Day #1 Overnight Flight - Depart for Turkey, a vibrant country that boasts an amazing mix of ancient and new, Asian and European. This thriving modern society welcomes visitors with genuine warmth and hospitality.
Day #2 Istanbul, Turkey - Welcome to Istanbul, the former capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, once called Constantinople. Minarets and domes fill the skyline of this city that straddles two continents. This evening meet your fellow travelers at a welcome reception before enjoying a local Turkish dinner.
Day #3 Istanbul - Explore the Old City on a full day tour featuring the Blue Mosque, renowned for its six minarets; Hagia Sophia, the epitome of Byzantine architecture and once the largest church in Christendom; Topkapi Palace; and the Grand Bazaar, Turkey’s largest covered market.
Day #4 Istanbul - Cappadocia - After a morning flight, arrive in Cappadocia. Its landscape is composed of soft volcanic stone that wind and rain have sculpted into fantastic clusters of multicolored spires and pinnacles. Visit the underground city of Kaymakli*. Later, watch local artisans demonstrate the art of silk and wool carpet weaving at a family-owned carpet making facility.
Day #5 Cappadocia - Travel the mystical landscape of Cappadocia with its “fairy chimneys,” hillside villages, and rock-hewn churches. In the Goreme Valley, visit the Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site where the famed Rock Chapels are decorated with beautiful frescoes dating back to the 6th century.
Day #6 Cappadocia - Konya - Antalya - Your journey brings you to Konya, former capital of the Seljuk Empire. Visit the Mevlana Museum with its impressive collection of ancient books and historical artifacts belonging to Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi, the 13th century founder of the Whirling Dervishes. Then, depart for Antalya, the Turkish Riviera.
Day #7 Antalya - Perge - Aspendos - Antalya - This morning, visit the ruins of Perge, a Hittite city which dates back to 1,500 B.C.E. Then, visit the nearby ruins of Aspendos, including its Roman amphitheater. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Day #8 Antalya - Pumakkale - Kusadasi - Today, wind along the mountain roads to the ancient city of Hierapolis - a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Hierapolis Museum, located in several restored chambers of Roman Baths, which exhibits amazing archaeological finds. Finish your day’s journey in the seaside resort town of Kusadasi.
Day #9 Kusadasi - Ephesus - Kusadasi - Awe-inspiring ruins await you at Ephesus, an important city of the ancient world and the Roman capital of Asia, where both St. John and St. Paul came to preach. Walk down the marble avenue and see the Library of Celsus, the great theatre, the baths and temples, including the Temple of Hadrian. Continue to St. John’s Basilica, a magnificent church built on what is believed to be the burial site of St. John.
Day #10 Kusadasi - Pergamon - Cannakale - Discover two of the most important ancient sites in Turkey. Pergamon was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the Middle East. Located below the acropolis, the Asclepion was the healing center of Pergamon, where people came for “holistic” treatment by the ancient physician, Claudius Galen, who gained fame as a surgeon to the gladiators.
Day #11 Cannakale - Istanbul - Visit the legendary city of Troy - the UNESCO World Heritage site which was destroyed by “the face which launched a thousand ships” during the Trojan War. Later, travel across the Dardenelles, a narrow strait that brings you back into Europe. Visit the World War I battlefields of the Gallipoli peninsula, where one of Turkey’s greatest modern military victories took place. Return this evening to Istanbul, joining your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.
Day #12 Istanbul - Tour Ends - This morning your journey through Turkey comes to an end, leaving you with a glittering mosaic of memories.