turkey travel
*** The Grand Cultures of Turkey & Egypt: 22 days ***

Program:

Sunday - Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul
HOS GELDINIZ! Welcome to Turkey!
We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour, you will have the afternoon free to rest and/or explore Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul

Monday - Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
After breakfast, we will meet you at your hotel and start your full-day tour of Istanbul.
* The Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) transports you back to the Silk Road days with its mystical aromas of various spices. Here, you'll also find other shops selling fruits, vegetables, teas, flowers, fish, and Turkish Delight (lokum).
* Bosphorus Cruise takes you though the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia, and no trip to Istanbul is complete without a boat trip here! Along its shores, you can take photographs of marble palaces and antique wooden Ottoman-era villas that sit beside luxurious modern residences.You will also see Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and Ortakoy Mosque.
We'll take a break for lunch; afterwards, we'll continue our tour by visiting Topkapi Palace, the world-famous Grand Bazaar and equally-impressive Suleymaniye Mosque.
* Topkapi Palace was the imperial residence and administrative heart of the massive Ottoman Empire, beginnng with Fatih Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, in 1453, until 1856. It was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets. The museum also has collections from the Imperial Treasury, as well as Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy, etc. The Treasury also houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat "Spoon Maker's Diamond", and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.
* Grand Bazaar (Kapali çarsi - covered bazaar) is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily.
The bazaar began construction in 1455 and opened in 1461. It is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of good: leather coats, gold jewelry and the like.
After the tour's conclusion, we will return you to your hotel.
Overnight in Istanbul

Tuesday - Day 3 - Istanbul - (B/L)
Sites you’ll see today:
* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and is still seen as one of history's most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey's most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art. Built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.
* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.
* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
The Obelisk is in the Egyptian style and was erected in 1547 BC and stood 60m tall. The German Fountain is also within the hippodrome area, constructed in Germany to mark German Emperor Wilhelm II's second visit to Istanbul; it was imported and officially opened on January 1 1901. The fountain's three domes are decorated with gold mosaics.

After our tour, you will have the option of going back to the Grand Bazaar for more shopping. Overnight in Istanbul

Wednesday - Day 4 - Istanbul to Canakkale - (B/L/D)
At 7:00 AM, we'll depart from Istanbu for a scenic drive to the Gallipoli Peninsula, driving along the north shore of the Marmara Sea. We will stop and enjoy lunch on the waterfront in Eceabat. Then, we will begin our tour.
*Gallipoli (Gelibolu) and the Dardanelles --After our lunch, we willl devote our afternoon to visiting Gallipoli, where fierce World War I fighting took place between Allied forces and the Turkish Army. At ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Armed Corps) Cove, thousands lost their lives on one fateful dawn morning. We'll also visit other famous WWI battlesites and cemetaries in this area, including Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. From here, we'll board a ferry and cross the Dardanelles Strait. World War I history buffs will know that the Dardanelles Strait was a strategic crossing point for the Allied armies to cross from Europe into Asia Minor.
Over a 9-month campaign, more than half a million soldiers lost their lives in the struggle to control this strait and the nearby Gallipoli peninsula. Still today, many villagers in this quiet and peaceful region speak of seeing ghosts wandering the cemeteries and hearing the sounds of battle.
After Gallipoli, we will drive to Kilitbahir and take the ferry across the Dardanelle Strait. Your tour guide will deliver a lecture about the naval attack by the British and French battleships before the ANZAC landing.
After arrival in Canakkale, you will check into your hotel and enjoy dinner; you will then have a free evening to rest and explore the town.
Overnight in Canakkale

Thursday - Day 5 - Canakkale to Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
We continue our scenic drive along the Aegean, stopping for photo opportunities and perhaps to indulge the taste buds at one of the many farmer road side stands that sell olives, figs, pistachios, and other seasonal fruits. We then will head east towards Troy.
*Troy (Truva) is the ancient site written about by Homer in the classic Iliad. It dates back to approximately 3,000 BC and has been the site of nine different cities through the thousands of years it has been in existence. Upon entering Troy, a large wooden Trojan horse full-scale reproduction will dominate your view. You'll definitely want to climb up and get your picture taken! There is also a small museum on-site to help you get oriented.
After lunch, we'll drive along the Aegean Sea down to Kusadasi, where we'll check into the hotel. Overnight in Kusadasi

Friday - Day 6 Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
Sites you'll see today:
* The Temple of Artemis is situated in serene countryside celebrates the Greek goddess Artemis, the virginal huntress and twin of Apollo, who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon.  This temple, known as Artemision in Greek times, was the largest of its kind at the world. Of the Olympian goddesses who inherited aspects of the Great Goddess of Crete, Athene was more honored than Artemis at Athens. At Ephesus, a goddess with whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was passionately venerated in an archaic, pre-Hellenic cult image that was carved of wood, and kept decorated with jewelry.
* Ephesus is the best-preserved classical cities from ancient times, and was inhabited by Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and Turks. St. Paul lived here circa 60 AD, when it was at its most populated at 250,000.  During your visit, you’ll walk its stony boulevards, stand in the grand theatre, marvel at the beauty of the Celsus Library, the agora, as well as the baths, giving you the unique chance to get up-close-and-personal with history by literally being able to walk into it.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here. The city was the site of several 5th century Ecumenical Councils. It is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.
* The House of the Virgin Mary
, (Turkish: Meryemana Evi), high on a hill overlooking the town of Selcuk, is where it is believed that St. Mary came to live with St. John the Baptist in the later years of her life.  Masses are held here on Sundays.
After the tour, we will return to Kusadasi to spend the night.
Overnight in Kusadasi

Saturday - Day 7 - Kusadasi to Pamukkale - (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we'll set out for Pamukkale.
* Pamukkale ("cotton castle" in Turkish), is a natural site that contains hot springs and travertines, and terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. It is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the Menderes River valley, which has a temperate climate for most of the year.
Pamukkale's terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.
The former Roman Bath of the ancient city of Hierapolis has been used as the site of the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum since 1984.
In this museum, alongside historical artifacts from Hierapolis, there are also artifacts from Laodiceia, Colossae, Tripolis, Attuda and other towns of the Lycos valley. In addition to these, the museum has a large section devoted to artifacts found at Beycesultan Hüyük that includes some of the most beautiful examples of Bronze Age craft.
* Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded as an ancient healing care center in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centers of the Roman Empire. Over time, the city hosted large numbers of both Jewish and Christian residents. Overnight in Pamukkale

Sunday - Day 8 - Pamukkale to Cappadocia - (B/L)
After breakfast we will drive to Cappadocia, stopping at the Mevlana Museum in Konya on the way.
* Mevlana Museum is an Islamic holy site as it was the former official lodge for the whirling dervishes.
(A tour of the museum is not included, but you may explore on your own.)
In the afternoon, we will provide a transfer to Cappadocia; after arrival you will check in the hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening on your own.
Overnight in Urgup -Cappadocia

Monday - Day 9 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
Today will be spent walking through an underground city where ancient people once fled for their lives escaping the Arab invaders, wandering through Ihlara Gorge and spending time in an Anatolian village.
Sites you’ll see today:
* Underground City of Derinkuyu--You'll gradually make your way down into the depths of the earth of this ancient settlement that has 18-20 floors which boast depths as long as 40 meters. (Don't worry, we'll only go down to the 8th floor!) Youll marvel at the fact that Derinkuyu is just one of 36 Cappadocian underground cities, which archaeologists date back to the time of the Hittites around 4,000 years ago.
* Ihlara Gorge is an oasis in the middle of the Anatolian plain. We'll explore the canyon and take in the beautiful green scenery as we stroll casually alongside the river. Here, you'll see ancient monasteries complete with pigeon holes carved into the cliffs by the monks; the pigeons acted as messengers to communicate with neighboring monks!
* Traditional Anatolian village -- You'll see head-scarved women in the fields (where they work from sun up until sundown) and the mustachioed, vest-wearing men hard-at-work playing cards or tavla (backgammon) in the kahvehane (coffee shop). You'll get time to stroll in a village such as this and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play.
Overnight in Cappadocia

Tuesday - Day 10 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
Sites you’ll see today:
* Goreme Open-Air Museum - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Goreme is an ancient town carved right out of the rock (tufa); you'll explore Byzantine-era churches, chapels and monasteries which house wonderfully-preserved 11th- and 12th-century cave frescoes.
* Fairy Chimneys--This strange geological phenomenon was created over millions of years, and were formed during regional volcanic eruptions. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a whimsical "hat" top to them.
* Devrent Valley--This valley is known as "the pink valley" because of the color of its soil. This is a lovely place to wander about and really take in the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
* Uchisar Castle, also known as Uchisar Fortress, is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller ones that together, form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
If there is time, we'll also visit local crafts people and learn the special art of dollmaking and traditional pottery.
Overnight in Cappadocia

Wednesday - Day 11 - (B) - Cappadocia to Istanbul then to Cairo
After breakfast, we will provide a transfer to Nevsehir Airport and put you on a 1-hour flight back to Istanbul. You will then walk to International Departures for your flight to Cairo.

************************************************************************************************************************************
MARHABAN! Welcome to Egypt!
We'll meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour, you will have the rest of the afternoon free to explore Cairo on your own.
Overnight in Cairo

Thursday - Day 12 – Exploring Cairo - (B)
Sites you will see today:
* Great Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren & Mycerinus: The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in Giza's Necropolis, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that has survived substantially intact. It is believed that the pyramid was built as a tomb for 4th dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Greek: Cheops) and was constructed over a 20-year period and concluded around 2560 BC.
* The Great Sphinx is a zoomorphic mythological figure which is depicted as a recumbent lion with a human head. It has its origins in sculpted figures dating back to the Old Kingdom, to which the ancient Greeks applied their own name for a male monster: the "strangler", a figure from Greek mythology.
* The Valley Temple
was built during the reign of Pharaoh Chefren and features core masonry of limestone and granite.

After the tour's conclusion, we will bring you back to your hotel.
Overnight in Cairo

Friday - Day 13 – Exploring Cairo – (B)
After breakfast, we will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and being your full-day guided tour.
* Egyptian Museum : the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, in Cairo, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum, is home to an extensive collection of priceless Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, with the remainder in storerooms.
The museum's Royal Mummy Room, containing 27 royal mummies from pharaonic times, was closed on the orders of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. It was reopened, with a slightly curtailed display of New Kingdom kings and queens in 1985. Today, there are about 9 mummies on display - one recent acquisition being the newly-discovered mummy of Queen Hatshepsut.
After visiting the museum, you will be taken to Old Cairo and given free time to explore.
* Old Cairo contains the ruins of capital cities before Cairo, such as Fustat. It also encompasses Coptic-era Cairo and its many old churches, as well as ruins of Roman fortifications.
After the tour's conclusion, we will take you back to your hotel. You will have the rest of the evening at your leisure.
Overnight in Cairo

Saturday - Day 14 - Cairo to Luxor - (B/L)
After breakfast, we will provide a transfer to Cairo Airport for your 1-hour flight to Luxor. You will then be met at the airport and transferred to your boat. After boarding, we will begin the tour.
Sites you will visit:
* The Valley of the Kings: for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed here for the pharaohs and the most powerful nobles of the New Kingdom. The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), and within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs situated) and the West Valley.
* The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is situated beneath the cliffs at Deir el-Bahari on the west bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings. Designed by the architect Senemut, the temple is dedicated to the sun god, Amon-Ra, and is located next to the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, which served both as an inspiration, and later, a quarry. It is considered one of the "incomparable monuments of ancient Egypt."
* The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. For the past 3400 years (since 1350 BC) they have stood in the Theban necropolis, across from the city of Luxor.
* Luxor Temple is a massive complex located on the east bank of the Nile in the city of Luxor; it was founded in 1400 BC.
After the tour, we will provide a transfer back to your hotel; you will then have the evening free to explore or relax.
Overnight in Luxor

Sunday - Day 15 - Luxor to Edfu - (On Board ) - (B/D)
In the morning, you will have free time to look around; after lunch, you will depart for Edfu, on a relaxing and comfortable cruise.
Overnight onboard

Monday - Day 16 - Edfu to Aswan - (B/D)
After breakfast, you will visit Horus at Edfu then the Temple of Sobek.
*Edfu is the site of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus and is an ancient settlement. About 3 miles north are ruins of more ancient pyramids that are constructed of sandstone and rise to a present height of 3.2 m. One pyramid has been loosely attributed to King Huni of the Third Dynasty.
*The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic dynasty in the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo. The building is unique because its 'double' design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern-half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world (along with Hathor and Khonsu). After visiting these sites, we''ll set sail for Aswan.
Overnight onboard

Tuesday - Day 17 - Aswan - (B/D)
After breakfast, we'll begin our tour of Aswan.
Sites you will visit:
* Aswan High Dam, completed in 1970 was built to regulate river flooding, provide storage of water for agriculture, and later, to generate electricity. The former cataract and the Old Aswan Dam are nearby.
*"The Unfinished Obelisk" is the largest known ancient obelisk, located in the northern region of the stone quarries of Aswan. It was ordered by Queen Hatshepsut commemorating her 16th anniversary on the throne. It is nearly one-third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected.
* Philae is an island in the Nile River and the previous site of an ancient Egyptian temple complex. The complex was dismantled and relocated to an nearby island when the building of the Aswan Dam threatened to flood the site.
Overnight onboard

Wednesday - Day 18 - Aswan to Sharm - (B/L)
In the morning, we will provide a transfer to the Luxor Airport for your nearly 1-hour flight to Sharm El Sheik. After arrival, we will provide a transfer to your hotel. You will then have a free day to relax and explore the seaside town of Sharm El Sheik on your own.
Overnight in Sharm El Sheik. (We will stay for three days here.)
* Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, on the coastal strip between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai.
Sharm el-Sheikh's is famous for it slong stretches of natural beaches. Its waters are clear and calm for most of the year and have become popular for various water sports, particularly scuba diving and snorkeling which some consider to be among the best in the world. Coral reefs, under water and marine life offer a spectacular opportunities for divers. Here, there are 250 documented different kinds of coral and 1,000 species of fish.

Saturday - Day 19 - Sharm El Sheik to Cairo - (B/L)
In the morning, we will provide a transfer to Sharm Airport and put you on a 50-minute flight back to Cairo. After arrival, we will provide a transfer to your hotel and then give you the rest of the day to explore Cairo on your own.
Overnight in Cairo

Sunday - Day 22 – Cairo to Home – (B)
MA AS SALAAMA! Goodbye! It's time to go home. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, and look forward to seeing you on a future trip.

Prices are starting from $______ per person in a double, contact us to get a price quote for your dates

Includes
* Flight tickets from Istanbul to Cairo
* All hotels
* All land transfers in comfortable vehicles
* All of the meals mentioned in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch & D-dinner)
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Domestic flight tickets from Cappadocia to Istanbul
* Flight tickets from Cairo to Luxor
* Flight tickets from Aswan to Sharm El Sheik
* Flight tickets from Sharm El Sheik to Cairo
* All admissions to ancient sites
* All taxes and service charges

Excludes:
* Drinks with meals
* Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
* Optional night tours, such as "Sound and Light Show" at the Pyramids
* Tips


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