EASTERN TURKEY

14 Days / 13 Nights

Questions? Booking In

Mr. Ali Cakar

+90 212 254 15 21

tours@visitturkeynow.com

Tour Rates

Superior Class Hotels

Type

In Double Room

Single Suppl.

Price

 USD

USD

First Class Hotels

Type

In Double Room

Single Suppl.

Price

USD

USD

 

This tour is only available with at least 10 participants

Tour and Tour Information are subject to change.

To punish Prometheus for stealing the fire, Zeus decided he should be taken to the high, unreachable mountains where no one can rescue him. The mountain where Prometheus was bound is now the border of North East Turkey. To save the living from corruption, God ordered Noah to build an Ark. Noah's Ark landed on Mount Ararat, which was above and beyond the flood. Mount Ararat is now the eastern border of Turkey. To establish a community where believing in one God was not going to be reason for persecution, Abraham took the people of Harran to Canaan. Harran where people, since the time of Abraham, speak the language of Jesus is in the South East of Turkey. The mountains of the eastern part of Turkey cast their grand shadows over the fertile valleys of the "Garden of Eden." The rivers Tigris and Euphrates continue to nourish the "Tree of Life" in this land where the people of all different ethnic identity, the Kurds, the Georgians, the Arabs, the Turks, the Assyrians experience a new present and a hopeful future in the changing world. The colors of nature and diverse cultures compose the most wonderful symphony. Give 1001 painters all the colors they want and ask them to paint the colors of the Eastern part of Turkey during a day. By the sunset, they will be out of breath but they would still not be able to get all the colors that you will see and experience in one day. As you will see from the itinerary, Eastern Turkey offers a great variety of historic, ethnic, and geographic diversity to make this educational tour not have a dull moment. Looking forward to seeing you in the plains of Eastern Turkey.

Day 1 - Istanbul (D)

Arrive in Istanbul. After clearing customs you will be met by your guide. There will be a short drive to hotel where there will be some time to rest and settle in. Short introduction to what we are doing on that day. Visit the Blue Mosque before dinner. Dinner at an old Istanbul house in the neighborhood of the Blue Mosque. Overnight at Hotel. 

Day 2 - Istanbul  - Trabzon (B) (L) (D)

Early morning flight to Trabzon. Drive to Sumela Monastary. Altindere National Park provides a magnificent setting for the 14th century Sumela Monastery, perched high on a cliff face 270 meters above a deep gorge. Surrounded by the ruins of the monks' quarters, is a church covered inside and out with brilliant frescoes. Sumela, also known as the Monastary of the Virgin. It has been said that it is neither on earth nor in heaven. A short hike through the rain forest will leave no question in your mind about where you are in Turkey, The Black Sea Region. Visit the city of Trabzon in the afternoon. After the crusaders invaded Constantinople in 1204, Trabzon became the capital of the Byzantine empire for a short time. Longing for the grandeur of Constantinople, in Trabzon, they imitated the Churches of their beloved city in a smaller scale. St. Sophia of Trabzon though much smaller will leave with you the same sense of religious devotion as the original one in Istanbul. 

Day 3- Ayder (B) (L) (D)

Once we leave Trabzon and drive East, our bus will look like it is caught between the Black Sea and the steep slopes of the mountains. The scattered houses in the villages on the green slopes of these mountains look nothing like the architecture of the rest of the country. We will make a few house visits to get a better understanding of their lifestyles. The village that we are heading to today is known for an excellent spa. We will enjoy the natural hot waters with the locals. Watching the locals dance and sing tonight will probably be one of the highlights of the tour. Overnight at Hotel Saray in Ayder. Hotel Saray means Hotel Palace but please expect the minimal hotel up here. It is clean but the bathroom and showers are down the hall, not in the rooms.

Day 4- Rize (B) (L) (D)

The people of the Black Sea have villages on at least three levels of the mountains. During the winter they live by the sea. During the early part of the summer they move up higher where Ayder is. Later in the season they go literally over the clouds. Such places are called "Yayla." Today we will drive up to the yayla of Ayder. If you are a lover of nature you will say that this day alone gives you your money's worth of this tour. Since our bus cannot go beyond Ayder we will be driving both ways in small mini-buses. Those who are interested in hiking can walk down hill to enjoy the nature more. To avoid spending two nights at the very basic hotel we will go all the way down to the shore and stay overnight in Rize.

Day 5- Artvin (B) (L) (D)

Drive to the Georgian Border. For 75 years the communist regime of the Soviets banned people from going outside the boundaries of the Iron Curtain. Since the fall of the Communist Soviet Empire, this border has been very busy with people trying to get into Turkey to sell everything they have. Over the mountains of the Black Sea we will leave the last sight of the sea behinds us and drive south to the highest city in Turkey. Artvin looks like an eagle's nest. If you do not feel too exhausted in the late afternoon we will drive to another mountaintop to see Georgian Churches from the 11th century. During the Middle Ages the Artvin area came under Georgian sovereignty, which makes it the best place for touring remains of the Georgian past. Its wonderfully scenic roads lead to the ruined churches and settlements that stand as a legacy of this period. The best-preserved of these are at Barhal and Ishan, in the majestic Kackar Mountains. Barhal also offers some of the best country horseback riding.

Day 6- Kars (B) (L) (D)

Once the Caravans of the Silk Road used the road that we will take toward Kars via the Lonely Pine Forest. This is the name of the forest and the name is very appropriate for the location of this wonderful region at an altitude of 7,000 feet. Kars is particularly known for its distinctive kilims and carpets, and it retains a strong heritage of folkdancing. Visitors always seem to enjoy this traditional entertainment. On the mountain pastures, villagers produce excellent Kasar cheese and delicious honey. By sunset, we will be driving by a lake that will be catching the last rays of the sun as we drive into Kars. 

Day 7- Erzurum  (B) (L) (D)

Kars is farthest eastern city of Turkey on the Armenian border. This city with its imposing fortress cries out that she has been a frontier city for all ages. Visit the bridge that was made to survive centuries with egg white in its mortar. Drive 23 miles to the border town of Ani, the 10th century capital of Armenia. The city walls of red stone will make you feel like you might be walking into a movie set. But when you see the cathedrals, churches, temples dedicated in Zoastrian deities, caravansarai and the Silk Road, you will realize that you are actually walking in the time tunnel of hundreds of years. Visit the village house closest to the border of Turkey. Find out how one can live by raising ducks. Leave Kars after lunch and drive southwest to Erzurum. Of great interest will be the villages of stone houses and black sheep on green meadows. Of even more interest will be the time we will spend with the villagers visiting their homes to find out what it means to be living in those mountains. Arrive in Erzurum in the afternoon.

Day 8- Erzurum (B) (L) (D)

Erzurum rests at a base altitude of 6000 ft. Although it is somewhat remote, it is one of the largest cities in eastern Turkey. Despite its size, the people maintain quite a conservative outlook. One obvious result is that you will more frequently encounter women wearing veils than in other city. While in Erzurum we will visit Ulu Cami (The Great Mosque). We will also have an opportunity to see some Kurdish villages. Although the collection in the archaeological museum reveals much of the city's history and ancient origins, it is Erzurum's architecture which is in fact the best picture of its past. The city walls and fortress are reminiscent of the period of Byzantine rule. People in Erzurum are very loyal to their cuisine. Lunch will give us an opportunity to taste what the people of Erzurum have been eating for hundreds of years. Visit the 12th century Medrese (a Seljukian School). Talk with the imam at the 12th century Mosque and enjoy the ethnographic museum. Visit an old caravan stop where the local black stone is mounted in silver and gold by the local artists in the most aesthetic art form. Dinner at the hotel. 

Day 9- Igdir - Dogubeyazit (B) (L) (D)

Free time in the morning. Drive east from Erzurum to Igdir then south to Dogubayazit. We will drive for 3 1/2 hours along the "Silk Road" to Dogubayazit. At the Iranian border we will see a site known as the Crater Hole. This is a beautiful, yet rugged area. We will have the opportunity to see Mt. Ararat from all sides. It is believed by some to be the resting place of Noah's Ark; to date no one has found anything that has been verified as the Ark - yet the search is still on. In the afternoon we will stop and see the Ishak Pasa Palace. This complex is a combination of a mosque, a fortress, and a palace. Arrive by Mount Ararat to enjoy its grandeur before sunset. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 10- Van  (B) (L) (D)

As the sun rises over the planes of Iran, Mount Ararat catches the light of the new day before you can see the sun. The halo on the peak will be a spiritual experience as you sip your coffee on the balcony of your hotel. Visit Noah's ark. See a village that for hundreds of years lived with Mount Ararat as a backdrop. Mail your post cards from the eastern most post office that you can find in Turkey on the Iranian border. See the miles of petrol tanks coming from Iran to put the economic reality of the region in a different perspective. After lunch visit a palace which is like an experiment model for an architect trying to put the architectural features of all those who had run caravans on the Silk Road. Iranian gateways, Ottoman domes, Baroque harem rooms, Armenian stonework, Georgian reliefs will be captured in your pictures as a proof of synthesis of civilizations.
Drive south to Van. At the 3,000 year old Van castle, we will watch the sun set as we enjoy our wine sitting at the alter of the Urartu Sun Goddess appreciating the good choice of the location for this deity. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 11- Van  (B) (L) (D)

Visit the Van ethnographic museum in the morning. Van's interesting Archaeological Museum is in the new city, inland from the uninhabited old district. Still very much part of a traditional lifestyle, the women of Van produce beautiful kilims woven in blue, red and white patterns. The exotic Van cat, a protected specie, has thick white fur and one blue and one green eye. Drive to a meadow to watch local folk dancers. Have a picnic lunch with the dancers and talk to these Kurdish students. We will have lunch at a quaint restaurant, with a possibility to see a folk dance show, opposite Akdamar Island located near the south shore of Lake Van. We will take a short ferry ride to the island. There is a wonderful 10th century Armenian Church here called the Church of the Holy Cross. The outside walls of the church are decorated with art depicting various well-known tales from the Bible. Our stay will be at a nice tourist class hotel. We will see some lovely rugs and kilims from Eastern Turkey when we return to Van from the island. With the snow in the mountains and blooming almond trees, try to understand how the word white can have different meanings. Swim in the clear waters of the lake. Return to Van to see an amazing Kilim collection. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 12- Van  (B) (L) (D)

Today we will drive to Hakkari. The road to remote Hakkari, 203 km southeast of Van, takes you through some of Turkey's most magnificent scenery: the Cilo-Sat Mountains and the Zap Valley. A medieval fortress dominates the city, which is at an altitude of 1,748 meters. It will be so exciting to be able to see the striking ancient sites and the revitalized people of the region. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 13- Istanbul (B)

Fly from Van to Istanbul. Free time in the afternoon. Farewell dinner.

Day 14- Istanbul (B)

The tour will be over after breakfast.

What is Included:  

What is not Included:

  • 13 nights accomodation in hotels,plus 3 nights on boat.

  • All domestic flight/s mentioned on the itinerary.

  • All meals mentioned on the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner) .

  • All transfers mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Professional guidance on each activity.

  • Comprehensive sightseeing as specified in the itinerary.

  • Local taxes & service charges.

  • Luggage and Port rage tips.

  • Entry fees to sites and museums.

  • Tips to restaurants and hotels.

  • Travel documents kit.

  • International flights.

  • Tips to bus driver & tour guide.

  • Expenses of personal nature such as beverages, laundry, phone calls at the hotels.

  • All services which are not specifically mentioned.

  • Airport taxes or visa fees.

City Deluxe Hotels
Ankara
Trabzon
Ayder
Rize
Artvin
Kars
Erzurum
Dogubeyazit
Van