Discovery of Eastern Anatolia.

Called "the cradle of Civilisations" the eastern anatolian plateau is the native earth of many populations as well as their battle fields: in this lands Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Galates, Romans, Byzantines, Seldjuks and Ottomans fought each in turn, to establish their domination. 

 The cultural heritage of Southern Anatolia and the richness of its history, still alive, invite you to discover the wonderful works belonging to various periods. The steps of History begins in early ages and goes back up till 7000 B.C. The Tiger and the Euphrates surround the holy land that saw the father of the religions, Abraham, to be born and to grow up. The prophet Abraham was born and lived in the city of Sanliurfa then Ur, and immigrated for Harran that was the most important cultural and historic center of Mesopotamia. With the archaeological works, it is necessary there to see there the remains of one of the oldest Islamic universities. From the plains of Mesopotamia, going towards the north the first highest impressive mountain that one can see is the mount Nemrut. On its summit, at 2150 meters of altitude, sets the ruins of the spectacular sanctuary of the king Antiochos. In an extraordinary site, the gigantic statues contemplate the eternity in silence. 

 Turkey is one of the rare countries in the world offering such a density of historic sites. Prestigious or anonymous, they present harmoniously a subtle mixture of historic and biblical past; mystical and ethnic cultures. A voyage through the time…

Day 1: Istanbul

Meet at the airport with our Anatolia Cultura Travel team and transfer to hotel.

Day 2: Istanbul > Trabzon > Sumela Monastery > Erzurum

Drive to the airport and fly to Trabzon. Visit of the ancient Highia Sophia church with good frescoes from the 13th century. Visit the Sumela Monastery, set on a cliff at 270 in the national park of Altindere. 
Departure for Erzurum where we visit the medresa of Yakudiye and the mosque of Ulu from 1179. Night in hotel.

Day 3: Erzurum > Kars

We go on visiting Erzurum with the old Islamic theological school of çifte minare; the remarkably decorated mausoleum of Emir Sultan of 17th century. Drive to Kars. We visit the antiquities dating back to the period of the old Bronze, Seljuk ceramics, antique Korans...  We visit also the church of the Holy Apostles; this was an Armenian church used as a mosque after the Muslim conquest. Night in hotel.

Day 4: Kars > Ani > Kars

 Departure for Ani, a dead city, dominating the gorges of the Arpacayi that mark the frontiers between Turkey and Armenia.  Visit the city and its palace and its six churches, remarkable structures of the Armenian architecture. 
Return to Kars. Night in hotel. Total drive: 2 h.  

Day 5: Kars > Dogubeyazit

Drive to Dogubeyazit, the more eastern city of the country. On the way the view is beautiful onto the mount Ararat.
Before arriving in Dogubeyazit visit of the Ishak Pacha palace from the 17th century. 
Night in hotel.

Day 6 : Dogubeyazit > Van

Drive to Van, via Muradiye waterfalls. In the 10th century BC, Van was known as Toushpa and was the capital of the Ourartean kingdom. Visit of the archeology museum showing the ourartean, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations. 
Walk through the city which was destroyed in 1915. One can see numerous mausoleums of the Seljuk period. From the acropolis we have a panoramic view onto the Van lake.
Hotel for the night.

Day 7: Akdamar Island , Van

On the shores and the four islands of the Van lake there are Armenian disused churches. Visit of the Akdamar Island that was the refuge for the Armenian imperial family. Return back to Van.
Then visit of the Hosap fortress built in 1643 and walk around it.
Night in hotel.

Day 8: Van > Tatvan

We discover the Çavustepe hill with ourartean ruins than we drive onto Tatvan. On the way nice view of the Lake and the mount Suphan. Arriving to Ahlat, city containing the most beautiful Islamic art monuments of the region.  
Short walk in the Kiydibi village to discover the local traditions. Night in Tatvan.

Day 9: Tatvan > Hasankeyf > Midyat > Mardin

Drive to Hasankeyf via Bitlis city. 
Hasankeyf is situated on the right shore of the Tiger, on the location of an important medieval city with important historical ruins, going back to 5000 years.  Hasankeyf is the more remarkable cave-dweller town of Mesopotamia. Our trip continues towards Mardin through Midyat.  Arriving to Mardin where three cultures (turkish, kurdish and arabic) meet each other. Hotel.  

Day 10: Mardin > Diyarbakir

Visit of Muslim mosques end medresses. Drive to Dayrul Zafaran, an orthodox monastery with Syrian rituals. 
Drive to Diyarbakir where we can see the second biggest wall of the world. We visit the monuments of the city:  the citadel that Seldjuks and Ottomans modified; the caravansary of Deliller (16th C.); the Ulu mosque (12th C.); the medressa of Masudiye. hotel. 

Day 11: Diyarbakir > Siverek> Kahta> Mount Nemrut

Departure for Siverek and boarding in ferryboat to cross the imposing barrage of Ataturk on the Euphrates River.  
After the lunch in Kahta, we arrive to the mount Nemrut, an impressive artificial tumulus reaching 2150 M. with its gigantic statues. A grandiose realization reminding the ambition of the king Antiochos who wanted to fuse eastern and western civilizations. At the end of the day we will see a fabulous sunset.

Jour 12: Mount Nemrut> Kahta> Sanli Urfa

Drive to Kahta. On the way visit of some monuments: Karakus tumulus, a sepulcher from the 1st C. BC.; the bridge of Cendere; Arsemeia of Nymphais – the old capital of the kingdome of Commagene. Visit of the old Kahta with its fortress.
In the afternoon we join Sanli Urfa, the city of the prophets. According to the bible, Abraham stayed there to captivate the local divinities. Visit of the bazaar and walk in the citadel. hotel.  

Day 13: Harran

Drive to Harran and see its strange and typical houses ant hills. Harran is set on the ruins of the old Carrhes, city where Abraham established his family. After visiting the city and its monuments we drive back to Sanli Urfa.
The afternoon is free to visit the bazaar. Hotel for the night.

Day 14: Sanli Urfa> Gazi Antep> Istanbul

Drive to Gazi Antep, the Turkish capital of pistachio. Visit of the archeological museum that exposes a grouping of roman, byzantine and islamic sculptures, as well as Hittite relieves; we see also the beautiful mosaics saved from the site of Zeugma at the construction of the barrage of Birecik.
Flight to Istanbul. Arrive to Istanbul and transfer to the hotel.

Day 15 : Return

Transfer to the airport for the return flight.

Groupe size: Possibility to organize according to your needs.

Please note that this is a sample cultural tour. Possibility to modify the itinerary add/remove days and/or combine with cultural visits.

Inclusions of our services:
English / French / Spanish / German speaking licensed tour guide.
All transfer and transportations necessary for the respect of the itinerary.
All accommodations in hotel according to your needs.
All breakfast are included in the accommodations. Lunches as per your needs.
Dinners as per your needs.
All entrances fees as per your needs.

Boat trip in Van Akdamar island

Exclusions of our services:
Flights (please note that our agency is able to provide domestic and international flights. If needed please request)
Tips and personal expenses.

Drinks during meals.
Travel insurances.