UNV/102 - Historic Turkey

UNV/102 - Historic Turkey (4 Nights / 5 Days)

İstanbul, İzmir (Ephesus)

Duration                        : 4 Nights / 5 Days

Hotels                            : Crowne Plaza Old City Hotel

İzmir Mövenpick

İstanbul Konak Hotel

İzmir BW Konak Otel

Meal Plan                      : 4 breakfast + 2 lunch and no dinner as mentioned in the below itinerary

Domestic Flights           : İstanbul / İzmir domestic flight is needed. This is only 80 minute flight.

Remarks                        :

-        Depending on the availability, similar 4 star hotels may be used.

-        The tour will be operated multilingual basis. In some cases the some guide speaks two languages and in some cases there may be two guides in the bus.

-        For all tour departures, guests will be picked up from their hotels and at the end of the program they will be dropped off back to their hotels.

-        Year around guaranteed departure program with minimum of 4 guests required.

-        Duration of each day is mentioned in below itinerary.

-        Beverages during the meals are not included.

Day 1 – Arrival in Istanbul

Arrival in Istanbul and transfer to the hotel.

The remaining of the day is at leisure.

Day 2 – Full Day Classical Istanbul Tour with lunch

After breakfast, drive to old town and visit Hippodrome Square, the scene of Chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life which was originally built by Roman Emperor Septimus in 203 AD. Then visit Blue Mosque, built in early 17th century and know as Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior decoration with blue Iznik tiles. It is also unique in the world to have 6 minarets.

Continue to St. Sophia, built by Emperor Constantius is 360 AD. St. Sophia was for many centuries the world’s largest church and today is the fourth largest one after St. Paul’s in London, St. Peter’s in Rome and Duomo in Milan.

Throughout its Byzantine history, St. Sophia served as the cathedral of the city where emperors were crowned and victories celebrated.

After his conquest of the city in 1453, Sultan Mehmet II ordered for the building to be converted into a mosque by the addition of Islamic elements such as a mihrab, a mimber, minarets etc.

After having served this time as a mosque for 481 years, the building become a museum in 1934 by the order of  Ataturk, the founder of the Repuplic of Turkey.

Next stop will be at famous historical Grand Bazaar, the largest “souk” covered oriental shopping mall in the world, where you will find 4,400 shops under one roof where each trade has its own street. There is a wide selection of leather, jewelry, antiques, copperware, souvenirs, and  famous hand-made Turkish carpets displayed in this historical shopping center.

After lunch visit Topkapi Palace, built by Sultan Mehmet II after the conquest of Istanbul in 15th century. The palace housed the sultans and their exotic entourage until mid 19th century. The complex is a group of structures which incorporates works from successive periods of Ottoman reign. Today the museum displays priceless collections of the imperial treasury, numerous pieces of Chinese porcelain, traditional costumes of the sultans and their families and special section for the preservation of the relics of Prophet Mohammed.

After Topkapi, we shall visit, Hagia Eirene, the Church of the Holy Peace, is one of the few churches in Istanbul that was never converted into a mosque, as it was used as an arsenal until the 19th century. Hagia Eirene reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple and has the distinction of being the first church built in Byzantium as it was converted into the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. From there, we visit Gülhane Park, once a part of the outer gardens of Topkapı Palace, where the Edict of Gülhane, a declaration of rights and liberties that played an essential role in the modernization of the Ottoman Empire. After the proclaimation of the Republic, Gülhane Park was for many years home to the Istanbul Zoo.

Overnight in Istanbul

Duration                                 : 08h00-18h00

Meal Plan                               : Breakfast & Lunch

St. Sophia: Closed on Monday

Grand Bazaar: Closed on Sunday

Topkapı Palace: Closed on Tuesday

Day 3 – Free Day in İstanbul

Free day. Afternoon (or morning) flight to İzmir.

Overnight in İzmir

Day 4 – Ephesus / Virgin Mary

Visit Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia minor which remains to be the best preserved ancient city in the world. During the golden age of the Roman Empire (2ndcentury AD), Ephesus was an important commercial and cultural center. The protector of the city was Artemis, the Goddess whose temple was one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. The Ephesians still worshipped Artemis when St. Paul came to the city to win converts. St. John brought Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Jesus Christ and she lived until the age of 101 in a small house built for her on Mt. Koressos. Now, the popular place of pilgrimage for Catholics and Muslims, the house received the official sanction of the Vatican and a commemoration ceremony is held every year on August 15th. The third church council in 431 was held in the Basilica of Virgin Mary in Ephesus.

Continue to visit, the House of the Virgin where it's believed that she passed last years of her life and died. She came to Ephesus together with St. John and taken up to Panaghia Kapulu Mountain to survive the Roman persecutions. The House was destroyed by many earthquakes and not discovered until 1951 thanks to a German Nun Catherine Emmerich who saw its location in her visions. It is recognized as a shrine by Vatican. Now the House of Virgin Mary is renovated by George Quatman Foundation from Ohio and serves as a small church which attracts many Christians as well as Muslims coming to pray for her.

Duration         : 09h30-18h00

Meal Plan       : Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight       : İzmir

Day 5 – Departure

Transfer to İzmir Airport.