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Upon arrival we will pick the group up and group transfer to the hotel for the evening.
Today we meet at a central point and visit Hagia Sophia. Then we will continue to the ancient Roman Hippodrome ; the former center of sportive and political activities of Constantinople. During the visit you'll be able to see the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi, and fountain of Wilhelm II. Next on our itinerary is Blue Mosque . It was built in 1619 and is so named due to the interior decoration of 21,043 blue Iznik tiles. Then we'll see The Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman sultans, covers a large area overlooking The Golden Horn. The tour concludes with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, a covered complex of alleyways and 4000 shops of all descriptions.
Today we meet at a central point and visit the Patriarchate at Fener which is the seat of Orthodox Christianity since Constantine The Great’ s declaration as the religion of Roman Empire. Then we will see St. Savior in Chora (Kariye Museum) originally a Byzantine monastery with fantastic mosaics and frescoes portraying scenes from a bible, the life and miracles of Jesus. (closed onWednesday) The churhc is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. Transfer back to your hotel.
Today we will drive to Gallipoli ; where you will visit naval battle that took place in the Dardanelles prior to the army landings. We will see Kabatepe Museum houses a collection of historic items relating to the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I. Then we continue to Johnston's Jolly (Turkish & Allied trenches & tunnels), Brighton Beach and Beach Cemetery, Anzac Cove where the Dawn Service is held on Anzac Day every year, Ari Burnu Cemetery, where the Dawn Service was held until 1999, Australian Memorial at Lone Pine with pectacular views, The Nek where the tragic charge of the Light Horse took place, The New Zealand Memorial at Chunuk Bair and Turkish 57th Regiment Memorial.
Driving to the Cape Helles on the southern toe of the peninsula where British and French troops landed on. We start on the British sector, seeing where the River Clyde landed the men of the 29th Division on V Beach, Seddul Bair, and the nearby V Beach Cemetery. We then move on to Lancashire Landing, where the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers won six VCs before breakfast. At X Beach we see where HMS Implacable landed 2nd Royal Fusiliers. In the morning we go up to Suvla Bay, seeing where some of the first British ‘Pals’ battalions came into action in August 1915. .We will see The massive Turkish Memorial and the impressive Martyr's Memorial overlooking Morto Bay. Then we will discover the story of the Anzac's forgotten battle at Gallipoli with a visit to the battlefield at Krithia.
Driving to Troy; is the ancient site written about by Homer in the Iliad. It dates back as far as 3000 BC and has been the site of nine different cities through the thousands of years it has existed. As you enter the site a large wooden Trojan Wooden Horse dominates your view. After the tour we will drive to Pergamum. Once a busy trading center and famous as a "seller of purple," the most favored of the Seven Churches, the church of Pergamumwas praised for its forbearance . It was here that the first Christians were executed by Rome. We'll visit the fabled Acropolis, pass through the Royal Gates, view the foundations of the Temple of Zeus and visit the ruins of the library, which once held 200,000 volumes.
Travelling today to Ephesus. Visit the Odeon, the marble street, where St. Paul walked and held daily discussions , the Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian and the theater Where St. Paul preached. Then continue to House of Virgin Mary. The Vatican has recognized this small house in the Solmissos Mountains as the final resting place of the Virgin Mary. Finally the Basilica of St. John; built by the Emperor Justinian over the tomb of St. John the Apostle, the Basilica, now in ruins, once rivaled St. Sophia in size. See the remaining graceful columns and mosaics of the Basilica as you take in the panorama of the rural Selcuk countryside.
Drive to Aphrodisias we See the Temple of Aphrodite, the monumental Tetra Pylon Gateway, the ancient Gladiator Stadiumand many delicate carvings and sculptures in the onsite museum. Then continue to Pamukkale and see the thermal spring water laden with clacareous salt, plunging down the mountain-side has created this natural formation of stalactites, cataracts and basins. You will visit the Roman city of Hierapolis; meaning "Sacred City," was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center in the first century. See the magnificently preserved Necropolis, Avenue of Tombs, Gates, Thermal Baths, Devil's Hole and theMasterpiece Theater.
After breakfast drive to Catalhoyuk, 45 km south of Konya, map of location is a fascinating Neolithic site dating from the eighth millennium, 8000 B.C. which makes it one of the world’s oldest towns. Archaeologists have determined that holes in the roofs of the mud houses were the entrance doors. Then continue to Konya; also the home of the Mystic sect of the spectral Whirling Dervishes. We’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this mysterious order when we visit the Museum of Mevlana, who is also known as the poet Rumi.
We 'll visit the beautiful hill-perched 1000 year old Syrian and Selcuk style Alaeddin Mosque and its unique medrese with tiled dome of stars, hunting friezes and ceramic collection.. In its courtyard are the tombs of many of the Seljuk Turkish sultans. Walking down the north side of the Alaaddin Hill we pass the remains of the Seljuk sultan's palace, then cross the street for a view of the elaborate portal of the Ince Minareli Medrese theological college. Then drive to Cappadocia. On the way we stop at the Sultanhani Caravanserai just like travelers from Turkey’s bygone era. Founded for military and trade purposes, the Caravanserai’s Inn was built along the east-west trade route.
After breakfast we'll see the Devrent and Monk's Valley, to see the extraordinary mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles or 'fairy chimneys'. Continue on to the small village of Avanos, famous for clay pottery design. Then proceed to the Goreme Open Air Museum, featuring the most impressive rock-carved churches and Byzantine frescoes in all Cappadocia. Finally enjoy a view of the moonscape valleys from the rock-perched natural citadel at Uchisar.
After breakfast visit the old Christian Village of Cavusin, and then an excursion to Pigeon Valley. In the afternoon, visit Kaymakli Underground City, which hid local Christians from Arab invaders, Ortahisar Castle and Mustafapasa Greek village.
After breakfast we stroll the streets of the old quarter and the Ankara Citadel, before visiting theMausoleum of Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Later you will have time to admire the magnificent treasures of theMuseum of Anatolian Civilizations, where Neolithic frescoes, Bronze Age emblems, Hittite objects and the remains of the fabled Phrygian King Midas are exhibited. After these visits, we drive back to Istanbul.
Sadly your last day with us with your departure airport transfer.
The Gallipoli and ANZAC Campaign - With the intention of capturing and securing the Ottoman capital of Istanbul, thus...