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Welcome to Turkey! Arrive Istanbul and included transfer to our hotel. Spend the afternoon at leisure or head out to explore the city. Tonight you will have a welcome dinner in a restaurant in the Kumkapi area of Istanbul.
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Istanbul's old city. Our tour includes visits to the stunning Blue Mosque famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets, the ruinous Hippodrome – now a small park of sorts and once scene of chariot races and political activities in Byzantine times, Hagia Sofia Museum - constructed as a Basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian, Topkapi Palace and the Underground Cistern – an ancient underground water tank - replete with carved and fluted Corinthian columns and a puzzling head of Medusa. Visitors walk on walkways suspended above the shallow water. It’s very cool and peaceful.
Early this morning, we travel to the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. Here, we’ll embark upon a guided tour of the region, once the site of fierce fighting and today almost hauntingly beautiful, with its wooded landscape dotted with understated memorials to the war dead. Our guided tour takes in sights such as ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Australian War Memorial and cemetery, Chunuk Blair New Zealand War Memorial and cemetery, the Nek, Johnston’s Jolly and the many fortified trenches still clearly visible amongst the scrub after all these years. Crossing the Dardenelles by ferry we proceed to our hotel for a little rest and relaxation.
Heading south, we enjoy a guided tour of Homer’s Troy, famed for the Trojan wooden horse and fabled Helen. Continuing to ancient Pergamum - the cultural and political capital of its time, before continuing onto coastal Kusadasi. Make the most of the hotel facilities this evening
Today, we enjoy a guided tour at the legendary Roman ruins of 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. We’ll have plenty of time to tour the marble ruins of Ephesus. Be sure to see the famous Library of Celcus, the gymnasium of Vedius and Stadium, the great theatre and stroll the streets in the ruins of this large Roman ruined city. It’s completely fascinating. Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and afterward we stop to watch a demonstration of how they are made.
Today, after breakfast, we drive to Pamukkale visiting the region’s famed calcium rich 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. We can however opt to enjoy a unique and very pleasant dip in the warm waters at the Pamukkale Thermal, in the spa town of Hierapolis, which was a cure centre founded around 190 BC by the Romans.
On our drive to Cappadocia, we visit some ancient caravanserais such as Sultanhani caravanserai. 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 which is perhaps the jewel in Turkey's crown, 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.
Via Ankara - the nation’s capital, we visit the Mausoleum of Mustafa Ataturk - the father of modern Turkey, before continuing to IstanbulVia Ankara - the nation’s capital, we visit the Mausoleum of Mustafa Ataturk - the father of modern Turkey, before continuing to Istanbul, arriving around 7pm.
Your trip comes to an end today and we will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.
The earliest settle of Kusadasi dates back to the Leleges people in 3000BC and all through the ages, Kusadasi was ...