Asia Minor 2


Day 01) Arrival Istanbul

Meet & greet at Ataturk Airport and transfer to the hotel. (Eresin Crowne or Four Seasons or Anemon Hotels) Time at leisure. Welcome cocktail and briefing.

Day 02) Istanbul

Morning : Istanbul Archaeological Museum; home to one of the richest collections of Classical articacts in the world, the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul is well worth a visit, and also contains important treasures from pre-Classi- cal times. The museum houses 20 separate galleries, so plan on taking some time to view the pieces of history on display here, spanning over 5,000 years. Especially worth examining are the sarcophogi, with friezes depicting Alexander the Great, an inspiring gallery on “Istanbul Through the Ages,” and the Treaty of Kadesh- the original tablet containing the words of the world’s oldest surviving peace treaty, signed in 1269 BC by the Egyptians and Hittites, with clauses for a cessation of hostilities, and for the return of political refugees. Lunch After lunch, Golden Horn Orientation and City Walls Tour The Church of Chora, also known now as the Chora Museum. This church, whose name means “outside the city”, was built here in some form before the 5th century Roman city walls were built. The existing structure, however, dates to the 11th-14th centuries, and is renowned for its exquisite interior decorations, with paneled frescoes and mosaics that are true masterpieces of “the Renaissance” of Byzantine art. The mosaic panels depict scenes from the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary. When the church was converted into a mosque, these incredible works of art were covered over and whitewashed, but have since been restored and cleaned, after 1950, by the Byzantine Institute of the USA. Tekfur Palace (with previous permission) The palace was built adjacent to the land ramparts of İstanbul between Edirnekapı and Haliç. According to the researches, it was determined that the palace belonged to the 13th cen- tury. It was used for various aims after the conquest of İstanbul in 1453. It was restored between the years 1955 - 1970. Tekfur Palace is the only sample that remained from the Byzantine Period. Return to the hotel

Day 03) Four Seasons Excavation Site

Morning: Visit to Four Seasons Excavation site The excavation site is also home to kilometres-long ancient sewage pipes, still in seemingly good condition, and relics of a hamam (bath). Just next to the site stands a container. Millennia- old relics preserved in it have not lost many of their original characteristics. The colour and unique type of orna- ments were described as “striking” by those who have seen them. And Yenikapı Excavation site Yenikapi mainly commercial, harbor, in use from the 5th-10th centuries AD, has been found on the south shore of the peninsula, on the Sea of Marmara. Yenikapi was discovered four years ago during construction of a rail link between Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus: it had become filled in with silt and forgotten. Excavations is one of the largest archaeological investigations in Europe, Yenikapi has produced waterlogged finds ranging in date from 7,000 years ago to the Ottoman age. Lunch After lunch Bosphorus tour; a visit to Istanbul just isn’t complete without a cruise on the famous Bosphorus, the storied waterway separating Istanbul’s two sides, European and Asian. This tour also includes a panoramic drive across to Asia and visits to two outstanding museums. Lemonade brake at the Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi Yalı (Waterside Residence of Surgeon General Salih Efendi), Salih Efendi, a graduate of the first medical school in the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Sultan Mahmut II, was the head physician for three sultans. He was interested in botany. He developed a special kind of rose named after him, which he personally grafted, and this rose was called “Hekimbasi”. During the spring, the mansion’s garden became a paradise of colours. It is one of the rarest mansions on the Bosphorus which still keeps its original architectural style and its original furniture. The present occupants of the mansion are the family members of Salih Efendi, who died in 1905.

Day 04) Canakkale - Gallipoli

Drive to Canakkale in the morning. After lunch at Galipoli at a seaside local restaurant, take a ferry across the Dardanelles. Visit Ancient Troy ( Illion) and the Archeological Library in Canakkale. Diner and overnight at Tusan Hotel in the pine woods.

Day 05) Izmir - Pergamon

Drive to Pergamon in the morning. Visit The Acropol, Asclepieon, The Red Basilica and the Archaeological mu- seum. ( Possibilities of visiting Allianoi the best preserved Roman Spa and health center.) Diner and overnight in Izmir.

Day 06) Izmir - Smyrna 

Sites in Izmir City Agora (Izmir) - The remains of the agora of Smyrna constitute today the space of İzmir Agora Museum in İzmir’s Namazgah quarter, although its area is commonly referred to as “Agora” by the city’s inhabitants. Situated on the northern slopes of the Pagos hills, it was the commercial, judicial and political nucleus of the ancient city, its center for artistic activities and for teaching. İzmir Agora Open Air Museum consists of five parts, including the agora area, the base of the northern basilica gate, the stoa and the ancient shopping centre. The agora was used until the Byzantine period. Bayrakli (Izmir) - The mound on which Ancient Smyrna was first settled was a small peninsula in ancient times. The peninsula was linked to the mainland in the North. The first systematic excavations in the ancient city were carried of by an English-Turkish joint team led by Prof. Dr. John M. Cook and Prof.Dr. Ekrem Akurgal between 1948 and 1951. Ord. Prof. Dr. Ekrem Akurgal continued the field works without interruption from 1966 to 1993. Excavations are still carried out under the direction of Prof.Dr. Meral Akurgal. Kadife kale (Izmir) - New Smyrna developed simultaneously on the slopes of the Mount Pagos (Kadifekale today) and alongside the coastal strait immediately below where a small bay existed until the 18th century. The core of the late Hellenistic and early Roman Smyrna forms today the large area of İzmir Agora Open Air Mu- seum at this site. Research is being pursued at the sites of both the old and the new cities in a continuous manner and in a regionalized structure, since 1997 for Old Smyrna and since 2002 for the Classical Period city, in collabo- ration between İzmir Archaeology Museum and the Metropolitan Municipality of İzmir[1]. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 07) Ephesus & The House of Virgin Mary

Early in the morning, Leave the hotel for a full day excursion that will give them a chance to visit all of the major sites around Kusadasi. The excursion will start with a visit to House of Virgin Mary. Archaeological evidence showed that the little house was from the 6C AD but that the foundation were from the 1C AD. At the third Ecumenical Council of 431 in Ephesus, it was claimed that Mary came to Ephesus with St. John between 37 – 48 AD lived here and died here. After discovery of the house, the Archbishop of Izmir de- clared it a place of pilgrimage in 1892, On July 26th, 1967 Pope VI Paul visited this place and prayed here. The next stop of the tour will be the Ephesus Antique Site. It can be said that Ephesus is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the world. Ephesus formed a focal point in the ancient world because of its protected harbor and as a starting point for the royal road via Sardis to Susa. It was also a cult center attracting thousands of pilgrims for traditional worship of the female, first Cybele, then Artemis and finally the Virgin Mary in the Christian Period. Ephesus was also home for the early philosopher Heraclitus. The Terrace Houses section of the site will also be visited. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. After lunch, visit the Basilica of St. John. St. John, who traveled to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary came to the head of the Church of Ephesus with the title of “The Apostle of Asia” and wrote his Gospel there. The last stop of today’s program will be Ephesus Archaeological Museum, which houses the impressive collec- tion of the statues and other finds recovered during the excavations at Ephesus. ** Please note that the order of the sites might be changed to avoid overcrowding at the sites. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 08) Priene, Miletus & Didyma 

Following breakfast, leave the hotel for visiting the Priene, Miletus & Didyma. The first stop will be the antique city of Priene. As travelling South from Kusadasi, reach a large plain, irrigated by the Meander (Menderes) River. Known as the Latmos Bay in the past. The area was silted in with alluvial soil carried by the river throughout the centuries. On a hillside to the north of the plain, there are the ruins of the ancient city of Priene, one of the most exciting sites whose history goes back to archaic times. The site displays the very best ap- plication of the grid plan (all streets intersect at right angle)., put forward by the city planner, Hippodamos. Following the visit of Priene, continue to south. As leaving the plain behind, see splendid theater building on the left; the road that leads to Miletus, is one of the most attractive sites in the region; Miletus is the city, where the historian Hecataeus, Thales and Anaximenes and Anaximender, the nature philosophers were born and raised. The theater building is the most significant part of the ruins, and admired by all visitors, even those, who do not have a deep interest in archaeology. Built in the 2nd C AD, the building was kept in a good state of preservation. Through the theater building and the nearby Faustina Bath, continue on to the actual site. As touring the ancient site, also see the wheat silos, the monumental gate of Agora, the town hall, the gymnasium and the sacred Del- phinion among the other ruins. After visiting the Miletus Antique Site, leave for Didyma. The largest “dipterous” (surrounded with a double row of columns) style temple of the ancient times; Didymaion or the Temple of Apollo. At Didyma, lunch of local specialty dishes and wine in a nearby Turkish restaurant. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 10) Knidos - Bodrum

Day trip by boat to Knidos. Cnidus was a mayor Dorian city, famous for its temples, theatres, statue of Aphrodite, the world’s first ob- servatory, and medical school. It seems to have kept a purer Greek character, no doubt because it set its sights seaward and had little contact with the inland. Around 360 BC, the city was rebuilt at the windblown tip of the peninsula, banking on the fact that a good harbor at the outer corner of Asia Minor would become a popular call- ing-port for ships on the Aegean-East Mediterranean transit routes. The rocky island facing the shore at the new site was joined to the mainland with a causeway, creating two deep harbors on either side of the isthmus. One on the Aegean and the other on the Mediterranean. Diner and overnight at Bodrum.

Day 11) Fly to Istanbul in the moning

See Topkapi Palace, St. Sophia Museum & Grand Bazaar Topkapi Palace; walk in the footsteps of Courtesans and Eunuchs, Grand Viziers and Sultans, and glimpse a way of life that redefines decadence. Topkapi Palace, powerful seat of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years, is a sprawl- ing complex that tells the story of a tenuous balance of power where everyone watched his or her own back. Today you can only imagine the activities of the cast of characters who played a part in one of the world’s most powerful dynasties. You can, however, feast your eyes on where they lived, on gilded swords, ornate crowns, over 12,000 pieces of porcelain, and ravishing dis- plays of jewellery, including one of the world’s biggest diamonds. Wander around the Harem, gaze at sacred religious relics including hand-written letters from the Prophet Mohammed as well as his cloak, swords, and hairs from his beard, the rod of Moses and the sword of David, peek into the circumcision room, or simply sit in the peaceful gardens and contemplate the majesty of it all. St Sophia Museum; The Haghia Sophia is one of the most famous structures in the world, and if any one building can be said to give a real sense of Istanbul’s history, then this is it. Built nearly 1,500 years ago and completed in 537 under Emperor Justinian, this towering, beautiful edifice has seen the changing fortunes of the city from earthquakes, to torch- ing by rebels, to the plundering and desecration of marauding Crusaders. Once the largest enclosed space in the world, it was built as a cathedral by the Byzantines to illustrate the strength and wealth of the empire, and it still stands today as a fantastic testament to their accomplishments. Later Ottoman architects, including the most famous, Mimar Sinan, spent most of their careers trying to emulate the technology and proportions of this enor- mous building. Nowadays, while standing and gazing upwards into the massive dome with daylight piercing through the small windows, visitors, catching glimpses of the sparkling mosaics, can easily understand why the Haghia Sophia remains one of the most inspiring buildings in the world.

Day 12)

Transfer to the airport for your flight back home.


Asia Minor 1

Asia Minor 1

Meet & greet at Ataturk Airport and transfer to the hotel. (Eresin Crowne, Four Seasons or Anemon Hotels) Time at leisure. Welcome cocktail and introduction lecture.


Meet & greet at Ataturk Airport and transfer to the hotel. (Eresin Crowne or Four Seasons or Anemon Hotels) Time at leisure. Welcome cocktail and briefing.

Nomadic Arts & Textile Tours
Anatolian Rugs
Hand Wowen Rugs of Asia Minor
Anatolian Tribal Arts & Textile
Culinary Culture
Aegean Cuisine
Central Anatolia
Southeast Turkey
Asia Minor 1
Asia Minor 2
Religious Tours
A Trip Through Secrets of Asia Minor
Travelling to Biblical Sites of Turkey
The Seven Churches of Revelation
Steps of St.Paul in ASIA MINOR
Highlights Of Capital Anatolia By High Speed Train
Special Interest Tours