Day 1: Trabzon
We arrive on the early flight to Trabzon, meet our guide, and drive to the Sumela Monastery. As we park our vehicle on the skirts of the hill upon which the monastery is built, we first have lunch at a restaurant and then take a 30 minutes hike up to the monastery, following a narrow hike path covered with pine trees. After our visit, we hike back and drive to Trabzon, spending the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner, and overnight in Trabzon.
Day 2: Trabzon Rize
We check out, and visit St. Sophia Church before driving to the Ataturk Museum. As we are done with our visits in Trabzon, we drive to Rize, following a spectacular road with tea gardens on our right and the Black Sea on our left. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit a tea factory around Rize and drive back to Trabzon. Dinner, and overnight in Trabzon.
Day 3: Erzurum
On our way to Erzurum, we leave the Black Sea
Coast, and start driving inland. We have lunch
on arrival in Erzurum. This is Turkey's highest
elevated city, built at 1853 m (6200 ft). More
important are the finest examples of Selcuk
architecture that can be seen here. After
visiting Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, Rustem Pasha
Bedesten, Ulu Mosque and the Cifte Minareli
Medrese, we check-in our hotel where we will
spend the night. Dinner, and overnight in
Day 4: Ani - Kars - Sarikamis
After breakfast, today we drive to
Ani, via Kars. Ani dates back as
far as the 5th century AD; and
from 806 it served as the
capital of Armenia. After our
visits here we drive to
Sarikamis, once a favourite
retreat of the Tsars of Russia,
where we spend the night.
Dinner, and overnight in
Day 5: Van - Dogubeyazit - Muradiye
Today we head on further south to Van via Dogubeyazit, where we visit the legendary Ishakpasha Palace built towards the end of the 18th century by a powerful local family who were the de facto rulers of the area. We then drive further, past Mt. Ararat which, according to ancient tradition, is the mountain on which Noah's Ark rested. Ararat consists of 2 peaks: Buyuk Agri (5165 m) and Kucuk Agri (3925 m). We visit the Muradiye waterfalls en route. Dinner, and overnight in Van.
Day 6: Hosap Cavustepe Van
After a leisurely breakfast, today we visit the Fortress of Van and the museum. After lunch at a local restaurant, we head on to Hosap Castle and then to Cavustepe. Dinner, and overnight in Van.
Day 7: Akdamar - Diyarbakir
Departing early, we first visit Akdamar Church before driving further west to Diyarbakir via the 12th century Malabadi Bridge. Dinner, and overnight in Diyarbakir.
Day 8: Mardin - Urfa
We leave Diyarbakir, and drive South to Mardin, via the Tigris Bridge. On the outskirts of Mardin, we visit the still practicing Monastery of Mar Gabriel. As we drive back, we stop for lunch at Mardin, then drive further to Urfa where we will spend the night. Dinner, and overnight in Urfa.
Day 9: Harran - Urfa
Genesis refers to Harran as
Terha, the place to where
Abraham took his wife and son,
Lot. It is difficult to believe
that this small settlement on
the edge of the desert was once
a major economic, religious, and
cultural centre. Harran means 'crossroads'
and has been occupied since at
least 2000 BC. Finishing our
visit to Harran, we drive back
to Urfa to see the pool and the
birthplace of Abraham. Dinner,
and overnight in Urfa.
Day 10: Urfa - Katha - Adiyaman
After breakfast, we leave Urfa and drive to Kahta along a spectacular road, having lunch at Adiyaman. We stop for a refreshment on the skirts of Mt. Nemrut before our 500 meter hike to the sanctuary. This is the magnificent funerary monument of the Commagene Antiochus I Theos. We arrive to our hotel in the evening. Dinner, and overnight in Adiyaman.
Day 11: Cappadocia
We take a long but pleasant drive today, to Cappadocia; the land of the fairies. Dinner, and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 12: Cappadocia
Today we introduce you to the lunar
landscape of Cappadocia at
Dervent Valley, then we head on
to Zelve Open Air Museum, which
is one of the earliest inhabited
and latest abandoned monastic
settlements of Cappadocia.
Seeing the best examples of the
fairy chimneys at Pasabag Fairy
Chimneys Valley, we drive
further to Avanos, where we have
lunch at a local restaurant.
Goreme Open Air Museum is where
we visit the rock carved
churches and colorful frescoes.
We end the day hiking up to the
top of Uchisar Castle, which is
the highest and the most
dominant point, giving us a
breathtaking panorama. Dinner,
and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 13: Cappadocia
Today we drive a little further to the outskirts of Cappadocia, first to descend to the centre of the earth at Kaymakli Underground City. As we drive further southwest, we pass by Mt. Hasan, to start our hike along Ihlara Valley. After a while we arrive at Belisirma village where we can have our lunch in a local restaurant, mid-way along the valley by the stream. Then we visit the Selime and drive back to our hotel, giving an en route visit to Agzikarahan Caravanserai, where the medieval merchants used to stay overnight. Dinner, and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 14 Ankara
Leaving the land of fairies, we drive around the shores of Salt Lake to the capitol of Turkey: Ankara. First we drive to the old district of the city to visit the Anatolian Civilisations Museum. Lunch will be served at the heart of the modern city before visiting Ataturk's Mausoleum where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, is buried. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, strolling down the streets of Ankara. Our farewell dinner will be at an old mansion in the Ankara citadel. Overnight in Ankara.
Day 15 : Ankara
After breakfast, transfer to Ankara Esenboga Airport, and fly back home.