This is a comprehensive tour covering the major sites in Eastern Turkey, a diversity of landscapes and a glimpse of human history from Biblical times to the present day. Mt. Nemrut with its monuments of an ancient megalomaniac; Urfa, birthplace of the Prophet Abraham; Hasankeyf, soon to be lost under the flood waters of a new dam on the river Tigris; Van with its 3000 year old Urartian fortress; Ishak Pasha’s pleasure palace in Dogubayazit overlooking the Plains of Ararat.
Day 1 : Cappadocia to Adiyaman
Your guide and bus will meet you at the Adiyaman Airport and transfer you to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day to relax and explore Adiyaman. Overnight in Adiyaman.
Day 2 : Nemrut, Urfa
We will leave our hotel two hours before sunrise so we can climb Mt Nemrut to see the sun rise from the mountain top among the fallen statues of a funerary monument that’s a testament to an ancient king’s ambition. After breakfast we will visit the massive Ataturk Dam straddling the mighty river Euphrates, and continue on to SanliUrfa, the ancient city of prophets. Overnight in SanliUrfa.
Day 3 : Gobekli Tepe, Diyarbakır
After breakfast in your hotel we will go to the archaeological dig at Gobekli Tepe. Not widely known among the general public, Gobekli Tepe is an important archaeological site since some of the stones pre-date Stonehenge by 8,000 years. We continue to Diyarbakir, at 5000 years old one of the oldest settlements in the world. Diyarbakir is famed for its city walls, constructed by the Romans. After the great wall of China, Diyarbakir’s walls are the longest continuous defensive walls in the world. We will take a short walking tour of Diyarbakir. Overnight in Diyarbakir.
Day 4 : Mardin, Hasankeyf, Tatvan
After breakfast at our hotel, we drive to Mardin, located on a high hill overlooking the plains of southern Turkey. We will visit Deir-Al-Zafaran (the Saffron Monastery),centre of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy and still an active monastery. After lunch we visit Hasankeyf on the Tigris River and soon to be submerged under the waters created by a new dam on the Tigris. From Hasankeyf we continue to Tatvan on the western shore of Lake Van. Overnight in Tatvan.
Day 5 : Akdamar, Van
After breakfast we depart for Van, driving along the lakeshore and stopping en route to take a boat to Akdamar Island to see its the restored 10th century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross, or Sourp Khach. Overnight in Van.
Day 6 : Van, Hosap
After breakfast in our hotel, we will drive along a branch of the Silk Road (Ipek Yolu) to visit Hosap Castle, which straddles the Silk Road. We will return to Van for lunch and a visit to its 3000 year old Citadel to watch the sun set over Lake Van. Overnight in Van.
Day 7 : Doğubeyazit, Ararat, Kars
After breakfast at our hotel, we leave Van and head to Dogubeyazit via Muradiye and Bendimaahi Falls. In Dogubeyazit, we will visit the Ishak Pasha Palace. We then continue around the western edge of Mt Ararat enroute to Kars. Overnight in Kars.
Day 8 : Kars, Ani
After breakfast at our hotel, we tour Ani, the former capital of the great medieval Armenian Kingdom. We will see the remains of several churches as well as the shell of the Cathedral of Ani, the citadel and a mosque, and an extensive and well preserved defensive wall. Overnight in Kars.
Day 9 : Kars, Erzurum
After breakfast at our hotel, we will visit the WWI battlefield of Sarikamis on the Aras River. We will then drive along the gorge of the Aras River into Erzurum. Overnight in Erzurum.
Day 10 : Erzurum, Sumela Monastery, Trabzon
After breakfast in our hotel, we depart Erzurum and drive through the Pontic Alps, in the steps of Xenophon’s Ten Thousand, along the Karasu River, the northernmost branch of the Euphrates, to Askale, with its ruined Byzantine fortress. We continue over the 2390m Kopdagi Pass, into the Coruh valley, passing the Bayburt fortress. We will visit the Sumela Monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Overnight in Trabzon.
Day 11 : Departure
After breakfast in our hotel, we will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Istanbul.
Day 12 : Istanbul
Your tour ends after breakfast in our hotel.