14D11N Eastern Turkey Tour

Eastern Turkey is a wild and rugged region with a colourful history and a rich cultural heritage. This part of the region boasts some of Turkey’s most spectacular nature and treasured historical monuments. It also boasts some of the country’s most outstanding scenery; with its impressive snow-capped mountains, stunning lakes, gushing rivers and fields of wildflowers.

Exceptional Experiences:

  • View the extensive ruins of Sumela Monastery, founded by Greeks in the 4th century, cling improbably to a sheer cliff, high above evergreen forests. This is one of the Black Sea region's unquestionable highlights.

 

  • Visit 'the Ghost Town of Ani', located on a secluded area overlooking the natural border between Turkey and Armenia, the ghost town of Ani has some of the world’s most striking ancient ruins.

 

  • Witness the scale of the largest soda lake on Earth at Lake Van. It is a saline soda lake receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains.

 

  • Visit the 5th largest Dam in the world. The Ataturk Dam is the largest of the 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power stations along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and ranks as the 5th largest in the world with an impressive length of 1,820 meters and height of 184 meters.

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Itinerary:

Day 1: Singapore - Istanbul

Depart Singapore for Istanbul

 

Day 2: Istanbul

Upon arrival in Istanbul, you will meet your local driver and guide.

Then, make your way to have breakfast before checking into your hotel at 5* Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet or similar.

Explore Istanbul by boat onboard the 6-hour Bosphorus Cruise – Istanbul, Turkey sits astride the Bosphorus Strait. This Bosphorus Strait is where two continents meet. The Bosphorus separates Europe and Asia. The cruise will provide an overview of all the top sites in the city.

Pass along the shores of the Bosphorus and look out for spectacular views such as magnificent palaces, restored Ottoman villas, impressive fortresses and the waterside residences of Istanbul’s elite.

Then, return to your hotel in the evening and spend the rest of your day at leisure.

Accommodation in 5* Four Seasons Istanbul Sultanahmet or similar

 

Day 3: Istanbul – Trabzon

This morning, after breakfast, meet your driver and transfer to Istanbul airport for your domestic flight to Trabzon. Upon arrival in Trabzon, make a stop at Sumela Monastery. The extensive ruins of Sumela Monastery, founded by Greeks in the 4th century, cling improbably to a sheer cliff, high above evergreen forests. This is one of the Black Sea region's unquestionable highlights.

The attraction is currently closed to visitors while it undergoes restorations. However, you can see the Sümela Monastery closely from its view terrace and have the opportunity to do a three-dimensional tour with virtual reality goggles. At the same time, you can see the beauty of the region and learn about its culture.

Then, set off to visit the Hagia Sophia, a domed monument built as a cathedral and is now a museum. It is famous for its massive dome structure and was one of the most important Byzantine structures ever built. It holds historical significance as a culminating feature of the Christian era Roman Empire and stands as a monument to artistic and architectural achievement and was the world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time.

Check into your accommodation to rest for the day

Accommodation in 5* Radisson Blu Hotel Trabzon or similar

 

Day 4: Trabzon – Erzurum

This morning after breakfast, you will depart Trabzon for Erzurum via a 4-hour journey.

Upon arrival in Erzurum, go back in time and visit some historical places of interest.

Make a visit to Erzurum Ulu Cami (Great Mosque). This restrained but elegant mosque was built in 1179 by Erzurum's Saltuk Turkish emir. Seven aisles run north-south and six-run east-west, resulting in a forest of columns and pointed arches.

According to the inscriptions found at the mosque, five restoration projects were undertaken in different period. The interior is decorated with geometric motifs that are common to mosques of the 12th century.

Then, make a stop at Çifte Minarelli Medrese, an architectural monument of the late Seljuk period in the Turkish city of Erzurum. Built as a theological school a few years before 1265,[1] it takes its name, Twin Minaret Madrasa, from the two fluted minarets that crown the monumental façade.

Continue your journey to Yakutiye Medrese, a historical 14th-century Madrasa in Erzurum, Turkey. The madrasa was built in 1310 by order of a local governor of the Ilkhanids, Hoca Yakut, and it is named after him.

Thereafter, head to your hotel accommodation and rest for the night.

Accommodation in 5* Renaissance Polat Erzurum Hotel or similar

 

Day 5: Erzurum – Van   

This morning, enjoy your breakfast at your hotel before meeting with your local guide and driver.

Thereafter, you will visit the Castle of Kars. Built-in 1153, it was connected to the city walls which were built around the same time. It’s hefty, dark-stone walls crown the craggy ridge that dominates the city-centre's northern edge, fronted by a series of historic mosques.

Then, visit the Ani Ruins. This mysterious ruin is every traveller’s dream if they have a knack for adventure.

It is located on a secluded area overlooking the natural border between Turkey and Armenia, the ghost town of Ani has some of the world’s most striking ancient ruins. The ancient city of Ani is literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by untouched valleys and mountains. Apart from the beautiful natural scenery, the remnant structures themselves are also exceptional, including the ruins of a stunning cathedral and six churches.

Make your way to your hotel accommodation and rest for the night.

Accommodation in 5* DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Van or similar

 

 Day 6: Van

This morning after breakfast, meet your guide and driver in the lobby.

Kickstart your journey this morning with (a visit/ make a stop) to take in the stunning views of Mount Ararat. Mount Ararat is the highest mountain in eastern Turkey and is also the legendary mount described in the Bible where Noah landed his Ark. It is also a snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone in Turkey.

Then, make your way to Ishak Pasha Palace. It was built in the 17th century and it features a mixture of Ottoman, Persian and Armenian architectural styles. The palace an unexpectedly intricate pearl of architecture, contrasting its beauty with a mountainous and drab landscape.

Continue your journey to Van and explore the natural beauty of the location. Make a stop at Muradiye Water Fall, a 20-metre-high waterfall that is rich in history. Here, take in the magnificent view of the Muradiye Waterfall and you will feel refreshed as you listen to the burbling waterfall.

Then, head to Cavustepe Castle, an ancient fortified site in the Van province, it is also known by the title of Fortress of Hayk. Today the buildings have a semblance of shape, allowing visitors to explore through and gain an understanding of how people would have worked, however, the view itself is fantastic and shows why the King chose this location.

After which, you will visit Ho sap Castle. Hoşap Castle is a large medieval castle located in the village of Güzelsu (previously Hoşap. Most of the surviving structure was built by the local Ottoman governor Sarı Süleyman Bey in 1643.

Make your way to your accommodation.

Accommodation in 5* DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Van or similar

 

 Day 7: Van – Diyarbakir

This morning after breakfast, meet your local guide and driver and make your way to the largest lake in eastern Turkey. Lake Van is the largest soda or alkaline lake on Earth. Generally, soda lakes are distinguished by high concentrations of carbonate species. Lake Van is an endorheic lake—it has no outlet, so its water disappears by evaporation—with a pH of 10 and high salinity levels. It is a saline soda lake receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains.

Then, head to Akdamar Church, a medieval Armenian Apostolic cathedral, built as a palatine church for the kings of Vaspurakan.

Then, hop on to your private transfer for a 4-hour journey to Diyarbakir. Upon arrival in Diyarbakir, visit Great Mosque of Diyarbakır. The mosque as it is known today was built in 1091 by the Seljuk ruler Malik-Shah. The design influenced by the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus used the locally found black basalt rock.

The mosque is considered by Muslim scholars to be the fifth holiest site in Islam after the Great Mosque of Damascus. It can accommodate up to 5,000 worshippers and is famous for hosting four different Islamic traditions.

Then, visit Aramaic Church of the Virgin Mary, a functioning Orthodox church built in the 3rd century AD.  After which, check into your accommodation.

 

Accommodation in 5* Radisson Blu Hotel Diyarbakir or similar

 

Day 8: Diyarbakir – Adiyaman – Sanliurfa

This morning after breakfast, depart for Mt Nemrut National Park. Mount Nemrut is one of Turkey’s most spectacular ancient sites and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famed for its mysterious mountaintop mausoleum scattered with stone heads and hidden jewel of temple tomb and residence of gods located in the Eastern Taurus mountain range peaks in southeastern Adiyaman.

Then, visit Cendere Bridge, located just off the road leading from Kahta to the famous Mount Nemrut.  This magnificent Roman bridge over the Cendere River was built in the 2nd century AD. The surviving Latin stelae state that the bridge was built in honour of Emperor Septimius Severus. Of the four original Corinthian columns (two at either end), three are still standing. You can walk across the bridge and head down to the wide rocky riverbank where locals paddle in the water.

not far from the majestic Nemrut Mountain rises a much lower hill, whose peak is known as the Karakş Tumulus. A visit to this place will not substitute the experiences from Nemrut but can be a perfect complement to them.

Located not too far away from Mount Nemrut, the Karakuş Tumulus is an artificial mound, 35 meters high, located on the top of a natural hill. Its Turkish name means "Black Bird", and its origin is explained by the column standing at the tumulus, the top of which is decorated with the sculpture of an eagle. It welcomes visitors to the tumulus, arriving there by the path from the south and is a funerary monument near the modern village of Cukurtas.

Accommodation in 4* Hilton Garden Inn Sanliurfa or similar

 

 Day 9: Sanliurfa                

Meet your local guide and driver after breakfast this morning and depart for Mevlid-I Halil Mosque.

Mevlid-i Halil Mosque, meaning the mosque of the birthplace of God's friend (Abraham), built next to the site where prophet Ibrahim (Biblical Abraham) is believed to have been born.

Thereafter, we visit the Cave of Prophet Abraham, the birthplace of Prophet Abraham in Urfa. It is known as a famous pilgrimage site where devotees go to pray and pay respects to one of history’s most revered prophets.

Then, make your way to The Ataturk Dam is located on the Euphrates River. The Ataturk Dam is as a rock-fill dam with a central core, completed in 1990, it took 7 years to construct and is now the centrepiece of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP).

The Ataturk Dam is the largest of the 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power stations along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and ranks as the 5th largest in the world with an impressive length of 1,820 meters and height of 184 meters. The Ataturk Dam towers over the flat planes and is certainly a remarkable sight.

Return to your accommodation and rest for the night.

Accommodation in 4* Hilton Garden Inn Sanliurfa or similar

 

Day 10: Sanliurfa – Gaziantep                       

This morning after breakfast, meet your local guide and driver and make your way to Gaziantep Plain, which is located on a wide and fertile plain cultivated with extensive pistachio groves. The artisans of Gaziantep are specialised in making copperware and furniture inlaid with mother–of–pearl, a precious gem. The city has a fortress with 36 towers originally constructed in the Justinian era and later rebuilt by the Seljuks.

Accommodation in 4* DoubleTree by Hilton Gaziantep or similar

 

Day 11: Gaziantep – Antakya – Adana – Istanbul

This morning after breakfast, visit Zeugma Mosaic Museum the largest museum in Turkey and Cave Church of St Peter where St Peter spent time with the early Christians believers. The church was established in a natural cave of 13 metres wide and 7 metres high. It is believed to be used by St. Peter, the preeminent apostle and the first pope to spread the message of Jesus Christ.

Then, head for the airport and take a domestic Flight from Adana to Istanbul

Accommodation in 5* Four Seasons Istanbul Sultanahmet or similar

 

Day 12: Istanbul

This morning, enjoy your breakfast at your hotel accommodation. Today, you will embark on a city tour in Istanbul and visit various iconic landmarks.

Then, meet your local guide and driver at your hotel lobby. Thereafter, set off to visit the Hagia Sophia, a domed monument built as a cathedral and is now a museum. It is famous for its massive dome structure and was one of the most important Byzantine structures ever built. It holds historical significance as a culminating feature of the Christian era Roman Empire and stands as a monument to artistic and architectural achievement and was the world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time.

After which, visit the Blue Mosque, which was built with the intent to rival and surpass the magnificent Hagia Sophia. The famed Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1617. It is known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles used to decorate the walls of its interior.

Next, we visit one of the largest and oldest covered bazaars in the world, The Grand Bazaar. It occupies an area of 30,700 square meters with over 60 streets and alleys and 4,000 shops.  This location is also one of the best places to get a taste of the life in Ottoman-era Turkey.

Then, head to Topkapi Palace Museum. Topkapi Palace was home to all the Ottoman sultans until the reign of Abdulmecid I (1839-1860), a period of nearly four centuries. It is also home to the lushly decorated Circumcision Chamber, the Baghdad Pavilion, and the Yerevan Pavilion. One of the most distinct structures of the fourth courtyard is the quaint gilt-bronze Iftar Pergola, where sultans would break their fast if Ramadan fell in the summer.

Before you wrap up the day, make a visit to a place that holds history for ancient racing, The Hippodrome.  It is located in the Square of Blue Mosque. The hippodrome was an ancient Greek stadium for has witnessed many awesome events such as the famous gladiator fights, chariot/car races and many riots in the past.

Accommodation in 5* Four Seasons Istanbul Sultanahmet or similar

 

Day 13: Istanbul                                                                                               

Today, enjoy and explore Istanbul at your own leisure.

 

Day 14: Istanbul – Singapore

Depart Istanbul for Singapore

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Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect on the tour but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored based on the interests of the group.


This itinerary and its package inclusions might be changed later in time, subject to availability.

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