14 days - Archeological bus trip
Our expedition starts in Istanbul, and then directs to the tracks of the ancient civilizations. Before that we will visit the fascinating Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, what will prepare us to the further attractions. Our program includes many important archaeological sites: Hattusas, Aşıklı Village, Gobekli Tepe. Of course we will not miss the fairytale land of Cappadocia. We will see also the eastern part of Turkey with its differend landscape and culture. We will enjoy the views to the largest lake in Turkey - Van, as well as a visit to the Palace of Ishak Pasha. The final will take place at the foot of Mount Ararat, where Noah's Ark arrived.
- Day 1:
Arrival to Istanbul. Dinner, welcome gathering, and overnight in Istanbul.
- Day 2:
Seeing sites in Istanbul in the Sultanamet district, including the mosque of Sultan Ahmet III, known as the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, and the Hippodrome of Constantinople (203 AD). Lunch in this part of the city. Dinner and overnight in Ankara.
- Day 3:
Early breakfast, then drive to Ankara, lunch on the way. Arrival in Ankara to visit Anatolian Civilization Museum. Dinner and overnight in Ankara.
- Day 4:
Early breakfast, drive to Yozgat. Visit Hattusas, UNESCO world heritage archaeological site, capital of the Hittite Empire founded in 2000 BCE. After lunch drive to Cappadocia. Dinner and overnight.
- Day 5:
All day sightseeing in Cappadocia: Goreme Open Air Museum of Christian churches carved into volcanic rock. Lunch. Drive to underground city of Derinkayu, visit ancient site of Asikli Huyuk. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
- Day 6:
Second day in Cappadocia to visit Avanos, the region's pottery capital, Uchisar Castle, shopping (carpets, precious and semi-precious stones). Stops for beautiful panoramas: Pasabagleri, Love Valley, and Derbent Valley. We will visit the underground city of Derinkuyu. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.Optional: Cappadocian night event.
- Day 7:
Early breakfast, then drive to Kahta. Lunch on the way. Sunset on Mount Nemrut where in 62 BC King Antiochus I Theos of Commagne built his tomb on the mountain top, and adorned it with huge carved heads (remains of statues). Dinner and overnight in Kahta.
- Day 8:
Drive to Sanliurfa, ancient Edessa, an important pilgrimage destination for Muslims. The birthplace of the prophet Abraham according to the Koran. Visit the legendary Pool of Sacred Fish (Balkihgod) where Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod. Lunch. Drive to spend the afternoon at the world's oldest known temple site, Gobekli Tepe, archaeologically dated to 10th millennium BC. Dinner and overnight in SanliUrfa. Optional: 'Sira Nights" with traditional music, food and drinks.
- Day 9:
Breakfast, then drive to Harran, site of the Temple of Sin (the temple brought by Abraham from Ur , famous also for its beehive structures and notable throughout the ancient world for its star readers and savants. Lunch on drive to Mardin, city on a steep hill with great views of the region. Dinner and overnight in Mardin.
- Day 10:
Early breakfast, then drive north to Bitlis, with stops on the way for visits to Midyat where the first inscriptions of the NeoAssyrian Ashurnasirpal (883-859 B.C) were found, and Hasankeyf where we can see he Tigris. Lunch on way. Bitlis is the old capital of the Kurdish principality. Dinner and overnight in Bitlis.
- Day 11:
After breakfast, drive to Van, the capital of the 9th century BC Urartian kingdom called "Pearl of the East." Visit the ancient Van Castle, boat tour on Lake Van, Turkey's largest and deepest lake, to Akdamer Island. Dinner and overnight in Van.
- Day 12:
After breakfast, drive to Dogubeyazit. Stop at foot of Mount Ararat, called the Sacred Mountain because the Bible states "And the ark rested on the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4). Ararat's twin volcanic peaks are the highest mountains in the Armenia highland region (16,946 ft.). We will drive through the Gardens of Paradise, in the valley of the Arakus River. Visit Ishak Pasa Palace, an impressive ruins of the Kurdish palace. Dinner and overnight in Van.