• Best of Black Sea & Eastern (11D)

    DAY 1 – ISTANBUL
    You will arrive Atatürk Airport than transfer to hotel.

    Pera Museum-Galata Tower-Istiklal Street-Taksim -Dolmabahçe Palace-Bosphorus Cruise-Tunnel to back to Hotel, at night go to Ocakbaşı ‘near the fire’ styleTurkish restaurant and trying Turkish Kebabs in Beyoğlu.

    DAY 2 – TRABZON 
    After breakfast we will meet you at your hotel and transfer to the Istanbul domestic airport and we will get on a 1 hour 30 minutes flight from Istanbul to Trabzon. Upon arrival, we will drive inland ‘Maçka’ on a scenic route and arrive in Sumela Moanstery, after Sumela Monastery we will return to Trabzon and visit Hagia Sophia Church(now mosque)Ataturk's Mansion then spend rest of the day exploring Trabzon. Overnight stay in Trabzon

    (Sumela Monastery sits high up on the cliffs of mouth Mela, southeast of Trabzon. It was founded in the 4 th century by 2 Greek monks, Barnabas and Sophronius, who were guided to the site by an icon of a “black” image of the Virgin, allegedly painted by St. Luke. After their deaths, sumela became a place of pilgrimage. It was decorated with frescoes, and its treasures included priceless manuscripts and silver plates. The monastery was built several times –the ruins seen by today’s visitors date largely 19 th century.)

    DAY 3 – AYDER YAYLASI 
    After breakfast you will depart from Trabzon and drive to Ayder, on the way we will pass Rize City, Magnicent scenic sites, Tea Plantation areas, waterfalls upon arrival you will check into your hotel, Overnight stay in Ayder.

    (Hidden Paradise of Turkey-Peaceful & Relax Place, High Plateu)

    DAY 4 – KARS 
    After breakfast we will depart from Ayder Yaylası and head to Kars to visit ANI Ruins. On the way the Ani, we can try the world-famous Caucasian Honey. Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, beside the border with Armenia. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey. A line of walls that encircled the entire city defended Ani. The most powerful defences were along the northern side of the city, the only part of the site not protected by rivers or ravines. We will check into our hotel, Overnight stay in Kars.

    DAY 5 – VAN 
    After breakfast we will depart from Kars to drive to Dogubeyazit, Doğubeyazit is Turkey's most eastern district, the border crossing to Iran. The town of Doğubeyazıt is a settlement with a long history. After lunch we will start the day exploring and visiting the Ishak Pasa Sarayi. The Ishak Pasha palace is an Ottoman-period palace whose construction was started in 1685 by Colak Abdi Pasha, the bey of Beyazit province. According to the inscription on its door, the Harem Section of the palace was completed by his grandson Ishak The Palace is more of a complex than a palace; it is the second administrative campus after the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul and the most famous of the palaces built in recent decades. The palace is built on a hill at the side of a mountain, It was the last large monumental structure in the Ottoman Empire from the "Lale Devri" period. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history. The İshak Pasha Palace is a rare example of the historical Turkish palaces. After our visit we will then drive two and half hours to Van, stopping again for various photo opportunities Mount Suphan and Ararat. One of the stops will be by a gorgeous waterfall, Muradiye.  Afterwards, we will check into Hotel, located on the lake front. Overnight stay in Van. 

    Day 6 – VAN 
    Today we will go on a full day tour exploring  Urartu Castle, Akdamar Church in Lake Van and Hosap Village. We will first visit the 3,000-year-old fortress built by Urartians, who inhabited the region between the 9th and 6thcentury B.C. and called their capital city, Tushba. This will be followed by a lecture/demonstration on World-famous Van kilims. Nice chance see World Famous Cats of Van as well! After a short ferry ride will take us to Akdamar Island. There is a wonderful 10th century Armenian Church here called the Church of the Holy Cross. The outside walls of the church are decorated with wall reliefs depicting various well-known tales from the Bible and the Old Testament.  This church, recently restored to its former glory, is a true gem. 

    Hosap Castle : is a large medieval castle in the village of Hosap According to a local tradition, the hands of the architect who built this formidable stronghold were cut off so that he could not build another. Akdamar Island is the second by size of four islands in Lake Van in the south of Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey, situated about 3 km from the shoreline. At the western end of the island a hard, grey, limestone cliff rises 80 m above the lake's level. The island declines to the east to a level site where a spring provides ample water. It is home to a tenth century Armenian church, known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross (915-921), and was the seat of an Armenian Catholics from 1116 to 1895. Overnight stay in Van.

    Day 7 – MİDYAT 
    After breakfast we will have long drive to reach Hasankeyf and Midyat. Overnightstay in Midyat.

    Hasankeyf, 
    is rich in history throughout the ages and aside from the sites below, thousands of caves exist in the cliffs that surround the city. Many of the caves are multi-storied and water-supplied. Churches and mosques were also carved into the cliffs and numerous ancient cemeteries exist throughout the area as well. The Old Tigris Bridge – Built in 1116 by Artukid Fahrettin Karaaslan, it replaced an older bridge. The bridge over the Tigris River is considered to be the largest from the Medieval Period. Support for the bridge was built with wood in case the bridge had to be removed in order to prevent an attack. Because of this, two piles and some foundation work are all that exist of the bridge today. 

    Midyat, the ancient city is the epicenter of a centuries-old Assyrian/Syriac enclave in Southeast-Turkey, widely familiar under its Syriac name Tur Abdin. A cognate of the name Midyat is first encountered in an inscription of the Neo-Assyrian king Ashur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.).[citation needed] In its long history, the city of Midyat has remained politically subjected by various rulers - from the Assyrian Empire to the modern Turks. Mor Barsaumo Syriac Orthodox Church. Although now a minority of less than 10% of the population, Christian churches under long term protection of Turks now dominate the skyline of MidyatAfter the so-called Gastarbeiter ('guest worker') era, though, commencing in the early 1960s, the city was soon to be nearly completely emptied from its native inhabitants who choose to leave for a better life offered in Western Countries. Soon other local Arabic and Kurdish inhabitants start building houses in the surrounding areas. The houses and churches belonging to Christians have been preserved although many of them are empty.

    Day 8 – ŞANLIURFA 
    Today we will drive to Mardin Old City, Mardin is a very unique and lovely city with many old Arabic style houses with mesopotima view.  It is a city that played an important role in the early development of Christianity. We will take time to visit, walk in its busy streets and bazaars and take superb photographs during stop here.  Just outside of town, we will visit the monks in the Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan, which was founded in 4th century A.D.  It was the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch for almost 800 years. This monastery is built on top of a 4,000-year-old temple originally used by sun worshippers. Then we will continue to Göbekli Tepe, a recently discovered site where excavations have just begun.  Built in 10,000 B.C., it may be the oldest temple in the World. Covered up in 8000 B.C., it was not used again.  It is another unique place we visit on our tours. There are exceptional photo opportunities in this area. Then 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. Overnight stay in Urfa.

    Day 9 – ADIYAMAN 
    From Urfa we will drive two hours to Adiyaman-Kahta.  On the way, we will stop to see Ataturk dam, the fourth largest dam in the world built on the Euphrates River.  We will drive through the Pistachio orchards and stop to pick them (depending on the season).  We will check into our tourist class Zeus hotel by mid-day.  Soon after, we will hire small mini-buses to drive up 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”.

    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 10 – GAZIANTEP 
    Early in the morning, we will drive to Gaziantap to visit a mosaic museum. Here, we will see the famous mosaic of a gypsy girl from the ancient city of Zeugma. In the afternoon, we should visit old bazaars, bedestens in the center of city for final shoppings.

    Day 11 – GAZIANTEP
    After breakfast, we will tranfer to Gaziantep Airport then fly to Istanbul Atatürk Airport to catch your International flight. End of the service at Atatürk Airport. Have a nice flight to your home.