|Explore Cappadocia, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Gobeklitepe, Nemrut, Mardin and Dara in 9 days|
Day 1 - (Cappadocia - Istanbul)
Fly to Cappadocia (Kayseri or Nevsehir Airport) at desired hour.
You will meet your driver at the airport and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight Design Cave Hotel (double rooms)
Day 2 - (Cappadocia - Breakfast and Lunch)
Optional Hot air balloon flight at sunrise. Please do not forget to ask for a wakeup call from reception. You will return to the hotel around 08:00am
Our professional guide and the driver will pick you up at your hotel at 10:00. The first stop is Esentepe, the impressive panoramic viewpoint overlooking Goreme. Here your guide will give you information on the history of Cappadocia and the unique rock formations. From here we visit the beginning of Rose Valley for an easy one-hour hike through fairy chimneys, orchards and vineyards. Our next stop is the Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Your guide will explain the meanings of the frescoes in the cave churches, decorated with scenes of the Old and New Testaments dating back to the 10th century. The site has been used as a monastery since the first years of Christianity. For lunch we will visit a lovely restaurant in Goreme. After lunch we make several photo stops along the way – including Urgup’s family fairy chimneys, Devrent’s animal-shaped rock formations and Monk’s Valley with the famous mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys as well as St. Simeon’s monk cell carved into the rock. Day one concludes in Avanos, a picturesque town on a river that supplies clay for the 4000 year-old Avanos tradition of pottery. A kick-wheel demonstration by a local potter and your chance at trying this ancient custom brings our day to an end. You will arrive back at your hotel around 5pm.Overnight Design Cave Hotel (double rooms)
Day 3 - (Cappadocia - Breakfast and Lunch)
Our professional guide and the driver will pick you up from your hotel at 9:30. Our first stop is the amazing Kaymakli Underground City. It is the first and most popular underground city in Cappadocia. This complex carved underground is used for hundreds of years by locals to hide from Romans, Persians and Arabs. After departing Kaymakli, we will drive further south to the magnificent verdant Ihlara Valley. We walk alongside the Melendiz River for about 1 hour which winds its way through the Ihlara gorge, stopping for lunch in a restaurant on the river in the village of Belisirma. After lunch, we continue to the Selime Monastery, the largest rock-cut monastery in Cappadocia with a large cave cathedral and breathtaking views over the area. On our way back to Goreme we stop at the spectacular vista point overlooking Pigeon Valley. Our final stop will be at a local onyx factory to see a demonstration on carving and shaping onyx. We will then drive back to your hotel arriving around 6pm.
Overnight Design Cave Hotel (double rooms)
Day 4 (Gaziantep - Breakfast)
After breakfast, departure from your hotel at 08:00. We will stop along the way for lunch. Arriving to Gaziantep around 14:00 and continuing on to visit the world famous Gaziantep Mosaic Museum. This museum exhibits superb mosaics discovered at the Roman site of Belkis-Zeugma before the Birecik Dam flooded most of the site. We will visit the old city castle which is located in the center of the city and copper bazaar. This bazaar is one of the most special and oldest bazaars in Turkey. You can find a variety of copper handcrafts. We will also have the chance to taste famous baklava; a sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey (Baklava is originally from Gaziantep). After visiting the city, drive to the hotel and check-in. Your guide will recommend/escort you (if you wish) to dinner to taste some of the world famous cuisine of Gaziantep!
Overnight Sirehan Hotel (double rooms)
Day 5 (Sanliurfa - Breakfast)
After breakfast, check-out from our hotel and today we will explore the ancient settlements that lived along the Euphrates river. The main three settlements that used to be along this beautiful river are the; twin settlements that made Zeugma, Halfeti the partially submerged town, and Rumkale the statically important river fortress. After lunch on the river, we continue to Sanliurfa which has been occupied since the Babylonians followed by the Hurrites, Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks. We will visit the Urfa Archaeological Museum. This museum exhibits a huge collection, founded from Harran and Gobeklitepe Area. We will also visit the holy sites at the Ainzelha, a lake with millions of domesticated fish. While in Urfa we will visit the cave where the prophet Abraham was born. Then, walk through the local covered bazaar of Sanliurfa. Walk through the town to discover the many hidden treasures.
Overnight Alahan Hotel (double rooms)
Day 6 (Sanliurfa and Mt. Nemrut - Breakfast)
After breakfast at the hotel we will visit nearby Harran and see the incredible beehive houses. Harran- according to the Bible- was the site where prophet Abraham spent a few years with his family before moving on to Israel, the Promised Land. There are exceptional photo opportunities in this area. In the afternoon drive to Kahta city. On the way, you will see Gobeklitepe, a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge some 15 km northeast of the town of Urfa. What makes Gobeklitepe unique in its class is the date it was built, which is roughly twelve thousand years ago, circa 10,000 BC. In the afternoon hike to the summit of mount Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites), watching the sunset, be amazed by the colossal heads and statues of ancient deities, as you step into mythology. This extraordinary landmark rests at an elevation of 8000 ft. The mountain top complex is composed of two flattened areas strewn with statues and separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antiochus built the entire complex approximately 2000 years ago as a monument to his divine ancestry. Also definitely take time to visit the old castle, Arsemeia, cross over the still functioning Cendere Bridge (Septimius Severus bridge) dating all the way back to the 3rd century and Tumulus Tomb of Karakus. After visiting Nemrut, drive to the hotel.
Overnight Hilton Garden Inn Adiyaman (double rooms)
Day 7 (Adiyaman and Mardin - Breakfast)
After breakfast, departure to Mardin. We will reach Mardin around 11:00 and visit this old, historical city. Mardin is very unique with lovely old-Arabic style houses. The houses are often decorated with intricate carvings. This is a very lively trading center with people coming from surrounding villages to buy and sell. We will have a fantastic view of the Plain of Mesopotamia. It is a city that played an important role in the early development of Christianity. We will visit Forty Martyrs Church (Kirklar Kilisesi). This church dates back to the 4th century, and was renamed in the 15th century to commemorate Cappadocian martyrs, now remembered in the fine carvings above the entrance. Then, we will visit Zinciriye Madrasah (Zinciriye Medresesi). This theological school was built by Melik Necmeddin Isa in 1385. Spend the afternoon walking in its busy streets and bazaars, and admire the stonework all around the town.
Overnight Gazi Konak Hotel (double rooms)
Day 8 (Mardin - Breakfast)
After breakfast we will visit the Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan just outside of town, founded in 762 A.D. It was the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch for almost 800 years. Continue onto the ancient city of Dara. This historical ancient city, known as the Ephesus of Mesopotamia, is an important settlement on the Silk Road. The remains of the ancient city of Dara are spread over a large area of 9 km and mostly carved into rocks. Around the village, visitors can see the cave houses carved into the rock. Additionally, a church, a palace, a bazaar and related storage facilities, a dungeon, a cannon foundry, and the aqueduct are still extant. Back to Mardin early afternoon for the last shopping and soaking in ancient Mesopotamia.
Overnight Gazi Konak Hotel (double rooms)
Day 9 (Flight back to Istanbul - Breakfast)
Transfer to Mardin Airport for flight to Istanbul
|Including: Licensed English speaking guide, Transportation with A/C vehicles, Accommodation with breakfast, Entrance fees, All taxes|
|Excluding: Meals, Tips, Personel expenses|