Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Konya-Istanbul-USA

20 10 2009

After breakfast, transfer to the airport. Flight to Istanbul and connect to homebound flights.

Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Cappadocia-Konya

19 10 2009

After breakfast, we will visit Sultanhan and Obruk Caravansaries on our way to Konya, which was the capital of the Seljuk Turks in the 13th Century. Konya was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the emerging Seljuk Turks in 1072 or 1081 and soon became the capital of the Seljuk sultanate. Renamed Konya, it reached its greatest prosperity under their rule and was accounted as one of the most brilliant cities of the world. This city that hosts the Mevlana Museum, is also known for its theological school of whirling dervishes and their world renowned spiritual leader of Sufism, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant in Konya. After lunch, we will finish the tour of Konya with the visits to the Mevlana Tomb & Museum, Karatay Museum, Ince Minareli Medrese and the Alaadin Mosques. Dinner and overnight in Konya.

Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Cappadocia

18 10 2009

After breakfast, a perfect starting point for exploring will be the open air archeological museum. Cappadocia has some interesting remains from the Seljuk period, such as the castle which stands at the highest point of the city and has one of the most interesting and spectacular scenic views in the world. About three million years ago, the volcanoes of Mt. Erciyes and Mt. Hasan covered the surrounding plateau with volcanic tuff as a result of their violent eruptions. The natural effects of wind, water and rain eroded this area into a spectacular, surrealist landscape of rock caves, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines in colors ranging from warm tones of red and gold to cool tones of green and gray. The places to see first are the Byzantine Churches in the Goreme Open Air Museum. The churches of Elmali, St. Basil, St. Barbara, Yilanli, Karanlik, Carikli, and Tokali are of particular interest and their frescoes are very well preserved, many pilgrims still visit these churches. Cappadocia is also the center of a wine producing region. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant. After lunch, we will visit the Fairy Chimneys in Pasabagi. Then guests may choose to go on an optional tour of the underground city of Kaymakli, which was carved as refuges from persecutors during the early Christian era. In Avanos, famous for its pottery, we will visit a pottery workshop. After dinner, we will visit the Sarihan Kervansaray for a viewing of the ritual performance of the Whirling Dervishes. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.

Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Sivas-Kayseri-Cappadocia

17 10 2009

After breakfast, check out and depart for a city tour of Sivas. Situated at an altitude of 1275 m, Sivas is the highest city of the Central Turkey region, and the most mountainous one with numerous peaks. At the junction point of the Persia and Baghdad caravan routes, Sivas was once a busy commercial center. We visit the Great Mosque, Gok Medrese, Buruciye Medrese, Sifaiye Medrese, Cifte Minareli Medrese, and the Atatürk Congress & Ethnography Museum. We will also stroll around a typical local market.

We continue on to Kayseri, one of the most important trade centers of Anatolia over history. The setting is spectacular, with the mountains of Erciyes and Kara in the background. The city is also well known for its textile and carpet industry, and has impressive monuments that reflect its rich history. Cifte Medrese, Seljuk era Medrese, Mahperi Hunat Hatun Complex, Surp Krikor Lusarovis Armenian Church, a street market next to Citadel are the most important sights to see during the tour. Lunch will be taken at a traditional Kayseri restaurant where the famous local delicacy “Manti” will be served. We will visit the market, where the group has a chance to taste Turkish “pastirma” and “sucuk”. Then we continue to visit Kayseri Covered Market, which is one of the four biggest covered markets of Turkey. We depart for Nevsehir which is the hearth city of the Cappadocia region. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.

Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Tokat-Sivas

16 10 2009

After breakfast, check-out and take a city tour of Tokat. Tokat has been home to many Anatolian civilizations and was an important center for Anatolian Seljuks. A walking tour will take us through the old town, visiting Gok Medrese, Hatuniye Mosque, Tas Han, the Handicrafts Bazaar, the Latifoglu House and other historical houses. Depart for Sivas. Dinner and overnight in Sivas.

Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Ankara-Amasya-Tokat

15 10 2009

After breakfast, check out and depart to Amasya, a city between the Black Sea and inner Turkey, which lies at the center of a region of fertile plains crossed by the Yesil, Çekerek, and Tersakan rivers. The ruins of the citadel on the rock face of the cleft shelters 2000 year old water-channels, 1000 year old bridges, an ancient psychiatric hospital, an Ottoman Palace and a secret underground passageway. On the rock faces, impressive rock tombs of the Pontus kings attest to the ancient history of the city.

Upon arrival, we have lunch at a local restaurant for a sampling of the delicious regional cuisine. Our tour continues with a visit to the Amasya Museum, Hazerans’ House, Darussifa/Bimarhane, and Sultan Beyazit Kulliyesi (architectural complex). In the afternoon, we depart to Tokat. Dinner and overnight in Tokat.

Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Ankara

14 10 2009

After breakfast, we will discover Ankara, once a Hittite town, then a Roman city, and now the capital of Turkey. The city has been continuously inhabited since the Bronze Age. The very fine museum of Anatolian Civilizations details the ebb and flow of cultures that have passed through the area, from the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians and Persians to the Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks and Ottomans. A small provincial town until Mustafa Kemal Atatürk named it the capital of the new Republic on October 13, 1923. Ankara developed very quickly. In the morning, we will visit the great Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic. Our city tour will feature the world famous Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Lunch will be taken during our visit at the Ankara castle. After lunch, the group will enjoy a private presentation of traditional Turkish Folk dances. Dinner and overnight in Ankara.

Cultural Tours Fall 2009 – Istanbul-Beypazari-Ankara

13 10 2009

After breakfast, check-out and depart for Beypazari and Ankara via private bus. Beypazari is a small town where we will visit the enchanting traditional market, the picturesque row of old Ottoman houses and experience local delicacies. We will continue our drive to Ankara. Dinner at the hotel and overnight in Ankara.