12828
Turkey
From Legends to History: Turkey's Legacy of Civilizations and Culture
The story of Turkey is a blend of cultures and people as beautifully complex as the mosaics left by the Byzantine. Join us and see for yourself what makes this country so unique.
Rating (5)
Program No. 12828RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
4,499
Flights start at
700
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17 days
16 nights
43 meals
15 B 14 L 14 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival, Registration & Welcome Meeting, Welcome Dinner
Ankara
D
Divan Cukurhan Hotel

Activity 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.

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.

DAY
3
Anatolian Civilizations Museum, Mausoleum of Ataturk
Ankara
B,L,D
Divan Cukurhan Hotel

Activity 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.

DAY
4
Hattusas, Anatolian Steppes to Cappadocia
Cappadocia
B,L,D
Kapadokya Lodge

Activity 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

DAY
5
Goreme Open Air Museum, Fantastic Formations of Cappadocia
Cappadocia
B,L,D
Kapadokya Lodge

Activity 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

DAY
6
Visit Love Valley & Village of Sinasos
Cappadocia
B,L,D
Kapadokya Lodge

Activity 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.

DAY
7
Silk Road From Cappadocia to Konya, Sultanhani Caravanserai
Konya
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Konya

Activity 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

DAY
8
The Magnificent Roman Theater of Aspendos, City of Perge
Antalya
B,L,D
Akra Barut Hotel

Activity 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

DAY
9
Lecture & Field Trip to Antalya Archeological Museum
Antalya
B,L,D
Akra Barut Hotel

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.

DAY
10
Hierapolis, Natural Calcium Pools, Travertines of Pamukkale
Pamukkale
B,L,D
Doga Thermal Hotel

Activity 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

DAY
11
Aphrodisias, City of Aphrodite
Kusadasi
B,L,D
Korumar Hotel

Activity 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

DAY
12
The Amazing City of Ephesus
Kusadasi
B,L,D
Korumar Hotel

Activity 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

DAY
13
Troy, the Fabled City of Homer
Canakkale
B,L,D
Tusan Hotel

Activity 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

DAY
14
Gallipoli National Park & the Anzac Cove
Istanbul
B,L,D
Armada Hotel Istanbul

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.

DAY
15
Topkapi Palace, The Harem, Underground Cisterns.
Istanbul
B,L
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Activity 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.

DAY
16
Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, Bosphorus Cruise
Istanbul
B,L,D
Armada Hotel Istanbul

Activity 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.

DAY
17
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

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.






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