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In a week, this trip visits the three most famous and captivating scenery, sights and ancient ruins of Turkey. First we explore the heart and soul of Turkey…Istanbul, its captivating history, the unique buildings, great food, culture and people. Then we go east to explore the spectacular Cappadocian landscape, created as a result of the volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago and sculptured by erosion. Visit the fascinating large underground cities, built by Christians to escape persecution. Transporting you back in time, Ephesus was once a very important centre of trade and commerce, 2000 years ago. Experience an astonishing day at one of Turkey's most visited archaeological sites. Your expert guide will reveal the history, stories and people and their forward thinking and intelligence.
Day 1 – Arrival in Istanbul
Arriving in Istanbul, we’ll meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in comfort. Depending on the time of your arrival, you will have free time to relax, or maybe do some walking, eat some wonderful new food or talk to the locals.
Day 2 – Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia
Today we visit the old part of Istanbul, Sultanahmet. Our first stop is the Blue Mosque, an unrivalled masterpiece of ancient Islamic architecture. Only a short distance away is the Hagia Sophia, Once a cathedral, its enormous dome changed the face of architecture and stood for nearly a thousand years as the largest cathedral in the world.
We then explore the Hippodrome, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and the Mosaics Museum. After lunch we visit the Topkapi Palace (closed Tuesdays), an impressive complex which was the royal residence of the Ottoman Sultans for hundreds of years. Work up an appetite with a stroll along the seafront at Eminönü and have a famed fish sandwich. Or in Sultanahmet, enjoy a relaxed evening in one of the many rooftop bars or restaurants before returning to your hotel.
Day 3 – Byzantine Churches and Frescoes
Our tour today starts with some history and visits to a number of important churches and historical sites: The Church of Saint Polyeuctus, The Monastery of the Pantocrator ( Zeyrek Mosque), The Aspar Cistern, a huge open reservoir dating from the 5th Century, Pammakaristos Church, Tekfur Palace, Saint John the Baptist church and monastery and the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture. The colourful mosaics and finely detailed frescoes depict a number of Biblical scenes which are utterly spectacular.
Day 4 – Fairy Chimneys, Stunning Rock Formations & Hands-on Pottery
Early in the morning we transfer you to the airport for your flight to Kayseri. On arrival, you’ll be taken to your hotel in Cappadocia to commence the day’s touring.
Today’s tour includes some wonderful photo stops to take all those stunning photos of the beautiful landscape. We then head to Avanos, famous for pottery and the Red river where you will learn about and watch a pottery demonstration. After lunch, you will visit Goreme open air museum, a vast complex containing some of the finest rock hewn churches and frescoes in the region. The last stop will be Uchisar castle, natural and one of the biggest mass fairy chimney’s in the region.
Day 5 – Underground City, River Walk & Cave Cathedral
Today we venture to Derinkuyu, the eight level underground city, with its low and narrow passage ways carved by the early Christians. From there we will drive to Ihlara Valley,and walk along the river bed (there are around 400 steps down to the valley), On the way back, we visit the monasteries in Selime village.
Day 6 – Ephesus
In the early morning we transfer you to the airport for your flight from Cappadocia to Izmir. A hours drive reaches the captivating city of ancient Ephesus.
You will have a guided tour of the ancient city of Ephesus.. Your guide will provide information and stories to bring this ancient city alive. You will be stunned by the impressive facade of the Library of Celsus, and the size of the theatre.
Afterwards we visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis to hear about its history, even though only a few columns remain. We have lunch at a local restaurant, and then continue to the shrine of the Virgin Mary, where it is believed she spent her final days. Be transported back through time as you wander through the ancient ruins, while your guide introduces you to all the architectural splendours of this huge city. You’ll stay overnight in a comfortable pension in nearby Şirince.
Day 7 – Return to Istanbul
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with a free morning to explore the winery town and taste some of the local product before flying back to Istanbul in the afternoon.
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