LEGENDS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

Six Nights Journey to Istanbul, Cappadocia & Ephesus
(6 Night / 7 Days)

Day 1: Arrive Istanbul, Turkey
Welcome to Turkey! Upon arrival at Istanbul International Airport, you are met and transferred to your hotel by Marmara Tours’ English speaking rep and your private deluxe vehicle.

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Day 2: Istanbul
After breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel and start your day with “The Hippodrome” which was a colossal stadium which the socio-political life of the Roman capital was centered.

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Visit the Blue Mosque, competitor of St. Sophia and unique with its six minarets. Interior housing 21.000 Iznik (ancient Nicea) tiles, considered as masterwork of Ottoman Architecture.

Proceed to Basilica Cistern from 6 hundreds – an extraordinary architecture of water reservoir that had supplied water which was very precious to Byzantium same as today for Istanbul. The cult James Bond film ‘From Russia with Love’ was filmed here having inspired Harry Saltzman by the 336 columns of 8meters high laid underneath the Stoa Basilica. The Ottomans called it Sunken Palace since they had other water sources at Topkapi Palace around the corner.

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Continue to “A World Heritage“, an architectural masterpiece, Hagia Sophia, as so wished by Justinian to represent the grandeur of the Roman Empire and the power of Christendom the same time, was completed in 537. The building inspired countless generations by its colossal definition of what the interior space in a domed basilica was to be and by its innovations in weight-support and construction techniques – and what a dome it was: the popular belief was that ‘the dome was suspended from Heaven by an invisible golden chain’. In reality it was work of men, but a worldly simulator of the Heavens with its breathtaking biblical mosaics on upper gallery walls. Under Ottoman rule in 1453 and on being converted to mosque and as of 1935, has been serving to humanity as a cultural museum…

Topkapi Palace, the home and the administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Empire until mid 18 hundreds, located on the strategic hill which stood the acropolis to Byzantine rulers looking over a wide angle to the Golden Horn, Bosphorus, Asian Istanbul and Marmara Sea where the Ottoman ruler could see the world going by on Italian trade vessels trafficking from the Orient to Occident. The palace accommodated 5,000 permanent residents including guards so that elaborate facilities were also designed to be there taking Sultan’s Harem and recruiting units also into account, all within behind the walls in a vast environment however very humble. We walk back to the exit after having seen the treasury, costumes worn daily, collections and even the relics.

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Day 3: Istanbul
Start your day with Sinan’s wonderful Rustem Pasa Mosque in the Blacksmiths Market next to the Spice Bazaar, known for its outstanding Iznik tiles. This charmingly busy neighborhood perfectly illustrates the Ottoman ideal of a balanced social existence. Stroll through the busy market area into the Spice Bazaar. We will spread out in the Spice Bazaar to find all manner of wonderful things.

legends_of_the_ancient_world7Your chauffeur awaiting you will drive you through almost untouched Istanbul since last century, to Chora Church Museum still bearing the biblical illustrations in frescoes and mosaics on its walls and domes. Here, feel free to take your own shots but with fake lights especially when catching the eyes of Jesus gazing at you at any angle you look at him. As you walk out, you might hear some musical rehearsals from the school ‘Music for Peace’ around the curve – the children of all ages devoted to music will welcome you with love if your time permitting from touching the ancient City Walls from 4AD by Theodosius, just prompting to join with Attila the Hun.

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In the afternoon, visit the most dazzling of all the bazaars; Explore the Grand Covered Bazaar of 3,500 shops assembled under cover in 1461 connecting the hans(small size of caravanserais for merchants and their needs) to the two bedestans served as bank and auction hall where the transactions handled -acted as ‘Wall Street’ of those days, valuables, gold, jewellery and oriental rugs, fabrics of course. Some ‘hand’ arts on cosy-dim backyards are still resisting to go extinct. Just seeing and experiencing this Mother of the Bazaars is worth the trip…

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Day 4: Istanbul / Cappadocia
Transfer to airport for your domestic flight. At arrival, meet your private vehicle and start touring.

Welcome to Cappadocia of a Dream-like land

Start exploring a unique nature! This magical fairy land, has saved a history to mankind as remarkable as its lansdscape that has evolved a surreal moon-like landscape of the lava transforming to tuff rock and sculpted it like an artist not revealing the motive but make us the audience wonder the mysteries behind. This is why we, they, come to Cappadocia to unveil this charm. Cappadocia exposes herself to visitors with her another face each time. We, her beloved, whirl around it like a dervish. You as of now have become one!

The three faces of Cappadocia:
By multiple panoramic viewing options of hiking and ballooning take you off the road into the very core of the landscape to observe the face nature has formed. Later in the day, we shall visit an ‘underground city’, Kaymakli.

Day 5: Cappadocia
(OPTIONAL) ‘Hot Air Balloon’ ride over the Cappadocian landscape. An opportunity of a lifetime and this ‘flight’ experience is recommended by National Geographic as of perfect combination of landscape and climate.

After breakfast, at 9am your guide meets you at your hotel to continue exploring Cappadocia to encounter an extraordinary treasure of sacred art; Rock-carved churches of Goreme, today an ‘open-air museum’ including the most famous of those rock temples, “Dark Church” with stunning fresco art on the walls.

In the afternoon, drive to Avanos town on the Red River and visit a potter’s workshop to learn about this timeless art of Cappadocia, giving life to the clay from the riverbeds.

legends_of_the_ancient_world8Day 6: Cappadocia / Izmir
After breakfast, transfer to Kayseri airport for your domestic flight to Izmir. At arrival, meet your guide and private vehicle at the airport and drive to Ephesus.

Visit the remains of the great Ionian city of Ephesus, lying at the foot of Mount Pion. Ephesus, for its sheer size and grandeur, is unmatched as an archaeological site and is the best-preserved classical city in the Eastern Mediterranean. Your tour includes “spectacular” Terrace Houses (villas) located on the slope of the hill within the city of Ephesus. The Terrace Houses were brought to light in excavations carried out since 1980s. Along with those in Pompeii, they constitute some of the most vivid examples of Roman domestic architecture to survive to the present. Also visit the House of the Virgin Mary and the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk.

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Day 7: Izmir / Istanbul / International Departures
In the morning transfer to Izmir airport for your domestic/international flight.

Recommended Hotels in Cappadocia region
* Argos In Cappadocia Hotel, Uchisar
* Museum Hotel, Uchisar
* Cappadocia Cave Resorts (CCR Hotel), Uchisar
* Cappadocia Estates, Sinasos
* Yunak Evleri, Urgup
* Anatolian Houses Cave Suites, Goreme

Recommended Hotels in Ephesus region
* Swiss Hotel, Izmir
* Kismet Hotel, Kusadasi
* Charisma Hotel, Kusadasi

*The itinerary above is customized per your specific interests, travel dates, hotel category, features to be included.

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