Legendary City Walls, Ancient Monasteries and a World Record Breakfast.
Minimum number of participants 2 people, maximum 12 people.
1Day 1 - Kayseri - Adiyaman
- We depart Kayseri at the foot of Mount Erciyes and once Capital of the Seljuk Anatolian Sultanate and head out across Turkey’s hinterland, along the ancient Silk Road via Kayseri and stopping at the great Karatay Han before proceeding to Adiyaman.
2Day 2 - Nemrut - Urfa
Today we visit the magnificent funerary monument at the peak of Mt Nemrut which stands as a testament to an ancient king’s ambition. From Nemrut we continue to the massive Ataturk Dam straddling the mighty river Euphrates, and on to Şanlıurfa, the ancient city of prophets.
3Day 3 - Gobekli Tepe - Diyarbakir
From Şanlıurfa we proceed to the on-going archaeological dig at Göbekli Tepe. Although not widely known amongst the general public Göbekli Tepe is probably one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. We continue to Diyarbakir and another ancient settlement; at 5000 years old is one of the oldest cities in the world. An overwhelmingly Kurdish city Diyarbakir is famed for its ancient city walls; constructed by the Romans, the current walls, built of massive black basalt blocks is, after the great wall of China, the longest continuous defensive wall in the world.
4Day 4 - Mardin
From Diyarbakir we continue to Mardin, located on a high hill overlooking the plains of southern Turkey. After breakfast, we will visit Deir-Al-Zafaran (the Saffron Monastery), centre of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy and still an active monastery. The site of the Saffron monastery has been a sacred place for thousands of years.
5Day 5 - Mardin - Tatvan
After breakfast we will drive to Hasankeyf now submerged under the flood waters of a new dam on the Tigris. From here we will continue to Batman and then up the Bitlis River Gorge to Tatvan on the western shore of Lake Van.
6Day 6 - Van
After breakfast drive to Van via Akdamar Island where we visit the beautifully restored 10th Century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross, or Sourp Khach, before continuing to the eastern city of Van. In the afternoon we will visit Van’s museum of Urartu and the 9th Century Urartian fortress in Van.
7Day 7 - Van - Hosap
From Van we will continue south along a branch of the Silk Road (Ipek Yol) to visit Hosap Castle. The main castle structure of Hosap, built straddling the Silk Road it served as both a means of protecting the road and as a point of charging tolls on travellers. From Hosap we return to Van where we will visit a carpet and rug collective where young girls are taught these ancient skills.
8Day 8 - Doğubayazıt - Ararat - Kars
We leave Van for Doğubayazıt via Muradiye and the pretty Bendimaahi Falls. In Doğubayazıt , we visit the spectacular Ishak Pasha Palace before continuing our journey north skirting around the western edge of Mt Ararat. Mt. Ararat is one of the great natural spectacles of the world, known in Turkish as ‘the Mountain of Pain’ and in Kurdish as the ‘Mountain of Fire’. Armenians know it at as Masis. The name Ararat derives from the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) and is a transliteration of ‘Urartu’ the name foreigners gave to this region and its inhabitants in Biblical times. We will spend the night in Kars.
9Day 9 - Ani - Ezerum
Using Kars as our starting point we will continue to Ani to spend the morning at the former capital of the great medieval Armenian Kingdom. The remains of the ruined city include several churches as well as the shell of the Cathedral of Ani, the citadel and a mosque along with an extensive and well preserved defensive wall.
We now follow the Aras river west through the First World War battlefield site of Sarikamis along the gorge of the river Aras via magical scenery of fields of gorse and fern, pristine river beds and deep ravines by the beautiful six-arched Cobandede bridge and into Erzurum.
10Day 10 - Erzerum - Sumela - Trabzon
From Erzurum to Trabzon. We drive north through the Pontic Alps, in the steps of Xenophon’s Ten Thousand with spectacular views, along the Karasu, the northernmost branch of the Euphrates, to Askale, with its ruined Byzantine fortress. We continue over the 2390m Kopdagi Pass, the Black Sea watershed, into the Coruh valley, passing the huge fortress of Bayburt. We continue down to the spectacular cliff hanging monastery of Sumela; dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this has been a monastic site since the 4th century AD. Perched high in a gorge of the Altindere Vadisi National Park, the present buildings date from 12th century on.
11Day 11 - Depart
|Tour Price||$2900 per person|
Black Sea Region, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia
|Fitness Level||Moderate - Able to walk 2 kms over possibly broken ground with incline.|
|What is included?||
Half board 4/5 star hotel *as available All road transport (tolls etc) English speaking guide All state and local taxes All museum and site entries
|What is not included||
All meals (Unless otherwise stated) Personal expenses Beverages Insurance (unless otherwise stated)
|Terms & Conditions||
Please note that there is a 20% surcharge for single room occupancy.