Today, we arrive in Istanbul, where a transferman will meet us at the airport. We transfer to our hotel downtown, and have a brief orientation late in the afternoon.
This evening, we can discover any of the Turkish restaurants in the area as we enjoy dinner on our own.
This morning we visitHagia Sophia,
the Church of Divine Wisdom
Completed under the Emperor Justinian in AD 537, the magnificent dome of the
Hagia Sophia was once the pre-eminent architectural wonder of the Byzantine world. The massive building was a Christian church for almost a thousand years, until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when Mehmet the Conqueror claimed it for Islam. The building served as a mosque until 1934, when the revolutionary leader and founder of the Republic, Kemal Atatürk, proclaimed it as a museum. This impressive structure has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour of Istanbul including visits of St. Saviour in Chora
- (Kariye Museum) Originaly formed the center of a Byzantine Monastery complex. Only the church section which was dedicated to Jesus Christ the Saviour, has survived.Continue your tour with the visit of Taksim Squere
.We have lunch on our own, and then board the Old Tram for a ride down Istiklal Street to the heart of Art Nouveau Istanbul. Istanbul has many Art Nouveau buildings; several were designed by the Italian architect Raimondo Tommasso d'Aronco, the chief palace architect for the last Ottoman sultan, Abudulhamid II, who ruled from 1876 to 1909. D'Aronco drew heavily Ottoman and Islamic architecture and art, reinterpreting them through the lens of the then-popular European Art Nouveau movement and its organic, floral forms. The results can be seen in the many beautiful palaces and grand private homes he designed for Istanbul's government and its elite citizens.
, Egyptian Bazaar built in the 17th century, this is the second largest covered bazaar in Istanbul. On to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, where the pungent and savory aroma of exotic oils, herbs and spices have perfumed the arched stone corridors for nearly 350 years. Now also proferring nuts, honey, dried fruits, traditional sweets and herbal remedies, the Spice Bazaar’s redolent wares will transform you into a veritable spice trader!
.This afternoon, we take to the water for our Bosporus cruise
. You can look north to the “European” district of Galata, or east to the Asiatic side of the Bosporus and the Maiden’s Tower. In ancient times, the Golden Horn could be closed off to warships with a giant chain stretching from here to Seraglio Point We have dinner together in a local restaurant.Overnight at hotal.
Day 3 (Istanbul) B
This morning, we'll discover some of Istanbul's most famous sites on foot, including Topkapi Palace.
Mehmet the Conqueror started building this complex in about 1459 and it served as the royal palace of the Ottoman sultans until 1853.
Today, it is one of the world's richest museums, with a staggering collection of jewels, arms, porcelain, sculpture, manuscripts, and more. Next, we stop at the classic Blue Mosque
, so-called for the shimmering blue tiles that line its interior. Flanked by symmetrical soaring minarets, it is one of the defining elements of the Istanbul skyline. This classic of Ottoman architectural design was constructed under the patronage of Sultan Ahmet I, from 1609-1616.Hippodromme,
center of sporting (chariots races,athletics)events and political activities of the old city.
The Blue Mosque,one of the famous mosgues of the Ottomans are known for it’s blue Iznık tiles and unique with its 6 minarets.Today lunch is on your own.After the lunch. Just a short walk across the square takes us to the Underground Cistern,
the largest of the many underground cisterns built during the Byzantine Empire to supply the city with water. This cistern is especially fascinating because the Byzantine builders recycled many stone structures—capital heads and columns-- that had been used in earlier temples. Now an upside down Medusa stares out at us from her watery home. The tour will end with the visit to the Grand Bazaar
, the vast and legendary covered market that is the biggest souk in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, jewelry, and carpets.
Day 4 (Istanbul , Cappadocia) B L D
After breakfast,transfer to the airport for flight to Cappadocia. After arrival in
Cappadocia we drive to a village, the smell of apricots permeates the village as the harvest blankets the roofs of the flat-topped houses. Down in the valley is an almost eerie grouping of cave facades that retain the curvy lines of the smooth cave surfaces. At sunset, the sound of drums in the distance and the image of village women baking the evening meal's bread in ancient rock ovens create an
unforgettable vision of rural life.These villages make their living as farmers and herders, and their lands abound with fruit trees and fertile gardens. This afternoon, we'll get an up-close look at life here as we share a traditional, home-cooked meal
with a local family
when they welcome us as guests into their stone home, enjoying both the hearty, flavorful food of cappadocia the region
and the warmth and good will of our hosts.
Others may be doing traditional needlework and embroidery, preparing meals, or making molasses or bulgur. Men may be harvesting crops, plowing the fields, or sowing wheat, depending on the season. we may continue the spirited conversation about village life and family. Then we enjoy a village stroll and visit a local mosque,village coffe house where only man can go and sit,but we all can go and discover their place.Here is a chance to observe a fascinating way of life that may soon disappear as Turkey becomes increasingly modern and aligned with the West.
Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 (Cappadocia) B L D
Today you may have an optional Hot-Air Balloon Ride
Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most fanciful and recognizable landscapes, and during this optional hot-air balloon flight, we’ll soar over its amber terrain and fairy-tale chimneys,
savoring a unique panorama in the quiet, rosy light of dawn.
Please note: The cost of this tour cannot be refunded to passengers who cancel less than 24 hours prior to the flight .
We’ll drive to the famous Goreme “open-air museum,”
a group of ancient churches carved from the rock. Most of these chapels have colorful frescoes inside, which date from the tenth to the 13th centuries. Than we drive shortly to Uchisar Castle
which is the panoramic watching point Cappadocia. Many rooms, steps, tunnel and galleries inside the castle. Lunch in a local restaurant.Avanos
, the latter providing us with the opportunity to purchase some of thehand-turned pottery and tile
that has been shaped here for millennia and some of the techniques still used date back to Hittite times to 2000 BC. This afternoon we visitZelve open -Air Museum
This nature site is the perfect place to take photos of remarkable landscape of tufa cones.Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day6 ( Cappadocia) B L D
Ths morning we drive toKaymaklı Underground City
.During the Hittite era, as successive armies swept across Asia Minor, underground cities were built as a uniquely defensible community, approximately eight stories underground. We can explore some of the hundreds of rooms, wandering the many narrow, sloping passageways between kitchens with enameled food storage areas, water cisterns, stables, and living spaces—all well ventilated by air shafts. At one time, several thousand people lived here.
Following our underground city discovery, we'll see more of this scenic area of Cappadocia.Such as Pasabag
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 it is a very common nick name. This site is also called Monks Valley.See another interesting rock formation called Dervent valley
The small fairy chimneys in the valley form a lunar landscape, or moonscape, by their strange look. The valley also has many animal shaped rocks. It looks like a sculpture zoo made by nature After lunch we have hike to Rose Valley
is a large valley located between Goreme and Cavusin villages, and it is divided into many smaller valleys: Gulludere, Kizilcukur, Meskendir and Zindanonu valleys. This beautiful valley gets its name from the rose-colored rock that varies in hue and intensity depending on time of day, season and weather conditions. Later this afternoon, we have the unique opportunity to get acquainted with the old Turkish carpet-
making tradition of Anatolia. Return to hotel or before dinner we have an optional Whirling Dervish tour
,you can be witness the "Ritual of Sema." The Semazens, also called “whirling dervishes,” believe that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7 ( Cappadocia, Istanbul) B
After breakfast transfer to Airport for your flight to Istanbul