DAY 01: SAT – Istanbul
Upon arrival at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, meeting and greeting by our representative and proceed to Istanbul city.
Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 02: SUN – Cappadocia
A short morning flight to Kayseri takes you into the heart of Cappadocia. Upon arrival, a 60 minute drive takes us to our hotel where we check in and get ready for an adventure.
Erciyes erupted millions of years ago, convulsing the surrounding landscape with a torrent of lava. We drive to an underground city, estimated to have between 18 to 20 floors below ground level. Continue with the Soganli Valley, an Open Air Museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style Rock-Cut churches and frescoes. Visit to Sahinefendi newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & Archaeological excavation site. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil. Our tour finishes with a visit to Mustafapasa (Sinasos), an old Greek town. Then we will continue to Zelve, the most important settlements and religious centers for the Christian community, afternoon return to hotel.
Overnight in Cappadocia – Meals: B, D
DAY 03: MON – Cappadocia
This morning, YOU can choose to rise early for an optional hot air balloon expedition over the Cappadocia’s landscape. Soaring high above Cappadocia in the early light of dawn is an exhilarating experience! Marvel at the lunar landscape of Cappadocia: rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley; a journey in the past with its troglodyte houses, visit to Pasabag "fairy chimneys" where the voice of wind mixes with the "songs of fairies" near Zelve. Continue to Avanos, centre of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. Afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century). Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.
Overnight in Cappadocia – Meals: B, D
DAY 4: TUE - Cappadocia – Malatya (281 Miles)
After an early breakfast we set off on a scenic drive to the Southeastern Anatolian city of Malatya. This was the place where Muslims and Christians joined forces in an unsuccessful defense of their town against the attacking Mongol hordes. We travel on to visit Aslantepe (Lion Hill) Tumulus where the oldest palace of the world dates back to 5000 BC. It was the capital of the Neo-Hittite principality of Kammanu. Very recently two exciting rock reliefs, 3000 years old, have been unearthed, depicting the two eagle-headed kings offering each other a peace wand. We then continue to Eski Malatya (Old Malatya), a Roman / Byzantine walled town located several miles outside the new town.
Overnight Malatya – Meals: B, D
DAY 5: WED – Malatya – Kahta
After breakfast, we begin our ascent to the top of Mount Nemrut. While we travel part of the way by car, the actual summit is approached on foot, with a ten minute uphill climb. The tumulus of Antiochus is astounding; here atop the highest peak in the region, with panoramic views in all directions. Antiochus I had his peons drag blocks of cut stone to build twin terraces facing east and west and lined them with massive statues of his favorite gods Apollo, Tyche, Zeus and Hercules. After marveling at the sculptures and enjoying the view of the vast valley below, we descend to visit the village of Horik or Karadut at the foot of Nemrut.
Overnight in Kahta – Meals: B, D
DAY 6: THU - Kahta – Kahramanmaras
This morning we drive to Kasaba village and board a boat waiting to take us on our Euphrates cruise. The boat sets out for Rumkale (founded by the Assyrian king Salmaneser III in 885 B.C.) which looms into view as the highest point among the steep rock cliffs. Legend reveals this to be where the disciple John copied the drafts of the New Testament and hid them in this castle, where later they were said to have been carried to Beirut. As our boat plies the waters, the river too widens, as if to make way for the orange-yellow rock cliffs on either bank. When we reach Halfeti, dating back more than one thousand years and home to many early civilizations, it’s as if we’re in a coastal town of the Mediterranean. We say ‘goodbye’ to our captain and continue our journey towards the heroic city of civilization, Kahramanmaras, Turkey’s ice cream capital! End the day with a leisurely stroll through the old streets and grand bazaar.
Overnight in Kahramanmaras – Meals: B, D
DAY 7: FRI – Kahramanmaras – Gaziantep
After breakfast in the hotel, we drive to Gaziantep. Gaziantep previously and still informally called Antep is a city in southeast Turkey and amongst the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. The metropolitan area in the entire Gaziantep Province had a population of 1.3 million making the city sixth most populous in Turkey. The city has two urban districts under its administration, Sahinbey and Sehitkamil. After lunch on your own, we’ll visit the Mosaic Museum of Gaziantep, which houses relics from the ancient city of Zeugma. After a tour of the old city and castle district, we arrive at our hotel.
Overnight in Gaziantep – Meals: B, D
DAY 8: SAT
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your fly back home via Istanbul.