NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
Minimum 8 / Maximum 23 people
Day 1 – We meet at Airport and transfer to our hotel and join up for a welcome dinner.
Day 2 – After a restful night we start our Ayvansaray – Fener – Balat tour at 09:00. The areas of Fener, Balat and Fatih are rich in history and fascinating in their own rights. It feels like you’re travelling in time while making your way through their ancient, narrow streets that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The three districts are located within the old city walls, to the west of Eminönü, overlooking the Golden Horn. We walk through the streets while our guide explains to us the interesting and multicultural history of this area. The Chora (Kariye) Museum is our next destination. Its magnificent mosaics and frescoes are no less than those of Hagia Sophia , in fact they are much more elaborate. It is, without a doubt, one of the most important historical monuments of Istanbul, an extraordinary example of Byzantine stylistic perfection. After the museum we see the famous Ayazma Church and we drink “the healing water” of Ayazma. After Balat now it is time to discover “Fener” (historic Greek neigbourhood). It is in the neighborhood of Fener where one of the most important centers of Christianity, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, is situated. We visit the Patriarchate before lunch. We then drive for 30 minutes to the Galata Bridge where we have lunch while watching the fishermen and the Golden Horn. After lunch, it is time to go shopping in the colorful Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı). We then return to our hotel and get ready for a dinner outing.
Day 3 – Departure from hotel is at 9 AM. We take the tram from just in front of our hotel. Our first destination is one of the most visited museums in the world: Hagia Sophia Museum. Changing from church into mosque and finally into a museum it is one of Istanbul’s most impressive sights. After taking great photographs of the dome and frescoes we continue to the Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı). This underground water cistern was the major water reservoir of Constantinople. The water was transported from the Belgrade Forest by the immense Byzantine aquaducts. It is now time for a lunch break. After lunch we visit the Topkapı Palace, Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome) before we say goodbye to the Historic Peninsula. Tonight dinner is at another pleasant restaurant.
Day 4 – Departure from the hotel is at 9 AM and the first destination is the Dolmabahçe Palace. It took 13 years to build and was completed in 1856, and served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire until 1922. Next, we walk to Taksim Square to see street musicians, street food vendors, and the colorful Istiklal Street (Beyoğlu). We walk all the way to the French Street and have lunch there. After lunch we walk down to Karaköy. Galata Tower will be on route back to the hotel. This is our last night in Istanbul and we have a special dinner on the Bosphorus! We will say goodbye to Istanbul from a boat.
Day 5 – Today we are going from one magical city to another! Our flight to Mardin is at 10 AM. Mardin lies at the heart of homeland of Syriacs (Süryaniler). It is a historic city in Southeastern Anatolia situated on the top of a hill, overlooking the Mesopotamian Plateau. Mardin is known for its fascinating architecture consisting of heavily decorated stonework cascading from the hilltop. In Mardin we will be introduced to a completely different culture, architecture and cuisine from that of Istanbul. We start exploring Mardin with The Monastery of Deyrulzaferan (Mor Hananyo Monastery). The monastery is an important Syriac Orthodox Monastery . Built in 493 AD for Syriac Orthodox (Assyrian) Christians, it is also called Mor Hananyo or Saffron monastery and was the patriarch seat for the church until 1932. Deyrulzafaran and Mor Behnam Monestaries and the Kasımiye Madrasah will give us the most interesting architectural views in Mardin. After these important centers we will see the streets and market of Mardin, full of spices, silver and copper handcrafts and various organic products, including soaps. Our dinner is at very authentic restaurant in Mardin. Mesopotamia is sure to enchant you!
Day 6 – Today we will travel to the east. Midyat is a town in the Province of Mardin with amazing traditional architecture. Our first visit to is to the village of Hah where we visit the Virgin Mary Church. We then return to Midyat for lunch. Mor Gabriel Monastery is on route. After lunch we visit the Ancient City of Dara. In the early Byzantine times, Dara was an important fortress, located in Northern Mesopotamia, near the border with the Persian Sassanid Empire. Because of this strategic location, in the 6th century AD Dara witnessed many military conflicts. After an interesting visit of Dara we drive back to our hotel in Mardin. Dinner is at a restaurant.
Day 7 – Today we go to the city that changed the history of human civilization: URFA. We first see several ancient cities in Urfa: Viranşehir, Soğmatar, Şuayb, Bazda Caves and El Bar’ur. But there is no market or restaurant at his area. So we plan a packed lunch. The area has a geography tangled in history and the Mesopotamian Plateau is more than fascinating. Harran is on route back to Urfa. Tonight we have an special dinner organization called a “Sıra Gecesi” – a tradition in Urfa. We will taste the local cuisine while listening to the traditional melodies of the region.
Day 8 – Today is the day. Göbeklitepe is our destination! The World’s First Temple, Göbeklitepe… a prehistoric site that changed our fundemental ideas about the beginning of civilization, located about 15 km away from the city of Urfa. After learning in depth about this mysterious site we return to Urfa for lunch. After lunch we visit Şanlıurfa Museum and Haleplibahçe Mosaic Museum. Before we leave Urfa we visit the Pool of Abraham and the streets in the city center. We then begin our drive to Adıyaman. Dinner will be at the hotel in Adıyaman.
Day 9 – Today we depart before breakfast to drive up to Mount Nemrut to see sunrise at an amazing atmosphere. To take our breakfast we are going back to our hotel. On our way we see Cendere Bridge and Karakus Tumulus. We have a 2 hours drive to Gaziantep. After our lunch Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Market and streets of Gaziantep, Coppersmith bazaar are the places to see. After our visit and eating very famous foods (especially baklava) of Gaziantep transfer to airport.
WHAT IS INCLUDED