ARRIVAL TO ISTANBUL
Scheduled flight to Istanbul
Arrival assistance at the airport and transfer to hotel
Dinner and overnight
Istanbul – Çanakkale
Departure to Canakkale, crossing the Dardanelles by ferry from Thrace.
Lunch on the road. Arrival and visit to the ruins of the ancient city of Troy.
Homer immortalized Truva (Troy) in The Iliad, with the stories of King Priam, Hector, Paris and beautiful Helen. Archaeological excavations have revealed nine separate periods of settlement, plus the ruins of the city walls, house foundations, a temple and a theatre. A symbolic wooden Trojan horse commemorates the famous war. The ancient harbour of Alexandria-Troas was built in the third century C.
St. Paul visited the place twice on his third missionary journey to Assos and so it became a place of pilgrimage. After the visits we transfer to hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Canakkale – Pergamon – Cıatırıa – Izmır – Kusadası
Departure to Pergamon.
Visit the old town, an ancient cultural centre, and one of the best archaeological sites in Turkey. On the Acropolis, the temples of Trajan and Dionysus, the monumental altar of Zeus, the sanctuary of Demeter and fitness centre, spread over three terraces and the Agora.
The Asclepion, located southwest of the lower city, was a shrine to the god of healing, Aesculapius. In the city we will also visit the temple dedicated to Serapi, which is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, later pronounced a basilica by the Byzantines ”Red Basilica.”
The next stop is Ciatria, today a modern city where we can admire the ruins of a temple that could have been dedicated to Apollo, a way of columns and a large church.
We depart to, the third largest city in the country, Izmir. There is tour of the city upon arrival. The food of this day will be served between visits. The tour will be completed at Kusadasi. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Kusadası – Ephesus – Laodıkıa – Pamukkale
Breakfast buffet. Visits to the ancient Greco-Roman city of Ephesus, the true birthplace of the first Christians.
The arrival of Paul to Ephesus should be approximately in the year 54 of our era. Ephesus was once the richest commercial centre of the ancient world. The city, whose wealth and patronage were the support of its splendid architectural program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis.
The final form of its enormous temple, several times reconstructed, dates from the third century A.D. and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Among the ruins are also the theatre, gymnasium, baths, the Agora and the Library of Celsus. The nearby town of Seljuk is dominated by a Byzantine citadel, which stands next to the Basilica of San Juan, built in the sixth century on the site of the tomb of the Apostle.
We continue to the house of Virgin Mary. It is said that St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Christ, and he spent his last days in a small house (Meryemana Evi) built for her on Mount Koressos. The house, now popular place of pilgrimage for Christians and Muslims, has received official approval from the Vatican, and Christians celebrate a commemoration ceremony on 15 August every year. Lunch at a typical local restaurant.
After Laodicea we visit the existing ruins belonging to several public monuments, theatre and a great stadium, shaped tank tower and Odeon. After the visit we depart to Pamukkale. After the arrival there is a transfer to hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Pamukkale – Phıladelphıa – Sardıs – Izmır – Istanbul
Buffet breakfast at hotel. Pamukkale is known as “Cotton Castle” for its petrified limestone waterfalls. Pamukkale is a natural setting, magical and spectacular, unique in the world. It is a dream place composed of dazzling white cascading limestone. The hot spring waters laden with calcareous salts, which run along the edge of the plateau, have created this fantastic formation of stalactites, cataracts and depression. The baths have been used for their therapeutic powers since Roman times. The centre with its motels and thermal pools and the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis are situated on the plateau. We will proceed to Philadelphia to some of the ruins of the time, a Byzantine basilica with a bow and some fragment of the eleventh century frescoes, in rather good condition. Then travel to Sardis, one of the most picturesque churches of revelation. The ruins of ancient Sart (Sardis), at the time the capital of the Lydian realm of Croesus, lie along the banks of Sart Çayı (river Pactolus). The Temple of Artemis and a restored gymnasium testify to the former glory of the city, as well as the important fourth century synagogue BC, then rebuilt in the third century C. It was here in Sardis, the most important Jewish commercial centre in those days, just west of the Route of Kings, which already made use of the currency in the sixth century for the first time in history. Following the lunch between visits we continue to Izmir. Arrival and transfer to airport for regular scheduled flight to Istanbul. Arrival, assistance and transfer to hotel.
Breakfast. Full day city tour (lunch included): Roman Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar. Accommodation. (For a detailed description of this day do click on: Istanbul classic).
Breakfast and free time until the time of transfer to the airport. After that our guests can be transferred to airport or continue their journey through Turkey.