Treasures of the Black Sea Coast

Tour Code : CUL 06

Highlights
–    Istanbul; historical peninsula Sultanahmet
–    Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque & Topkapi palace 
–    Safranbolu & thracian city Kastamonu
–    Amasya; city of kings, poets & thinkers
–    Bogazkale (Hattusa) & sanctuary Yazilikaya 
–    World heritage Cappadocia

CUL 06 - PRIN

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

 

Duration of the Trip
10 Days / 9 Nights

 

Difficulty Level
= A (Easy) 

 

Accommodation
Hotel    :    9 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 : Istanbul to Amasra; persian seaport along the black sea coast

After breakfast we leave Istanbul and drive to Amasra, a little historical town at Black Sea coast. With its architectural heritage, Amasra is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions. The main sights are the two islands: the bigger one is called Büyükada (Great Island) while the smaller one is called Tavsanadasi (Rabbit Island), the Amasra Castle, built during the Roman period; the walls of the castle were built by the Byzantines and the Church Mosque, built as a Byzantine church in the 9th century. The church is a small chapel and its narthex section consists of three parts. After Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Amasra in 1460, it was converted to a mosque.  We take time to explore Amasra; we will have a walk in the old town area and visit the historical parts of the town.
Transfer time: 6 h; transfer distance: 470 km (Istanbul – Amasra)
ON: in Amasra at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 4 : UNESCO World heritage site Safranbolu & thracian city Kastamonu

After breakfast we head to Safranbolu town, added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1994 due to its well preserved Ottoman era houses and architecture. The Old Town preserves many old buildings, with 1008 registered historical artefacts, the old town area houses several historical remaining such as mosques, fountains, Turkish baths, houses and mansions.  The name of the town derives from ‘saffron’ and the Greek word ‘polis’ (city), since Safranbolu was a trading place and a centre for growing saffron. Today saffron is still alive and probably one of the best quality saffron in the world. We take time to walk through Safranbolu and its old town area before we continue to Kastamonu where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 200 km (Amasra – Kastamonu via Safranbolu)
ON: in Kastamonu at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 5 : Kastamonu to Sinop; flourishing black sea port & commercial centre for thousands of years

Kastamonu is believed to have been founded in the 18th century BC. The town was known as Timonion during the Roman period. In Kastamonu Ataturk made his historical speech concerning about the “Hat and Dress Revolution” at his visit to the town in 1925. In the early afternoon we leave Kastamonu and drive to Sinop, a city located at the northernmost point of Turkey, on a little peninsula with great views of Black sea and an ancient port which had been used for thousands of years. It is a small town with charming atmosphere and popular sea side resort for Turks from central Turkey. We’ll spend our day visiting castle and old infamous state prison, situated in the inside of the Sinop Fortress. As one of the oldest prisons of Turkey, it was established in 1887 within the inner fortress of the centuries old fortification located on the north-western part of Cape Sinop. The prison was closed down in 1997. We spend the Night in Sinop at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 190 km (Kastamonu – Sinop)
ON: in Sinop at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 : Amasya; known as the city of kings and princes, poets and thinkers

We leave Sinop and drive to Amasya, stands in the mountains above the Black Sea coast, in a narrow valley along the banks of the Yesilirmak River. Although near the Black Sea, this area is high above the coast and has an inland climate, well suited to growing apples, for which the province of Amasya is famed. As for natural beauty, Amasya is set apart from the rest of Anatolia in its tight mountain valley and hides its own secret beauty. Amasya is one of the provinces in North Central Anatolia Turkey which is distinct both with its natural setup and historical values it holds. It was the homeland of the famous geographer Strabo, as well as for many well-known poets, thinkers and members of the Ottoman Dynasty. Located in a narrow cleft of the Yesilirmak (Iris) river, it has a past of 7500 years during which many civilizations left priceless remains of their times. With its Ottoman period wooden houses and the tombs of the Pontus kings carved into the cliffs overhead, Amasya is attractive to visitors.
Transfer time: 4/5 h; transfer distance: 250 km; (Sinop – Amasya)
ON: in Amasya at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Via Bogazkale (Hattusa); capital of the Hittite Empire & sanctuary Yazilikaya to Yozgat

Hattusas, another place listed in the Unesco World Heritage list, housed the capital of ancient Hittite Empire between 17th and 13th centuries B.C. Hittites being the oldest civilisation of Anatolia, and is famed being mentioned by Old Testament and famed with the first peace treaty of the world. Ernest Chantre opened some trial trenches at the village then called Bogazköy. One of the most important discoveries at the site has been the cuneiform royal archives of clay tablets, consisting of official correspondence and contracts, as well as legal codes, procedures for cult ceremony, oracular prophecies and literature of the ancient Near East. One particularly important tablet, currently on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, details the terms of a peace settlement reached years after the Battle of Kadesh between the Hittites and the Egyptians under Ramses II, in 1259 or 1258 BC. A copy is on display in the United Nations in New York City as an example of the earliest known international peace treaties. Afterwards we visit Yazilikaya, a sanctuary of Hattusa. This was a holy site for the Hittites, located within walking distance of the gates of the city of Hattusa. It had two main chambers formed inside a group of rock outcrops. Afterwards we drive to Yozgat where we spend the Nightt.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 230 km; (Amasya – Yozgat via Bogazkale)
ON: in Yozgat at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : Yozgat to Cappadocia

After breakfast we leave Yozgat and drive to Cappadocia. Cappadocia is undeniably a nature fantasy and it almost feels like another planet with its exceptional geological formations. In this creation of Nature, the curiosity of the landscapes is added to the historical richness. Wind, rain and frost have sculpted this superb scenery in the volcanic rock during millions of years. The region is largely underlain by sedimentary rocks formed in lakes and streams, and ignimbrite deposits erupted from ancient volcanoes. The rocks of Cappadocia eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and forms.  We spend the next two Nights in Cappadocia to explore the landscape of this wonder of nature.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 210 km; (Yozgat – Cappadocia)
ON: in Cappadocia at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 9 : 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 10 : Cappadocia to Kayseri – Home

Transfer to Kayseri airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 1 h; transfer distance: 80 km (Cappadocia – Kayseri 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
      Day 1: One (one way) arrival 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 10: One (one way) departure transfer from/to Hotel in Cappadocia/Kayseri 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
–    9 x Breakfast, 7 x Lunch, 7 x Dinner
–    Day 3: Bosphorus tour by Boat (Public Tour/approximately 3 h)

 

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