2015 Tour to Eastern Turkey

A short, cultural tour of Eastern Turkey, including Erzurum, Kars, Dogubeyazit and Lake Van.

When?
May 2015
Where?
Eastern Turkey

NB This tour is scheduled for May 2015: exact departure date TBC.

DAY TO DAY ITINERARY

Day 1 Fly London to Trabzon, Eastern Turkey
Day 2 Drive to Erzurum
Day 3 Drive to Kars
Day 4 Drive to Dogubeyazit
Day 5 Drive to Van
Day 6 Boat ride to Akdamar Island, Van
Day 7 Drive to Diyarbakir
Day 8 Drive to Kahta
Day 9 Nemrut Mountain – Kahta
Day 10 Drive to Malatya, fly to Istanbul
Day 11 Hammam experience, farewell lunch, fly Istanbul to London

Day 1
LONDON – TRABZON

ECONOMY CLASS AIR TRAVEL

Depart from London on the Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul.

On arrival connect with onward Turkish Airlines flight to Trabzon in Eastern Turkey, arriving mid- afternoon.

On arrival you will be met by your local English speaking guide and transferred to the hotel.

Welcome dinner and overnight at Hotel

AKSULAR HOTEL (3 Star) www.aksularotel.com
or similar

Day 2
TRABZON – SUMELA – ERZURUM

After breakfast start your fascinating tour of the East with the sights of Trabzon in the north-eastern part of Turkey.

It’s a short drive to The Church of Hagia Sophia now the Hagia Sophia Museum and a former Chalcedonian (Greek Orthodox) church located in the city. It dates back to the thirteenth century when Trabzon was the capital of the Empire of Trebizond. It is located near the seashore and two miles west of the medieval town’s limits. It is one of a few Byzantine sites still existent in the area.

Hagia Sophia was built in Trebizond during the reign of Manuel I between 1238 and 1263. After Mehmed II conquered the city in 1461 the church was converted into a mosque and its frescos covered in whitewash.
During World War I and for a brief period afterward, the city was occupied by the Russian military and used as a makeshift hospital and depot. Afterwards it was put back into use as a mosque, until 1964 when it was turned into a museum – which it remains to this day. From 1958 to 1964 the frescoes were uncovered and the church consolidated with the help of experts from Edinburgh University and the General Directorate of Foundations.

Mid- morning we will then leave Sophia and driven around 1 ½ hours to Sumela Monastery

Visit the 4th century Sumela Monastery which clings to a sheer cliff face in a deep forest.

Here you can enjoy lunch and time to relax beside a fast flowing stream at Altindere Valley National Park.

Later travel along the Silk Road through the Zigana Mountains (Pontic Alps) and head to Erzurum via Bayburt. (four hours).
Dinner and overnight in Erzurum.

HEKIMOGLU HOTEL (3 Star) www.hekimogluotel.com
or similar

Day 3
ERZURUM – KARS

Spend the morning visiting the city of Erzurum. The half day tour will include Selchuk & Mongolian monuments; Cifte Minareli Medrese, a theological school named for its towering twin minarets, Yakutiye Medrese, built by Mongolian Prince Olcayto in 1308, and topped with a richly tiled minaret, Ulu Mosque and Erzurum Castle.

Then it will be around three hours’ drive to Kars with a stop for lunch en route.

Dinner and overnight in Kars

KENT ANI HOTEL
(Special Class) www.hotelkentani.com
or similar

Day 4
KARS – ANI – DOGUBEYAZIT

After breakfast you will be driven 45 minutes to Ani, an old Armenian capital city.

The group will hike to see the old churches and ruins of Ani then drive back to Kars and visit Kars Castle.

Then drive to a small local Turkish village to have lunch in a local house.

After lunch it is around two and a half hours’ drive to Dogubeyazıt, passing by the eternally snow covered biblical Mt Ararat.

Dinner and overnight in Dogubeyazıt.

SIMER HOTEL DOGUBEYAZIT (3 Star) www.simerhotel.com
or similar

Day 5
DOGUBEYAZIT – VAN

This morning you will visit Ishak Pasha Palace – an Ottoman-period palace whose construction was started in 1685 by Colak Abdi Pasha, the bey of Beyazit province, continued by his son İshak Pasha and completed by his grandson Mehmet Pasha. According to the inscription on its door, the Harem Section of the palace was completed by his grandson Ishak (Isaac) Pasha in 1784. The Palace is more of a complex than a palace; it is the second administrative campus after the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul and the most famous of the palaces built in recent decades.

The palace is built on a hill at the side of a mountain 5 km east of Doğubeyazıt. It was the last large monumental structure in the Ottoman Empire from the “Lale Devri” period. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history.

After visiting Ishakpasa Palace, enjoy a local cultural experience and visit local shops and stores for ingredients for a picnic lunch.

Then you will take the local produce and drive to Muradiye waterfall ( 1 ½ hrs) for a picnic lunch.

In the afternoon – it’s another 1 ½ hrs drive to Van to visit Van castle city called Tuspa. This was the capital city of Urtatus who had lived in 15th. Century B.C. and the local Armenian Kingdoms in the until 11th. Century A.D.

Enjoy the scenery on Lake Van.

After lunch drive to the hotel for a short rest. Late afternoon continue the tour with a visit to the Citadel of Van & Tusba Castle.

Dinner and overnight at the Hotel in Van.

AKDAMAR HOTEL (3 Star) www.otelakdamar.com
or similar

Day 6
VAN

After breakfast visit Cavustepe, one of the most important Urartian fortress settlements in the area.

Some 25 miles to the east of Cavustepe, Hosap Castle stands on steep, rocky terrain, north of Hosap Stream. The castle was built by Sari (Blond) Suleyman Bey in 1643. Have lunch on the way.

Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, and known for its unique cats with their long, white fur and multi colored eyes.

A pleasant 30 minute boat ride on Lake Van will take us to Akdamar Island on which the Church of the Holy Cross stands in solitude. Well-known stories from the Old Testament are depicted on its walls in low relief. King Gagik, who had the church built, is shown carrying of model of it. Drive back to Van.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel in Van.

AKDAMAR HOTEL (3 Star) www.otelakdamar.com
or similar

Day 7
VAN – DIYARBAKIR

After breakfast drive two hours to Ahlat, famed for its Seljuk period mausoleums, whose magnificent architecture and stone carving have led historians to describe it as the land of the Seljuk renaissance.

These tombs are considered among the greatest monuments of early Turkish civilization in Anatolia. The history of this region can be traced back to the 15th century BC.

The group will then continue to Diyarbakir – around 4 ½ hours drive. There will be a stop for a picnic lunch en route.

Arriving in Diyarbakir the tour continues – visiting the black basalt triple walls, which encircle the old town, giving the city a rather ominous appearance.
From here head to Ulu Camii (the Great Mosque). This piece of history, which was built in 1179 by Melik Nasreddin Mehmet, is an Ottoman piece from the second half of 14th century.

The day ends with a visit to the Church of Keldani.

After a very full day, transfer to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

MIROGLU HOTEL (3 Star) www.mirogluhotel.com
or similar

Day 8
DIYARBAKIR – ADIYAMAN – KAHTA

After breakfast visit the Church of Virgin Mary then continue two hours to Urfa, one of the oldest Babylonian cities.

After arriving in Urfa visiting the Crusaders Fortress and the Callirhoe Fountain.

After lunch continue to Harran, a small village with curious houses like anthills, where Abraham lived. Drive to Adiyaman and then onto our hotel in Kahta for dinner and overnight.

EUPHRAT HOTEL (2 Star) www.hoteleuphratnemrut.com
or similar

Day 9
KAHTA – MT NEMRUT – KAHTA

An early start! Around 02:30 am you will leave the hotel for the drive up to Nemrut Mountain.

On the way there will be a coffee break with cake and tea. You’ll see the sunrise on Mount Nemrut, the postcard setting for the amazing statues at the Commagene Temple.

In this area, visit the capital of the Commagene Kingdom; Arsaemia; a tumulus on Karakus Hill and Cendere Bridge. Then drive back to the hotel for breakfast and a few hour’s rest. After lunch visit Adiyaman city and the ancient city of Perre – one of the 5 large cities of the ancient nation of Commagene. Very few structural remains have survived to this day. The ancient city’s ruins include the city walls, a fountain still used by locals and a Necropolis with nearly 200 rock graves.

Dinner and overnight at hotel in Kahta.

EUPHRAT HOTEL (2 Star) www.hoteleuphratnemrut.com
or similar

Day 10
KAHTA – MALATYA – ISTANBUL

Departure after breakfast for a visit to the newly excavated prehistoric and Hittite ruins of Arslantepe including the Public Houses, Palaces, Tombs and Temples.

After lunch take an afternoon drive 3 ½ hours to Malatya.

We will visit Malatya Museum which was established in the National Park in Malatya.

Enjoy dinner before a transfer to the airport for the flight to Istanbul. On arrival, transfer to the hotel for overnight.

TAYHAN HOTEL (3 Star) www.hoteltayhan.com
or similar

Day 11
ISTANBUL – LONDON

ECONOMY CLASS AIR TRAVEL

After a week of touring, we have a fantastic last day – a visit to the CEMBERLITAS HAMAM, followed by farewell lunch.

www.cemberlitashamami.com.tr

The hammam was established by Nurbanu Sultan, wife of Selim II and mother of Murat III, for the purpose of bringing in revenue to support the Valide-i Atik Charity Complex, in Toptası, Uskudar. It is said that the bath is built by the Architect Sinan in 1584.

After this Turkish Bath experience enjoy a farewell lunch at Hamdi Restaurant ( without drinks ) www.hamdi.com.tr

Hamdi Restaurant has been serving its traditional southeastern kebabs since it started in 1970. It is the place to go for this famous Turkish dish. This popular restaurant is situated in the historic Eminönü district (west of Sultanahmet) and has a stunning view of the Golden Horn. The restaurant gives superior, quality service, and its menu presents a wide selection of meat dishes, making Hamdi Restaurant one of Turkey’s first class restaurants.

After lunch depending on the time available there could be a chance for a visit to a local souq for last minute purchases beore transfer to the airport for your Turkish Airlines flight to London.

INCLUDED

All arrangements and transport as per the itinerary;

Seats on international and domestic flights as per the itinerary, with applicable taxes.

Hotel Accommodation at suggested hotels or similar

Sightseeing as per above itinerary

All escorted transfers

Daily breakfast, Lunches & Dinners. (Beverages are not included during lunches & Dinners).

Transportation by A/C deluxe vehicle

English speaking professional local tour guide throughout the tour

All entry fees to the sites & museums

Tips to the hotel and restaurant staff

Service charges & local taxes

NOT INCLUDED

Additional meals not included in the itinerary, insurance; visa fees; personal gratuities; items of a personal nature such as drinks and laundry.

ALL INCLUSIVE HOLIDAY PRICE

Price: £1995 per person

(Based on group size of 11–15 people)

Single room supplement £160 per person

Prices are quoted on exchange rates and tariffs currently in operation and are subject to alteration without notice.

If you are interested in joining this tour, please contact Fiona Brijnath (fiona@farfrontiers.com).

27 SEP

UPCOMING EVENT

Under the Same Shade: Three Years of Working on the Roof of the World

Where: The Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 (Nearest tube stations Euston Square and Euston mainline).

Lecture starts at 1.15pm and finishes by 2.30pm. The sandwich lunch, from 12.30pm, must be booked by 2.30pm the day before.

Tickets: Free

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