BYZANTINE AND OTTOMAN TURKEY
Besides this general exposure to the glories of Western Turkey, we will be looking at two historical periods, both stretching over hundreds of years, that had a profound influence over a geographical area way beyond the present political borders of Turkey. The Byzantine Empire, heir to Rome, challenged Persia, survived the advance of the hordes that descended on Europe, and managed to hold out against the growing strength of Islam until 1453. Then using the administrative organisation set up by the Byzantines, the Ottomans remained the only Eastern force capable of bringing a challenge to the gates of Europe, and although weakened considerably, were still able to present a military force at the time of WW1.
During our tour there will be time to talk to Turkish people, to visit their villages and homes, to enjoy their music and dance, to see the workmanship of their skilled artists, and to discover a little of the rich cultural life of this fabulous country.
There are no early morning starts to the day, or quick overnight stops. We stay at comfortable hotels in the centre of town, usually for two or three nights, each personally selected as representing some aspect of Turkish life.
Meals are excellent, there are no hidden options and guides have been specially selected.
All entry fees and tipping for hotels (for the group) are included, dress is casual and there are always special surprises along the way.
YOUR TOUR LEADER: Rob Lovell studied at the University of Durham (MA) and at the University of Sydney (BA, Dip Ed, MED Hons) and taught English and History in secondary schools and TAFE colleges in NSW before lecturing in Education at the University of Sydney. In 1989 he established Alumni Travel, one of the few travel companies in Australia dedicated to special interest, educational and cultural tourism and led the first tour which was to Viet Nam in 1990. This has enabled him to indulge in three ongoing passions: the pursuit of life long learning, international exchange and of course travel. Rob has led at least one tour every year to Vietnam since 1998, as well as tours to Cambodia, Cuba, Eastern Turkey, Western Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia.
SAT 02 MAY ARRIVE ISTANBUL
This morning after our arrival into Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, we transfer to our hotel where we stay for three nights. Our rooms face either the Blue Mosque at the rear or the Bosphorus at the front and it is nestled into part of the ancient city walls. It is wonderfully located close to the Old City. Look out for the dolphins while you are having breakfast tomorrow. (Meals in flight, L)
SUN 03 MAY ISTANBUL
Today we visit the Hippodrome, the graceful Blue Mosque with its fabulous blue tiles from which it gets its name and at the other end of the park- Hagia Sophia Basilica (Church of Holy Wisdom), centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church for centuries. This is followed by a visit to the cool serene atmosphere of the Underground Cistern which provided water storage for the ancient city. Our day includes a visit to exotic Topkapi Palace and the Harem once the centres of court intrigue and splendid reminders of the Ottoman past of this great city. (B,L)
MON 04 MAY ISTANBUL
Another full day exploring the magical city of Istanbul. Firstly we visit the Grand Bazaar (dating back to 1461) with over 60 streets, 4000 shops of all kinds and the oldest and largest in the world. The Spice Market (or Egyptian Market) with its enticing displays of Turkish Delight and Spices, was the last stop for camels travelling along the ancient Silk Road and provided finance for the New Mosque beside it. The great Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent and the Chora Church are our next stops. Then we take a leisurely cruise on the Bospohorus with lunch. The evening is at leisure. (B,L)
TUE 05 MAY ISTANBUL – ANKARA – CAPPADOCIA
After breakfast this morning we transfer to Istanbul airport for the short flight to Ankara. Upon arrival at Ankara airport we visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, housing a small but priceless collection of Anatolian history from prehistoric times to the classical period. We also visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk the founder of the modern secular state of Turkey. A typical Turkish lunch in the old Castle precincts precedes our onward journey to Cappadocia. The Cappadocia area is justifiably famous for its lunar landscape and underground cities carved by wind and rain from soft volcanic tufa or pumice-like stone. Arrival at our hotel will be in the late afternoon. We stay here for the next three nights. (B,L,D)
WED 06 MAY CAPPADOCIA
Many Christian Hermits of ancient times, who wanted to live a life of seclusion and devotion chose this area in which to carve out their tiny churches and monasteries and there are more than 600 in the area, some with ancient frescoes and decorations. Following breakfast today we begin our spectacular tour of the Goreme Valley where thousands of people once lived in homes cut into the soft rock walls of caves and ‘fairy chimneys’. We make visits to potteries in caves dating from prehistoric times, a fabulous carpet workshop and other local handicraft centres. Tonight it may be possible to enjoy an optional Dervish Ceremony held in the beautifully restored Caravanserai of Sarihan. (B,L,D)
THU 07 MAY CAPPADOCIA
It is an unbelievable experience to look down on this area from the basket of a Balloon and depending upon weather conditions you may choose to do this early this morning (optional extra). Deep below the ground there are hundreds of Underground Cities carved out of the soft volcanic Tufa. More than 30 of them have been identified and they may have been connected to each other by tunnels which afforded escape routes during attacks by enemies. They could only be sealed from the inside by huge round stones. We visit one of these phenomenal cities. There will be more exploration with lots of photo stops and a visit to the monastic valley of Zelve, as well as a lunch in a former Greek village where we eat in the courtyard of an old Greek house. (B,L,D)
FRI 08 MAY CAPPADOCIA – KONYA
En route from Cappadocia we visit the great Sultanhan Caravanserai which was an important stop on the Silk Road. The rich plains of Konya have provided cereals for countless generations of inhabitants in this area. In the background can be seen the snow-capped mountains formed by ancient volcanoes. Konya was known as the Roman city of Iconium and it was also the centre of the cult known as the Whirling Dervishes. Although the only remains of the sect can be seen in a small museum and the burial place of the founder it is regarded as a pilgrimage site by many conservative Turks. In Konya we will visit the Mevlana and Karatay Museums, the Alaaddin Mosque and the Ince Minare Medrese. Overnight in Konya. (B,L,D)
SAT 09 MAY KONYA – ANTALYA
We leave Konya this morning to visit the 13th C Esrefoglu Mosque and the Hittite shrine of Eflatun Pinar. Then our drive takes us over the dramatic Taurus Mountains to the Mediterranean Coast of Anatolia where our hotel is close to the ancient walled city of Antalya and we can walk through the narrow streets. Many of the old houses are being renovated. Our dinner tonight will be at the hotel. (B,L,D)
SUN 10 MAY ANTALYA
As we are staying in the heart of the old city there are many things for us to look at. This is the famous Ionian Greek area of classical times and everywhere we look we shall see evidence of Greek and Roman builders. Today during our stay in this region of Pamphylia we visit Perge and Aspendos. But before this we visit the prize-winning Museum of Antalya where we shall see the original great sculptures from these two cities. Dinner at a traditional restaurant. (B,L,D)
MON 11 MAY ANTALYA – KAS
This morning we start our touring at the site where St Nicholas (known by us as Santa Claus) was the Bishop. We visit his church as well as the much more ancient amphitheatre and unique rock cut tombs. We continue to Myra and then take a cruise to see the submerged city of Kekova. After lunch we travel on to the small town of Kas (Antephellos) where we stay for two nights. (B,L,D)
TUE 12 MAY KAS
Today is an absolutely free day and after breakfast you may choose to lie around the pool, explore the town, have coffee in the main street, chat to the locals, buy something, visit the spectacularly located amphitheatre or just do nothing.
There are optional boat trips to see sunken cities and you can even go paragliding if you are so inclined. At the hotel there are many choice spots in which to sit and chat, write your postcards or update your diary. (B,D)
WED 13 MAY KAS – BODRUM
Our drive towards Bodrum is broken by a chance for another cruise, this time to Caunos. We follow the coastline through pine forests and head over mountains towards the lively city of Bodrum (formerly Halicarnassus), the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum – the tomb of King Mausolus. Our boutique hotel here for two nights is beside the great marina, quiet but close to the city centre. (B,L,D)
THU 14 MAY BODRUM
Our two night stay at Bodrum will give us the opportunity to explore the unique Museum of Underwater Archaeology, housed in the former Crusader Castle. The Castle which is in excellent repair was built from the remains of the Mausoleum and of this we will have a chance to explore what is left. We shall also visit the Uluburun shipwreck. Excavated by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology between 1983 and 1994, it was originally found located close to Kas and it is the oldest wreck ever excavated (3600 years old). The exhibit is currently being prepared in the Bodrum Castle and all the artefacts are in the conservation laboratory. After a delightful boat cruise and lunch there will be free time in the afternoon until dinner. (B,L,D)
FRI 15 MAY BODRUM – KUSADASI
On our way to Kusadasi we take a small road to the former great religious centre of Didyma. The temple is arguably the greatest unfinished archaeological building in Anatolia and was dedicated to Apollo before being used by Christians as a sacred site. On our way to the modern seaside town of Kusadasi, we pass Miletus (from which Saint Paul was expelled as he was from Ephesus) and Priene, an ancient city laid out on a grid plan, visited by Alexander the Great. In Kusadasi, we check in to our hotel overlooking the Mediterranean where we stay for two nights. (B,L,D)
SAT 16 MAY KUSADASI
After breakfast we make an early start for the renowned city of Ephesus. With the modern city of Seljuk nearby, most of the day will be spent exploring this great Roman city with its magnificent restorations and remains, including the Temple of Artemis. If you wish you can pay an extra fee to inspect the newly uncovered Terrace Houses with their beautiful frescoes and mosaics. We also travel to the mountain chapel reputed to be built on the site of the Virgin Mary’s house. Pilgrims of many faiths gather here. Lunch will be served close to a former Greek village where the Greek occupants forcibly exchanged their lovely homes for a future in Greece. A local jeweller in the village of Sinrince made the jewellery for the film Troy and is worth visiting as are many of the village shops. Our day ends with a visit to a leather warehouse where some beautiful examples of leather clothing are available. (B,L,D)
SUN 17 MAY KUSADASI – PERGAMON – BURSA
We depart Kusadasi and proceed north to one of the most spectacular ancient sites on the tour, the Acropolis of Pergamon. Pergamon is where parchment was first invented. It also boasted a fabulous library, given by Antony to Cleopatra and later lost in a fire at Alexandria. The Altar of Zeus was another ancient marvel although much of it is now in Berlin. The nearby Aesculapium was the centre of healing and one of its great doctors was Galen. After lunch at Bergama, its modern name, we drive on to Bursa. (B,L,D)
MON 18 MAY ASSOS – CANAKKALE
In the morning we explore Ottoman Bursa which from 1326 to 1365 was the capital of the Ottomans and hence is the location for many royal tombs. We visit the Grand Mosque, Green Tomb and the Silk Market and Bazaar. Then we drive to the legendary city of Troy with its many levels of ancient remains. This is the city of Homer, the Iliad and Helen of Troy. Without Homer’s story composed around 730 BC the myth of the Trojan War and the fate of those involved would perhaps never have been known. (B,L,D)
TUE 19 MAY CANAKKALE
This morning we cross the historic Dardanelles and take a short drive to Anzac Cove and Lone Pine where we shall be in the company of an excellent Turkish war historian. We shall see the Turkish War Memorial and the small museum. This pine forest area is sacred to the memories of Anzacs and Turks and our guide will tell us many stories of heroism. We shall see many places not known to casual tourists. (B,L,D)
WED 20 MAY CANAKKALE – EDIRNE
Edirne was another Ottoman centre, the jumping off point for their final assault and capture of Constantinople. We visit the Eski Camii, Uc Serefeli and the Selemiye Mosques. (B,L,D)
THU 21 MAY EDIRNE – ISTANBUL
Before driving back to Istanbul, today we visit the Complex of Sultan Bayezid Health Museum, Ali Pasha Bazaar and the Karaagac Railway Station. Then back to Istanbul. (B,L,D)
FRI 22 MAY ISTANBUL
Free day for last minute visits or shopping. Our farewell dinner will be held in the Fiine Dine Restaurant. (B,D)
SAT 23 MAY DEPART ISTANBUL
Istanbul departure day. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight from Turkey. (B, Meals in flight)
GENERAL INFORMATION AND SPECIAL BOOKING CONDITIONS
Land Only per person, twin-share $8,980.00
Single Supplement $1,275.00
LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
• Twin-share accommodation in comfortable hotels with private facilities
• Transport in comfortable air-conditioned coaches
• Domestic airfares as per the itinerary
• Transfers, touring and entry fees as indicated in the itinerary
• Breakfast daily and other meals as indicated in the itinerary
• Service of a Tour Leader throughout the itinerary
• English speaking local guides
• All applicable tipping and gratuities for group arrangements
• Tour booklet
LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• Return international air travel from Australia to Istanbul
• Applicable passenger airport taxes
• Airport transfers if not travelling on the suggested flights
• Meals not listed in itinerary
• Beverages with meals
• Visa requirements of the tour member
• Travel Insurance
• Items of personal nature (telephone, laundry etc)
Please email Tony (email@example.com) for the best airfares available at the time of booking.
I’m Interested…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $450.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.
DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT:
The deposit is accepted as a first installment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.
CANCELLATION AND REFUNDS:
Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:
Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost
If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.
There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS:
Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.
It is now standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.
ADDITIONAL TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS:
If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.
An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.
PASSPORT AND VISAS:
It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.
In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (approximately 10, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.
This tour price has been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs at the time of print and is subject to change up until final payment has been received. At the time of final invoicing (approximately two months prior to the tour departure date), Alumni Travel reserves the right to re-cost the tour based on actual exchange rates. This could mean an increase or decrease to the above listed prices. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.