Turkey floats on exotic musings of interwoven chronicles and beguiling stories: Greek temples, Roman relics, early theology, Ionian beauty, Ottoman sultans, and sundry other tales spanning four millennia. No other country offers such a compelling journey through world history. Bursting with famous wonders and sublime untold history, this handcrafted tour takes you across the centuries, evocatively revealing a land that epitomizes the diversity and beauty of an entire planet.
Istanbul – Famous Wonders Welcome You to Istanbul
The heart of the old city basks in its ancient charm. Narrow streets are flanked by dazzling domes and 12th century architecture. Boutique shop-fronts are fringed by smells of Turkish delight. Cafes roast coffee beans beside traders squashing grapefruits into fresh juice. And your hotel evokes lingering impressions of ancient Istanbul, the antiquated interiors reminiscent of when the city was one of the richest and most powerful on the planet. You're met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel Arena. Relax and settle in before this afternoon's guided tour.
As the tour starts, one panorama stretches across 2,000 years. Sit on the benches that fill the remains of the Roman Hippodrome. Your guide points out the last relics from Constantinople before explaining the domes that surround your position. On one side lies the Blue Mosque, an exquisite feat of religious engineering dating to Ottoman times. To the other is the Hagia Sophia. First wander through 1,400 years of history as you explore the gigantic rooms and domes of the Hagia Sophia. Etched into the walls are murals of Christian memoirs, the colors faded but the biblical scenes easily deciphered. For many centuries this was the world's largest church. Then it became a mosque and there's evidence of Islamic beauty all around; calligraphy, intricately patterned walls, ornate tiles. Now cross the square and step inside the Blue Mosque, a rare opportunity to explore the elegant glory of one of the world's finest Islamic buildings. Return to the hotel and the evening is deliberately left free. By staying in historic Sultanahmet it's easy to walk to dozens of restaurants, cafes, and enticing streets.
Istanbul – Fabulous Palaces, Markets, and Art
Istanbul – Hidden Mosques and Exploring the Bosphorus
Cappadocia – A Sublime Welcome to Surreal Cappadocia
Cappadocia – Tiny Traditional Village and Vast Canyons
Cappadocia – An Underground City and More Dazzling Landscapes
Sirince – Exploring the Remarkable Ancient City of Ephesus
Sirince – Satan's Throne and the Dramatic Ruins of Pergamon
Istanbul – Returning to Istanbul's Sensual Feast
Istanbul – Departure
- Discover the remains of ancient Greece by visiting the ruins of Pergamon, temples built in honor of Greek gods, and column-dominated Ionian streets
- Explore a magnificent Roman history in both Ephesus and Istanbul (Constantinople), the experience accompanied by sublime relics and wonderfully preserved architecture
- Poignant religious history is an ongoing highlight of this tour; vivid rock cut churches, crumbling ancient mosques, the resting place of biblical characters, and epitomes of Christian and Islamic harmony
- Spend three days exploring the Ottoman inspired wonders of Istanbul, including Sultans' palaces, vast covered bazaars, and artwork spanning centuries of exotic influence
- Absorb the often hidden stories of Cappadocia, a land of underground cities, tiny traditional villages, exquisite lunar valleys, and caves inhabited by monks
- This tour has been handcrafted to continually excite and is packed with fascinating attractions, like Satan's Throne, archaeological museums, and underground cities
- Each boutique hotel has been hand chosen to complete the immersion in history and effortlessly transports you to another era
Turkey's land could fill a thousand history books. Famous empires have risen and fallen. Exoticism has been continually sprinkled across the landscapes. Roman, Greek, Ottoman, early Christian memoirs, as well as redolent Islamic stories; hundreds of narratives cling to green hillsides and span continents. Turkey is a page turner, each day piling stories upon stories. But it's not a history to be read. It's a history that is revealed and explored. Over 10 days you're submerged in the narratives of time, taking journeys that span Apollo, Constantinople, Cleopatra, St John, marauding armies, and cave dwelling monks. Famous storylines provide the backbone of the trip as you explore famous destinations like Istanbul and Ephesus. However, like all good history, the really juicy discoveries are found when you really explore and absorb the forgotten chapters. America's oldest buildings don't even date back four centuries. This itinerary takes you to places that date back four millennia.
The itinerary starts with three nights in Istanbul before you fly to Kayseri for three nights in Cappadocia. Another short flight transports you to the village base of Sirince, ideally situated beside Ephesus and Pergamon. On day nine you return to Istanbul for the final night of the vacation. Boutique hotels have been carefully chosen for their historic focus. In Istanbul you revel in the old-world charm of the city while in Cappadocia you enjoy the centuries old tradition of sleeping in a converted cave. The Sirince guesthouse is more like a lavish private home and helps transport you to the time of emperors and kingdoms.
Throughout this vacation, all tours are private and conducted by expert historical guides. They reveal fascinating tales that accompany the visual splendor; relics come with myths and legends, temples epitomize an empire's glory, and there's much to be discovered that didn't appear in the history books. Sometimes you're exploring odes to the past, like the religious harmony of the Hagia Sophia, churches carved into the cliffs of Goreme, or the remains of one of the original Seven Wonders of the World: the Temple of Artemis. But history also comes alive and juxtaposes with modern life. Explore the Grand Bazaar, visit whitewashed stone villages in Cappadocia, and discover just how much this land has shaped the world.
This is a private tour and each day's itinerary runs at a relaxed pace. Traditional lunches are included on most days and there's a focus on offering enough time to really soak up the beauty of your destinations. Like all Zicasso itineraries, each facet of the tour is fully customizable. For those seeking a longer vacation there are numerous potential options to extend the itinerary. These could include Troy and Pammukale, or a journey heading further east that explores Lydean history.
$3,375 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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