Cultural Round Trips -- In the Shadow of the Sultans II


from Antalya to Istanbul

Day 1: Arrival

Fly from the chosen departure airport to Antalya, reception at the airport by our English-speaking tour guide and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation in Antalya.

Day 2: Information Briefing and the Ancient City of Perga
After breakfast you will receive more detailed information about the entire week's programme, during a briefing with welcoming drinks. Then journey to the famous ancient city of Perga. In-depth visit to the remains of the most important ancient city in the region. Return trip to the hotel.

Day 3: Antalya – The Pearl of the Turkish Riviera
Travel to Antalya. On the programme is the requisite visit to a typical Turkish market. At this "farmers' market" you can experience first-hand how everyday life plays out in these typical middle-eastern markets - amongst herbs, souvenirs, spices and other products. Afterwards you will visit a waterfall, considered one of the region's most stunning natural sights. The last visit of the day is paid to a large jewellery centre, where you can marvel at the production of traditional jewellery and observe the skilled craftsmanship of this trade. There is also the opportunity to take in a leather fashion show. After the visit we will attend a Turkish-themed evening. Various folk dances from Anatolia, complete with traditional costumes, are conducted for your viewing pleasure. Belly dancers, both male (zenne) and female, constitute a highlight of the evening. An evening full of passion and joy awaits. Return to the hotel following this wonderful performance.

Day 4: City of Whirling Dervishes
Today the tour continues to the former capital of the Great Seljuq Empire, Konya. Just before reaching Aksaray we will visit the caravanserai of Sultan Han. The mighty, fort-like building from the 13th century was built under Kayqubad I and is situated in the middle of the village. On average we will see remnants of caravanserais about every 40 km. The distance between these constructions represents approximately the length of a day's march for a camel caravan. Afterwards you will visit the 'Mevlana Museum'. Mevlana, more commonly known in the English-speaking world as 'Rumi', is considered the greatest Islamic philosopher, who once upon a time founded the order in this very city. Even in the times of the Seljuq Empire this order had very many members. Today even believers from differing religious sectors, amongst others, acknowledge the keystone principles of this order. Following the founding of the Turkish Republic however, the order was banned, and since then this complex has become a museum. Onward journey to Cappadocia where you will spend the night.

Day 5: The Moon-like Landscape of Cappadocia
An intensive, day-long excursion into this stunning landscape is on the programme today. The extinct volcanoes 'Mount Erciyes and Mount Hasan' are the one-time creators of this lava landscape. Due to expulsions of lava and various natural forms of erosion, the numerous rock formations have taken shape. Our tour begins with 'Zelve', a valley where people lived in cave dwellings right up until the 1960s.  Afterwards we will continue to the subterranean city of Kaymaklı. During the time of the Arab attacks, people fled to these underground cities to seek refuge. Then we travel onwards to the Red Valley, 'Kızlıcukur', which takes its name from the colour of its rocks and soil. Thousands of natural rock formations display the true beauty of this region. The tuff earth found here has a high percentage of copper and sulphur, which is also the reason for the harmonious blending of tones from red (predominantly) through to yellow. A further visit is then paid to 'Göreme', with its many rock-hewn churches, which are decorated with wonderful frescos. The afternoon promises a visit to a carpet-making workshop.  The art of carpet making, which is thousands of years old and increasingly dwindling in the small villages, is preserved here, as is the extraction of natural colours from the surroundings. Accommodation in Cappadocia.

Day 6: Istanbul - Constantinople
Transfer to the Kayseri Airport and domestic flight to Istanbul. Following arrival in Istanbul we travel to the Golden Horn. Here we have a programmed visit to the Egyptian Bazaar. Next up comes a wonderful boat trip on the Bosphorus. Villas and pavilions from the 19th century display the wealth of the city. The trip begins at the Golden Horn and takes passengers past beautiful palaces and villas to the mouth of the Black Sea. As inspiration for countless poets and painters, the beauty and grace of the Bosphorus is bound to captivate you too.  Accommodation in Istanbul.

Day 7: The Sultans' Palaces and Mosques
After enjoying a communal breakfast, you will receive a short briefing of the most important information about your immediate surroundings and valuable tips for exploring the city of Istanbul. The tour of the city will then begin, taking you through the former city of Constantinople, the only city in the world to be located on two continents.  The first port of call is the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, known in Europe as the Blue Mosque. This holy building with its six minarets ranks as one of the most famous and splendid sultan's mosques in the world. Visitors to the Hippodrome, the setting for many historic events, can marvel at an Egyptian obelisk, the German Fountain and the Serpent Column. Right opposite the Hippodrome looms the majestic Hagia Sophia, a magnificent Byzantine building dating back to the 6th century AD. Built by Emperor Justinian, it is one of the most important examples of Byzantine architecture and served as an archetype for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.  A further highlight of the day is a visit to Topkapı Palace - shrouded in legend, the palace houses over 100,000 exhibits. As centre of power in the Ottoman Empire and setting for several intriguing occurrences, this palace complex perfectly displays the various epochs of Ottoman architecture.  The harem alone comprises 400 different rooms and constitutes just a "small" part of the palace. To round the day off you will pay a visit to the world-famous roofed bazaar, with its narrow passageways and middle-eastern shops.  Accommodation in Istanbul.

Day 8: Departure
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for return flight.

SERVICES: In the Shadow of the Sultans, from Antalya
•    Sparkling wine offered as a welcome drink upon arrival
•    Small bottle of water upon arrival in the bus
•    All transfers; for arrival as well as departure
•    2 nights' accommodation with breakfast in Istanbul in a special hotel category
•    2 nights' half-board accommodation in the special 'style' hotel Yiğitpasa Konagı or Burcu Kaya in Cappadocia
•    3 nights' half-board accommodation in the special-category hotel Alp Paşa or Tütav Hotel
•    Modern, air-conditioned coach for the entire tour (as indicated on the programme)
•    Professional English-speaking tour guide during the entire tour
•    Excursions included as indicated, with entry costs
•    Turkish evening with dinner and a show in Antalya or Cappadocia

Request services (may only be booked on location):
 6 lunches for the package price of 59 euros