Days 1, 2, 3, & 4: Istanbul
Travel to Istanbul, the city of mythical proportions that brims with excitement. Begin by visiting the fishing community of Sariyer, from where you will catch a boat down the Bosphorus, cruising along European and Asian shores. Experience the grandeur of legendary Topkapi Palace – Home of Ottoman sultans for over 400 years, it is now a museum displaying the Spoonmaker’s Diamond and wings of the Harem, Divan, and Holy Relics.
Visit the Hippodrome, where chariot races were held in Roman times, and the nearby Blue Mosque, resplendent with 6 fluted minarets and exquisite tiling. Visit St. Sophia, the impressive dome building that was first a Church of Divine Wisdom, then a mosque, and is now a museum. And of course, no trip to Istanbul would be complete without a stop at the Grand Bazaar!
Day 5: Ankara & the Silk Road
Travel to Ankara, where you can tour the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Also known as the Hittite Museum, this marvelous collection displays over 10,000 years of archeological artifacts from the Paleolithic and Hellenistic periods to the Mausoleum of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Continue onto Agzikarahan, a caravansary of the Silk Road, which dates from the 13th century and covers 6,000 sq. miles.
Days 6 & 7: Cappadocia
Cappadocia, land of fairy chimneys and over 200 underground cities, has houses borrowed into the lunar grounds and stone cliffs. Visit the village and fortress of hisar, a single rock formation that has been shaped by wind and rain. Explore complex, multi-leveled Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, underground cities where early Christians dwelled to escape persecution.
See the century rock churches in the fairy chimney valley of Greme, and then Avanos, located on the banks of Kizilirmak (Red River). See the fairy chimney monastery in Zelve Valley, and then the picturesque Cavusin and Avcilar.
Day 8: Ephesus
Exquisitely preserved, Ephesus is the best place to get a feel for life from the time of the Romans. Tour the city, visiting the Memmius Monument, Trajan’s Fountain, Temple of Hadrian, and famous Library Celsus. Pass the Agora and Great Theater on the Marble Road, and then to the Church of St. John and the House of Virgin Mary. Continue to the neighboring village of Seluk, which has many notable ruins and colorful bazaars.
Day 9: Journey Home
Board your plane for a safe flight home.