Religion and Secularity: 99% of the Turkish population is Moslem. However, everyone in Turkey has freedom of religion and beliefs. The first phases in the introduction of secularism were the abolition of the Caliphate and the Ministry of Sheria and Pious Foundations on March 4th, 1924, followed by the introduction of separate educational and judicial systems, the hat reform, the closure of dervish retreats and religious sects, the acceptance of a Sunday weekend holiday rather than the Moslem Friday and finally the adoption of the principle of secularism in the constitution on 1937. In secular Turkey, all religious affairs are carried out by a central government organisation affiliated to the Prime Ministry, namely the Department of Religious Affairs.
DAY 1: Arrive Istanbul / Canakkale: Upon arrival Istanbul, visit Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace the seat of the Ottoman Empire, after it shifted its capital from Bursa to Istanbul. It is today, a museum palace with a wide collection of Kitchen wares and Porcelains, Treasuries, Royal Antiques, Courtyards, Holy Relics etc. Then we will begin our scenic drive down to Gallipoli, historically famous for being the site of many battles during WWI. Then we will cross the second strategic waterway, the Dardanelles, and land in Dardanelles, and land in Asia. We will check-in to our hotel in Canakkale for dinner and overnight. (L,D)
DAY 2: Canakkale / Kusadasi: Following breakfast, we proceed to Troy. Referred to in Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey", Troy has in fact nine cities superimposed one upon another. Troy VI pertains to the famous Trojan War of Homer where the legendary heroes included Agamemnon, Achilles, Ulysses, and Nestor on the Greek side and Priam, Hector, and Paris on the Trojan side. Then drive southward to visit Pergamon where visit to Asklepion that is oldest health center of Antique World. Drive to Kusadasi. Overnight in Kusadasi. (B, L, D)
DAY 3: Kusadasi / Pamukkale: Following breakfast we drive to Selcuk to visit Ephesus as well as viewing one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Temple of Artemis (One of the Seven Wonders of Antiquity) and the Basilica of St. John from a distance, followed by lunch in the town of Selcuk. After lunch we will visit the famous local production center for leather garments whereby after a live Fashion Show time will be allocated for shopping. Then continue to Pamukkale. You will tour the Ancient City of Hierapolis today called Pamukkale where Calcareous hot springs descending over cliffs have created fascinating travertines in the form of white terrace and basins. After a picture break, dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
DAY 4 Pamukkale / Konya / Cappadocia: Following an early breakfast we will drive through an interesting landscape where peasants make their living, to have lunch enroute before arriving in Konya. Konya was the center of the Seljuk Empire as well as the city of Mevlana and his Whirling Dervishes. After visiting Sultanhani Caravanserai enroute, we will continue to Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: FULL DAY CAPPADOCIA: Enjoy a full-day tour through Cappadocia, which boasts a unique landscape sculpted by the wind, sun, rain and snow. Its bizarrely shaped pillars, cones and fairy chimneys fantastic spots for snapshots. Explore the Underground City, one of the largest underground cities here, said to have existed since the Hittite period. You will get a chance to see its bedrooms, kitchens, dining halls, wine cellars, chapels, stables and more.. Visit also Goreme Open Air Museum and Uchisar, an old village of small dwellings carved into massive rocks. If time permits, you can visit one of the homes in the contemporary village here and experience life on the rocks. Make photo stops at Valley of the Birds and Uchisar Castle, where you can capture panoramic views of the beautiful plateau. Avanos , a town famous small in pottery and carpets. You may visit one of the factories and learn the art of pottery making and carpet weaving. Transfer to hotel for dinner. Follows we have transfer to local cave Restaurant to have first Whirling Dervishes Show, then Folkloric Dance Show and Belly Dance Show. After that, transfer back to hotel for overnight in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: Cappadocia / Ankara / Bolu: Depart for Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Visit the Ataturk Mausoleum the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Father of modern Turkey. The architecture of the mausoleum is a mix of different styles that represent the various Anatolian civilizations. Then drive to Bolu for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
DAY 7: Bolu / Istanbul: After breakfast at hotel drive to Istanbul. Upon arrival have lunch in local restaurant. Then visit famous Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar (or Covered Bazaar, Turkish: Kapalıçarşı) in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 58 streets and 4,000 shops in. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul. (B, L, D)
DAY 8: Departure Istanbul : Breakfast and free for leisure until transfer to the airport for your flight. (B)
Tour Dates: Tour depart and can be organise private or regular base any date years around. Guaranteed departs for Minimum 4 pax required Tour Visits: Istanbul, Canakkale, Cappadocia, Ankara, Izmir, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Pergamon, Bolu, Troy and ends in Istanbul.
Accommodation in 5 or 4 or 3 stars hotels- a professional licenced Guide - Mentioned meals above in the tour program - A comfortable Bus, car or minivan - All entrance fees where necessary.
Drinks on the meals - Self expences in Hotel rooms (Minibar- Laundry-Telephone etc) - Tips to Guide and Driver.
Special thanks to Bahar who created a perfect program for us.
Thanks for encouraging us to do hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia as that will be a special memory and thank making that Turkish kebab meal we loved it all.
Donna Michael Williams
Sidney - Australia