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Turkey Tours » Anatolian Package Tours » Mystical Anatolia

Mystical Anatolia

The land of forgotten civilizations & The old testament

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Tour Detail

Day 1: ... - Ankara - Safranbolu (250 Kms) (D)
Meet and assist on arrival at Ankara airport, which is the Capital of modern Turkey,and transfer to Safranbolu for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Safranbolu (B,-,D)
Safranbolu takes its name from Saffron used in cooking and medicine, which the plant stillgrown in the area. The town is best known for its old Turkish houses and has numerous pieces of art, of which over a thousand are under protection. After breakfast full day visit of a traditional old Ottoman House Museum; Kaymakam Evi (official head of the district, sort of governor), Koprulu Mehmet Pasha Mosque (1466), Historical Cinci Hamam (Bath), Cinci Han, C’lock Tower, Arasta (Market Place), See the some of the popular job occupations in the old times, which are already forgotten in our modern time today i.e. Coppersmiths, Ironmongeries, Farrier and Saddle makers and Leather workers, Walking-Stick makers. Stop at Hidirlik Hill to take a picture of the town then proceed driving 11 Kms East to Yörük Köyü (Nomads village ) to see the best samples of the Ottoman Wooden Houses, Ahsap Cami, andCamasirhane, which is a restored Art Gallery. Dinner will be taken outside the hotel in a typical local restaurant located in the market place. Return hotel for overnight.

Day 3: Safranbolu - Kastamonu - Samsun (425 Kms) (B,-,D)
After breakfast drive Northeast to Sinop via Kastamonu, which is a lovely city hidden in the midst of forests in Anatolia. The beauty of the 12th century Byzantine castle at the foot of the hill welcomes you. Kastamonu is also famous for it’s the most elegant wood carvings of Turkey. The region of Sinop was dominated by the Hittite, Frigian, Lydian, Persian, Alexander the Great, Selevkes, Roman, Byzantine, Seljukian, Candaroğlu and Ottoman civilizations. Dinner and overnight in Samsun.

Day 4: Samsun - Trabzon - Macka (350 Kms) (B,-,D)
Departure for Trabzon after breakfast in the morning. Drive through the picturesque coastal road. Dinner and overnight on arrival at Trabzon. The southeastern coast of Black Sea with its warm, humid climate is ideal for growing tea, Hazelnuts, kiwis, and avocados. The grassland of the surrounding mountains even in September are a lush green, in part from the tea plantations that are terraced up the sides of The valleys. It was from the mountains above Trabzon in February of 400 BC that Xenophon’s Ten Thousand weary soldiers who had slogged across Anatolia all winter, looked and shouted half unbelievingly, “ Thalassa! The Sea!! We’ve made it!!!” Strabo was here about the turn of the Christian millennium and wrote about the town, as did the 17th century Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi. Napoleon claimed as part of his fame that he was a member of the Comneni Family who ruled Trabzon, and Don Quixote dreamed that he was its emperor. Hadrian and Justinian supported it as one of the ports on the Silk Route. When the Mongols cut the routes to the other Black Seaports in the 13th century Trabzon’s importance grew, encountered by the influx of Genoese and Venetian merchants, among whom were Marco Polo, his father, and his uncle. They were in Trabzon in about 1295, returning to Venice after their 20 years in China. Dinner and overnight in Trabzon.

Day 5: Macka - Trabzon - Uzungol - Rize (185 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning visit of Sumela Monastery, perched on a hill of the Zigana mountains in the Altındere National Park. Then visit St. Sophia Church Museum in Trabzon. Proceed to Uzungol and then to Rize, famous with its large tea plantations. Dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Rize - Artvin - Kars (410 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning departure to Artvin via Hopa and sea tea plantations en route, continue to Yusufeli to visit Gregorian Churches of Dort Kilise and Ishan Kilise. Continue to Kars via Senkaya. Kars is a frontier city known for its long, very cold winters, and for its short, cool summers. many of its residents are soldiers posted here on duty, and the city seems like it is always in transition. The Russian influence is most visible in some buildings uncharacteristic of Armenian or Ottoman architecture. They date from the most recent Russian occupation between 1878 and 1920. Dinner and overnight in Kars.

Day 7: Kars - Ani - Van (apprx. 450 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning departure to see the ruins of once prosperous Ani, founded on the border between Turkey and Armenia. Visit of Ani ruins. After visiting the remains of other Gregorian churches in Ani, proceed driving towards south to Van via Dogubeyazit, the frontier city to Iran. Ararat is the mountainous region of Eastern Turkey. Mt. Ararat is a dormant volcano. The last eruption was on June 2, 1840. Rock fall destroyed the village Arghuri where legend held that Noah planted the first vineyard. The upper quarter of the mountain is constantly covered by snow.
The snow on the upper hundred meters of the mountain is ice. Ararat borders the Armenia and is therefore a sensitive military area. The story of the Flood in which Noah builds the Ark to save him, his family and a selection of animals from God’s cleansing waters is a common element found in much of the religious literature of the Middle East. Of these, two stand out, the Gilgamesh Epic, which perhaps originated in southern Mesopotamia and the story of Noah, which is told both in the Bible (Gen. 6:9 - 9:29) and in the Koran (Sura xi: 27–51). Both are much more, however, than the story of the Flood, and older even than the biblical telling of it. Visiting Ishak Pasha Palace in the afternoon and see the Mt. Ararat (5,165 m) at the distance. Then drive through Iran border route via Caldiran, see the Muradiye falls en route to Van, or the ancient name Tushpa was a major city of the land of Urartu, a state that was known as Ararat in biblical history between the 9th to the 6th century BC. Assyrian kings figure both Van’s history and that recorded in the Old Testament. The Assyrian Sargon II invaded and laid waste the land in 8th century BC. Sargon has also defeated a Hittite Mushki army led by King Midas at Carchemish in 717 BC. Xerxes 1, the Persian king who was later defeated at the Battle of Salamis (480 BC). The Greek soldier, historian Xenephon fought several battles in the area as he and his Ten Thousand plodded northwards. Alexander the Great was here in 331 BC and later in the 1st century BC the Roman General Pompey came through; he accepted the surrender of the Urartian kingdom from Tigrans 1. Under Persian domination the resident Armenians became buffers between Byzantine, Persian, and Arab control. Turkish nomads came the lake in the 11th century AD. Van became part of Ottoman Empire in 1548. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Van (190 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning drive to visit Cavustepe and Hosap Fortress, in the Morning then proceed to Van Lake, which is the largest soda lake in Turkey to visit Akdamar Island by motorboats, which is the site of the Armenian Church of the Holly Cross, built by King Cagil Artsruni in 921. Originally there was a monastery on the island; from the 10th to the 19th century it was a religious and cultural center. For a while in the 10th century it was the seat of Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate. Therefore until 1900 it was a bishop’s seat; it was abandoned as a residence in 1917. Then return to visit Citadel in Van. Dinner and overnight.

Day 9: Van - Diyarbakir (457 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning drive towards Mesopotamia, to Diyarbakır, which along with Harran and Sanliurfa, is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities of the Middle East. On arrival Tatvan drive tonorth to visit the 13th century Seljukian cemeteries in Ahlat. Proceed Diyarbakir via Tatvan.
In the story of Adam and Eve, the Bible describes the original perfect home of the human race where God planted a garden out of which four streams flowed, the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The Koran parallels the biblical account. In the Koran, God promises that the garden of Eden, underneath which there are flowing rivers, will be the resting place of the righteous. The identities of the Pishon and the Gihon Rivers are lost, but names Tigris and Euphrates, have been associated with two of the main rivers of Anatolia since as early as 2,000 BC. Both of these rivers rise in eastern Anatolia and flow south through today’s Syria and Iraq into the Persian Gulf. In this “land between the rivers” (known also as “ Mesopotamia”,” the fertile basin of the Tigris and the Euphrates), some of civilization’s most important developments have taken place: for example, written language, codified law, and the concept of one God. Dinner and overnight in Diyarbakir.

Day 10: Diyarbakir - Mardin - Sanli Urfa (Edessa) (355 Kms) (B,-,D)
The original part of the city on the citadel overlooking to the Tigris is surrounded by sturdy black basalt walls whose foundations go back at least to Roman times. Morning departure to see the famous walls in the citadel and Ulucami Diyarbakir. Afterwards proceed to Mardin, with its archaeological, ethnographic, architectural, historical and visual values and richness, Mardin is one of those poetic cities of Southeastern Anatolia which give observers that the time is not running. Archeological excavations and researches conducted in the area indicate that Mardin and its vicinity had its first human settlements back in 4500 BC. Mardin’s cultural diversity is further enriched by the deep-rooted culture of various communities including the oldest Christian community, the Suryani. Who can refuse to see a city of tolerance where ezan from mosques lives in brotherhood with church bells? In recent years Mardin has become acenter of attraction for many people from different parts of the world. It is a candidate for UNESCO’s List of “Cities of World Heritage”. On arrival visit of Ulucami in Mardin. Drive 5 Kms out of the city to visit The Deyrü'zaffaran Monastery (Mor Hananya) It is 5 km to the east of central Mardin, on slopes overlooking Mesopotamian plains. It is a distinguished structure, one of the few examples of still standing buildings reflecting the historical and religious features of the Suryani. After completeing of the visit proceed to Sanliurfa, the city of prophets.Evening visit of Halil Ur Rahman Mosque, and its sacred pools associated with the memory of Prophet Abraham. with its sacred pool. Dinner and overnight.

Day 11: Sanli Urfa (Edessa) - Harran Plate - Kahta (250 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning departure to 55 Kms southward to Altınbaşak, Harran, to see the very unusual mud brick bee-hive shaped houses, a 13th century fortress, and ruins of a temple-university complex, which is the oldest university in Anatolia, probably the some of the ruins today are from the time of Assyrian ruler Sargon II (722-705 BC). Return Urfa, claims connections with Abraham and Nimrod, and with 1stcentury Christian missionaries.
Urfa’s title of “ Sanlı” (Glorious) was accorded it recently, that reflect the honor given to their citizens for their part in the Turkish Republic’s history. On return from Harran, see the Citadel and the antique catapults and the religious complex of the Abraham’s Cave, and of its medrese (school). Depart for Kahta for dinner and overnight. Visiting the Ataturk Dam of GAP en route. The summit of Mt. Nemrut will be visited by jeeps during the time of sunset today.

Day 12: Kahta - Malatya 220 Kms (B,-,D)
Depart hotel to see Karakus Tumulus, Cendere Bridge, Old Kahta and Arsemia in the morning. After lunch in the hotel drive to to Malatya for dinner and overnight.

Day 13: Malatya - Divriği - Sivas 480 Km (B,-,D)
Morning departure to Sivas via Divriği (!!) for dinner and overnight as per your request.

Day 14: Sivas - Amasya (222 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning visit of Sivas; 13th Century Seljukian remains Ulu Mosque, Gok Medrese and Cifte Minare. Departure to Amasya as per your request.

Day 15: Amasya - Bogazkale - Ankara (300 Kms) (B,-,D)
Morning visit Amasya and Mitridate (Pontus Rock Tombs). Proceed to Bogazkale, Hattusas, the stronghold capital of Hittite Empire from 1750 to 1100 B.C. Located about 140 Kms East of Ankara. Hattusas sits between two rivers and crossroads of two ancient trade routes. The Hittites were Indo-European people whose kingdom at its height included much of Lebanon, northern Syria, east to the Euphrates, west possibly as far as the Aegean Sea and north to the southern skirts of the mountains that edge the Black Sea. They challenged Egypt and Assyria for control of central Syria. There are biblical references to them; Ezekiel calls the mother of Jerusalem a Hittite (Ezek. 16:3,45); that may or may not be a metaphor. Heth, one of Canaan’s sons in the table of Nations (Gen. 10:15) is the presumed ancestor of the Hittites. Isaac disapproved of his son Esau because Esau had Hittite wives (Gen. 26:34-35). Uriah, one of King David’s soldiers, was a Hittite (II Sam. 11-12). After seeing the Temples of Teshub, the Weather-god, a Palace, houses and the fortifications. The King’s Gate, with two stone lions (early 14th Century BC) in Hattusas, we will proceed to Yazılıkaya, which is two kilometers northeast of Hattusas. Yazılıkaya (the inscribed rock), the sanctuary of the Hittite Empire. Few temples show in such details the rituals and the beliefs of the worshippers. Then we continue to Alaca Hoyuk, which about 20 Kms from Bogazkale. Alaca Hoyuk was an important center from the Early Bronze Age (3000 BC) Through the Hittite. See the Sphinx Gate of the city, remains of a temple, a central plaza and the graves. Proceed to Ankara to visit the Citadel if time permits. Dinner and overnight.

Day 16: Ankara - ... (B,-,-)
Check out the hotel to visit the Anatolian civilizations Museum, and the mausoleum of Ataturk, and transfer to the airport in time for your home bound flight. Visits and the lunch break is depending on the flight departure time.

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