Elegance of Turkey

Tour Code : CUL 08

Highlights
–    Istanbul; Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque & Topkapi palace 
–    World heritage Cappadocia  
–    Ucagiz/Kekova tour by boat; Simena castle & sunken city
–    Ancient sites Phaselis, Myra; Patara; Aphrodisias 
–    Pamukkale & World Heritage Hierapolis
–    Selcuk & ancient Ephesus

CUL 08 - PRIN

Best Season   
Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

 

Duration of the Trip
14 Days / 13 Nights

 

Difficulty Level
= A (Easy) 

 

Accommodation
Hotel    :    13 Nights

Day 1 : Istanbul

Meet at the Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport with Demavend Travels representative and drive to the Hotel, located in the historical centre of Istanbul, known as Sultanahmet.
Transfer time: 30 min.; transfer distance: 18 km; (Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport – Hotel)
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: – / – / –

Day 2 : Istanbul sightseeing; Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque & Topkapi palace

Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, was the hub of the Ottoman Empire, and many of the grand buildings of this period are present today. You could easily spend a week in this city and still not have seen all the sites. Today we will explore the old Sultanahmet Area. We visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) was built between 1609 and 1616. The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighbouring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on February 1935. The Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624 year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a major tourist attraction and contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammad’s cloak and sword. The Topkapi Palace is among the monuments contained within the “Historic Areas of Istanbul”, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
ON: in Istanbul at the Hotel
Meals: B / – / –

Day 3 : Fly to Kayseri and continue to Cappadocia; visit Cavusin village; Pasabaglari valley; Zelve monastery & Avanos

Today we drive to Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport and fly to Kayseri and continue from there to Cappadocia where we spend the next three nights to explore the landscape of this wonder of nature.
In Cappadocia we first drive to Cavusin, one of the oldest settlements in Cappadocia Area; a small village made up of rock cut dwellings and elegantly carved stone houses. From Cavusin village we start for a short walk and continue on small walking paths, close to fascinating rock formations and with magnificent views, to the fairy chimneys at monk’s valley (Pasabaglari) down below. Pasabaglari fairy chimneys are unique and feature bizarre large toadstool like caps which protect the rest of the chimney from erosion. The area was formerly a monastic retreat and used to be known as monk’s valley and features a rock cut church dedicated to St Simeon. After visiting Pasabaglari area we drive to Zelve Monastery & open air Museum in only 5 Minutes distance. Christians moved to Zelve during the Persian and Arab invasions and the region, though recently uninhabited, became an important settlement and religious area during the 9th and 13th centuries. Zelve spreads out over three valleys, of which two are connected by a tunnel. The monastery is rich in its own beauty; main decorations are high relief crosses representative of the Iconoclastic doctrine. In the afternoon we take time to visit Avanos.
Optional Activity: visiting Pottery shaping Studio
The most famous historical feature of Avanos, which is still relevant and very visible today, 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. We will take time to visit one of the Pottery studios and you will try to shape by your own.
Transfer time: 30 min.; transfer distance: 18 km; (Hotel – Istanbul Ataturk Int. Airport)
Transfer time: 1 h; transfer distance: 80 km; (Kayseri airport – Cappadocia)
Walking time: 45 min.; walking distance: 3 km; ascent: 60m; descent: 70m; (Cavusin – Pasabaglari)
ON: in Cappadocia at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 4 : Uchisar Citadel & Goreme open air museum; Red & Rose valleys

Optional Activity: Hot Air Balloon
In the Early Morning before Sunrise it is optional possible to go on a Hot Air Balloon Flight. Cappadocia is awarded as one of the world’s best balloon flight areas and it is one of the best ways to discover the unique landscapes of this impressive wonder of nature.
After having breakfast we drive Uchisar village to visit the high viewpoint known as “The fortress”. Many rooms hollowed out into the Rock, are connected to each other with stairs, tunnels and passages. The top of the Citadel provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area. Afterwards we take time to visit Goreme open air Museum. The Christian people at the heart of the Cappadocia realized that the soft rocks could be easily carved out to form houses, churches and monasteries. These Christian sanctuaries contain many examples of Byzantine art from the post iconoclastic period. The frescoes inside the Goreme Open Air Museum are a unique artistic achievement from this period. After visiting the Goreme open air Museum we drive to the Red Valley area, the most beautiful valley in Cappadocia with its spectacular formations and colours. In Red Valley it is possible to visit some hidden churches like the Uzumlu church (Grape church / Red Valley) or the hidden Cross Church (Rose Valley). These churches have been carved out of the cliff face, although it is not definite, the common believe is that these churches date back to the 8/9th century. The decorative reliefs and frescoes are added in the 10/11th Century.
Optional Activity: Turkish bath (Hamam)
In the late afternoon/ or early evening it is optional possible to try a traditional Turkish bath, better known as Hamam. The Hamam combines the functionality and the structural elements of its predecessors in Anatolia, the Roman thermal and Eastern Roman baths.
ON: in Cappadocia at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 5 : Derinkuyu underground city; Ihlara valley & Selime monastery

Today we drive to Ihlara, on the Way we visit the incredible underground city of Derinkuyu, opened to visitors in 1965. The city is approximately 85m deep, but only 10 % of the city can be visited, and contains all of the usual rooms found in an underground city, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches and wineries. Apart from these, a large room with a barrel vaulted ceiling on the second floor served as a missionary school, the rooms to the left used as study rooms. Ihlara Valley is a 14 km long canyon with hundreds of rock cut rooms and churches. This valley proved to be an ideal place for Monks to worship in seclusion, as well as provide a safe hideaway and place of defence for people during times of invasion. There are numerous dwellings, some of which are connected by tunnels and corridors. The decorations in the churches date from the 6th to the 13th centuries. After having Lunch in Belisirma village we drive to Selime to visit the Selime Monastery. A visit to this complex of buildings on a steep mountain slope is a must in the region. In the late afternoon/early evening we return to Cappadocia to our Hotel.
Transfer time: 1/2 h; transfer distance: 95 km (Ihlara – Cappadocia via Derinkuyu / one way)
Walking time: 2 h; walking distance: 6 km (Ihlara – Belisirma)
ON: in Cappadocia at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 : Day at leisure to explore Urgup & Goreme

Urgup is one of the most important centres in Cappadocia. Urgup was a bishopric of the rock cut churches and monasteries found in the villages, valleys and towns around Urgup. Today Urgup is known for its famous wines and pleasant cafes. Goreme is designated as an important tourist destination; a “centre” for all tourism in Cappadocia, the name of the town was changed to Goreme for practical reasons. In Urgup and Goreme we take time to relax a while and to taste a traditional cup of Turkish tea before we explore the centres of these famous cities (villages), with their small shops and pleasant cafes, on our own way.
ON: in Cappadocia at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Cappadocia to Antalya via Sultanhani caravanserai and Konya & Mevlana museum

After breakfast we leave Cappadocia and drive to Antalya, on the way we visit Caravanserai of Sultanhani, the largest Caravanserai of the Country and a hostel for caravans during 13th Century. Sultanhani is one of the most magnificent Seljuk Caravanserais and was built by Sultan Aladdin Keykubat. In the afternoon we arrive in Konya, the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum from 1097 to 1243. Konya reached the height of its wealth and influence in the second half of the 12th century; Sultan Kayqubad I. fortified the town and built a palace on top of the citadel. In Konya we will visit Mevlana museum; the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Sufi mystic also known as Mevlana or Rumi. It was also the dervish lodge of the Mevlevi order, better known as the whirling dervishes. The members of the Mevlevi order had a prolific impact throughout the Ottoman Empire in classical poetry, calligraphy, visual arts and music. In the late afternoon/early evening we arrive in Antalya; it is uncertain when the site of the current city was first inhabited. Attalos II, king of Pergamon, was believed to have founded the city around 150 BC, naming it Attalia and selecting it as a naval base for his powerful fleet. However, excavations in 2008 have uncovered remains dating to the 3rd century BC, suggesting that the city was founded earlier than previously supposed. Antalya became part of the Roman Republic in 133 BC when King Attalos III of Pergamum willed his kingdom to Rome at his death. The city grew and prospered during the Ancient Roman period; today the city includes sites with traces of Lycian, Pamphylian, and Hellenistic -but mainly Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman- architecture and cultures.
Transfer time: 8/9h; transfer distance: 580 km (Cappadocia – Antalya via Konya & Mevlana Museum)
ON: in Antalya at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : Antalya to Kas via Phaselis & ancient Myra

Today we leave Antalya and drive to Kas; on the way we first take time to visit Phaselis, an ancient Greek and Roman city with three harbours. Through the middle of the city runs a 24m wide ancient street. The ‘Hadrian Waterway Gate’ is on the southern part of the street with ruins of shops and stores on the sides and near these are ruins of public places such as Roman baths, agora and theatres. After visiting Phaselis we drive to Myra; according to Strabo one of the largest towns of the Lycian alliance; the ancient city consist an impressive necropolis including tombs of rulers and family members and a large Roman amphitheatre. In the late afternoon we will arrive in Kas, a small fishing, yachting and tourist town. Kas was founded by the Lycians and its name was Habesos or Habesa. It was a member of the Lycian League and its importance during this time is confirmed by the presence of one of the richest Lycian necropolis. Kas itself is a quiet pleasant town with its blue sea and narrow streets scented with jasmine flowers. There are plenty of little quiet cafes to relax.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 190 km (Antalya – Kas via Myra & Phaselis)
ON: in Kas at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 9 : Ucagiz/Kekova tour by boat; Simena Castle & Sunken City – Kas at Leisure

In the morning we drive to Ucagiz/Kekova area, a great place for the coastal scenery as well as for the archaeological sites well preserved because they are not easily accessible. A pleasant excursion by boat is the best way to see the ruins on the northern coast of Kekova island, some of the old houses were completely submerged due to earthquakes during the Byzantine period. By boat, we go round the island, where you can see remains down to 2 meters deep, in the bluish light on the seabed. We walk up to the Simena castle rewarding us with a view all around, and on numerous rock tombs. You will fully appreciate this day with a stroll on the Tersane Island. In the afternoon we return to Kas where the rest of the day is at Leisure to explore Kas on your own way.
Transfer time: 40 min.; transfer distance: 35 km (Kas – Ucagiz/Kekova)
ON: in Kas at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 10 : Kas to Fethiye via ancient Patara; Kayakoy (Karmilassos) & Oludeniz Beach

We leave Kas in the morning and drive to Fethiye; on the way we take time to visit ancient city of Patara, Lycia’s primary seaport and a leading city of the Lycian League. Patara was a flourishing maritime and commercial city on the south west coast of Lycia and is the birth place of St. Nicholas, who lived most of his life in the nearby town of Myra (Demre). Ancient writers mentioned Patara as one of the principal cities of Lycia. After visiting Patara we continue to Kayakoy, originally named “Karmilassos”; an old Greek village given up at the End of the World War I, in accordance with the treaty of Lausanne which envisaged an exchange of population between Greece and Turkey. Two admirable churches are still drawn up among the ruined stone-built houses.
For those who want: it is possible to go on a trek following a forest path which offers a splendid panorama on the limpid turquoise water splits and leads directly down to the Oludeniz lagoon)
Walking time: 2/3 h; walking distance: 6 km; ascent: 200m; descent: 300m
Oludeniz lagoon; is one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean. It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Oludeniz, on a blue lagoon. The lagoon is a national nature reserve and building is strictly prohibited. Oludeniz is famous for its shades of turquoise and aquamarine and is an official blue flag beach and is frequently rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by travellers and tourism journals alike. In the late afternoon we arrive in Fethiye, located on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, where we spend the Night at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 2 h; transfer distance: 110 km; (Kas – Fethiye)
ON: in Fethiye at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 11 : Fethiye to Pamukkale via ancient ruins of Aphrodisias

After breakfast we drive to Pamukkale; on the way we take time to visit ancient ruins of Aphrodisias; named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. The city was built near a marble quarry that was extensively exploited in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The cities school of sculpture was very productive; much of their work can be seen around the site. The Temple of Aphrodite was a focal point of the town, but the character of the building was altered when it became a Christian basilica. A monumental gateway, or Tetrapylon; monument of cubic shape, leads from the main North/South Street of the town into a large forecourt in front of the Temple or Sanctuary of Aphrodite. The Bouleuterion (Council House) is centred on the north side of the North Agora. After visiting Aphrodisias we will continue driving to Pamukkale, where we spend the Night at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 4 h; transfer distance: 340 km (Fethiye – Pamukkale via Aphrodisias)
ON: in Pamukkale at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 12 : Pamukkale; Cotton Castle & World Heritage Hierapolis – Selcuk

Pamukkale has the meaning “cotton castle” and is one of the most remarkable natural sites with its cotton white plateaus, pale blue waters topping of the shallow pools and gently cascading down the drape-like stalagmites onto the lower levels for over 300 feet. The city contains hot springs and travertine, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC; people came to soothe their ailments, with many of them retiring or dying here. The large necropolis is filled with sarcophagi, including the Sarcophagus of Marcus Aurelius. Parts of the archaeological site of Hierapolis are the great bathes, which were constructed with huge stone blocks without the use of cement, and consisted of various closed or open sections linked together. In the late afternoon; after visiting Pamukkale travertine terraces and World Heritage Hierapolis; we drive to Selcuk where we spend the Night at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 190 km (Pamukkale – Selcuk)
ON: in Selcuk at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 13 : Selcuk – ancient Ephesus & House of Virgin Mary

After breakfast we visit Ephesus; one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome. Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15 % has been excavated. The ruins that are visible give some idea of the city’s original splendour and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. Close to Ephesus, we also take time to visit the house of Virgin Mary; discovered in the 19th century. The Roman Catholic Church has never pronounced on the authenticity of the house, for lack of acceptable evidence but nevertheless maintains a steady flow of pilgrimage since its discovery.  Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption. In the late afternoon there will be time to explore the city centre of Selcuk, with its traditional Turkish culture and lifestyle. Known as Ayasoluk under the Ottoman Empire, Selcuk is one of the most visited touristic destinations within Turkey. The 6th century Basilica of St. John the Apostle, which, some claim, is built on the site of the Apostle’s tomb, is also inside the town. The old quarter of Selcuk retains much traditional Turkish culture. Ayasoluk Hill dominates the surrounding area, with several historical buildings on its slopes, including the Isa Bey Mosque and the Grand Fortress.
ON: in Selcuk at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 14 : Selcuk to Izmir – Home

Transfer to Izmir airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 1 h; transfer distance: 60 km (Selcuk – Izmir airport)
Meals: B / – / – 

ON = Overnight accommodation / B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner

Price Includes
–    All transfers and transportations with private vehicles to the places mentioned in the Itinerary
      Days 1 & 3: One (one way) arrival/departure transfer from/to Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport/Hotel in Sultanahmet
      Transfers in Istanbul valid for Istanbul Ataturk Int. airport only/Extra transfer cost will be charged for each transfer
      Day 14: One (one way) departure transfer from/to Hotel in Selcuk/Izmir airport
–    Demavend Travel English speaking Tour Leader
–    Hotel accommodations, rooms on double/twin share base;
      Bed & Breakfast (BB) and Half Board (HB) service; Important: HB Dinner Service available until 20:30/21:00 h
–    13 x Breakfast, 11 x Lunch, 11 x Dinner
–    Day 9: Ucagiz/Kekova Tour by Boat Simena Castle & Sunken (approximately 3 h / with Lunch on Board)

 

Price Excludes
–    All International and Domestic Flights
–    Travel insurance
–    Extra Transports and transfers other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of Soft and Alcoholic drinks, Bottled Water, Tea & Coffee
–    Meals other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of personal expenses
–    All kind of Entrance fees for historical and natural sites
–    All kind of optional activities
–    Extra Nights
–    Single supplements
–    Personal Equipment
–    Tips