TOPKAPI PALACE INCLUDING THE TREASURY AND HAREM:
This former residence of the Ottoman Sultans houses some of the world’s finest exhibitions of porcelain, jewelery, silverware glassware, clocks and Ottoman weaponry, royal treasures and the world’s largest harem. The Topkapi Palace was more than just the private residence of the Sultan and his court. It was the seat of the supreme executive and judiciary council, the Divan and the training school, the Palace School. In the First Courtyard, there were a hospital, bakery, arsenal, a state mint, a part of the treasury and the Outer Service. It was open to public. The Second Courtyard was open to people who had business with the council. The Third Courtyard was reserved to the Sultan's household and palace children. The Fourth Courtyard was exclusively reserved for the Sultan's use. The Topkapi Palace continued to be the principal residence for four centuries until in 1853, Sultan Abdul Mecid I moved into the new palace of Dolmabahce on the Bosphorus. The old palace was used as house for the women of the departed sultans and their servants until the Harem was officially disbanded in 1909. In 1924, Topkapi Palace was converted to a museum with the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The final step was the opening of the Harem to the public in 1960.
TURKISH CARPETS :
The oldest kilim (flat-woven carpet) is thought to have emerged in Çatalhöyük in 7000 BC. Knotted rugs, however, are believed to have been introduced by nomadic Turks sometime during the 8th and 9th centuries, and to have made their way to Anatolia during the 12th century. Carpets were created for warmth and served as valuable furniture within the homes of nomadic Turks.
These famous Turkish carpets were the handiwork of Anatolian women. Between the 12th and 19th centuries, village women weaved carpets for their own use. These carpets served as a form of self-expression, in which women reflected upon their sorrows and joys through their choice of colors, patterns, and motifs. Working with their bare hands, these women used only high-quality natural materials like wool and silk.
BLUE MOSQUE :
One of the most famous monuments of Turkish and Islamic art, this imperial mosque is an example of classical Turkish architecture, and it is the only mosque that was originally built with six minarets. Although it is popularly known as the Blue Mosque, its real name is Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Its architect Mehmet Aga decorated the interior fastidiously like a jeweler. Built between 1609-1616, the mosque used to be part of a large complex, including a covered bazaar, Turkish baths, public kitchens, a hospital, schools, a caravanserai, and the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet. The walls of the galleries surrounding the three sides of the interior chamber are decorated by over 20,000 exquisite Iznik tiles.
LUNCH AT HAMDI RESTAURANT – AT THE SPICE BAZAAR :
Across the Galata Bridge, you come to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. Experience a dinner of kebap specialties at the Hamdi Restaurant, with a view of the Golden Horn. This is considered one of Turkey’s best kebap restaurants. Its specialties are Pistachio kebab as well as kebab wrapped in thin layer of phyllo dough and served with a yoghurt sauce.
DAY 8 - May 26, 2019 - BODRUM - KNIDOS
Depart Bodrum, sailing across the Gulf of Gokova to the Datca peninsula and the site of Knidos. Here is the border between Mediterranean and Aegean seas, where this two waters mix.
The excavations of Knidos are famous in antiquity for the cult of Aphrodite started there. Straddling the peninsula, it had a harbor on either side, and flourished during the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. The site was excavated in 1857 by C. T. Newton and from 1967 by Iris Love. Famous as a center of art and culture in the fourth century BC, Knidos was established at the same time that Halicarnassus was, as one of the six Dorian colonies in Asia Minor. The legendary Aphrodite of Praxiteles statue, reputedly one of the most beautiful sculptures of the antiquity, once graced this temple. The city was renowned as one of the most beautiful in ancient Greece.
Afterwards sail to the Kargi Bay and from here you have the opportunity to visit Eski Datca (Old Datca), a picturesque stone village with cobbled streets, lovely small houses, cafés, taverns, boutiques, art galleries. This quaint village and has recently experienced a major restoration effort, creating a hand craft paradise, with artists and jewelry ateliers in their studios producing every conceivable handcrafted item possible. Formerly a Greek-populated village, it is one of the few in Turkey that has survived intact. It is a place, artists, expats and intellectuals feel totally at home. This town also attracts attention with its Seljuk period mosque and a beautifully restored 200 year old mansion turned historical boutique hotel, offering the unique chance to experience the lifestyle and surroundings of a 19th-century Ottoman nobleman.
SPICE BAZAAR :
Explore the winding passages of the Spice Bazaar, the second largest covered market in Istanbul. Once all of the shops inside the bazaar used to sell spices, but over the time some have turned into dried fruit, grocery and gift shops or jewelers. Outside the bazaar, there you find flower markets, cafes, fish, vegetable and grocery stores.
DAY 09 May 27, 2019 - DATCA - SIMI ISLAND -
Set sail to picturesque resort of Datça. Enjoy a brief stroll through town, offering limited shopping and café possibilities. Renowned for its natural beauty and climate, this town provides a window into the life of rural Turkey of 50 to 100 years ago.
From here set sail for the tiny Greek Island of Simi in the Straights of Marmaris, directly hugging the Turkish Coast. The scenic natural landscape consists of jagged coastline with sheer cliffs, narrow fjords, private coves and high mountains. Ever since the classical times, Simi flourished due to the success of it sponge-diving and boat-building industries, launching up to 500 ships a year. It became the third richest island of the Dodecanese. The islands well protected natural harbors led to the Italian occupation in the beginning of the 20th century along with the German occupation in World War II. After this Simi never recovered and the mansions built in better times slowly crumbled. Today elaborate churches, elegant boutiques, seafood restaurants and cafés line the fairy tale-like harbor, painted in numerous shades of pastel colors. It is different than the other Dodecanese islands, remaining refined with an aristocratic charm, seen both in the carefully restored neo-Classical homes and in the gracious hospitality of the island’s inhabitants. Early evening arrive in the fairytale harbor filled with pastel, neo-classical homes.
DAY 14 June 1, 2019 - BODRUM - USA
This morning upon sunrise, enter the beautiful harbor of Bodrum.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Istanbul and connect to your flight to the US.
Day 6 May 24, 2019- CAPPADOCIA
BALLOON RIDE OVER THE CAPPADOCIAN VALLEYS :
Start the morning at dawn with a hot air balloon ride. There are over 30 take-off sites in the area... once airborne the balloon will travel free with the wind... The flight lasts one hour and includes both low contour flying and also going high enough to view the whole landscape from above. The pilot has very accurate control of the height and it is often possible to pick the leaves from the trees passing under the basket... no sensation of fear or vertigo is experienced by the passengers, and the general impressions are soft and gentle. It is not colder 'up there' than it is on the ground, and it is sometimes warmer as there is no sensation of wind as the balloon is moving with the air during flight. . At the end enjoy a celebration with breakfast and champagne served right at the landing spot!. Return to the hotel for a nap.
LUNCH AT DAYINYERE RESTAURANT :
One of the best kebab restaurants in the region, filled mainly with locals (no alcohol is served).
This afternoon :
THE UNDERGROUND CITY OF KAYMAKLI :
These troglodyte cave-cities were excavated as early as Hittite times, and expanded over the centuries as various marauding armies traversed Central Anatolia in search of captives and plunder. When the Arab raids of the 7th century threatened the existence of the Christian communities, they dug entire cities underground, some 15,000 strong. The most important areas of the underground city are on the 3rd floor. Besides numerous storage places, wineries and kitchens. Even though the whole city has not been completely opened, and since only 4 floors have been uncovered,it is certain that Kaymakli is one of the largest underground settlements in the region.
Sinassos or Mustafapasa is 6 km's to the south of Urgüp, was inhabited by Greek Orthodox families until the beginning of the 20th century. The Greek houses dating back to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries display fine examples of stonework. The important churches and monasteries around Mustafapasa are, the church of Aios Vasilos(St. Basileos) and the Church of Constantine-Helene.There is also a caravanserai built during the Ottoman period and displaying fine examples of stone masonry and woodcraft.
AVANOS AND CERAMICS :
The town of Avanos is set on the banks of the Kizilirmak or the Red River, which is the longest river in Turkey. It does not only separate the town from other parts of Cappadocia, but also gives the supplies the clay for pottery. It is by this river that the red pottery clay is found from which Avanos derives its main livelihood and its foremost claim to fame. Enjoy a kick-wheel demonstration by a local potter of this ancient custom.
Lunch will be served at Dayininyere Restaurant.
Overnight Yunak House Hotel
Day 3 May 21, 2019 ISTANBUL
Today enjoy a tour of the Sultanahmet District and of other points of interest spread around the city, the Hagia Sophia and the underground Cistem. Lunch will served at Matbah Restaurant. You will then spend some time in the covered Bazaar for a real shopping experience before joining us on a cruise on the Bosphorus. Dinner at leisure.
Meals B, L
DAY 12 May 30, 2019 - EKINCIK - DALYAN
Cruise early morning to the remote Bay of Ekincik to visit Dalyan, a fishing village located on the Calbis River. The sandy Iztuzu Beach is now the last breeding ground for the pre-historic loggerhead turtle.
A trip by fishing boat will take you past the remarkable river scenery, once the backdrop for the film “The African Queen”, to the awe-inspiring cliff tombs and ancient city of the Caunians. One of the most beautiful features of the site is the rock tombs sculpted in the form of porticoes of small ionic temples. These are among the most splendid examples of Lycian type funerary architecture in Turkey.
Day 5 May 23, 2019 : IZMIR - CAPPADOCIA
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Cappadocia.
The unforgettable landscape of this region originated as volcanic ash spewed out by Mounts Hasan and Erciyes during their active period. Eventually this volcanic region’s ash solidified into soft tufa stone, and was then shaped over time by natural forces into a variety of “lunar” formations of odd conic forms, often over 45 ft high. Eventually, human hands carved the canyon faces, cones, and rock pillars into homes, churches and entire monastic communities. Not only rock cut churches and monasteries were developed by the Christians from the cave dwellings, they also built cities deep underground. These excavations have reached down to about 85 meters, or until the water level has been reached, and are marked with efficient ventilation systems. There are many settlements in Cappadocia that were established primarily as ascetic communities following the monastic Rules of Basil established by the Basil the Great.
Arrive Nevsehir in the late morning.
Some sites you will enjoy today and tomorrow :
DURMUS KADIR CHURCH :
The church got its name from the owner of the vineyard and is located in the Karsibucak region of Goreme. This church is 11.6 meters x 9.6 meters and of a large basilica type, which is rarely seen in the Goreme and Cappadocian churches, it has three apsis the main apse having a templon. Apsis with templons are prevalent in the early Byzantine era. The window like openings in the templons were closed with curtains and in this manner the outside public was obstructed from watching the ceremony inside. After the 11th century icons were used as curtains in the templons. In the templon with the apse, there is a single stepped 'Synthraron' which is produced by carving the half round rock on which the head bishop and priests sat during ceremonies. In the smaller apse there are pilasters and niches used to store the equipment used during ceremonies. In front of the main apse, there is an ambion made up of four steps, from where the preaching took place, it is formed by carving the main rock The church has three naves. The middle one has a cradle vaulted ceiling the ones on either side have flat ceilings. One of the naves is partially collapsed. The naves are separated by four derricks. On top of the derricks there are some reliefs in the shape of columns.
PASABAG (MONKS VALLEY) :
Pasabag valley contains some of the most striking fairy chimneys (remarkable earth pillars) in Cappadocia with twin and even triple rock caps. This style is unique even for Cappadocia and these fairy chimneys are named mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys.
Overnight and Dinner at the Yunak House Hotel. The Yunak Evleri is a luxurious hotel carved into a mountain cliff, and includes six cave houses, 30 rooms dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries and a 19th century Greek Mansion.
Day 7 May 25, 2019- CAPPADOCIA - BODRUM
Morning Transfer to the Nevsehir airport for your flight to Istanbul (saber Gocek Airport) and continue to Bodrum. Arrive Bodrum at 2:00 pm.
Transfer to Bodrum where you will board your luxurious private yacht and meet your crew. Enjoy some lovely time at leisure in Bodrum for dinner. Overnight onboard your Yacht M/S Myra.
Dinner recommendation on the waterfront: "Ocakbasi Bistro"
Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus And Mediterranean Yacht Cruise
May 19 to June 1, 2019
$5,890 per person (superior Queen or Twin)
All breakfasts, 10 lunches, 8 dinners
(airfares within Turkey are included!)
Please call for International Airfare
THE ANCIENT SITE :
State Agora - The State Agora took its last shape during the time of Emperor Augustus and was a semi sacred area where political and religious meeting were held.
Town Hall - This was the town hall of the autonomous city of Ephesus, with the accompanying temple of Hestia Boulaia, where burned the perpetual fire that was never permitted to go out.
Bouleterion - The building resembling a theater is known as the Odeon. However, considering that the Town Hall is situated close by and the state agora is just in front of it, we may be right to assume that it functioned as the meeting place for the city consul.
Trajan Fountain - It was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Trajan. A colossal statue of the Emperor Trajan, rising to the height of the destroyed edifice, stood in the middle section of the building where water flowed into the pool.
Scholastica Baths - The large baths were erected in the beginning of the 2NDcentury. In 400 AD the baths were extensively renovated by a Christian lady named Scholastikia. A large lavatory and a section identified through a recovered inscription as a brothel both belong to this huge complex.
Hadrian Temple - Although small in size, the temple of Hadrian is one of the most attractive edifices in Ephesus. The inscription over the architrave states that the temple was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD) by a man named P. Quintilius.
Celsus Library - At present, there is no doubt that one of the principal buildings at Ephesus is the extremely well preserved Celsus library that was erected by the Consul Galus Julius Aquila in memory of his father, Celsus Polemaeanus. Aquila left 25.000 denari for the purchase of books and the upkeep of the library, which was completed in 135 AD by his heirs.
Commercial Agora – The Commercial Market place in Ephesus was set up in Hellenistic times. Nevertheless, this agora, enclosed on all four sides by stoas, was altered by additions erected under the reigns of Augustus and Nero.
Theater - One of the largest and most impressive of the buildings in Ephesus is well preserved theater. Work on the construction of the theater started in Hellenistic times. Later, during the reign of the Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD), the diameter was enlarged, but the building was not completed until Trajan’s time (98-117AD).
Stadium - The stadium, lying south of the Vedius gymnasium, was the scene of all kinds of ceremonies, athletic contests and gladiatorial fights.
DAY 11 May 29, 2019 - BOZUKKALE
Depart the Selimiye harbor and sail to enjoy a swim brewak and lunch in the bay of Bozukkale, which means “Broken Castle”as one side of gthe castle is missing. The entrance to the bay is guarded by an ancient citadel 350 meters long and 30 meters widse. In ancient times it was known as rthe city of Loryma and throughout history this port was used by the Greek navy forces during Peloponese Sea. The Colossus, at nearby Rhodes, was built to c elebrate the defeat of “Antigonus” invasion force in 305bc. Hike up to the ruins for some spectacular views of the Greek islands of Simi and Rhodes.
Later, cruise to the bay of Serce, a striking natural setting featuring some interesting Byzantime ruins.
Day 4 May 22, 2019 - ISTANBUL - IZMIR - EPHESUS
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Izmir. Enjoy a wonderful guided tour of the World famous Ephesus Archeological site.
The Ephesus metropolis evolved as the center of classical sea trade, the birthplace of the Hellenistic Greek renaissance, the Roman capital of Asia Minor, and the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In its day it rivaled Rome in its magnificence. With only ten percent excavated, it remains unrivaled as the world’s largest intact ancient Roman city. Visit the newly excavated terrace homes. Roman mansions have been excavated, revealing perfectly intact mosaic floors and frescos. Continue with the extensive site, the Hadiran’s Temple, the Celusus Library, the world’s largest Market Agora and the largest Roman theater in Asia Minor.
DAY 10 May 28, 2019 BOZBURUN - SELIMIYE
Depart the Simi harbor and cruise to the island’s western side to the peaceful setting of the Panormitis Monastery of the Archangel Michael, with its Byzantine frescos. Enjoy a swim break at the Bay of St. George, before returning to the Turkish coastline.
Re-enter Turkey in Bozburun. which used to be the center of sponge diving along the Turkish coast, but nowadays locals here earn their living in a much less dangerous way by building the typical broad-beamed wooden gulets.
Afterwards cruise into the wide Bay of Selimiye, one of the safest natural harbors in the Gulf of Hisarönü. Surrounded by magnificent scenery and largely unspoiled, Selimiye village seems as though it was frozen in time.
Sail to the quiet Orhaniye Bay for the night. Anchor near the bay’s small island where you can see the ruins of the castle and offers spectacular views of the bay.
About the "Myra": Savor the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean shores aboard this elegant sailing yacht, handcrafted of exotic hardwoods of mahogany and teak. Spacious fore, aft and side decks, air-conditioning and advanced nautical equipment have been added to her ancient design, satisfying contemporary comforts. The ingenious interior creates luxurious living quarters with high ceilings and wide corridors. The spacious salon includes a stocked bar (nominal charges for drinks) and romantic cushioned seating area surrounding an elegant table. Mahogany walls highlight spacious cabins with queen beds, reading lights, generous storage space, air-conditioning and private bathroom with enclosed shower and marble sink with vanity.
A four person crew consisting of captain, cook, first mate and deckhands, will take care of all needs of the passengers and the yacht. Their responsibilities include (among others), steering the vessel, sailing, cooking, cleaning and service for drinks and snacks throughout the day, as well as at meal times. From the fully equipped galley a skilled chef, whose expertise ranges from haute cuisine to regional specialties, guarantees satisfaction for even the most discriminating palate. Cuisine on board a gulet is tasty and imaginative. Seafood is served Mediterranean style, organically grown fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits of the season ensure true flavor.
Sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, canoeing, fishing and board games or cards are just some of the extra activities available from the yacht. Each day your captain will arrange visits ashore for hiking, site-seeing, shopping, dining, nightlife and of course the exploration of ancient sites. Spend the next seven days leisurely sailing, sunbathing, swimming and shopping, all while “diving” into three thousand years of ancient history. Spend the first night on board in the Bodrum harbor or a bay close by.
THE MYSTERIOUS BYZANTINE CISTERNS :
The largest and most magnificent covered cistern in Istanbul built during the reign of Justinian I (527-565) to supply water to the palaces in the vicinity. Its 336 columns are arranged in 12 rows and are topped with Corinthian capitals. The ground was cleared during the major restoration in 1987, and when over one meter of mud was removed, the original brick pavement and two marble Medusa heads at the base of two of the columns were revealed.
ISTANBUL TRADTIONAL WARES :
Since 1461, Istanbul has been a shoppers Mecca. Today Istanbul shops overflowing with colorful objects, including an overwhelming arrays of kaftans, textiles, and decorative pieces, as well as a wide range of Ottoman-era textiles, clothing, hand-woven rugs, and accessories. Shops specializing in çini (traditional Turkish pottery and tiles) from the western city of Iznik. For an array of Turkish textiles, you can find the best selections of traditional Turkish fabrics and scarves, including many hard-to-find ethnic motifs. If you’re looking for an unusual gift item, tiny shops carry a wide range of beautiful handmade tesbi (prayer beads) in a variety of stones, whether it be spiritual or decorative. Also find all-natural products, including towels, blankets from Southeast Anatolia, and pure olive oil soaps and bath accessories, such as keses (scrub mitts). High-quality traditional glassware is available, with everything from vases and bowls adorned with traditional Ottoman motifs and Byzantine mosaics. Also find cushions in a huge array of patterns and colors, and an extraordinary variety of fabrics from around the world are used to make the cushions, including Ottoman silk.
EVENTS & TRAVEL
HAGIA SOFIA :Ideally situated close to the hotel, we will begin this day walking over to the world’s oldest basilica, the Hagia Sofia of Constantinople, built by the Emperor Justinian in the glory days of Byzantium, as one of a string of attempts to revitalize the dwindling Roman Empire. The Hagia Sophia remained the greatest Church in Christendom for seven centuries. The subsequent fourteen centuries have produced many additions and a cluster of subsidiary buildings that have altered the exterior of the church almost beyond recognition, but it is still possible to detect the fine original lines and wonderful aesthetics of the interior. The mosaics are of particular note.Type your paragraph here.
The center of Byzantium's life for over 1000 years, and the center of Ottoman life for over 400 years. Throughout Turkey's complex history the Hippodrome was the location of the unfolding dramas of the Emperors court, the Sultan's Sublime Portal, the throws of revolution, executions and assassinations, and even horse racing.
CRUISING AEGEAN GREECE & TURKEY BOUTIQUE STYLE...
Sailing by Gulet yacht is quite simply a perfect way to visit the Aegean Coast of Bodrum and the nearby Greek islands. No carrying luggage, no catching ferries, and no need to keep track of time, means that there is so much MORE to experience of the Dodecanese islands’ authenticity, stunning natural landscapes, and an unaffected character that lends absolutely everything to their charm.
While island hopping and exploring the coast, you can anchor in some of the most secluded spots, which let you really get the feel for the places that most visitors leave at sunset. We give you a boutique version of Island hopping, discovering historical sites, tiny harbor villages, untouched beaches and bays, and a choice of great activities; all while making yourself at home in the spacious comfort of your luxurious private cabin. On board you enjoy the relaxed company of your fellow guests, large lounge areas and deck, immaculate crew service, and magical feast after feast on board each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
THE CHORA CHURCH :
The word "chora" means "outside the city, the countryside". Probably, a small church built here before the erection of the 5th century Roman city walls gave its name to the later churches built on the same site. The present-day edifice is dated to the llth-14th centuries. Besides its attractive exterior, the mosaics and frescoes inside are considered masterpieces of the Byzantine "renaissance", they were partially whitewashed when the church was converted into a mosque in the early 16th century and were revealed and restored by the Byzantine Institute of America in the 1950's.
THE RUSTEMPASA MOSQUE:
One of the most beautiful and of the smaller mosques designed by the famous architect Sinan who built it in 1561 for the Grand Vizier Rustem Pasa This is the mosque with a central dome and a single minaret that arises amidst the rows of shops and storehouses near the Spice Bazaar. The facade and the small, but attractive interior are decorated with the finest examples of Iznik tiles.
COVERED BAZAAR : The oldest and largest covered bazaar in the world is situated in the heart of the city. One cannot appreciate this market without visiting it. It resembles a giant labyrinth with approximately sixty lanes and more than three thousand shops. The bazaar consisted originally of two 15th century buildings with thick walls that were covered with a series of domes. In the past each lane was reserved for a different profession and the handicrafts produced here were rigorously controlled.
DAY 13 May 31, 2019 - LYDAE
Sail to the bay of Aga Liman, the ancient Lydae. An uphill hike will lead you to an awesome view and Byzantine ruins. The ancient Lydae requires a 30 minutes uphill hike, and is off the beaten path and rarely visited. Lydae features tombs, basilica, protective walls, cisterns, Corinthina columns sand inscribed pedestals from the Roman and Byzantine periodsas well as a vaulted Carian rock tomb in tow levels dating from the 4thcentury. Cleopatra was here, pausing in 46BC to beach her galleys and rest her oarsmen while en route to Rome at age 23 to plead Egypt’s case before the Senate.
Today is spent for enjoying the lovely bays around Gocek. End the day sailing, swimming and snorkeling.
Day 1 May 19, 2019 : ISTANBUL
Arrive Istanbul, our representative will meet you at the airport, transfer to your 4 Star Vault Hotel Karaoke or Celine Hotel. Dinner at leisure
Mighty Byzantine walls, mysterious underground cisterns, majestic basilicas, opulent Ottoman palaces and the ever-busy Bosphorus strait, lend this city an aura of magic. Traditions rooted in 2,500 years of history are sensed in the age-old bargaining technique in the covered bazaar, in a local’s heartfelt invitation to tea, or in the cadences of the muezzin’s call to prayer.
Day 2 : May 20, 2019 ISTANBUL
Meet with your guide for a tour of Istanbul's historic district. The tour will include the Chora Church, Spice Bazaar, the Rustempasha Mosque, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Basilica Cistern and Topkapi Palace with its harem and treasury. Lunch will be served at the famous Hamdi Restaurant.
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