CFT OLDEST CITIES IN THE WORLD TOUR
14 Nights / 16 Day / Led by our experienced, English speaking Turkish guide
LAND & AIR (from JFK):$3,680 per person
(includes one domestic flight)
Day 1 - DEPART USA
Your international Turkish Airlines non-stop direct flight will depart
from the United States, arriving in Istanbul the next day.
Day 2 – ISTANBUL / CAPPADOCIA (Fly)
TOUR BEGINS IN CAPPADOCIA
After arriving in Istanbul, you will then take a connecting flight to Kayseri where a driver will pick you up and drive you to the spectacular Cappadocia Cave Suites, the newest and most “luxurious cave living” in Cappadocia. In 2005, Abercrombie and Kent rated the Cave Suites one of the most boutique hotels in the world. Located in Göreme, a World Heritage site, this hotel’s thirty six spacious units almost all have windows with views to the outside and most feature a Jacuzzi. Some units have beautiful 200-year-old wooden ceilings and one unit is decorated in original 8th century painted frescoes showing the Maltese cross. The views are spectacular with the Fairy Chimneys in sight (www.cappadociacavesuites.com). Breakfast and dinner will be at the Cave Suites restaurant.
Day 3, 4 - CAPPADOCIA (One of the Natural Wonders of the World)
While in Cappadocia, we will enjoy the unique landscape of wind and rain eroded volcanic rock formations. We will tour the amazing underground churches and cities carved into the rocks by early Christians. We will visit handicraft shops and a caravanserai (an ancient caravan motel). Going off the tourist track, we will have wonderful strolls where we visit small villages and discover the unknown Cappadocia. In Cappadocia there will be an excellent lecture and demonstration on Turkish carpets and kilims as well as a lecture/demonstration on pottery. A doll maker from Soganli will also demonstrate how their World-famous Cappadocia dolls are made.
OPTIONAL: Hot air balloon rides over Cappadocia at reduced rates. A balloon ride in Cappadocia (for people of all ages) is safe and nothing less than spectacular.
Attend a Whirling Dervish ceremony at a 12th century caravanserai. There will also be an opportunity to take cooking lessons from the Cave Suites chef. A Cappadocia Cave Suites Turkish cookbook will also be available for sale. All proceeds from the Whirling Dervish ceremony, the cooking lessons and the cookbook’s sales will go toward scholarships for underprivileged girls from Yassical and Cappadocia to attend high school.
Day 5 – MT. NEMRUT
In the morning, we will drive to Mt. Nemrut. Resting at an elevation of 7700 ft., this extraordinary mountaintop features a funerary-temple complex composed of two flattened areas strewn with huge statues and fallen heads of Greco-Roman Gods. Each head measures six to nine feet high, belonging to the likes of Zeus, Hercules, Fortuna, Apollo and the King Antiouchus, who considered himself a God. There is also a mound of broken gravel that makes a perfect false peak of crushed rock. Antiouchus built the entire complex 2,050 years ago as a monument to his "divine ancestry". Our stay will be at the best available Grand Isias Hotel.
Please Note: The hike to Mt. Nemrut consists of 20 to 40 minutes of a 30% uphill hike, mostly with stairs. There is no time limit and most can do the hike. There are also donkeys or mules available for hire.
Day 6 – URFA (Göbekli Tepe)
Today, we will drive to Urfa, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. We will visit nearby Harran and see the incredible beehive houses. Harran, according to the Bible, was the site where the prophet Abraham lived with his family for several years before moving to Israel, the Promised Land. We will also visit the holy sites at Ainzelha, a lake with domesticated fish. There are exceptional photo opportunities in this area. We will also visit Göbekli Tepe, a recently discovered site where excavations have just begun. Built in 10,000 B.C., it is the oldest known temple in the World. This temple was mysteriously buried by the people who built it in 8,000 B.C. and it was not used again. This is another unique place we visit on our tours. Our stay will be at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel (Sanliurfa). Dinner will be at the hotel.
Day 7 – ADANA
On the way to Adana, we will stop in Gaziantep to visit the mosaic museum and see the famous mosaic of a gypsy girl from the ancient city of Zeugma. This is the one of the two best mosaic museums in the World, displaying 2,000 year old Roman mosaics. We will then walk around the many craft studios in the town before continuing to Adana. In Adana, we will stay at a 4 to 5 star hotel. Dinner will be at the hotel.
Day 8 – KONYA
On the way to Konya, we will drive to Çatalhöyük, which is the best preserved and largest Neolithic site found to date and is considered by archaeologists as the oldest-communal living-city in the World. It goes back to 7,500 B.C.. Layer by layer, archaeologists have excavated this tumulus/mound and put a cover over their excavations. Very few people visit this site. We will then continue to Konya to visit the Whirling Dervish Museum, a very holy place for Turkish Muslims. There are exhibits of Dervish costumes, instruments, illuminated manuscripts and various ethnographic artifacts. Our stay will be at a 5-star Hilton Garden Inn hotel. Dinner will be at the hotel.
Day 9 - PAMUKKALE (One of the Natural Wonders of the World) – Hierapolis
If there is not enough time to visit the Whirling Dervish museum on Day 8, we will visit this museum in the morning. On this day, we will drive to Pamukkale. In Pamukkale, we will visit the snow-like travertine of calcium for which Pamukkale is famous. Pamukkale is one of the natural wonders of the world with strikingly beautiful mineral springs clinging to the hillsides that will amaze you. We will stay at the 5-star Colossae Hotel, with a thermal mineral pool for your enjoyment. Dinner will be at the hotel.
Day 10, 11 - KUSADASI (Aphrodisias/Ephesus)
In the morning, we will visit the Greco-Roman city "Hierapolis". It has an incredible necropolis (city of the dead) and we will see many sarcophagi (burial monuments) there. Afterwards, we will drive to Kusadasi. On the way, we will drive to Aphrodisias, the city of art dedicated to the Goddess Aphrodite. Octavian once said that “of all the cities in the world, Aphrodisias is my favorite.” The marble theatre is beautiful and the stadium that seats over 35,000 is immense. It is also the largest in the world and the best preserved. The city was a center to cultivate the finest sculptors, whose works were found all over the Roman Empire. We will then drive to Kusadasi where we will stay at the 5-star LaVista Hotel. All the rooms assigned to us will have superb views of the Aegean Sea and the Greek Samos Island on the horizon.
The next day, we will visit the incredible city of Ephesus and its colossal Greco-Roman Theater where St. Paul preached. This particular theater is still used for performances today. The Marble Road, the Celsus Library, and the Temple of Diana are just a few of the sites we will visit. We will also visit the house where St. Mary lived her final days (After the crucifixion of Jesus, St. John brought her to Ephesus). We will then return to the LaVista Hotel where there will be free time to swim in the Aegean Sea and enjoy the hotel’s many amenities.
Day 12 - CANAKKALE (Troy)
We will have a scenic five-hour drive up the Aegean Coast. On the way, we will stop in Pergamon to see the Asklepion, an ancient hospital complex. We will then drive to Çanakkale where we will visit the legendary city of Troy and have the opportunity to see a replica of the Trojan Horse. To date, nine different Troys have been discovered with each one built on top of the other. We will have a chance to see this site still in the process of excavation. While in Çanakkale we will stay at the best available Tusan hotel, which overlooks the Dardanelles and Gallipoli across the Straits.
Day 13, 14, 15 – ISTANBUL (Gallipoli)
A drive and a 35-minute ferry ride will take us to Istanbul. On the way we will stop to visit Gallipoli and the WWI battle sites, cemeteries and memorials. Afterwards, we will check into our hotel, the 5-star hotel Barcelo Eresin Topkapi, situated in the old city. In the afternoon we will visit the Military Museum to enjoy a concert performed in traditional costumes by the world’s first established military marching ensemble before having dinner at a local Turkish restaurant.
Istanbul, once called Byzantium in the 7th century B.C., was renamed Constantinople in 326 A.D. by Constantine the Great when he moved the capital of the Roman Empire to what is now Istanbul. Istanbul received its current name from Mehmet II in 1453 and is the only city in the world that spans two continents. Here, we will visit several of Turkey's most famous museums and mosques. Topkapi Palace was first built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and was the home of the Sultan until the 19th century. St. Sophia was built by the Roman Emperor Justinian and was completed in 537 A.D. It was the largest Christian church in the world for more than 1000 years. The Blue Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet in 1603 and was constructed with the deliberate intention of rivaling the St. Sophia. We will also visit the spice market, the Rüstem pasha mosque with its exceptional tiles and the impressive mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent. On one evening, we will have a dinner with lots of live music and entertainment by a gypsy orchestra.
On the final day in Istanbul, we will take a morning city ferry cruise of the Bosphorus. The afternoon will then be free and will give you a chance to go out on your own to explore the city. We would recommend visiting the Grand Bazaar on this day. Dinner this evening will be on your own.
Please Note: The order of events may vary with each tour depending on the availability of various museums on certain days of the week.
Day 16 -DEPART FOR USA
We will depart the hotel shortly after breakfast for your return flight home to the United States the same day.
**Flight schedules and itinerary are subject to change**