tour is only available with at least 10 participants
and Tour Information are subject to change.
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.
1 - Istanbul(D)
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.
2 - Istanbul- Trabzon (B) (L) (D)
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
3- Ayder (B) (L) (D)
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.
4- Rize (B)
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.
5- Artvin (B) (L) (D)
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.
6- Kars (B) (L) (D)
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.
7- Erzurum (B)
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
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
- Dogubeyazit (B) (L) (D)
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.
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.
11- Van (B)
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.
12- Van (B)
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
13- Istanbul (B)
from Van to Istanbul. Free time in the afternoon. Farewell
14- Istanbul (B)
tour will be over after breakfast.
is not Included:
in hotels,plus 3 nights on boat.
flight/s mentioned on the itinerary.
All meals mentioned
on the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
mentioned in the itinerary.
guidance on each activity.
sightseeing as specified in the itinerary.
taxes & service charges
and Port rage tips.
fees to sites and museums.
restaurants and hotels.
bus driver & tour guide.
of personal nature such as beverages, laundry, phone calls at the
services which are not specifically mentioned.