In the last post- we mentioned a few of the top sites in Turkey.  Today we want to simply show you a great way to plan 10 days in Turkey.  For full details  CLICK HERE 

Detailed Itinerary 10 Day Classical Trip

DAY 1:     Arrival in Istanbul

The magnificent city of Istanbul (Byzantium, and later Constantinople) is the world’s third largest city and is Turkey’s cultural and financial center.  It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn.  The panoramic view from the terrace of the Golden Horn Hotel is stunning.  Located directly across from the Blue Mosque and 300 meters from Hagia Sophia, this prestigious hotel sits atop the highest of the seven hills of Istanbul in the heart of the Old City.

DAY 2:     Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, depart for a full day tour of the Old City.  This tour highlights these major historical sites of the Old City: the ancient Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar.

Hippodrome:  An enormous public entertainment arena, it once seated as many as 100,000 zealous fans who came to watch chariot races, executions, and mock battles.  Formerly the center of Byzantine civic life, it is still marked by the Egyptian Obelisk, the Bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.



Blue Mosque:  With its massive central dome flanked by six slender minarets, the Blue Mosque stands as the single most recognizable monument in the Istanbul skyline.  Built between 1609 and 1616, the enormous complex also included a hospital, caravansary, public kitchen, marketplace, schools and the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet I.  The mosque’s immense interior, flooded with sunlight streaming through 260 windows, is decorated with more than 20,000 precious Iznik tiles detailing traditional flowers of Ottoman design.  In fact, it is the deep blue glow of the tiles in the sunlight that gives the building its name.

Hagia Sophia: This famous basilica was constructed in the 6th century A.D.. It is often described as the greatest work of Byzantine architecture.  Once the Church of Holy Wisdom, Christendom’s crowning glory, it glittered with mosaics and artistic treasures.  Today, the Hagia Sophia is the fourth largest building constructed as a church in the world. It was dedicated to Hagia Sophia which means Divine Wisdom – an attribute of Christ.

After a lunch break at the restaurant of your choice, our tour continues to the Basilica Cistern & the Grand Bazaar.

Basilica Cistern:  Istanbul, besieged countless times, has always needed permanent water supplies.  As a result, many underground cisterns were built during the Byzantine Empire.  Water was brought to these big reservoirs from distant sources via aqueducts.  We will visit the largest and most ornate of these cisterns.

Grand Bazaar:  The area of the Grand Bazaar was a trade center during the Byzantine period.  Two domes were built by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror to enrich the economic life of the city.  Today, the atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar is mysterious and intriguing.  It has become a very popular place, where visitors explore a labyrinth of streets and passages housing eighteen entrances and more than 4,000 shops.

Topkapi Palace:  The home for 400 years of ruling Sultan’s in Istanbul, this is a not to be missed site.

 

DAY 3:     Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide and depart for a full day tour, featuring the Topkapi Palace complex, the Spice Market, and a Bosphorus cruise that passes through the original city quarters located on both the Asian and European shores of the Bosporus Strait.

Topkapi Palace:  The second palace built in Istanbul after its conquest by the Turks, it served as the center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. This palace’s maze of oppulent buildings is where the sultans, their courts, and their harems lived and governed.

Spice Market:  This covered market, built as part of the Yeni Cami (New Mosque) complex, is filled with the fragrant scent of spices from the Orient.

After a lunch break at the restaurant of your choice, we will continue on to our cruise of the Bosphorous Strait.

Bosphorous Strait:  This narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea.  It is about 20 miles long and up to one and a half miles wide.  Our cruise will take us past the late Ottoman Palaces – Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi, as well as beautiful, wooden mansions and modern villas built in this elegant section of the city during the 19th & 20th centuries.

DAY 4:     Cappadocia

After breakfast transfer  to the airport for a flight to Cappadocia.  Stay three nights at a small boutique hotel, which includes cave houses, made up of cave rooms, dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries.  The exceptional cave houses have been renovated and decorated with care and in their own distinct style, strictly respecting the local character. The decor is elegant and personalized with beautiful, hand-crafted furnishings and antiques.

DAY 5:    Cappadocia

Hot Air Ballon Flight (): Rise before dawn for an unforgettable hot air ballon flight over the sprawling valleys of Cappadocia.

After breakfast, begin your Cappadocia adventure.  After a short stop in Devrent Valley and a chance to see some bizarre landscapes, we’ll move on to the Fairy Chimneys – amazing mushroom shaped rock formations.  We will continue tothe Zelve Open-air Museum, where we will enjoy rock cut houses and churches.  After lunch, head to Avanos to see how pottery has been made since the time of the Hittites.  After a visit to Uchisar, we’ll view the brilliantly colorful frescoes of the Goreme Open-air Museum and then return to the hotel for an early bedtime.

 

DAY 6:    Cappadocia

Leave after breakfast on our way to the old Greek village of Mustafapasa.  Here, we will visit the church and the monastery, as well as an Ottoman period Medrese, still used as a school.  Later, we’ll drive to Soganli Valley – a quiet, serene place with wonderful, rock cut churches – before heading to the surprising underground city of Kaymakli.

 

 DAY 7:    Izmir- Ephesus

Transfer to the airport for our one hour flight to Izmir. And then drive to your hotel near Ephesus.

 

DAY 8:      Ephesus

Arrive mid-morning to the magnificent city of ancient Ephesus. We will enjoy a leisurely exploration of the city, including the Terraced Houses, followed by trip to the Ephesus Archeology Museum.  We also visit St. John’s Basilica, reputed burial site of the Apostle John, and see the ruin of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.  We will end the day with a visit to the mountain village of Sirince for relaxed exploring, shopping, and dinner.

DAY 9:     Pamukkale

Drive eastward to enjoy the splendor of Pamukkale and Hierapolis.

Hierapolis:  The ancient city of Hierapolis sits atop the white cliffs of Pamukkale.  The “Sacred City” was thought to have been founded by the god Apollo, and it was believed that its ancient, hot spring fed baths had the ability to heal injuries and remove ailments.  It is also the site of the largest Necropolis (city of the dead) in existence.  Above the ruins of the city sits its amphitheater and the St. Philip Martyrium.

Pamukkale:  An unusual natural and historical site with its sparkling, white, castle-like cascades, it is unique in the world. The site’s name means “cotton castle”, a name which accurately describes its calcareous formations, which were formed by limestone-laden thermal springs.

DAY 10:     Departure

 

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