Turkey | Anatolia & Cappadocia

Bronze ceremonial standard of the Hittites, from the royal tombs at Alaca Höyük
Bronze ceremonial standard of the Hittites, from the royal tombs at Alaca Höyük
One of the many painted rock-cut churches
One of the many painted rock-cut churches
Making bread the traditional way
Making bread the traditional way
Detail of the Yazilikaya rock relief - a procession of male deities
Detail of the Yazilikaya rock relief - a procession of male deities
Hermetic cells and churches, some of them vividly frescoed
Hermetic cells and churches, some of them vividly frescoed

Our highly recommended tour takes travellers on a kaleidoscopic journey through the heartlands of Turkey. Beginning in Çatal Höyük, arguably the earliest city in the world, we continue to Hittite Hattuša and the Phrygian capital of King Midas.

Central Anatolia is a beautiful region of mountains and plains, where early farmers settled down to build permanent occupation sites and temples to their gods. The otherworldly geology of Cappadocia is matched by the unique archaeology: underground cities and vividly frescoed churches carved high in the rocks.

  • Journey through millennia – from the important Neolithic city of Çatal Höyük, to the elegant monuments of pre-Ottoman Turkey
  • Extraordinary volcanic landscapes: including an underground city and a rock-cut monastery in the pinnacles of Tufa
  • Full day exploring the ‘utterly spectacular’ mountain city of Kerkenes Da?

Themes

  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches

Practicalities

  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2017

Day 1

We fly to Konya via Istanbul, and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2

We begin with a visit to Çatal Höyük, arguably the oldest city in the world - one of the largest and strangest sites of the Neolithic period. First excavated in the early 1960s, work has recently resumed, and the mound has been shown to be closely packed with houses dating to 7400- 6000 BC. We return to Konya, and explore the Mevlana Museum of the ‘whirling dervishes’.

Day 3

We travel across the Konya plain to the foothills of the Taurus mountains. At Irviz, we visit a magnificent carved rock relief depicts the 8th century BC Iron Age ruler King Warpalawa paying homage to the local storm god, Tarhunza. We continue to Urgüp.

Day 4

We spend the day in the Ihlara Valley, a most beautiful, verdant gorge occupied by a fast-flowing river. Early Christian communities worshipped here in rock-cut, frescoed churches. We continue to the impressive Neolithic mound of Aşıklı Höyük with closely packed layers of building created over the centuries.

Day 5

We travel to the extraordinary underground city of Derinkuyu. This is one of the largest and most accessible of many such Byzantine settlements. Little is known of their true function, however, with such a geology at their disposal, it may almost have been as easy to dig down as build up. We also visit the museum at Niğde and the rock-cut monastery at Eski Gümüşler.

Day 6

We explore the fairy-tale landscapes of Göreme, characterised by eroded volcanic tuffs, and full of the churches of devout Christian communities. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Göreme.

Day 7

We enjoy a full day in Kerkenes Dağ, forgotten mountain city thought to have been occupied from the Bronze Age. The site is dominated by huge Iron Age fortifications - around five miles of stone walls. We end the day at the museum at Yozgat, which contains finds from Kerkenes Dağ.

Day 8

We view the open-air shrine of Yazılıkaya, with carvings showing processions of the gods of the Hittite pantheon. This afternoon we visit Hattuša, capital of the Hittites, Anatolia’s great Bronze Age kingdom which flourished from 1600 BC.

Day 9

We travel to Alaca Höyük, site of an important late Hittite settlement. We move on to Ankara to explore the Ataturk Mausoleum.

We enjoy a special tour of the British Institute at Ankara to hear about some of the research undertaken there.

Day 10

We explore Gordion, where excavations have revealed large parts of the citadel with its impressive stone gate. It is most famous for the large number of tumuli surrounding the site. Our final afternoon is spent at Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilisations.

Day 11

We travel home from Ankara via Istanbul.

What's Included

  1. Tour Manager
  2. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  3. Meals - All meals included
  4. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  5. Field Notes
  6. Hotels - 2 nights in a laid-back, casual hotel with contemporary decor in Konya, 4 nights in a beautifully designed modern hotel in Ürgüp, 2 nights in a comfortable hotel in the centre of Bogazkale, 2 nights in a luxurious, palatial hotel near the centre of Ankara
  7. Flights - Scheduled return flights from London to Istanbul

Hotel Info

2 nights in a laid-back, casual hotel with contemporary decor in Konya
4 nights in a beautifully designed modern hotel in Ürgüp
2 nights in a comfortable hotel in the centre of Bogazkale
2 nights in a luxurious, palatial hotel near the centre of Ankara

Linked Tours

Many of our tours can be linked together to form longer programmes. We are happy to arrange connecting flights and hotels, allowing you to spend as long as you wish exploring the ancient world... See suggestions below:

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Guide Lecturer

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