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Upper Mesopotamia 3 Day

DAY 1 - Istanbul - Diyarbakir - Mardin - Kahta
In the morning, flight to Diyarbakir, a big city located near the right bank of the Tigris River (Dicle) and named "the Dark" because of the remains of its old black basalt walls which are one of the best examples of medieval military architecture. Visit the impressive city walls and the Grand Mosque which includes many recycled building materials from the Byzantine and more ancient periods. Continue to Mardin that rises in tiers on the mountain slope and overlooks the vast plains of Mesopotamia. You will stroll through the alleys and stairs of the town to discover its typical houses and monuments such as Sultan Isa Medrese, the buildings of the Post Office and the Great Ulu Camii, the oldest mosque (1176) in the city with its remarkable minaret. Also visit the Syriac-Jacobite Deyrul Zaferan Monastery located outside Mardin. At the end of the day, you will cross the Euphrates by ferry to reach Kahta. Lunch during sightseeing. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 2 - Cendere Bridge - Mount Nemrut
A full day to explore Eski Kahta where you will see Karakus Tumulus, a burial sanctuary, Cendere Bridge, erected by the XVI Legion in the honour of Roman Emperor Septimus Severus and Arsameia on the Nymphaios (Eski Kale) with its cult monuments and reliefs. Then continue your drive to the National Park of Nemrut Dag. Inside the park, ascend Mount Nemrut to its famous summit. At 7,000 feet, Mount Nemrut is the highest mountain in northern Mesopotamia. In the 1st century BC, Antiochus I, King of Commagene, erected a sanctuary of statues at the summit where he was venerated in the company of other gods such as Apollo, Zeus and Hercules. Antiochus' tomb is believed to be buried beneath. You will visit this stunning site where these monumental statues of fallen gods still reside on terraces with breathtaking panoramic views over the region and from where you will watch, according to the season, an unforgettable sunrise or sunset. Drive back to Kahta. Lunch during sightseeing. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 3 - Kahta - Harran - Urfa - Gaziantep
Early morning, drive to Harran the ancient city where Abraham is said to have spent several years of his life. Explore this ancient village known for its remains of the largest ancient Islamic university and distinctive "beehive" houses, aptly named for their unique cone-shaped roofs. On the road visit recently discovered Gobekli Tepe excavations to see world's first temple 9000 BC. Continue to Urfa in time for lunch. Then, explore this "City of the Prophets" with its rich and eventful past. Visit the famous Balikli Gol, a large pool full of sacred carps with the mosques reflected in its waters. Stroll through the busy and colorful bazaar, the "hans" with their different guilds and the old quarter with its traditional corbelled houses. Continue to Gaziantep, the Turkish pistachio capital. Visit the old quarters surrounding the fortress and the Archaeological Museum where the superb Roman mosaics from Zeugma are displayed. In the evening transfer to the Gaziantep airport.

General Features
This itinerary enables the travelers to discover the Southeastern Anatolia Region, watered by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which not only has a very rich history and cultural heritage, but also offers superb, varied landscapes. This fascinating part of Turkey, which remained closed to tourism for a long time, offers today a good road network and hotel infrastructure. This tour is feasible from early April till late October
MINIMUM 2 PASSENGERS REQUIRED
Special Features
Included
Transportation in air-conditioned
vehicles throughout as stated in the tours general features
Escort by a professional guide-lecturer throughout
Entrance fees to the museums stated in itinerary
All meals mentioned in the program
Accommodation in shared twin rooms in stated or similar hotels
Arrival and departure transfers
Not Included
Visits and services not mentioned in program.
Domestic flights
Insurance
Personal expenses and all beverages
Tips

Mt Nemrut Eastern Explorer 4 Day Tour

DAY 1 : Karatay Caravensaray, Kahraman Maras

Interesting drive today as we pass by Tekir plateau, Karatay Caravensaray and Kahraman Maras (produces Turkey's best ice cream!) before arriving in Kahta. Overnight Kahta. (L, D)


Day 2: Mt Nemrut, Kahta, Urfa, Harran
Arrive at Mt. Nemrut before dawn and ascend the mountain for 15 minutes to watch the magical sunrise over the plateau, and visit the massive ancient rock statues. Return to Kahta and tour the Ancient city. Head south to Harran for a tour of this fascinating 400 year old town, including the mud brick beehive houses. Overnight Sanli Urfa. (B, L, D)


Day 3: Birecik - Istanbul

After breakfast, we head to Birecik to see the famous Bald Ibis birds, then return flight to Istanbul from Gaziantep airport. Overnight Istanbul. (B, L)


Day 4: Istanbul
After breakfast our tour concludes and we say goodbye to our new friends. (B)






(B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)

General Features
This itinerary enables the travelers to discover the Southeastern Anatolia Region, which not only has a very rich history and cultural heritage, but also offers superb, varied landscapes. This fascinating part of Turkey, which remained closed to tourism for a long time, offers today a good road network and hotel infrastructure.
Special Features
Included
Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking coach
Professional English-speaking tour guide for the duration of the tour
Domestic flight from Gaziantep to Istanbul and transfers
3 nights - 3 star accommodations in total.
o 1 night in Istanbul
o 1 night in Kahta
o 1 night in Urfa
3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Not Included
Suggested optional activities
Tips
Entrance fees to the various sites
Private Ephesus and Terrace Houses

Meeting your professionally-trained guide, you will set out to the ancient city, once an important port that is now located 3 miles inland. Upon arrival at the upper gate of Ephesus, you will set out on foot with your guide to explore the unending monuments including the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika and the Great Theater, built in the Greek era and reconstructed in the Roman period. Until recently, the theater still hosted concerts due to its remarkable acoustics.

You will also visit the terrace houses which are located on the slopes of Bulbul Mountain, opposite the Hadrian Temple. Also called "the houses of the rich," they were built for the important and wealthy people of Ephesus, as only rich people could afford such houses. The terrace houses are a Museum inside Ephesus with great engraving, mosaics, wall sections, and original floors of the homes, which offer an incredible view into the lifestyle of the rich Ephesians. The most ancient of the houses were built in the first century B.C. The houses were constructed with the highest standards for their day. They were decorated with mosaics and frescoes, and they had interior courtyards in the center, which opened to the sky. The houses also had cold and hot water.
After this wonderful visit, you will drive to a local restaurant where you will have a typical Turkish lunch. After lunch, guests will have the opportunity to see a Turkish carpet demonstration.
Private History and Religion of Roman Ephesus


Roman Catholic tradition states that St. John and the Virgin Mary moved to Ephesus, where they eventually died, though there is an alternative tradition that holds Mary's death to be in Jerusalem, where her tomb is, a tradition held true by Orthodox Christians. This tour will visit Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of St. John.

With your professionally-trained guide, you will first visit the House of Virgin Mary. It is known with certainty That the Virgin Mary went to Ephesus and lived there for some time. Whether or not she died in Ephesus was not known until Anne Catherine Emmerich's 1884 vision. The stigmatized German nun who had never been to Ephesus had a vision of the House of the Virgin Mary and described it in detail to the German writer Clemens Brentano who later published a book about it. In 1891 Paul, Superior of the Lazarists from Izmir read about her vision and found a little building which corresponded with Emmerich's descriptions. Archeological evidence showed the foundation to be from the 1st-Century A.D., but the little house itself was from the 6th-Century A.D. The site was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage.

From the house, you will travel down to the ancient city of Ephesus. Follow your guide as you walk the city visiting the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika and the Great Theater. It was in this theater that Paul preached to the Ephesians.
You will then visit the Basilica of St. John. It is believed that the evangelist St. John had spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and was buried in the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill. Three hundred years after the death of Saint Paul, a small chapel was constructed over the grave. The chapel was replaced with a marvelous basilica during the region of Emperor Justinian (527 -565 AD). The monumental basilica was in the shape of a cross and was covered with six domes. Its construction, being of stone and brick, is an extremely rare find amongst the architecture of its time. Raised on two steps and covered with marble, the tomb of St John was under the central dome. After this visit you will have a traditional lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, you will visit the Ephesus Archaeological Museum which displays religious sculptures and other artifacts from Ephesus. Most notable are two beautiful statues of the Ephesian Artemis.
After your museum visit, you will have the opportunity to see a Turkish carpet demonstration before returning to Izmir.

 

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