This 14 day tour, starts and ends in Istanbul, Turkey. Discover the wonders of Turkey on this tour which starts in cosmopolitan Istanbul and visits the Gallipoli Battlefields, Troy, Pergamum and Ephesus before heading inland to see the natural wonders of Pamukkale and Cappadocia with its lunar-like landscape and then eastward to Van and see Mt Ararat, Ani and Kars.
Welcome to Istanbul! You will be transferred to your hotel and the remainder of the day is yours, free to explore.
Today, you enjoy a fully guided tour of the only city to span two continents, visiting the Blue Mosque, St Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace (including Hagia Irene) and the Hippodrome.
Cruise between two continents on the stretch of water that separates Europe from Asia in the afternoon with an optional 'Half day Bosphorus cruise'.
One of the most emotionally touching places in Turkey, today we visit the WWI Battlefields of Gallipoli including Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair Memorials, ANZAC Cove, The Nek, Johnston's Jolly, original trenches and tunnels.
This morning, step back in time as we visit Troy, home of the famed Trojan Horse. We continue on to Bergama and catch the new cable car up to the magnificent acropolis of Pergamon. Its impressive temples and library made Pergamon a renowned cultural and political centre in its time.
Absorb yourself in history today with a guided tour of Ephesus and a visit to the site of the Temple of Artemis. Feel the mystical atmosphere of the ancient city and theatre before continuing to the former Greek village of Sirince, famous for its fruit wines. Carpet weaving has long traditions in Turkey and at the carpet village we learn how the carpets are made by hand and what determines their value.
This morning we will enjoy a display of locally handcrafted leather goods before heading to the magnificent white calcium terraces, known as Travertines, in Pamukkale where we also tour the ancient city of Hierapolis. Take a dip, amongst ancient columns, in the hot springs that were used in Roman times for their therapeutic powers.
Today we travel the ancient Silk Road visiting Sultanhani Caravansary and the Mevlana museum in Konya along the way. Tonight, don't miss the optional traditional Turkish folklore evening!
Marvel at the lunar landscape of Cappadocia today as we visit the Goreme Valley Open Air Museum and the fairy chimneys, and explore the many levels of an underground city.
Departure in the morning from Cappadocia, we head to Ankara for our direct flight to Van. On arrival to Van Airport, you will meet with your tour guide. Before we go to our hotel, we will explore the Citadel with its three thousand Urartian fortress of Van and witness the extraordinary sunset.
After breakfast, we will travel by ferry stopping at Akdamar Island to see a spectacular 10th century church built by an Armenian king, if there is time swim in Lake Van.
Then, we will drive back to city centre to visit the largest Urartu Museum in the World. Artifacts from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Urartian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Seljuk, Turkish-Islamic, and Ottoman Periods are exhibited in chronological order taking our visitors on a unique historical journey.
After the museum visit Van Cat House. Van cats are relatively large, have a chalky white coat, sometimes with ruddy coloration on the head and hindquarters, and have blue, amber eyes or one eye of each colour. This variety has been referred to as "the swimming cat", and has been observed to swim in Lake Van.
Today we leave for Dogubayazit via Muradiye and the Bendimaahi Falls. In Dogubayazit, we visit the spectacular Ishak Pasha Palace, 1685 - 1784, which has a unique fusion of architecture from Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian, and Armenian - Persian styles.
We continue our journey north, skirting around the western edge of Mt Ararat. Mt. Ararat is one of the great natural spectacles of the world,. 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.
This morning we journey to the site of Ani, the former capital of the Armenian kingdom. In the mid 10th century, nothing in Europe could rival this capital of the Armenian kingdom in terms of either size or magnificence. The remains of the ruined city include several churches as well as the shell of the Cathedral of Ani, the citadel and a mosque. There are also some exciting remains of frescoes in the Church of St Gregory (Tigran Honentz) despite having been exposed to the elements for centuries.
Afternoon, we will visit 12 Aposotles Church and Kars Castle.
Transfer to Kars Airport for your onward flight back to Istanbul. On arrival to Istanbul Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast our tour concludes and we say goodbye to our new friends and are transferred to the airport for your onward flight.