Cappadocia, Turkish Riviera & Lycia

Urgup - Konya - Pamukkale - Antalya


Day 1: Your Airport - Kayseri

Flight via Istanbul to Kayseri. Our guide will join the group at Istanbul Airport. Arrival to Kayseri and transfer to the hotel in Kayseri, the city mixing Seljuk tombs, mosques and modern developments, Kayseri is both Turkey’s most Islamic city after Konya and one of the economic powerhouses nicknamed the ’Anatolian tigers’. Most travellers whizz through town on their way from the airport to Cappadocia’s villages, only seeing the shabby high-rises and ugly industrial factories on Kayseri’s outskirts. The city centre of this Turkish boom town, though, is full of surprises. An afternoon pottering within the narrow bazaar streets and poking about the Seljuk and Ottoman monuments —all loomed over by mighty Erciyes Dağı (Mt Erciyes) —is an interesting contrast to exploring the more famous fairy-chimney vistas to the city’s west. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 2: Cappadocia

Breakfast and departure to Cappadocia, unique in the world, is a miracle of nature located in the center of Turkey, a sprawling 35,000 square-mile jungle of natural rock formations has served as a hideout for hundreds of years of civilizations. This otherworldly region of Turkey, Cappadocia, is peppered with thousands of what the locals call “fairy chimneys”: towering formations of soft rock which began as volcanic ash that rained down on the region millions of years ago, and, after being battered by wind and water for millennia, took on the conical shapes they are today. The stark expanse of narrow, earth-toned peaks appear uninhabitable from afar. But the area is actually one of the world’s biggest cave-dwelling complexes, complete with with ancient churches, modern restaurants, and tons of history.

For centuries, people have been tunneling into the landscape, which proved especially adept at hiding those fleeing persecution. The region was first settled by the Hittites in 1800 B.C. By the fourth century A.D., the landscape’s unique features were beginning to be inhabited by hermetic communities, apparently ordered there by Basil the Great, the bishop of Caesarea. Later, Christians seeking sanctuary from the Romans, and, later still, Muslim raiders, found refuge in the rock shelters and began to connect the chimney formations with subterranean villages. When invaders did arrive, Christians are believed to have slipped down through holes in the ground and remained there until the danger passed. Within the layers of structures, both above and below ground, they had constructed churches, storehouses, homes, and passageways.

Within the Cappadocia region is the popular Göreme Valley, where evidence of these Christian communities is most visible in the elaborate and colorful frescoes that have survived inside cave walls for more than a thousand years. After the Christians departed, Muslims moved in and scratched out the eyes of many saints, leaving them with gaping holes. But the vividly painted remains are still considered by UNESCO to be one of the best examples of post-iconoclastic Byzantine art.

Visit the Zelve Valley, one of the most beautiful spots in Cappadocia. It is located in a narrow valley and contains some of the best examples of houses and churches in rocks. It was a safe place to hide Christians from Roman and Arab invaders. Visit the imposing Pašabag valley. Then visit the church of the Virgin Mary. The village of Mustafapaşa (formerly known as Sinasos), located 6 km south of Urgup, is one of the most beautiful villages in Cappadocia. In the last century, it was the center of Cappadocia, and the rich Ottomans built their magnificent villas here. The whole village consists of such villas and all are made of squared stone block tiles. Visit the natural fortress / Uchisar hill to get a beautiful panoramic view of the Moonland. Excursion continues with visits to Goreme, a true open-air museum. A short break in Urgup’s authentic village, visit to Avanos and ceramic studios. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Cappadocia - Aksaray - Konya

Breakfast and before departure to Konya. En route  visit to the Ihlara Valley and the underground town of Kaymakli. Continue drive to Konya on the way to visit the famous caravanserai Sultanhan. Continuing the drive and and arrival to Konya to visited the mosque of Mevlana Djalladini Rumi, the mausoleum and the theological school Karatay. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Konya - Pamukkale

Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to the town Beysehir located next to the lake of the same name. Here we will visit Esrefoglu Mosque, which represents a unique example of the wooden poles of mosques such as in Central Asia, the old Turkistan cities, Samarkand and Bukhara. It was the largest and original wooden mosque in Anatolia and was built between 1296-1299.

In terms of top work on wood and tiles, with a monumental crown cape, a unique mihrab and parsonage is like a museum of a wooden mosque. The mosque is one of the most beautiful wooden examples

of Turkish architectural style. The prayer room, which is covered with octagonal, five-octagon star and geometric fillings and floral ornaments, has an incredible level of smoothness and fineness that can be seen in pearls and ivory. The mosque of Esrefoglu rises on numerous wooden pillars. Hundreds of snow on the roof of the mosque was thrown through a hole in the middle of the roof in the pool in the middle and dampened the environment and prevented shooting and draining wooden pillars. In 1965, the hole was covered with glass and lost its function. The Mosque of Esrefoglu, which reflects magnificent examples of stone and wood production from the Seldjuks period, was listed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2012. The continuation of the drive to visit the site of Ancient

Laodicea (Laodikya, Laodikeia) is an extremely old city that is being “born again” through archeological restoration. Excavations here have revealed artifacts dating from 3500 BC (Late Chalcolithic) to 3000 BC (Early Bronze Age). The city’s name comes from the Seleucid king Antiochus ii, who named it for his wife Laodike in the 3rd century BC when it wa thriving. Later controlled by the kings of Pergamum, it was willed to the Roman Empire, and thrived again from the 4th to 6th centuries. Its importance then numbered it among the Seven Churches of Revelation.

Set in an earthquake zone, it was ruined and restored many times, but by the early 1200s it was only farmer’s fields.

Day 5: Pamukkale - Antalya

Breakfast at the hotel and departure for a visit to Cotton Castle as it is called in our language, is one of the most interesting places in the world. The enchanting beauties of geological formations that thermal mineral springs have been creating for millennia. The deposition of the minerals has created brilliant white cascades, with small pools that give the impression of being carried out in ice.

A visit to Hierapolis, one of the most famous ruins surviving from antiquity, (City Baths, Christian Basilica, Monumental Fountain, Temple of Apollo, Theater, St. Philip’s Martyr, Necropolis - contains tumuli, sarcophagi and tombs in the house, is one of the best preserved old cemeteries in Turkey.

Departure for Turkey Riviera. Continuation via Mount Taurus or via mountain dog Irmasan.

A visit to the ancient city of Perge. Perge was one of the most important cities of ancient Pamphilia.

Inside the site, we will go through the massive Roman portal from its four ports. On the left is the southern nymphaeum and well-preserved baths, and on the right is a large square agora. Above the Hellenistic portal, with its two huge towers, is an alleyway with a colonnade, where an impressive collection of columns still stands.

The 12,000-seat Perge Theater and an equally massive stadium are located along the access road immediately after the main site entrance and parking.

Perge experienced two golden years: during the Hellenistic period in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC and under the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD (from which most of the ruins originate). Turkish archaeologists first began excavations in 1946, and a selection of statues uncovered - many in magnificent condition - can be seen at the Antalya Museum. Excavation and restoration work continues on site.

Visit Aspendos to see the terrifying theater, considered the best preserved Roman theater of the ancient world. It was built during the golden age of Aspendos during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-80 AD), and was used by the Seljuks as caravanserai during the 13th century. However, the history of the city goes back to the Hittite Empire (800 BC).

After touring the area in the early 1930s, Ataturk declared Aspendos too fine an example of classical architecture and to remain unused. After a restoration that did not satisfy many historians, the 15,000-seat theater has once again become a venue. Operas, concerts and events, including the Aspendos Opera & Ballet Festival and Antalya Film Festival, are staged here. The acoustics are great and the atmosphere at night is sublime.

Aspendos is the best preserved amphitheater in all of Turkey and one of the best in Europe. It can accommodate about 20,000 visitors. Roman Emperor Marco Aurelius ordered the construction of a large theater. Remains of the aqueduct and the once large horse market are also visible. Aspendos is the only city other than Sida to mint silver coins at the beginning of the 5th century. Tour of Agora, Basilica, Trade Hall, Nymphaion, Aqueduct - One of the most impressive Roman aqueducts found in Turkey, Theaters and Stadium.

Visit to the waterfalls in Manavgat. Departure to the town of Side. Side is picturesque on the Antalya Riviera. Its name is in the original Anatolian language, and means ”pomegranate”. The historic center of the

city is located on a small peninsula and is only 400 meters wide. Tour of the City Walls, Main Gate, City Fountain, Waterworks, Colonized Street, Agora, Theater, Monumental Gate.

In addition to the theaters, the ruins of the ancient city are spacious and include a stadium, agora, and a 3rd

century basilica, though little remains intact. To them, follow the path to the right of the entrance to the theater. Further are the remains of the city water supply.

Dinner and overnight stay in or near Side or continuation to Antalya.

Day 6: Antalya - Your airport

Breakfast at the hotel. Departure west of town to visit Phaselis. This romantic port of Lycia was founded by colonists from Rhodes in the 7th century BC on the border between Lycia and Pamphilia. His wealth comes from the shipment of wood, rose oil and perfume.

Extensive ruins are spread around three bays, each with a small beach, and scattered over pine forests. Much of what is left comes from Roman and Byzantine times.

We will turn our attention to the Hadrian’s Portal (the Roman emperor visited in 129 AD), connected to the Aragar and the neighboring theater, a beautiful colonnade street.

Phaselis is 16 km north of the exit to Olympos. Continued visit to Olympos. Historians are uncertain of the exact date the city was founded; but they can confirm, it dates from the Hellenistic period. As one of six cities with voting power in the Lycian League, it had enormous significance and status, but its position on the coast also left it vulnerable to attacks by pirates. The river that flows past the ruins and into the sea is now filled with reeds, but throughout history it has been possible for large ships to sail inland on this waterway.

Eventually, the Lycian League was absorbed into the Roman Empire and Olympos fell under their domain before being abandoned during the 15th century.


After visits transfer to Antalya International Airport for a return flight.

End of our services.


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