TOUR 4: EASTERN TURKEY - 15 DAYS:
DAY 2: ISTANBUL: Tour of the city including the Byzantine Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Haghia Sophia, Topkapi Palace with Harem and Treasury sections and the Underground Cistern.
DAY 3: TRABZON: Transfer to the airport and fly to Trabzon which is the major town along the Black sea. Drive to Macka and here we will visit the Monastery of Holly Mary known as Sumela Monastery located at 1200 meters above the sea level. The monastery was built up in the Karadaglar Mountains in the 14th century. Drive back to Trabzon to visit the church of Haghia Sophia, a 13th century Byzantine church with beautiful frescos.
DAY 5 KARS: Kars is a very interesting city with its russian houses, beautiful castle and armenian churches. In the morning, visit the ruins of the old armenian city of Ani, where we will see the impressive ruins of a number of armenian churches. In the afetrnoon, time to stroll around the old streets of Kars.
DAY 6: VAN: Drive to Van with a stop in Dogubeyazit where we will see the famous Mount Ararat where its believed that Noah’s Ark rested. We will also visit the impressive 18th century Ishak Pasa Palace. On the way to Van, we will stop at the Muradiye Waterfalls and also we will make a short stop at the Van University where we will see the famous Van cats with one eye blue, the other green. The cats are under protection in the farm of the university.
DAY 8: MARDIN: Drive to Mardin, with a stop at Hasankeyf with old cave dwellings and an impressive castle near the River Tigris. Unfortunately this beautiful site will remain under the reservoir of a dam under construction on the River Tigris.
DAY 9: MARDIN: The old part of Mardin is like an open air museum and it offers a lot of interesting scenes with its narrow streets and old stone houses, where christians and muslims have been living together harmoniously for ages. In the morning, we will visit the 4th century Syrian Orthodox Christian Monastery of Dayrulzefaran which is still in activity. We will then visit the colorful old bazar area offering medieval scenes then we will go to the 13th century Zinciriye Medrese with the Mesopotamian plain in the back ground. In the afternoon, we will have free time to stroll around and explore the narrow, old streets of Mardin.
DAY 11: ADIYAMAN: Departure to go to Harran, famous for its domed bee hive – like houses where we will also see the ruins of the oldest mosque in Turkey from the 7th century, then drive back to Sanliurfa with a stop at the cave where Job stayed when he had lepracy. In the afternoon, we will drive to Adiyaman and along the way we will stop at the Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates, 6th largest earth infilled dam in the world. We will also stop over the bridge on the famous river Euphrates.
DAY 13: ISTANBUL: Drive to Gaziantep where we have the most interesting mosaic museum with recently found Roman floor mosaics, from the Roman city of Zeugma. A great part of this site will go under the water of another dam on the Euphrates. The mosaics were found during the rescue excavations. Gaziantep is also famous for its kebabs and baklava. We will visit the old bazar area in Gaziantep and in the afternoon, we will fly back to Istanbul.
DAY 14: ISTANBUL: Boat tour on the Bosphorus by regular ferry, leave the boat near the Black Sea and then drive back to the old city to explore the Grand Bazar and the Spice Market.
DAY 15: Transfer to the airport and flight back.