UNV/103 - Mysterious Turkey

UNV/103 - Mysterious Turkey (5 Nights / 6 Days)

Istanbul, Cappadocia

Duration : 5 Nights / 6 Days

Departure Day : Departs on every Friday

Hotels : Hotel Crowne Plaza Old City İstanbul

Hotel President İstanbul

Cappadocia Perissia Hotel

Meal Plan : 5 breakfasts + 3 lunches + 2 dinners

Domestic Flights : İstanbul - Cappadocia (80 min) / Kayseri - İstanbul (110 min) domestic flights are needed.

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.

-        Duration of each day is mentioned in below itinerary.

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

-        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 known as Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior decoration with blue İznik 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 Atatürk, the founder of the Republic 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 – Istanbul / Ankara / Cappadocia

Early morning transfer to Istanbul airport for flight to Ankara.

Start to visit Mausoleum of Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic . Completed in 1953, it is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural ideas and remains unsurpassed as an accomplishment of modern Turkish architecture. There is a museum housing writings, letters and items belonging to Ataturk as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and the establishment of the republic. An important exhibition of the War of Liberation is also open to the public.

Continue to visit, The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, close to the citadel gate, a 15th century Ottoman bedesten has been beautifully restored and since 1921 it houses a marvelous and unique collection including Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Hatti, Hittite, Phrygian, Lydian, Urartian and Roman works. In 1997 this great museum won the "European Museum of the Year" award among 65 museums from 21 European countries.

After lunch, drive to Cappadocia for the dinner and overnight.

Duration         : 05h00-19h00

Meal Plan       : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Overnight       : Cappadocia

Day 5 – Cappadocia

After breakfast, start the visits with Goreme Valley museum consists of steep cliffs and many hidden churches dating from second half of 9th C.

Then visit Pasabag in Cappadocia is located on the road coming from Goreme. Highly remarkable earth pillars can be seen here, in the middle of a vineyard, hence the name of the place which means: the Pacha's vineyard. Pacha means General", the military rank, in Turkish and it is a very common nick name. This site is also called Monks Valley. The name was derived from some cones carved in tuff stones which stand apart. Currently, there is a vineyard and a number of tuff cones standing right next to the road.

Continue to visit the villages of Avanos, is a small town famous for its pottery. It is built along the banks of Kizilirmak (Hayls River), the longest river originated and ending within the borders of Turkey; 842 miles. Those who want may enjoy famous “testi kebab”. After lunch, visit traditional pottery making house where guests will see their own talents in producing their own potteries.

Then continue to visit one of the Underground City made to accommodate several thousands of people with seven subterranean floors. So far 36 underground cities have been discovered some of them being very recent. It is also estimated that most of them are connected to each other. But it is difficult to identify these connections.

After lunch visit Cavusin village, a Greek town whose history goes back to the Early Christian Period. The rock cut buildings have collapsed because of erosion but the churches are still in place and being used as dovecotes.

Duration         : 09h00-18h00

Meal Plan       : Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Overnight       : Cappadocia

Day 5 – Return to İstanbul

After breakfast, drive to Kayseri; transfer to the airport for flying to İstanbul.
Overnight: İstanbul

Day 6 – Departure

Transfer to airport for your departure flight.