Day 1 – Istanbul
Arrival at Istanbul airport, you will be meeting Pakero travel representative at the airport and transferred to your hotel. A short briefing and welcome cocktail in the evening. (D)

Day 2 – Istanbul
We begin our day with a tour of the Sultan Ahmed square, located at the heart of the “Old City” from where the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires were ruled from. We will walk the Hippodrome square, which was the epicenter of the sportive events and political activities of Constantinople in Roman and Byzantium periods. We will see and talk about the histories of the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Next we enter the Turkish Islamic Arts Museum, which is located in the 16th century Palace of İbrahim Pasha. Exhibitions include centuries old handicraft examples of textiles, tiles, manuscripts, calligraphy and carpentry. Then we take a short walk to the Blue Mosque, famous with its blue Iznik tiles and with its unique 6 minarets, built in the early 17th century. Next we visit the Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of the art & architecture history, constructed as the patriarchate cathedral in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian. Lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch our next stop will be the Topkapı Palace complex with beautifully decorated gardens and impressive examples of Turkish architecture that housed the Ottoman Royalty and their unprecedented collections of imperial treasury, Chinese porcelains, weapons, calligraphy, and holy relics for over four centuries. The final destination of the day will be the narrow alleys of the Grand Covered Bazaar for exploring its maze of 4000 shops for an authentic oriental shopping experience.

Day 3 – Istanbul
We start our tour with a panoramic drive along the old city walls dating back to the 5th century and renowned as one of the greatest examples of a fortification system ever build to defend a city. Next; a short drive to Chora Museum, a small church that was decorated with the most beautiful biblical mosaic panels and frescoes in the 14th century. After visiting the Chora we will be heading towards a 17th century mall called ‘the Egyptian Spice Bazaar’ which still functions as a spice and dried foods market with mystical smells and aromas, spreading around from hundreds of shops selling spices, fruits, vegetables, nuts, flowers, fish… Free time will be allocated for shopping in this bazaar. Lunch in a local restaurant. We end the day up with a relaxing Bosphorus Cruise, through the waterway separating the two continents, Asia and Europe, with its picturesque views of marble palaces, 15th century castles and ancient wooden mansions of the Ottoman architecture. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Istanbul. (B, L, D)

Day 4 – Canakkale (Troy)
After the breakfast, we will begin our scenic drive along the sea of Marmara down to Gallipoli peninsula, historically famous for being the site for the epic battles of Gallipoli and Dardanelles during WWI. Following a tour of the battlefields, we give a lunch break, then cross the strategic waterway of the Dardanelles, and land in Asia and 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 such as Agamemnon, Achilles, Ulysses, and Nestor on the Greek side and Priamos, Hector, and Paris on the Trojan side. We will check-in to our hotel in Canakkale for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 5 – Bergama – İzmir
On our journey to İzmir we will stop by the hauntingly beautiful Pergamon. Depart for Kusadası, Our first visit will be to the 3rd century B.C. acropolis of Pergamon, the site of the renowned altar of Zeus, the temple of Trajan and the great theater overlooking the plains of Bergama. Lunch in a local restaurant. Then the final stop of the day; the Ancient Medical Center of Asclepion where the father of modern medicine ‘Galenus’ practiced for many years. Dinner and overnight in İzmir. (B, L, D)

Day 6 – İzmir –  Kusadasi
Following breakfast we drive to Selcuk to visit the House of Virgin Mary located on top of Mt. Coressos. Then we will be visiting Ephesus, one of the greatest cultural and commercial metropolises of the ancient world and one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. We will take a full tour of the archaeological site walking through the largest ancient Roman theater, gymnasium, agora and baths, as well as the library of Celsus and the former site of the Temple of Artemis (One of the Seven Wonders of the Antiquity). Lunch break in a local restaurant will be followed by a visit to the remains of the Basilica of St. John, the largest church of the western Asia Minor dating back to 6th century AD which is also the burial place of St. John.  Overnight in Kusadasi

Day 7 – Kusadasi
We drive to famous local production center for leather garments whereby after a live Fashion Show, time will be allocated for shopping. Our next stop will be Priene, the ancient Greek city which had the least Roman touch, beautifully laid out on a hill side according to Hippodomus city planning, stop for lunch in a local restaurant. Final visit of the day will be Didyma, the center of Apollonic Prophesy in Asia Minor, the largest remaining ancient temple in Turkey. Dinner and overnight in Kusadası. (B, D)

Day 8 – Pamukkale (Hierapolis)
Leaving our hotel early after breakfast, we will journey to Pamukkale but on the way, we will stop over at one of the most attractive ancient sites of the Aegean Region. Aphrodisias was famous throughout the ancient world for its Temple of Aphrodite and the school of sculpture. The city enjoyed great prosperity during the Roman period and became one of the most prominent cities of the whole Asia Minor. Next, we continue to Pamukkale. Your tour in Pamukkale will include visits both to the Ancient city of Hierapolis with its staggering ancient necropolis and the picturesque cotton-white cascades of hot springs. Arriving to the hotel after a series photo breaks.
Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale. (B, L, D)

Day 9 – Antalya
We leave our hotel straight after breakfast and begin a long and scenic journey towards the sparkling turquoise coast. After checking into our hotel in Antalya, we even have time for a swim before dinner. (B,D)

Day 10 – Antalya
Today we pay a leisurely visit to three cities situated close to the hotel. With its architectural and archaeological wealth, Perge is one of the most interesting ancient cities. We will walk on the wide once porticoed streets, lined with many fine buildings, market places and gymnasiums. Next on our itinerary is the ancient theater of Aspendus which is the best preserved in the world and still in use today. Our last stop for the day will be at Side, the last of these three antique cities. Present day Side sits on top of the old city. Highlights include the Temples of Athena and Apollo, the Agora and the Museum. (B,D)

Day 11 – Konya
Following an early breakfast we will drive through a beautiful pastoral landscape, over the Taurus mountains viewing the rural life of Turkey. Lunch en route before arriving in Konya. Konya was the capital of the Seljhuk Empire in the 12th and the 13th centuries therefore it is decorated with many fine examples of Turkish & Islamic art and architecture and was also the hometown of Mevlana the founder of ‘Sufi’ wisdom and his Whirling Dervishes. After visiting the Mevlana Museum, we will continue driving to Cappadocia via Sultanhani where we will visit a magnificent example of a 13th century Seljhuk inn built for accommodating the caravans.
Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)

Day 12 / 13 – Cappadocia
After a pleasant drive through the plains of Konya we reach Cappadocia and as the first thing we visit one of the largest underground cities of Cappadocia: Kaymakli. This magnificent underground city is dating back to 3000 BC and eight storey deep. Thousands of early Christians had lived and took refuge in Kaymaklı to survive against the persecution by the Romans. After a few panoramic picture stops will arrive at the Uchisar Rock-Carved Castle overlooking the valleys and fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. Then proceed to the Open Air Museums of Goreme & Zelve to visit the rock carved churches hollowed out of volcanic ash, dating back to the IV-XIII centuries. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
Optional: Belly Dance show at Cave Restaurant.

Day 14 – Ankara / Istanbul
Today with an early start to the day you may join to an optional Hot Air Balloon ride which is by far the best way to savor the fantastic views of the landscape of Cappadocia. Then drive to Ankara; the modern capital city of Turkey. Visit the Mausoleum of Atatürk (1881-1938) the founding father of the Turkish Republic which is at the same time a museum of Turkish Independence War and Revolution. After lunch visit one of the most impressive archaeological museums of the world: The Museum of Ancient Anatolian Civilizations with its unprecedented collections of Hittites, Assyrians, Urartians, Lydians as well as rich exhibitions of prehistoric artifacts.
Dinner and overnight in Ankara. (B, L, D)

Day 15
Transfer and flight home. (B)

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