Lycian Turkey Tour
15 Days / 14 Nights
1 : ISTANBUL
Arrive in Istanbul. Transfer to hotel. Rest of the day and evening at leisure.
2 : ISTANBUL
In the morning drive to the old town. Visit the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome where chariot races were held in Roman times and Hagia Sophia, Church built by th emperor Justinian in the sixth century. After lunch, tour the Topkapi Palace museum with its priceless jewelled objects and the Porcelain Collection and the Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent. Evening at leisure.
After breakfast proceed through the commercial area passing Ottoman monuments to the famous Egyptian Spice Bazaar for a short visit. Then board your privately chartered motor boat to start an unforgetable excursion between two continents, Europe & Asia. The cruise takes you along the latest palaces of Ottomans, The Dolmabahce Palace and Beylerbeyi, as well as 19th and 20th century, beautiful wooden Kiosks. Mansions and modern villas which form the elegant section of the city. Enjoy the scenery. After lunch Leave your vehicle at Karaköy, the old commercial harbor of the Ottoman Empire, and get on the underground train which connects the shores of Golden Horn to the Pera district on the hill. Opened for service in 1880, this is the second oldest underground train in Europe. You will leave the train in the Pera district which houses a wealth of fascinating buildings including churches, historical buildings, picturesque arcades, old Ottoman Hans, consulate buildings, and fine cafés. It is the best example of Istanbul's rich cultural and ethnic mosaic. After a short walk on Istiklal Street, "Grand Rue de Pera," visit the Pera Palas Hotel. The hotel was opened in 1896 in Istanbul next to the old American Consulate building, built in order to host the passengers of the Orient Express train. The train was designed by the French architect Valloury and was renovated keeping all the valuable and unique furniture in the original form. The original Orient Express started its service 120 years ago in 1883. Agatha Christie authored her famous book "Murder on the Orient Express" in one of the rooms at Pera Palas Hotel.
Drive to the outskirts of the Old Town, a visit is made to the Church of Chora, one of the most distinctive Byzantine monasteries. The chapel’s splendid 10th-century mosaics and frescoes continue to be lovingly maintained. Drive to visit the Mosque of Suleyman, the masterpiece of Turkey’s greatest architect, Mimar Sinan. His patron was Sultan Suleyman, for whom the mosque was named. This magnificent landmark crowns one of Istanbul’s many hills and dominates the Golden Horn. The building is breathtaking in size and pleasing in its simplicity. It features some very fine Iznik tiles and exceptional stained-glass windows. Drive through Fener and Balat, neighborhoods midway up the Golden Horn, whole streets full of old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues date from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides here at Fener. Eyup, a little further up, reflects Ottoman architecture. After lunch proceed to the Grand Bazaar. Enjoy some time at the Grand Bazaar for some shopping. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 5: ISTANBUL – Nicea (Iznik) – BURSA
Drive Iznik, the ancient Nicea, where the great Ecumenical Council convened in 4th century. See the Church of Hagia Sophia, the city Walls, some Ottoman monuments and visit a tile workshop. Afterwards drive to Bursa., former capital of Ottoman Empire Wander along the old streets exploring the highlights of Ottoman architecture. See the Green Mosque, Green Tomb, the Grand Mosque and the Old Bazaar. Dinner and overnight in Bursa.
6: BURSA – Kutahya – Alzaonoi -AFYON
In the morning drive to Kutahya. By the 18th century, the ceramic industry in Iznik had died out completely and Kutahya replaced it as the leading center in western Anatolia. Indeed, Kutahya had been in operation as a secondary center along with Iznik since the 14th century 9 but its production always paled in Iznik's brilliance. With the exception of Christian liturgical utensils and tiles with religious themes that were made by Armenian potters for their churches. Continue on to the ancient city of Aizanoi. The city experienced its golden age in the second and third centuries A. D. and became the center of episcopacy in the Byzantine era. The city has a temple built for Zeus, which is the best-preserved temple in all of Anatolia. There is also a large theater and a stadium adjacent to theater. There are two Turkish-style baths, one of them decorated with mosaics, plus a gymnasium, five bridges on Kocaçay which are still used Today, an old dam, a trading building, avenues with columns on sides, necropolis areas and the sacred cave of Meter Steune. The German Institute is still carrying out excavations in the city. After lunch in Usak, see the remains of many of those finds at the Usak Museum including Lydian pieces which were smuggled to the United States in the 1960s and returned in 1993. Proceed to Afyon. The afternoon is free to enjoy the wide range of therapeutic services and Capabilities of Thermal pools Dinner and overnight in Afyon.
7: AFYON – Sardes - IZMIR
After breakfast drive to Alasehir, Philadelphia the church of "brotherly love" of the apocalpsel. After lunch proceed to Sardes, once the capital of the Lydians, afterwards of the Roman province Lydia.Here visits to the temple of Artemis, the Roman Gymnasium, the Synagogue and the theatre. After the lunch, continue to Izmir. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
8: IZMIR - BODRUM
Morning drive to Ephesus. Visit the Basilica of St. John’s, his tomb and the House of Virgin Mary. Afternoon tour Ephesus with its legendary marble streets, the magnificent amphitheatre, Hadrian Temple and Celcus Library. Reach Bodrum for dinner. In evening stroll through the shops and overnight.
Walk to Bodrum Castle, known as the Castle of St. John, it sits high on a rocky peninsula on the site of the original Carian settlement. Its towers rise majestically, dominating the harbour front. Built of green stones, masonry and marble slabs from the mausoleum, the castle offers magnificent views from the ramparts to the town and its picturesque harbour, as well as your anchored Ship. The castle complex houses an excellent Museum of Underwater Archaeology where you will see the displays of findings from the world's oldest known shipwrecks' along Turkey's Turquoise Coast. See the superb expositions in various sections of the Castle. Walk through the castle and see the displays of artefacts such as the Glass Wreck Hall, Late Bonze Age Shipwrecks, The Carian Princess Hall and the amphoras. In ancient times amphoras were used for transporting and storing wine and Olive Oil.
Following your visit walk through the narrow streets of Bodrum to visit the site of the Mausoleum. See the remains of the city walls and the amphitheatre looking over the Harbour. Afternoon at leisure.
10: BODRUM – Kaunos – Dalyan - GOCEK
In the mroning depart for Dalyan. Venture through tiny villages and along the Taurus Mountain to pretty little Dalyan. Approach this peaceful gem via a shaded road lined with aromatic frankincense trees. Unique in all of Turkey, Dalyan sits on a natural channel connecting Koycegiz Lake by fresh water river to the Mediterranean. Board one of the small, colorful boats lining the channel to explore the labyrinth of waterways that wind in and out the many islets covered by tall green grasses. From your watery perch you will have wonderful photo opportunities of rock-cut Lycian style tombs, fish farms and colorful local boat traffic along the channel. Continue on to Caunos where you leave your boat and make your way up the rugged hillside to the remains of the ancient city. Founded in 9th century BC, its well-preserved theater still stands atop a hill. Other ruins include a temple, baths, fountain house and a ancient harbor. Following your visit to the ancient city of Caunos reboard your riverboat and return to Dalyan. Enjoy lunch at a riverside restaurant and immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere of this quiet spot before driving Gocek for dinner and overnight.
11: GOCEK – Fethiye – Oludeniz - GOCEK
In the morning depart for Fethiye. Drive through the streets of Fethiye and up into the coastal muntains for a visit to the village of Kayaköy. Once a major settlement with 25.000 inhabitants, it was deserted in 1922 when the League of Nations organized an exchange of populations between Turkish and Greek territories. Located in a beautiful valley, Kayaköy is now a whitewashed ghost twon of extraordinary proportions. Climb through its silen streets to see the old Greek Orthodox church, its small courtyard is paved with black and white pebbles. Explore its former houses and businesses or just relax and enjoy this serene spot. Rebord your coach and head south through fertile fields and pine forests to Sakl?kent, a ten mile long river gorge with steep and narrow walls. Walk through a wooden boardwalk fixed to one side of the gorge until it opens out onto a series of wooden platforms suspended over the churning waters. Here you may enjoy a box lunch from the ship, while overlooking the swift, icy blue water of the river below. After lunch, continue on to Tlos, one of the oldest and most important cities of ancient Lycia. Dramatically set high up on a rocky outcrop, it is an imposing sight. Then make your way back to Oludeniz through tiny villages and farms for a glimpse of local color. End of the day return to Gocek for dinner and overnight.
12 : GOCEK – Xanthos - PATARA
Breakfast and then on to see the "Lycian Triangle". Visit Xanthos, the capital of Lycia, famous for its twice-repeated mass suicide in the face of foreign invasion. See its amazing unique monumental and pillar tombs, obelisk with the longest Lycian inscription, Byzantine church with beautiful mosaics, amphitheatre and acropolis overlooking the fertile plain of the Xanthos Valley where locals today grow delicious tomatoes. Next we head on to Tlos which was also a major city within Lycia dating back to 12th c. BC. The amphitheatre and the bath/church complex with a dramatic set of seven arches overlooking a lush valley (the “Seven Gates”) are particulary worth a visit. Some of Lycia’s finest rock-tombs can be seen around the acropolis overlooking the Xanthos Valley. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit Patara where you can enjoy either the ruins of this once-prosperous Lycian city uncovered in recent years or spend the rest of the day on beautiful 18km long sandy Patara Beach right next to the ruins. Dinner and overnight in Patara.
13 : PATARA
– Kekova – Myra – Demre – Phaselis -
In the morning depart for Kekova. See the picturesque islands, numerous bays and ancient sunken cities. Afterwards conrinue to Myra to see the finest examples of Lycian funerary architecture. Continue to Demre which houses the world famous St. Nicholas church. Finally visit the ancient seaport city of Phaselis. Dinner and overnight in Antalya
14 : ANTALYA
Board your motorcoach this morning and journey back in time to the ancient city of Perge, founded by Greek settlers following the Trojan Wars. Alexander the Great used by Perge briefly as a base of operations, and St. Paul visited the city during his missionary journeys. The site was abandoned during the Arab invasions of the 7th century.
As you approach, the 2nd century Roman amphitheater comes into view. Visit the stadium, one of the best preserved in all Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the city ramparts and the Roman city gate complex, the most fascinating part of the city. Also see the Nymphaion, the Propylaion, the baths and the agora. Continue by coach to Aspendos, which boasts a complete aqueduct system, parts of which are still standing and the most well-preserved ancient Roman Theater in the world is here. As many as 20,000 people can be seated here and the acoustics is so good that a whisper or even a pin drop can be heard from the very top gallery. The theater is still used today for concerts and theatrical presentations. After lunch drive back to Antalya, the ancient Attalia. Visit the Antalya Archeological Museum. See the artifacts from the excavations at the ancient sites of the region and the ethnographic collection of the nomads of Anatolia. Later drive through the modern day town and the old town. Dinner and overnight in Antalya
Day 15 : Departure
Transfer to the airport for your transfer back home or your next destination.
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