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Turkey Independent Travel Ideas
Splendours of Turkey
Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Aphrodisias, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Pergamum, Canakkale, Troy
Day 1. Istanbul
Upon arrival to Istanbul, Turkey, you are met and escorted to your hotel by a Goway Representative. The remaining of the day is at leisure.
Hotel President – M / Crown Plaza Old City – F (3 nights)
Day 2. Istanbul sightseeing
Start a leisurely day, you will travel by road to pier in Eminonu area for a short visit of the historical Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar). This bazaar was built in 1664 as a part of Yeni Mosque complex situated nearby and named Egyptian Bazaar because spices and herbs brought from or via Egypt were sold here.
Then, you will board a private boat for the cruise along the Bosphorus, a narrow strait between the continents of Europe and Asia connecting the Black Sea in the north with the Sea of Marmara in the South. In the Byzantine and early Ottoman days, there was little settlement on either sides of the Bosphorus but as of the 18th century, it became a favorite place for the sultans and their entourage where they built their kiosks and waterside residences.
Meet with your guide in the lobby and drive to the Asian Side of Istanbul via transcontinental Bosphorus Bridge, unique in the world connecting two continents Asia and Europe. The bridge was built in 1973, the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. Its length is 1.560 m (1,074 m over the sea) and height from the sea is 64 m. It is the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world.
You will visit Beylerbeyi Palace situated on the shore of the Asian end of the Bosphorus Bridge which was built between 1861 and 1864 by Sultan Abdulaziz. The palace is a three- story structure set on terraced grounds planted with trees brought from the entire world. The interior was decorated in a style typical of the 19th century – Europe and the original furniture are still on display. The building itself, constructed in the French Baroque style, is made of stone and marble. It was used by the Ottoman sultans as a summer residence.
Then, we drive to Camlica Hill, highest hill in Istanbul, to enjoy the panoramic view of the city before returning to the hotel. BL
Day 3. Istanbul – City Sightseeing
After breakfast, you will be driving to the old town and visit the Hippodrome Square, the scene of Chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life which was originally built by Roman Emperor Septimus in 203 AD. Then you visit the Blue Mosque, built in early 17th century and it is known as the Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior decoration with blue Iznik tiles. It is also unique as the only one in the world to have 6 minarets.
You continue onto the St. Sophia Museum, built by Emperor Constantius is 360 AD. St. Sophia was for many centuries the world’s largest church and today is the fourth largest one after St. Paul’s in London, St. Peter’s in Rome and Duomo in Milan. Throughout its Byzantine history, St. Sophia served as the cathedral of the city where emperors were crowned and victories celebrated. After his conquest of the city in 1453, Sultan Mehmet II ordered for the building to be converted into a mosque by the addition of Islamic elements such as a mihrab, a mimber, minarets etc. After having served this time as a mosque for 481 years, the building became a museum in 1934 by the order of Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.
After lunch you will visit the Topkapi Palace, built by Sultan Mehmet II after the conquest of Istanbul in 15th century. The palace housed the sultans and their exotic entourage until mid 19th century. The complex is a group of structures which incorporates works from successive periods of Ottoman reign. Today the museum displays priceless collections of the imperial treasury, numerous pieces of Chinese porcelain, traditional costumes of the sultans and their families and special section for the preservation of the relics of Prophet Mohammed.
Last stop will be at famous historical Grand Bazaar, the largest “souk” covered oriental shopping mall in the world, where you will find 4,400 shops under one roof where each trade has its own street. There is a wide selection of leather, jewelry, antiques, copperware, souvenirs, and famous hand-made Turkish carpets displayed in this historical shopping center. BL
Day 4. Istanbul / Ankara / Cappadocia
You have an early morning transfer to Istanbul airport for flight to Ankata and start your visit with the Mausoleum of Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic. Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural ideas and remains unsurpassed as an accomplishment of modern Turkish architecture. There is a museum houses writings, letters and items belonging to Ataturk as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments of his life and the establishment of the republic. An important exhibition of the War of Liberation is also open to the public.
You then visit, The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, close to the citadel gate, a 15th century Ottoman bedesten which has been beautifully restored and since 1921 it houses a marvelous and unique collection including Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Lydian, Urartian and Roman works. In 1997 this great museum won the "European Museum of the Year" award between 65 museums from 21 European countries. After lunch, drive to Cappadocia. BLD
Hotel Perissia or Peri Tower – M / Hotel Dedeman – FD (2 nights)
Day 5. Cappadocia
After breakfast, you start our day with visits to the Goreme Valley museum which consists of steep cliffs and many hidden churches dating from second half of 9th C. You then visit Pasabag in Cappadocia which is located on the road coming in from Goreme. Highly remarkable earth pillars can be seen here, in the middle of a vineyard, hence the name of the place which means: the Pacha's vineyard. Pacha means "General", the military rank in Turkish, and a very common nick name. This site is also called Monks Valley. The name was derived from some cones carved in tuff stones which stand apart. Currently, there is a vineyard and a number of tuff cones standing right next to the road.
You continue onto your visit to the villages of Avanos, which is a small town famous for its pottery. It is built along the banks of Kizilirmak (Hayls River), the longest river originated and ending within the borders of Turkey; 842 miles. Those who want may enjoy famous “testi kebab”. After lunch, you visit the traditional pottery making house where guests will see their own talents in producing their own potteries.
You continue your visit onto the underground city made to accommodate several thousands of people with seven subterranean floors. So far 36 underground cities have been discovered some of them being very recent. It is also estimated that most of them are connected to each other. But it is difficult to identify these connections.
After lunch you visit the Cavusin village, a Greek town whose history goes back to the Early Christian Period. The rock cut buildings have collapsed because of erosion but the churches are still in place and being used as dovecotes. You then return back to your hotel. BLD
Day 6. Cappadocia / Konya / Pampukkale
After breakfast, you will journey by road to Konya, which in the days of Roman Empire, Konya was called Iconium “the city of icons”. Konya has become a place of pilgrimage for Moslems because the leader of Mevlevis, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi is buried here. Today you will visit Mevlan’s Mausoleum, the mystic poet on the way of Sufism and the founder of the Whirling Dervish order. Thereafter you drive to Pamukkale for dinner & overnight. BLD
Hotel Lycus River or Richmond – M / Hotel Colossae – F
Day 7. Pamukkale / Hierapolis / Aphrodisias / Kusadasi
Pamukkale, translates as to “Cotton Castle” as you approach across the valley where calcareous hot springs descending over hundred meters have created fascinating travertine in the form of white terraces and basins which creates the look of a cotton castle. Your morning journey continues onto the ancient city of Hierapolis, founded by Eumenes II in the 2nd century BC. You also visit the theater and famous Necropolis which is the largest one in the Asia Minor.
After lunch you will be driven to Aphrodisias, famous throughout the ancient world for its magnificent Temple of Aphrodite, Aphrodisias is undoubtedly the most spectacular city of Caria; it is the home of the greatest sculpturing school of antiquity. Among the recently excavated ruins are a well-preserved Stadium with 20,000 seats, the Odeum and parts of the famous temple. Thereafter you continue back to your hotel. BLD
Hotel Pine Marina or Tatlises - M / Hotel Surmeli Efes – F (2 nights)
Day 8. Kusadasi – Ephesus
After breakfast, your travel continues onto Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia minor which remains as the best preserved ancient city in the world. During the golden age of the Roman Empire (2nd century AD), Ephesus was an important commercial and cultural center. The protector of the city was Artemis, the Goddess whose temple was one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. The Ephesians still worshipped Artemis when St. Paul came to the city to win converts. St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Jesus Christ and she lived until the age of 101 in a small house built for her on Mt. Koressos. Now, this is a popular place of pilgrimage for Catholics and Muslims, the house received the official sanction of the Vatican and a commemoration ceremony is held every year on August 15th.
You continue your journey onto the House of the Virgin where it's believed that she spent the last years of her life and died. She came to Ephesus together with St.John and taken up to Panaghia Kapulu Mountain to survive the Roman persecutions. The House was destroyed by many earthquakes and was not discovered until 1951 thanks to a German Nun Catherine Emmerich who saw its location in her visions. It is recognized as a shrine by Vatican. Now the House of Virgin Mary is renovated by George Quatman Foundation from Ohio and serves as a small church which attracts many Christians as well as Muslims coming to pray for her.
Your last stop today will be the Basilica of St. John which was built in 6th century. The building was in the shape of a cross and was covered by 6 domes. Under the central dome was the tomb of St. John; that has a marble marker today. When Christianity became the state religion, the crowds who once flocked to the Temple of Diana turned their attention to this cathedral. BLD
Day 9. Kusadasi / Pergamum / Canakkale
After breakfast you will be taken by road to Pergamum, the capital of a large and powerful pre-Roman Kingdom and one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. We visit the Acropolis of Pergamum, built by the Greeks and later expanded by the Romans which boasted one of the largest libraries in the ancient world. The visit includes the Theater, the Altar of Zeus, and the temples of Tragion & Athena. You then continue to the south, to visit the Ascelpion known as the world’s first health center, a sanctuary to the God of Medicine, Asclepios!
Pergamum’s place in the religious history is also very important because of the paragraph addressed to its Christians by St. John in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 2:12-17). He characterized Pergamum as the place where Satan was enthroned. At the end of the tour, drive to Canakkale, the base from where we visit Troy. BLD
Akol or Iris Hotel – M / Hotel Kolin – F
Day 10. Canakkale / Troy / Istanbul
After breakfast, you will depart to the ancient Troy famous for the legendary Trojan horse from the times of an equally legendary couple Helen & Paris. The remains of the city were excavated by Heinrich Schliemann, the pioneer in the field of archaeology, who used Homer’s Illiad to locate the site, and who also took many of the valuable treasures he found back to Germany with him. After our visit, we will return to Istanbul by crossing the Dardanelles by ferry. BL
Hotel President – M / Crown Plaza Old City – F
Day 11. Depart Istanbul
You will be transferred to the airport by a Goway Representative for your onward flight. B
10 nights accommodation in first class or deluxe accommodation with en-suite facilities, meals as indicated by BLD, domestic fare between Istanbul and Ankara, all sightseeing and guiding with a English speaking guide.
Meals not mentioned, gratuities, international flights and any other domestic flights not mentioned.