Road Scholar : Home
From Legends to History: Turkey's Legacy of Civilizations and Culture

Program Number: 12828RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/11/2015 - 2/27/2015; 4/6/2016 - 4/22/2016; 5/4/2016 - 5/20/2016; 9/28/2016 - 10/14/2016; 10/12/2016 - 10/28/2016; 11/2/2016 - 11/18/2016;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Turkey
Price starting at: $3,645.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 43; 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat    

From Roman ruins and Byzantine mosaics, Turkey’s history spans three continents and more than 10,000 years. Expert instructors leading select excursions survey Anatolia and Asia Minor — the ancient lands of Turkey — to trace the numerous civilizations that have thrived here since the Bronze Age. Gain an overview of Turkey’s rich legacy of civilizations and culture, comparing and contrasting the old world with the vibrancy of today.


• A local artisan in Avanos teaches ceramic hand arts.
• Visit the underground city in Cappadocia, complete with ventilation and communication systems.
• Examine the exquisitely wrought biblical mosaics in Istanbul’s Byzantine Kariye Mosque.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles a day. Uneven terrain at ancient sites.

Date Specific Information

2-11-2015, 4-6-2016, 5-4-2016, 9-28-2016, 10-12-2016, 11-2-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Ankara, 2 nights; coach to Cappadocia/Avanos, 3 nights; coach to Konya, 1 night; coach to Antalya, 2 nights; coach to Pamukkale, 1 night; coach to Kusadasi, 2 nights; coach to Canakkale, 1 night; coach to Istanbul, 3 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Ankara
2 nights

Begin with an expert lecture on the Hittites, a culture that thrived in this region during the 14th-century B.C. The Hittites were pioneers of ironworks and used a pictographic language, some of which is displayed at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum. A marvel itself, the museum is housed on the south side of Ankara Castle in former Ottoman bazaar buildings.

Coach to Cappadocia
3 nights

This one-time center of Hittite power served another purpose in later centuries when early Christian communities took refuge from persecution during the Byzantine era. Venture among the 300 Byzantine chapels built in the rock formations, as well as to the fascinating underground city of Ozkonak north of Avanos.

Coach to Konya
1 night
Coach to Antalya
2 nights

Visit the tomb of Jalal ad-Din "Rumi," the 13th-century Persian poet and theologian whose modern followers, known as the Whirling Dervishes, perform Sufi worship through dancing and singing. Delve further into history in the ancient city ruins of Perge, built in 1,000 B.C. by Greeks from Northern Anatolia, a region of Turkey also known as Asia Minor. The city thrived under Roman rule during the second-century B.C., from which most of the ruins date.

Coach to Pamukkale
1 night
Coach to Kusadasi
2 nights

Pamukkale, or “white castle” in Turkish, is a geothermal feature of terraced hot springs in southwest Turkey. The ancient city of Hierapolis was constructed atop the springs and many ruins remain. Discover the ruins of Ephesus, the ancient Ionian city near Kusadasi, which during its heyday in A.D. 100 was home to a half-million residents.

Coach via Troy to Canakkale
1 night
Coach via Gallipoli to Istanbul
3 nights

Examine the legendary Troy, immortalized in Homer’s The Iliad. In Istanbul, discuss life in modern Turkey and explore landmarks including Hagia Sophia, once Christendom’s greatest church, and Topkapi Palace, former home of the Sultans.


Turkey is bracketed by seas on three sides, which has facilitated its status as a crossroads of different civilizations for tens of thousands of years. It is modernizing rapidly, but its past is everywhere apparent. It is a country where centuries-old mosques and castles blend with modern streets and buildings to create a unique blend of past and present, European and Oriental influences.

Ankara: 4-star hotel in center of city. Cappadocia: Four-star hotel. Konya: 4-star hotel in central neighborhood. Antalya: Five-star hotel with beach. Pamukkale: Five-star hotel with thermal baths. Kusadasi: Five-star seaside hotel. Canakkale: Four-star hotel on the Dardanelles Strait. Istanbul: Boutique hotel along the ancient walls of Constantinople.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Zeynep Kuban

Dr. Zeynep Kuban is an assistant professor of architecture at Istanbul Technical University, one of the most prominent educational institutions in Turkey. Her special area of interest is architectural history. Dr. Kuban’s lectures to Road Scholar participants share her wonderful insights on the creation of one of the world’s most architecturally fascinating cities from early Roman times to the 21st century.
Gul Isin

Born in 1967 in Ankara, Mrs. Isin studied classical archaeology in Ankara at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She earned her doctorate from Akdeniz University in Antalya, where she is currently a member of the faculty. She specializes in the ancient sites near Antalya and still digs at various Greek and Roman sites in the region.
Adrian Saunders

Adrian Saunders teaches archaeology and art history at Koc University in Istanbul. Previously, he taught Latin and Greek language and literature in the United Kingdom and Egypt. He works on a range of epigraphic and textual material, exploring ways of using it to teach ancient languages to students. He has translated several ancient dramas for performance and has been working on a translation of archaic lyric poetry.
Meals and Lodgings
   Rixos Grand Ankara Hotel
  Ankara, Turkey 2 nights
   Kapadokya Lodge
  Cappadocia, Turkey 3 nights
   Hilton Garden Inn Konya
  Konya, Turkey 1 night
   Rixos Downtown Antalya
  Antalya, Turkey 2 nights
   Colossae Thermal Hotel
  Pamukkale, Turkey 1 night
   Korumar Hotel
  Kusadasi, Turkey 2 nights
   Tusan Hotel
  Canakkale, Turkey 1 night
   Armada Hotel Istanbul
  Istanbul, Turkey 3 nights
 Rixos Grand Ankara Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Contact info: Ataturk Bulvari 183 Kavaklidere
Ankara,   Turkey
phone: +90 312 410 55 00
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Please contact the program provider; .
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Kapadokya Lodge
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Special architecture blending in with landscape.
  Contact info: PK 48 50200 Nevsehir
Nevsehir,  50200 Turkey
phone: +90 384 213 99 45
  Room amenities: Minibar, hair dryer, tv, direct dial telephone.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, snack bar, swimming pool, turkish bath, sauna, jacuzzi.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hilton Garden Inn Konya
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hilton Garden Inn Konya hotel, is a modern business hotel designed in perfect harmony with the folklore and traditions of the Anatolian city of Konya and is located next to the Mevlana Culture Center and within walking distance of a range of shopping and business districts.
  Contact info: Aziziye Mahallesi, Kislaonu Sokak No:4
Konya,  42020 Turkey
phone: +0911 0332 221 60 00
  Room amenities: TV and complimentary wired and wireless internet access.
  Facility amenities: 24 hr Pavilion Pantry Market, Baggage Storage, Bar Area, Coin Laundry, Foreign Currency Exchange, Room Service, Safety Deposit Box.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Rixos Downtown Antalya
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Contact info: Sakip Sabanci Bulvari
Konyaalti Sahili
Antalya,  07050 Turkey
phone: +90 242 249 49 49
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Colossae Thermal Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: Thermal Hotel with indoor and outdoor pools. Spa and Beauty Center within the complex.
  Contact info: Karahayit Village
Denizli,   Turkey
phone: +90 258 2714156
  Room amenities: Minibar, direct dial telephone, hairdryer, A/C, balcony, satellite TV
  Smoking allowed: No

 Korumar Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: Korumar Hotel enjoys an incredible location, overlooking the Aegean Sea. It is a five - star hotel, offerring all the amenities of a five-star hotel.
  Contact info: 2 Gazibegendi Bulvari
Aydin,   Turkey
phone: +011 90 256 618-1530
  Room amenities: A/C, Sat.TV, Minibar, Safe, 24 hr room service, haridryer.
  Facility amenities: Swimming Pool (indoor & outdoor), sauna, Turkish Bath, Fitness Center, restaurants, 24-hr room service, business center, etc
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Tusan Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Tusan is a 4 Star Hotel, situated within a pine forest, looking across the Dardanelles. It is a family run hotel with its private beach.
  Contact info: Guzelyali Mevkii
Canakkale,   Turkey
phone: +90 286 2328210
  Room amenities: Air Condition, T.V. Set, Mini bar, Hair Dryer, Balcony, Telephone, Private Bathroom, Sea and Forest views
  Facility amenities: Indoor and outdoor restaurant, English Pub, Swimming Pool, Meeting Room, Fitness Room, Billiards, Table Tennis, Private Beach, Parking, Laundry Service
  Smoking allowed: No

 Armada Hotel Istanbul
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Armada hotel is centrally located in the old city of Istanbul, on the city's historical peninsula. It is surrounded by the ancient city walls and is within walking distance and has views of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Open since 1994, the building was constructed on the site of a series of row houses which were built for the marine soldiers of the famed Ottoman Admiral Hayrettin Pasha (Barbarossa) in the 16th century. The hotel's façade replicates the original structures.
  Contact info: Ahirkapi Cad, 24
Istanbul,  34400 Turkey
phone: +90 212 455 44 55
  Room amenities: 110 rooms, decorated in the Ottoman style with traditional Edirnekari woodwork painting, are a graceful blend of past and present and offer all modern amenities, including air conditioning, central heat, hair dryer, mini-bar, cable TV, direct-dial telephone, Internet connection and safety-deposit box.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, bars, rooftop terrace, room service and laundry service.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Contact Prices are per room and include VAT and breakfast. Contact the Program Provider for reservations.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
6 PM, at the hotel lobby for Welcome Meeting You will be staying at Rixos Grand Ankara Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast at 10 AM. You will be staying at Armada Hotel Istanbul the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Passport needs to be valid for 6 months. Tourist visa for Turkey can be purchased at the airport of arrival. It costs $20 USD in cash for US citizens and $60 in cash for Canada citizens, at the time of writing. Participants can also purchase and print an electronic visa online at Visa fee is the same. Date of entry on the electronic visa needs to be be the same as the actual date of entry.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Shuttle buses are available to the city center.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ankara
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Participants should look for the Road Scholar sign or their names on a sign board after clearing passport control and customs. Independent travelers may take a taxi directly to the hotel. Taxis are available outside the terminal and will cost around $40 - $50 USD to the hotel. Shuttle buses are available for all domestic and international aircraft landing at Ankara Airport, in front of the arrivals terminal. Ticket costs 10 TL ($6) per person, is payable on the bus in cash only and the trip lasts about 40 minutes.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Istanbul
  Transportation from site: Group transfers from the hotel to airport in Istanbul, Turkey will be arranged for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and leave on the day the program ends. Independent travelers may take a taxi directly to the airport. Taxis can be arranged through the hotel desk and will cost around $30 USD to the airport. Taxis can comfortably take 3 people and luggage.
Elevation Note: Yes. Max Elevation roughly 3, 100 feet. No risks of lack of oxygen.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure and International Flight
(Wednesday, February 11)
 Depart From: Fly to Turkey on an overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrival and Check-in/Registration and Welcome Meeting/Welcome Dinner
(Thursday, February 12)

Note: Upon arrival in Ankara Airport, clear passport control, claim your bags, go through customs and the sliding doors and look for the Road Scholar sign.

 Arrive To: Arrive in Ankara Airport, clear passport and customs.
 Dinner: At the hotel
 Evening: We will gather in our private meeting room at the hotel at 6:00PM where your group leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedules, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Accommodations: Rixos Grand Ankara Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Lecture and Full Day Excursion to the Anatolian Civilizations Museum and the Mausoleum of Ataturk.
(Friday, February 13)

Note: Walking up to ½ mile during excursions and at the Mausoleum of Ataturk

 Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant
 Morning: Lecture on the ancient civilizations of Anatolia with emphasis on Hittite & Phrygian cultures. Lecture will be delivered by Prof Thomas Zimmerman, head of the Department of Archeology at Bilkent University of Ankara.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the old citadel of Ankara
 Afternoon: We will visit the award-winning Anatolian Civilizations Museum to have a general overview about the civilizations of Turkey. The Museum exhibits boast artifacts from the Paleolithic era and continue chronologically through the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian trading colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The Museum is renowned especially for its artifacts from the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk. The collection includes Mother Goddess sculptures, wall paintings, clay figurines, stamps, earthenware containers, and agricultural tools made from bones. The most impressive parts of this exhibit are a hunting scene on plaster from the 7th millennium BC, a reproduction of a Çatalhoyuk room with wall-mounted bull heads, a Mother Goddess Kybele (later Cybele) sculpture, obsidian tools, wall paintings of the (now extinct) volcano Mount Hasan erupting, and wall paintings of a leopard. A visit to the Mausoleum of Ataturk will provide a good background to modern Turkey and enable you to get a deeper understanding of this revolutionary character that shaped modern Turkey.
 Dinner: In the hotel restaurant
 Evening: Listen to a lecture and a Q&A session on Modern Turkey and its contemporary issues, given by Prof Bilge Criss from the International Relations Department of Bilkent University.
Accommodations: Rixos Grand Ankara Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hattusas, the ancient capital of the Hittite Kingdom and Journey Through the Anatolian Steppes to Cappadocia
(Saturday, February 14)

Note: Walking up to ½ mile on occasionally uneven terrain during the visit to Hattusas.

 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant
 Morning: We depart from Ankara and head east to Hattusas. Hattusas is the capital of the Hittite Kingdom that flourished between 1800 BC to 1200 BC and controlled most of the territories in Asia Minor and the Middle East. Wonder at the amazing architecture of this capital city and the Hittite religion's pantheon, also called the Religion with 1,000 Gods. Hattusas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Hattusas.
 Afternoon: Drive south to Cappadocia, passing through the central plains of Turkey and agricultural lands. Arrive in Cappadocia before dinner.
 Dinner: At the hotel in Cappadocia
Accommodations: Kapadokya Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Goreme Open Air Museum and the Fantastic Formations of Cappadocia
(Sunday, February 15)

Note: Walking in uneven terrain, for up to 1 mile. Sturdy walking shoes highly recommended. Some caves/churches require crouching to enter.

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: There will be an optional hot air balloon flight this morning for those interested in discovering this unique geography from the air. Ballooning is a sunrise activity but you will return to the hotel for breakfast and join the excursions during the rest of the day. This morning we shall visit the Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic center comprised of caves carved out of the soft volcanic rock of Cappadocia and decorated with frescoes and paintings. You will learn about the history of Christianity and monasticism in the area and discover the artistic and religious significance of frescos in these churches.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant carved out of rock that was once home to the hosting family.
 Afternoon: We will visit the workshop of a local artisan that specializes in pottery making, using the clay from the nearby Halys River. You will learn about this 5,000 year old craft and have your chance to work on the potter's wheel. Before going back to the hotel, we will attend a Whirling Dervish ceremony, performed by local Sufis at a restored caravansaray (ancient camel motel on the Silk Road) from 13th century.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant
Accommodations: Kapadokya Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Visit Love Valley and village of Sinasos.
(Monday, February 16)

Note: An optional hike through the formations of Cappadocia will be offered to those interested. Good walking shoes are a must.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: We will visit and explore the village of Sinasos. This village had a largely Greek population in Ottoman times. Today it is a thriving town with a small university lots to see and do nearby.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Avanos, located on the southern bank of the river Halys.
 Afternoon: This afternoon will be dedicated to more exploration in the gorges and valleys of Cappadocia. We will visit the impressive underground city of Ozkonak, carved out of the ground to provide shelter from the attacking armies. There will be a short optional hike and various photo stops at some important vantage points to get an overview of this magical landscape.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Kapadokya Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: From Cappadocia to Konya on the Silk Road/Sultanhani Caravanserai (ancient camel motel on the Silk Road)
(Tuesday, February 17)

Note: Leisurely day spent on the bus.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Drive west to Konya, on the central plateau of Turkey, following the . ancient Silk Road. We wll visit Sultanhani, a 13th century Seljuk caravanserai built on the Silk Road to accommodate the caravans of trade. Sultanhani is the largest and best preserved of the existing caravanserais.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Konya, specializing in local dishes from the area.
 Afternoon: Once in Konya, we will visit the Museum/Mausoleum of Mevlana Rumi, founder of the Whirling Dervish sect of Islam. You will learn about the mystic aspect of Sufism and hear some beautiful poetry by Rumi. Your group leader will discuss the principles of Sufism with the group and enlighten you about their beliefs and rituals.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Konya
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: The Magnificent Roman Theater of Aspendos & the ancient Greek-Roman city of Perge.
(Wednesday, February 18)

Note: Walking at ancient Greek/Roman sites up to ½ mile. Occasional uneven pavement at ancient sites.

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: We will depart Konya after breakfast and head south towards the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey by crossing the impressive Taurus Mountains.
 Lunch: Lunch on route at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: This afternoon, you will visit the stunning theater of Aspendos and your group leader will give you a detailed on-site lecture about Roman theaters. You will also visit Perge, an important city of the Roman province of Pamphylia and wonder at its impressive Hellensitic city gates.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant
Accommodations: Rixos Downtown Antalya
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Lecture and Field Trip to Antalya Archeological Museum
(Thursday, February 19)
 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: This morning you will visit the award winning Antalya Archeological Museum. An archeologist from the local Akdeniz University will give a lecture and a tour of this fantastic museum.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Antalya
 Afternoon: Free time in Antalya. You will be able to rest at our hotel and take advantage of the facilities or take a walk in the old city of Antalya.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Rixos Downtown Antalya
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Ancient city of Hierapolis and natural calcium pools and travertines of Pamukkale
(Friday, February 20)

Note: Walking on uneven terrain at the ancient site of Hierapolis. Extreme caution should be shown while walking on the cascades and travertines of Pamukkale. (Slippery!)

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Depart Antalya and head inland driving north through lush countryside towards Pamukkale.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant on route. You will be able to try the local "pide".
 Afternoon: Arrive in Pamukkale and visit the ancient city of Hierapolis and natural calcium pools and travertines. Pamukkale contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant
Accommodations: Colossae Thermal Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Aphrodisias, City of Aphrodite
(Saturday, February 21)

Note: Uneven terrain at the ancient site of Aphrodisias. Walking up to 1 mile.

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Depart Pamukkale after breakfast and drive along the Meander River. This morning you will visit the splendid Aphrodisias, the Greek Roman city dedicated to Aphrodite. You will be amazed by the marble sculptures and statues once made in this city. The other highlight of this antique city is its ancient stadium.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant near the ruins.
 Afternoon: Continue further west and stop at the colorful Selcuk Farmer's Market held every week on Saturdays. Arrive in Kusadasi and check in to our hotel, located right on the Aegean Sea.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant
Accommodations: Korumar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: The Amazing City of Ephesus
(Sunday, February 22)

Note: Walking up to 2 miles on the ancient streets of Ephesus

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: We will start our day with a very interesting lecture on the graffiti found at Ephesus, given by an linguist expert professor from the Koc University of Istanbul. Rest of the morning will be dedicated to exploring this mesmerizing ancient site. Your group leader will give you an in-depth tour of this unforgettable site. You will also visit the Terrace Houses, a separate Museum within the ancient site where the rich and famous people of Ephesus lived.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served at a local handcrafts center. A lecture by an expert on Turkish carpets will follow. You will have the opportunity to try your luck at weaving a rug.
 Afternoon: You will visit the Basilica of St John, the Apostle, a church built in 6th century to accommodate the grave of St.John. On the way back to the hotel, we will stop at the Temple of Artemis, one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World and hear about its fascinating story.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant
Accommodations: Korumar Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Troy, the Fabled City of Homer
(Monday, February 23)

Note: Walking on uneven terrain during visit of Troy

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: We will depart early from Kusadasi and drive north along the Aegean Sea. We will drive through Izmir (ancient Smyrna), the third largest city of Turkey, also known as the Pearl of the Aegean.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in a small town on the Aegean Sea.
 Afternoon: We will drive through the northern regions of the Aegean Sea and see plenty of olive groves during the ride. You will visit the legendary city of Troy, immortalized by Homer and learn about the myth and the facts behind Troy.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant
Accommodations: Tusan Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Gallipoli National Park and the Anzac Cove
(Tuesday, February 24)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: We will depart early from Canakkale and take the ferry across the Dardanelles, from Asia to Europe. We will stop at the Gallipoli National Park and see the Anzac Cove to remember the tragic campaign launched by the Allied Forces in WW1.
 Lunch: Lunch on route near Tekirdag.
 Afternoon: We will continue our journey to Istanbul and arrive in mid afternoon. Before checking in at the hotel, time permitting, your group leader will give you an orientation tour of the old city. You will listen to a lecture at the hotel, named "Urban Development of Istanbul Through an Architectural Perspective", given by a professor from the Istanbul Technical University History of Architecture Department.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel Istanbul
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Topkapi Palace and the Harem and the Underground Cisterns.
(Wednesday, February 25)

Note: Walking up to 1 mile in the old city of Istanbul, occasionally on cobblestone streets. Good walking shoes are recommended.

 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Start your day with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and a great testimony to the power and wealth of the Ottoman Empire. You will also be able to visit the Harem and catch a glimpse of daily life behind closed doors.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant specializing in Turkish kebabs
 Afternoon: Visit the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar in Turkish) where the exotic aromas of the Orient will capture you immediately. You will then visit the Underground Cisterns, built in 532 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in order to store water for his city.
 Dinner: On your own at leisure to try the local fare.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel Istanbul
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 16: The Magnificent Hagia Sophia/The Blue Mosque/Private Cruise on the Bosphorus
(Thursday, February 26)

Note: Walking up to 1 mile on the streets and bazaars of Istanbul.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: This morning you will start your day with a field trip to the breathtaking Church of Hagia Sophia. You will learn about the architecture of this unique 1,500 year old building and awe at its size and glamour. You will then drive along the ancient City Walls of Istanbul and learn about their strength and history. A visit to Kariye (Chora) Museum will reveal the most exquisite examples Byzantine mosaics and frescoes, dating to pre-Renaissance. The small but gem-like mosque of Rustem Pasha will demonstrate the stunning masterpieces of Iznik tiles from 16th century.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant near the Chora Museum
 Afternoon: You will embark on a private boat to cruise to the wonderful Bosphorus and see its lovely waterfront houses and palaces. We will end the day at the Grand Bazaar, a maze of 4,000 shops and alleys, an old shopping mall for bargains. Free time at the Bazaar will be given for shopping.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant near the hotel.
Accommodations: Armada Hotel Istanbul
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Departures
(Friday, February 27)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: There will be group transfers from the hotel to Istanbul Airport, depending on the departure times of flights. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Imperial Ambassador at Constantinople, 1554-1562

Author: Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq

Description: The Flemish nobleman wrote his Letters while on an ambassadorial mission to Istanbul between 1554 and 1562, making him a brilliant eye-witness of the Ottoman state at its height, under Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Busbecq was a botanist, linguist, antiquarian, scholar and zoologist; he brought back lilac and the tulip.

Istanbul (Poetry of Place)

Author: Ates Orga

Description: Istanbul, capital of two great empires, confluence of Asia and Europe, has called forth poetry throughout her long history, from paupers and sultans, natives and visitors alike. When Mehmed the Conqueror first wandered through the ruins of the Byzantine palace, it was with the words of the Persian poet Ferdowsi on his lips: "The spider spins his web in the Palace of the Caesars/An owl hoots in the towers of Afrasiyab". Since then the silhouette of thousand-year-old domes and tapering minarets, the sunsets reflected nightly in a thousand palace windows and the bustle of her markets have inspired Sultan Suleyman, W B Yeats and Nazim Hikmet, amongst others, to salute one of the world's most remarkable cities.

A Short History Of Byzantium

Author: John Julius Norwich

Description: No time to wade, albeit enjoyably, through his three volume Byzantium series? This recent edition is based on his Byzantium trilogy and is equally as intelligent and inspired. Norwich is, as always, ever entertaining and engaging about this subject. An efficient read without loss of style or spirit. If you can’t manage three volumes right now, this one is for you.

Ataturk: A biography of Mustafa Kemal - Father of Modern Turkey

Author: Lord Kinross

Description: Kinross tells the story of Ataturk in such an engaging way that you stay glued to the page. Beginning with his birth in 1881 in Salonika, Greece, during the usual Balkan struggles, the book traces his youth through his early education and military service. Along the way Kinross reveals the experiences that formed Ataturk’s rebel spirit, leads you through the evolution of his hatred for the rich, the corrupt, and the abusive religious and political classes. He takes you onto the battlefield where Ataturk’s leadership and inspiration routs the Greeks who invaded Turkey in the aftermath of W.W.I. Kinross takes you step by step through the formation of a new, secular Republic, free of domination by Sultans, Moslem Caliphs or foreign countries, and describes how Turkey secured a place among nations. You’ll learn of Ataturk’s commitment to equality for all people, men and women alike, and how he lead the new Turkish nation westward by adopting the western alphabet overnight, creating a new Turkish language, and provided free education for all. A “must read” in order to understand present-day Turkey’s struggle to maintain the secular principles Ataturk established.

Birds Without Wings

Author: Louis de Bernières

Description: In his first novel since Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history. The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It’s a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn’t Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, Birds Without Wings is an enchantment.

Blue Guide to Turkey

Author: Bernard McDonagh

Description: Blue Guides are complete and jam-packed with historical and practical information. This one lives up to the reputation. You want to go to Nemrut Dag and learn what you’re looking at once you’re there? The Blue Guide is for you. Painstakingly researched it is a course book text on the history of civilization and includes detailed town plans, up-to-date classical site information, route maps, hotel recommendations and lots of information about Turkish customs, food and history. From one end of the country to the other! It’s all there. The book to have, whether you’re exploring Turkey with us in a group or out there on your own.

Classical Turkey

Author: John Freely

Description: A well written, well illustrated, architectural guide for travelers new to the Graeco-Roman sites of Western Turkey. Detailed with good drawings of most ruins accompanied by historical information about these great sites. Freely is the master.

Constantinople; City of the World’s Desire, 1453-1924

Author: Philip Mansel

Description: Mansel is a noted historian and author of several works about the Sultans and the Ottoman World. This book focuses on the political and architectural history of the capital Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and covers the span of the Ottoman empire. The book ends on November 17, 1922 when the last Sultan and a small party slipped out of Palace at 8 AM and scrambled aboard a British naval ship that hauled anchor for Malta at 8:43 AM. A fine work, lots of detail, very readable and helpful in sorting out the complexities of 600 years of Ottoman power.

Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds

Author: Stephen Kinzer

Description: A passionate love for the Turkish people and an optimism that its ruling class can complete Turkey's transformation into a Western-style democracy mark Kinzer's reflections on a country that sits geographically and culturally at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Kinzer, the former New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, gives a concise introduction to Turkey: Kemal Ataterk's post-WWI establishment of the modern secular Turkish state; the odd makeup of contemporary society, in which the military enforces Ataterk's reforms. In stylized but substantive prose, he devotes chapters to the problems he sees plaguing Turkish society: Islamic fundamentalism, frictions regarding the large Kurdish minority and the lack of democratic freedoms. Kinzer's commonsense, if naeve, solution: the ruling military elite, which takes power when it feels Turkey is threatened, must follow the modernizing path of Ataterk whom Kinzer obviously admires a step further and increase human rights and press freedoms. Kinzer's journalistic eye serves him well as he goes beyond the political, vividly describing, for instance, the importance and allure of the narghile salon, where Turks smoke water pipes. Here, as elsewhere, Kinzer drops his journalist veneer and gets personal, explaining that he enjoys the salons in part "because the sensation of smoking a water pipe is so seductive and satisfying." Readers who want a one-volume guide to this fascinating country need look no further.

Essential Rumi

Author: Coleman Barks

Description: A collection of poetry by the 13th-century Sufi mystic. Coleman renders a well-chosen selection of Persian estatic poetry into contemporary English

Eyewitness Guide Turkey

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Gorgeously illustrated and filled with excellent maps, this compact book is a thorough overview of Turkey, its history, traditions, cultures and sights. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations.

Harem - The World Behind the Veil

Author: Alev Lytle Croutier

Description: The author left Turkey at age 18 for the US, returning 15 years later to visit her birthplace and family. Intrigued upon learning that her grandmother had lived in a harem, she interviewed aunts and other family members about their recollections. About that same time (mid 1970’s) the Harem of Topkapi Palace was opened to visitors. With thoughtful research and richly illustrated, Croutier pieces together a realistic description of daily life in the Sultan’s Harem. Her fascinating insights into customs, food and ceremony of the Palace through 450 hundred years, make this an enjoyable read. The addition of family photographs and an amusing chapter about Western misconceptions of the term “harem” sets this work apart from all other books of its kind.

Istanbul: The Imperial City

Author: John Freely

Description: Whether you call it Byzantium, Constantinople, or Istanbul, the “old Turkish hand” John Freely tells the story of each creation and decline up to today’s Istanbul under the Turkish Republic. Spirited and colorful, Freely gives his readers a lively account of the turmoil each incarnation brought. In addition to “page turning history”, Freely gives a complete listing of monuments & museums in the city - he has lived there for decades. This is the one to read on Istanbul if you have a short list of books and limited time to get into its history.

Istanbul: Memories and the City

Author: Orhan Pamuk

Description: Turkish novelist Pamuk (Snow) presents a breathtaking portrait of a city, an elegy for a dead civilization and a meditation on life's complicated intimacies. The author, born in 1952 into a rapidly fading bourgeois family in Istanbul, spins a masterful tale, moving from his fractured extended family, all living in a communal apartment building, out into the city and encompassing the entire Ottoman Empire. Pamuk sees the slow collapse of the once powerful empire hanging like a pall over the city and its citizens. Central to many Istanbul residents' character is the concept of hüzün (melancholy). Istanbul's hüzün, Pamuk writes, "is a way of looking at life that... is ultimately as life affirming as it is negating." His world apparently in permanent decline, Pamuk revels in the darkness and decay manifest around him. He minutely describes horrific accidents on the Bosphorus Strait and his own recurring fantasies of murder and mayhem. Throughout, Pamuk details the breakdown of his family: elders die, his parents fight and grow apart, and he must find his way in the world. This is a powerful, sometimes disturbing literary journey through the soul of a great city told by one of its great writers.

My Name Is Red

Author: Orhan Pamuk

Description: A dead man, a dog, a murderer, a coin, two lovers, and a tree take turns narrating this tale, which is Pamuk's follow-up to the well-reviewed but little read The New Life (1997). Set in sixteenth-century Istanbul, the novel is equal parts mystery, love story, and a philosophical discussion on the nature of art and artistic vision. Two men have been killed: Elegant, a miniaturist engaged (with others) on a book project glorifying the life of the sultan, and Enishte, the man who hired the artists to do the book. During a trip to Venice, Enishte became particularly entranced with the new Italian painting, particularly its use of perspective and figurative art. He urged his employees to adapt the new art form in their illustrations of the grand book they are producing. Black, Enishte's nephew, wants to win the hand of Enishte's daughter, Shekure, which he can only do by solving the murders. This intellectual mystery will appeal to fans of Eco, Pears, and Perez-Reverte.

Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in Modern Turkey

Author: Anastasia M. Ashman, Jennifer Eaton Gokmen

Description: As the Western world struggles to comprehend the paradoxes of modern Turkey, Tales from the Expat Harem reveals its most personal nuances. This illuminating anthology provides a window into the country from the perspective of thirty-two expatriates from seven different nations—artists, entrepreneurs, Peace Corps volunteers, archaeologists, missionaries, and others—who established lives in Turkey for work, love, or adventure. Through narrative essays covering the last four decades, these diverse women unveil the mystique of the “Orient,” describe religious conflict, embrace cultural discovery, and maneuver familial traditions, customs, and responsibilities. Poignant, humorous, and transcendent, the essays take readers to weddings and workplaces, down cobbled Byzantine streets, into boisterous bazaars along the Silk Road, and deep into the feminine stronghold of steamy Ottoman bathhouses. The outcome is a stunning collection of voices from women suspended between two homes as they redefine their identities and reshape their world views.

The Bastard of Istanbul

Author: Elif Shafak

Description: In her second novel written in English (The Saint of Incipient Insanities was the first), Turkish novelist Shafak tackles Turkish national identity and the Armenian "question" in her signature style. In a novel that overflows with a kitchen sink's worth of zany characters, women are front and center: Asya Kazanci, an angst-ridden 19-year-old Istanbulite is the bastard of the title; her beautiful, rebellious mother, Zeliha (who intended to have an abortion), has raised Asya among three generations of complicated and colorful female relations (including religious clairvoyant Auntie Banu and bar-brawl widow, Auntie Cevriye). The Kazanci men either die young or take a permanent hike like Mustafa, Zeliha's beloved brother who immigrated to America years ago. Mustafa's Armenian-American stepdaughter, Armanoush, who grew up on her family's stories of the 1915 genocide, shows up in Istanbul looking for her roots and for vindication from her new Turkish family. The Kazanci women lament Armanoush's family's suffering, but have no sense of Turkish responsibility for it; Asya's boho cohorts insist there was no genocide at all. As the debate escalates, Mustafa arrives in Istanbul, and a long-hidden secret connecting the histories of the two families is revealed. Shafak was charged with "public denigration of Turkishness" when the novel was published in Turkey earlier this year (the charges were later dropped). She incorporates a political taboo into an entertaining and insightful ensemble novel, one that posits the universality of family, culture and coincidence.

The Turks Today

Author: Andrew Mango

Description: Istanbul-born, British-based Mango (Atatürk) offers an insightful, sympathetic portrait of recent Turkish history. The first third of the book discusses the growth of the Turkish state after Atatürk's death in 1938, with a fitful spread of democracy, clashes with Greece and the departure of Istanbul's Greek community. Economic and social conflict from 1960 to 1980 was subsequently "contained" by a military-driven constitution and rapprochement with Europe. A battle over the logo of the mayoralty of Ankara, the capital, illustrates the recent negotiations between Islamists and secularists. Istanbul, whose "infrastructure does not match its size," is growing as a regional base. In impoverished, traditionalist eastern Turkey, "the Third World has not been banished," though Mango argues that integration with the state—if not assimilation—is the best hope for the Kurdish minority. Turkey today, Mango suggests, resembles the late modernizing countries of southern Europe in many ways. He sees potential for a fully democratic and secular state, but warns that it takes time to "implant Western institutions in non-Western soil." Though this volume lacks some of the bite and immediacy of a journalist's book like Stephen Kinzer's Crescent and Star, it emerges as a more thorough introduction to a less-known but increasingly vital country.

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