Ottomans & Oil Wrestling - 11 days

FROM USD $2,529

Explore the best of Turkey on this all encompassing tour and witness the strength of the greased up athletes at the semi finals of the world-renowned Oil Wrestling Competition in Edirne.

Friday 20 June 2014. Welcome to Turkey and the start of your holiday. Included arrival transfer to our hotel. Spend the afternoon at leisure or head out to explore the city. Istanbul is easy to get around on foot and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes dotted about the city. Overnight - Istanbul
Get greasy at the Oil Festival in Turkey
Today we head to Edirne where we will watch some 1,000 barefoot wrestlers, wearing nothing but a pair of leather trousers and a lathering of omega 3 rich olive oil, compete in the oldest wresting competition in the world. Every year Turkey’s best wrestlers gather for this event in a tradition that dates back to 1640, when the world-renowned Janissaries (an elite fraternity of body guards to the imperial Sultans) trained and mastered in the art as preparation for combat in a grassy field of Kirkpinar.

Competitors pair off, grappling and struggling to gain a grip on their opponent. Tactical moves include a hand down the side of the pants trick and the common schoolboy ‘wedgie’ (grab, lift, flip and throw) to pin ones opponent to the ground! The winner goes on to fight another winner, and so on, until there is only one wrestler left standing. Originally matches had no set duration and could go on for one or two days. Competitors in the fierce July sunshine must have fried, so thankfully in 1975, matches were capped to a maximum duration of 40 minutes.

Oil wrestling is a revered national sport, which is over 5 centuries old, with champions becoming celebrities and the Turkish president making the journey to present the prized champions crown. A colourful fair also accompanies the event with market stalls selling all variety of curios, gypsy music, singing and dancing - a Bohemian atmosphere indeed! (B, L)
Ottomans & Oil Wrestling - 11 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Day 3: The Old City
Enjoy a tour of the Old City from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled. We’ll visit the stunning Blue Mosque famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles, Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia - constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian and Topkapi Palace. Overnight - Istanbul (B)
Day 4: Gallipoli - WW1 Battlefields
Istanbul – Gallipoli. Today we explore ANZAC Cove and the many memorials dotted across the WW1 battlefields. Our guided tour takes in sights such as ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Bair Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years. Overnight - Canakkale (B, D)
The replica wooden Trojan Horse at Troy
Day 5: Troy & Kusadasi
Gallipoli – Kusadasi. This morning we enjoy a short guided tour of Troy! The legend of the lost city of Troy and Homer’s poetry was bought alive by it’s rediscovery in 1863. Subsequent excavations revealed 9 ancient cities, one on top of the other, dating back to 3000 BC! We enjoy a tour of the ruins and bear witness to a replica of the stoic Trojan wooden horse that, as the story goes, was filled to the gunnels with Aechaean soldiers who helped sack Troy.

Driving further south to the ancient ruins of Pergamum, home to one of the steepest, vertigo - inducing amphitheatres in the classical world. Pergamum was also famous for its Asclepion (medical centre). We continue to Kusadasi on the Aegean Coast via a leather manufacturing house. Overnight - Kusadasi (B, D)
The spectacular Library of Celsus at Ephesus in Turkey
Today, we explore legendary Ephesus - positively the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. Ephesus, under the Romans was a vast city with a population nearing 250,000, revelling in prosperity from commerce and visiting pilgrims who came to see its great Temple of Artemis - one of the Seven Ancient Wonders.

We have plenty of time to tour the marble ruins of Ephesus. Be sure to see the famous Library of Celsus, the gymnasium of Vedius, Stadium, and the Great Theatre. We’ll see ancient public toilets, a brothel, fountains and various temples. We also visit a carpet manufacturing house. Overnight - Kusadasi (B, D)
The white calcium terraces of Pamukkale
Kusadasi – Pamukkale. Driving east, we arrive at Pamukkale - home of the famous gleaming white calcium terraced pools. Known locally as the Cotton Castles, they are a natural phenomena and gift of Mother Nature. Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. The calcium built natural shelves and pools on the cliffs, known as travertines. Take a barefoot walk along the traverines or opt for a dip in the warm waters of the Pamukkale Thermal pool, with its submerged fragments of fluted marble columns.

Our last stop for the day is the ruined spa town of Hierapolis, famed for the curative powers of mineral springs, dammed to create communal baths. Overnight - Pamukkale (B, D)
Go horseriding in Cappadocia on a Turkey tour
Days 8 - 9: Fairytale Cappadocia
Pamukkale - Cappadocia. On our drive to Cappadocia, we visit some ancient caravanserais such as Sultanhani caravanserai. Tonight (day 7) why not join us on an optional and fun Turkish evening out.

On day 8, after breakfast and a good night’s rest, we enjoy a guided tour of Cappadocia - perhaps the jewel in Turkey’s crown. Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most extraordinary national treasures. The utter improbability of the seemingly surreal landscape has to be seen to be believed with its ‘stuff of fables’ cave dwellings and phallic ‘fairy chimneys’ landscape. Whole troglodyte villages, subterranean churches and fortresses have been hewn from the soft, porous, eerily eroded rock of Cappadocia. The crumbling legacy of persecuted Christians trying to escape the Muslim onslaught in 1st-10th centuries AD by effectively heading underground is one of Turkey’s finest attractions.

A guided tour of the region takes us to the World – Heritage listed site of the Göreme Valley where you’ll see stunning examples of rock-cut Byzantine churches, chapels and temples and Zelve with its phallic-like eroded landscape. Stopping on the outskirts of Goreme Village we have the opportunity to see Pigeon Valley where century’s old pigeon houses are carved into the surrounding cliffs, the pigeon droppings that litter the area have been used as fertilizer on crops for generations. Here you will also have the opportunity to visit an Onyx shop, specialising in historic jewellery designs unique to Turkey and using local materials and craftsmen. For those not interested in shopping spend a little time relaxing and grab a drink from the local cafe. This evening, we enjoy dinner at the hotel. Overnight - Cappadocia (B:2, D:1)
Cappadocia - Istanbul. Via Ankara - the nation’s capital, we visit the mausoleum of Mustafa Ataturk - the father of modern Turkey, before continuing to Istanbul. Overnight - Istanbul (B)
Hagia Sofia and the Bosphorus in Istanbul
Day 11: Istanbul
Monday 30 June 2014. After breakfast your tour draws to a close. Onward departure transfers to Ataturk International Airport are offered complimentary at 11am and 1:30pm today. Happy travels! (B)
Tour Details
  • Starts in: Istanbul / Ends in: Istanbul
  • Departs: 20 June 2014
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:10, Lunch: 1, Dinner: 5
  • Hotel Rating: 4 star & Special Class
  • Tour Guide: Escorted by a Tour Guide
Special Offers
The On The Go Theatre
Highlights of Turkey and the evocative ANZAC day dawn service