South East Turkey

Mount Nemrut
Mount Nemrut
Derinkuyu cave underground city
Derinkuyu cave underground city
Sunken Village in Halfeti
Sunken Village in Halfeti
Nevsehir Province
Nevsehir Province
Turkish landscape in Beydaglari Sahil Milli Parki
Turkish landscape in Beydaglari Sahil Milli Parki
The famous oriental Bazaar
The famous oriental Bazaar
Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe

The Tigris and Euphrates both rise in the mountains of Turkey and flow south into the Persian Gulf. The Fertile Crescent, arcing around the flat lands of Mesopotamia, saw the birth of agriculture and the first domestication of cattle, goats, sheep and pigs. Prior to this agricultural revolution, hunter-gatherers built the remarkable temple complex at Gobekli Tepe. In addition to this we see the spectacular Roman mosaics in Gaziantep, rescued from the flood waters of a dam on the nearby Euphrates, and the gigantic late-Hellenistic statues atop Mount Nemrut.

  • View the extraordinary volcanic landscapes in Cappadocia and the soft rock hewn out in the Byzantine-era to create underground cities and rock-cut churches
  • Explore the beautifully laid-out Zeugma Mosaic museum in atmospheric Gaziantep, which is filled with one of the finest arrays of mosaics in the world
  • Walk up to the World Heritage Site of Nemrut Dag, where huge statues of syncretised Greek-Persian gods and the kings of Commagene gaze imposingly from the summit of a remote peak
  • Visit the excavations at Gobekli Tepe, with megaliths pre-dating Stonehenge by an impressive 7,500 years

Themes

  • Romans
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches

Itinerary 2020

Day 1

Today we depart from London and fly to Ankara, then we check in to our hotel in time for dinner.

Hotel: Swissotel or similar, Anakara
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

We begin the first full day of our tour with a visit to the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, housed in a restored Ottoman-era caravanserai. Here we explore a remarkable collection of artefacts documenting the history of Anatolia from the Neolithic period through to the Iron Age. This afternoon we drive across Anatolia to Cappadocia.

Hotel: Best Western Premier cave Hotel or similar, Cappadocia
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We start our explorations of Cappadocia with a visit to the Ihlara Valley, a beautiful, verdant gorge occupied by a fast-flowing river. The gorge is believed to have contained more than four thousand dwellings and a hundred churches cut into the rocks, used for worship by early Christian communities. We will explore some of these churches this morning before moving on to visit the impressive Aşıklı Höyük, a settlement mound comprised of layers dated between 8200 and 7400 BC, and which developed as a result of its proximity to an important obsidian source.

Hotel: Best Western Premier cave Hotel or similar, Cappadocia
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

This morning we begin with a visit to a local co-operative which produces traditionally made carpets, and we see how these are made. We then continue to our main visit of the day at Goreme Open Air Museum. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fairytale landscape of eroded volcanic tuffs, full of rock-cut churches of the early Byzantine period which bear witness to the faith, fervour and tenacity of devout Christian communities, beset both by Arab raiders and the persecutions of the Iconoclastic movement.

Hotel: Best Western Premier cave Hotel or similar, Cappadocia
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

Today we head south, stopping en route at 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 continue our journey south across the Anatolian plateau before crossing the formidable Taurus range and dropping down to the fertile Cilician Plain to overnight at Adana.

Hotel: Seyhan Hotel or similar, Adana
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

This morning we visit Adana Archaeology Museum, which houses a fine collection of Hittite artefacts. We continue east and rise into wooded mountains to visit the eight century BC fortress palace of Karatepe, now located in an archaeological park. A bilingual text inscribed on the gate here reveals the name of the neo-Hittite ruler who build the fortress: “I am indeed Azatiwatas, The Blessed of the Sun, the servant of the Storm-God, whom Awarikus exalted, king of Adanawa…”. The twin gateways of the fortress palace are lined with relief-carved figurative slabs.

Hotel: Grand Gaziantep Hotel or similar, Gaziantep
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

Today we explore Gaziantep, named in 2015 as a UNESCO “Creative City of Gastronomy”. Our main focus this morning is the Zeugma Mosaic Museum, which contains the very fine Roman mosaics from Zeugma, a city which stood on a crossing of the Euphrates river, and which has now been largely flooded by the construction of the Birecik Dam. We also visit the town of Halfeti, itself partially submerged as a result of the same project. Here we can see houses and minarets emerging from the water, and even parts of the old castle and palace.

Hotel: Grand Gaziantep Hotel or similar, Gaziantep
Meals: All meals included

Day 8

We start the day today with a walk around historic Gaziantep including the Medusa Roman Glass Museum and Gaziantep citadel, largely built by Turkish Mamluks in the 13th – 16th centuries. The citadel itself lies on top of existing Roman walls and a Neolithic tell. The bazaars are full of copper ware, dried pepper flakes and pistachio nuts, and the mosques betray the influence of the Arab lands to the south. Indeed, Gaziantep is reminiscent of Aleppo, some 50 miles away in Syria. In the afternoon we take the long but scenic road north to overnight at Adiyaman, at the foot of 7,000 ft high Mount Nemrut.

Hotel: Garden Inn Hotel or similar, Adiyaman
Meals: All meals included

Day 9

We spend the day with the rulers and monuments of the Commagenian kingdom today – beginning at the Roman bridge at Cendere, built by the Legio XVI Flavia Firma in the reign of Septimius Severus around AD 200, and the Karakus (Black Bird) Tumulus, probably built to cover the burials of the mother, sister and niece of Antiochus’ son and successor. After lunch we continue to the remote hilltop site of Mount Nemrut (UNESCO World Heritage Site), where Antiochus I had a monumental sanctuary constructed to promote his rule, comprising the world’s largest tumulus and a collection of huge statues of the gods and of himself.

Hotel: Garden Inn Hotel or similar, Adiyaman
Meals: All meals included

Day 10

This morning we drive to Sanliurfa and view the Pools of Abraham, filled with sacred carp. It was here that Muslim teachings tell how Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod, but upon landing in the fire the flames were turned into water and the logs into fish. Sanliurfa is Turkey’s most Middle Eastern city, and we continue our exploration of this bustling place with a foray into the labyrinthine bazaar, a glass of tea in the courtyard of an Ottoman caravanserai and an  scent of the rocky citadel for splendid views of the old city.

Hotel: Manici Hotel or similar, Sanliurfa
Meals: All meals included

Day 11

Our last full day is dedicated to the excavations at Gobekli Tepe, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. Situated on top of a rounded hill in the anti-Taurus mountains a few miles north of Sanliurfa and the flatlands of Mesopotamia to the south, it was closed to the public for several years. Both spectacular and unique, this early Neolithic monumental site, an extraordinary series of ‘temples’ of relief-carved megaliths up to five metres in height, has challenged the conventional view that only settled societies could produce monumental architecture. In the afternoon we return to Sanliurfa to visit Sanliurfa Museum complex, completed in 2015 and home to a treasure trove of finds from Gobekli and containing a life-size reconstruction of one of the stone circles.

Hotel: Manici Hotel or similar, Sanliurfa
Meals: All meals included

Day 12

After breakfast this morning we head to Sanliurfa airport for return flights to London, via Istanbul.

Meals: Breakfast included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2020 Tour Details

Wed 1st Apr - Sun 12th Apr

Available

£3,495

Full Price £3595 Save £100

inc.

sgl supp: £675

EAS20A

Led By: Terry Richardson

Sat 26th Sep - Wed 7th Oct

Available

£3,495

Full Price £3595 Save £100

inc.

sgl supp: £675

EAS20B

Led By: Terry Richardson

Guide Lecturer

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