(This program is available on any day of the week, and from locations other than Istanbul; please check with us for available departure dates.)
Tuesday - Day 1: Istanbul to Cappadocia - (L)
Very early in the morning, we will meet you at your Istanbul hotel and transfer you to a domestic airport for a 1-hour flight to Kayseri. After arriving, we will commence our full-day tour of Cappadocia.
Sites you’ll see today:
* Goreme Open-Air Museum - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Goreme is an ancient town carved right out of the rock (tufa); you'll explore Byzantine-era churches, chapels and monasteries which house wonderfully-preserved 11th- and 12th-century cave frescoes.
* Fairy Chimneys--This strange geological phenomenon was created over millions of years, and were formed during regional volcanic eruptions. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a whimsical "hat" top to them.
* Devrent Valley--This valley is known as "the pink valley" because of the color of its soil. This is a lovely place to wander about and really take in the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
* Uchisar Castle, also known as Uchisar Fortress, is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller ones that together, form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
We'll also visit local crafts people and learn the special art of making dolls and traditional pottery. Overnight in Cappadocia
Wednesday , Day 2: Cappadocia - (B/L)
Today will be spent walking through an underground city where ancient people once fled for their lives escaping the Arab invaders, wandering through Ihlara Gorge and spending time in an Anatolian village.
Sites you’ll see today:
* Underground City of Derinkuyu--You'll gradually make your way down into the depths of the earth of this ancient settlement that
has 18-20 floors which boast depths as long as 40 meters. (Don't worry, we'll only go down to the 8th floor!) Youll marvel at the fact that Derinkuyu is just one of 36 Cappadocian underground cities, which archaeologists date back to the time of the Hittites around 4,000 years ago.
Timeless Derinkuyu will leave you with a sense of awe in how these underground dwellers lived. As you wind your way down, you will begin to feel as if you are in a maze of epic proportions. Everywhere you look, there will be nooks and crannies carved into the rocks: holes, windows , paths, alleys, little rooms. You will see ancient kitchens and stables; storage jars for oil, wine and water; rock-carved tables, chairs, and beds; and deep wells for water. You will be amazed at the elaborate ancient ventilation the residents constructed.
* Ihlara Valley is an oasis in the middle of the Anatolian plain. We'll explore this canyon and take in the beautiful green scenery as we stroll alongside the river. Here, you'll see ancient monasteries complete with pigeon holes carved into the cliffs by the monks;
the pigeons acted as messengers to communicate with neighboring monks!
Ihlara is a 16-km -long gorge cut into volcanic rock and is the result of several eruptions of Mount Erciyes. The whole canyon is honeycombed with rock-cut underground dwellings and churches from the Byzantine period.
The early Chistians escaping from Roman soldiers hid here, and there are hundreds of antique churches carved in the volcanic rocks.
* Traditional Anatolian village -- You'll see head-scarved women in the fields (where they work from sun up until sundown) and the mustachioed, vest-wearing men hard-at-work playing cards or tavla (backgammon) in the kahvehane (coffee shop). You'll get
time to stroll in a village such as this and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play. Overnight in Cappadocia
Thursday - Day 3 - Cappadocia to Nemrut - (B/L/D)
After breakfast we will depart from Cappadocia to drive to Nemrut. En route, we will enjoy a traditional lunch, and, later, stop to and taste the famous Maras dondurma (ice cream). In the early evening, we will arrive in Kahta where we will spend the night. Overnight in Adiyaman
Friday, Day 5: (B/L/D) - Nemrut to Urfa
Very early in the morning, we will start our day driving up Mt. Nemrut to witness the famous sunrise.
Mt. Nemrut's statues are from the 1st century BC and belong to the ancient Commagene civillization.
King Antiochus (Theos of Commagene) built the mountain-top tomb flanked by huge statues (8–9 m/26–30 ft high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods, such as Hercules-Vahagn, Zeus-Aramazd or Oromasdes (associated with the Iranic god Ahura Mazda), Tyche, and Apollo-Mithras. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of these statues have been removed from their bodies, and are now scattered throughout the site.
Additionally, the western terrace features a large slab picturing a lion and the celestialarrangement of the stars and the planets of Jupiter, Mercury and Mars on July 7th, 62 BC, an indication of when construction may have began on this monument. The eastern portion is well-preserved, is composed of several layers of rock, and has a path following the base of the mountain; this suggests evidence of a walled passageway linking the eastern and western terraces.
We will drive down to Kahta and visit the sites of: the Ruins of Arsemia, the Cendere Bridge, and the Royal Tomb of Karakus.
Along the way we'll also visit Ataturk Dam. After arriving in Urfa, we will visit Abraham's Cave and the Pond of the Sacred Fish.
After lunch, you will have free time to relax or explore Urfa on your own, perhaps you may want to pay a visit to the Oriental Grand Bazaar.
Overnight stay in Urfa
Saturday, Day 6: Urfa to Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast, we will provide a transfer to the Urfa airport for a 1.5 hour flight back to Istanbul. After arrival, we will transfer to your hotel.
*** Program ends ***
Prices are starting from 685 Euros per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates
* All hotels (each individually chosen by guest)
* All land transfers in comfortable vehicles
* All meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Domestic flight tickets from Istanbul to Cappadocia
* Domestic flight tickets from Urfa to Istanbul
* Admissions to Open Air Museums, historic sites, Uchisar, Nemrut, etc.
* All taxes and service charges
* International flight tickets to Istanbul
* Drinks with meals
* Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia ( 15% discount if booked with this tour