell phones.  Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet – Superior Room

Day 2:  Istanbul
After breakfast, set out on a full-day city tour of Istanbul that includes the famous Hagia Sophia (closed on Mondays), which occupies a prominent place in the history of art and architecture.  It is one of the rare works of this size and age that has survived over the centuries.  The church, erroneously known as Saint Sophia to many, was a basilica dedicated to divine wisdom.  The captivating Underground Cistern (The Basilica Cistern) is thought to have been built after the Nika Revolt in 532 AD.  It was known as the Basilica Cistern during the Roman Period, as there was once a basilica above the pre-existing site.  Today it has a rather eerie and mystical ambiance.  When the city was first founded, the acropolis was a typical Mediterranean trading center surrounded by city walls.  The Hippodrome was built by the Romans at end of the 2nd century.  The Blue Mosque is one of the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul, with its domes, courtyards and six slender minarets.  Construction began in 1609 and was completed in 1616.  Topkapı Palace, which was turned into a museum in 1929, is situated on the acropolis, site of the first settlement in Istanbul.  It commands an impressive view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara.  The palace complex is surrounded by five kilometers of walls and occupies an area of 700,000 square meters at the tip of the historical peninsula.  On to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, a 540-year-old covered shopping mall of 64 streets, 4,000 shops, 22 entrances and 25,000 workers.  Turkish carpets, glazed tiles, pottery, copper, brassware, apparel made of leather, cotton and wool, meerschaum pipes, alabaster bookends – and likely just about anything else for which you might want to bargain.  Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet – Superior Room (B)

Day 3:  Istanbul
Venture into the Egyptian Bazaar, famous for the best spices in Turkey.  Then take in Dolmabahce Palace (closed Mondays & Thursdays), built in 19th century.  It was the administrative center for the late Ottoman Empire.  Enjoy an excursion by boat to see the Bosphorus, and head up Istanbul's winding straits to admire the shoreline dotted with mosques, lavish palaces and elegant villas.  You will pass by Ortakoy Mosque, the defensive Rumeli Fortress and Bosphorus Bridge - one of the world's largest suspension bridges.  You cruise alongside fishing boats, yachts, huge cargo ships and tankers.  Please note that while other people will be on the cruise, your private guide will accompany you.  After your cruise, see the small but ornate imperial Beylerbeyi Palace, another Ottoman summer mansion, this one dating from mid-19th century (closed Mondays and Thursdays).  The palace was often used as a guest house for visiting royalty.  Camlica Hill offers panoramic views of the city and has a small teahouse in the midst of the pine grove.  Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet – Superior Room (B)

Day 4:  Istanbul / Kayseri / Cappadocia
This morning, you fly to Kayseri, where you will be transferred to your hotel in Cappadocia.  The region known as Cappadocia includes the centers of Urgup, Goreme, Avanos, Uchisar, Derinkuyu, Kaymaklı and Ihlara.  It is a stunning area of other-worldly rock formations, subterranean churches and underground dwellings.  Cappadocia was a refuge for the early Christians, who escaped persecution by living and worshipping underground.  There are an estimated 3,000 rock churches in this region.  The village of Göreme is at the heart of the area's tourist industry, and many of its villagers still live in cave dwellings.  Surrounding the area are the amazing rock formations known evocatively as 'Fairy Chimneys'.  The area is also famous for its carpet-weaving, wines and the distinctive red pottery of the Avanos area.  You check into your enchanting hotel, Anatolian Houses, part of Cappadocia's historical structure.  After settling in, you investigate Zelve Open Air Museum that once housed one of the largest communities in the region.  It is an incredible cave town, honeycombed with dwellings, both religious and secular chambers.  Anatolian Houses – Standard Suite (B,L)

Day 5:  Cappadocia
Today you explore the more of the Cappadocia region.  Visit the Open Air Museum of Goreme (closed on Mondays), which resembles a vast monastic complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church.  The area covered by this Open Air Museum forms a coherent geographical entity and represents historical unity.  There are eleven refectories within the Museum, with rock-cut churches tables and benches.  Each is associated with a church.  Most of the churches in Goreme Open Air Museum belong to the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries.  Then you will visit the Dark Church.  The entrance is from the north through a winding tunnel which opens into a barrel-vaulted narthex.  This church dates to the end of the 12th century.  The Snake Church has a linear plan, consisting of two chambers, and boasts frescoes dating to the 11th century.  Your next stop is the Apple Church, one of the most prominent buildings in the area with its vivid colors, four columns and a central dome with more frescoes from the 11th and 12th centuries.  You will continue to the Buckle Church, a complex of four main chambers, and contains some of the most important samples of paintings that spans various periods.  Departing the Goreme Open Air Museum, visit Uchisar, a natural rock citadel that is the tallest point in the area and is visible for a great distance.  The underground city of Kaymaklı encompasses troglodyte cave-cities that were excavated as early as the Hittite era, which reached its height in the 14th century B.C.  They were expanded over the centuries as various marauding armies traversed Central Anatolia in search of captives and plunder.  There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia.  Finally, you stop at Avanos, a center for terracotta art since 3,000 B.C., to watch a demonstration in a pottery workshop, and a carpet-weaving workshop before returning to your hotel.  Anatolian Houses – Standard Suite (B,L)

Day 6:  Cappadocia / Kayseri / Istanbul / Izmir
This morning, you transfer to the airport in Kayseri for your departing flight to Izmir via Istanbul.  Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day is at leisure.  Izmir is the city which is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  On the Aegean Coast in western Turkey, the city has managed to modernize while preserving its priceless archaeological and historical treasures.  Izmir is an important port and trade center.  It features thermal spas, the deep blue sea, and sandy beaches.  Swissotel Gran Efes –Swiss Advantage Room Garden View  (B)

Day 7:  Izmir – Ephesus
Today discover the ancient Ionian city of Ephesus, which dates from the 1st century B.C.  Near the Aegean Sea, this was one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor and home to the Temple of Artemis, also one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  It is a sacred site for Christians for its association with several biblical figures, including St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary.  On the way to Ephesus, you stop at the house of the Virgin Mary, where she supposedly spent her later days.  The Vatican has recognized this small house in the Solmissos Mountains (Bulbul Mountain) as the final resting place of the Virgin Mary.  A small shrine dedicated to St. Mary was found when the ruins of the house were first discovered.  In Ephesus you have the chance to see spectacular ruins, some of which have recently been excavated.  Enter through the Magnesia Gate walk with your guide into the ruins of this Roman provincial capital.  Your route takes you past the Odeon, the Bouleterion, the Fountain of Trajan, the Temple of Hadrian, the Brothel, the Celsus Library, the Agoras, the Roman Baths, the Gymnasiums and the Great Theatre.  The theater had seating for 25,000, and is where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians.  After lunch, tour  the archaeological museum, a small museum in Selcuk that boasts an incredible collection of Hellenistic and Roman statues, carved reliefs and artifacts unearthed from the ruins of Ephesus.  The Temple of Artemis was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction in 401.  The next stop is the Basilica of St. John, now in ruins, built over the tomb of St. John the Apostle.  It once rivaled St. Sophia in size and you still see graceful columns, mosaics and frescoes.  Swissotel Gran Efes – Swiss Advantage Room Garden View  (B)

Day 8:  Izmir / Bodrum
This morning, drive to Bodrum where you will check into your hotel, an oasis by the sea.  Take time to enjoy a treatment at the luxurious Six Senses Spa; lose yourself on the hotel’s private beach; or discover 3,000 years of history.  Bodrum is known for its climate, sea, natural beauty and active nightlife.  Bodrum, known in antiquity as Halircarnasus, has been influenced by many cultures over the centuries including Carian, Leleges, Persian, Dorian, Helen, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.  Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay – Standard Room (B)

Day 9:  Bodrum
Today is at leisure to relax on the beach or by the pool, and enjoy the fine amenities of your resort hotel.  Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay – Standard Room (B)

Day 10:  Bodrum / Istanbul / Depart
Early this morning you fly to Istanbul, where you connect with your flight home.  (B)

Departure Dates:  Jan 1 to Mar 31 and Nov 1 to Dec 15, 2013

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  Starting from $4940

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