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ISTANBUL MESOPOTOMIA TOUR - 9 DAYS
Day 1 : Istanbul - Arrival
Arrival transfer. Depending on your arrival time you may consider an orientation walk with one of our staff. Welcome briefing. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Day 2 : Istanbul Sultanahmet Mosque
Enjoy a full day tour of the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul. Firstly we visit the magnificent Hagia Sofia, Hippodrome & the stadium of ancient Byzantium, where an Egyptian obelisk & a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi still survive. We then continue on to the Blue Mosque which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior & the world famous Grand Bazaar. After lunch we visit the amazing Topkapi Palace, which from the 15th to the 19th Century was the principle residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Stay overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3 : Istanbul
Departing in the morning from the hotel to firstly take a brief visit to the Spice Bazaar which is the second largest covered bazaar in Istanbul & then embark on a cruise along the Bosphorus. This legendary strait separates Europe & Asia. We cruise past wooden seafront mansions, picturesque villages & modern pleasure palaces. After lunch we enjoy a visit to Camlica Hill, the highest point in Istanbul, commanding a panoramic view of the city. We will also take a short drive to the 19th Century summer palace of the Sultans in the Bosphorus village of Beylerbeyi. After the tour we will transfer you back to your hotel.
Day 4 : Istanbul to Gaziantep
We depart from Istanbul to Gaziantep. Upon arrival & check in to hotel we continue to the Gaziantep Archaeological Museum where we will get the chance to see the spectacular mosaics saved from Zeugma Antique Site. In the historical Tepebasi district, visit some fine buildings typical to the mid-nineteenth century south eastern Anatolian architecture. The missionary hospital & school constructed at the request of Tepebasi's merchants still stand alongside a collection of Synagogues, mosques, Roman Catholic, Protestant, & Orthodox churches in the historical district. Free time for shopping in the Copper & Mother of Pearl Workshop Bazaar. Dinner at an authentic restaurant where a large, rich, delicious variety of kebabs & deserts will be served. Overnight in Gaziantep.
Day 5 : Mt. Nemrut - Adiyaman
After breakfast, depart to Adiyaman. Continue to the spectacular Mt. Nemrut. During the trip our guide will tell you history of Karakus Tumulus, Cendere Bridge, & Arsemia antique settlement. We will visit the unique Mausoleum of Antiochus I, King of the tiny Kommagene Kingdom that resisted the mighty Roman empire for so many years. This mausoleum has a very distinguished feature; the sun rises & sets from the foot level of the gigantic sculptures. We will watch the spectacular sunset from the top of the hill, an uplifting & really spiritual experience. Overnight Adiyaman.
Day 6 : Sanliurfa - Harran
HarranAfter breakfast, depart to Sanliurfa. On the we stop at the Ataturk Dam, which is one of the biggest Dam projects in the world. After a brief information about
(GAP region), have lunch & depart to Sanliurfa, the ancient city of Ur. In this land lying between the Euphrates & the Tigris rivers, lived Abraham, the patriarch claimed by 3 world religions. Drive to the ancient city of Harran. Sightseeing tour of the ruins of the oldest Islamic University, Castle of Harran, & authentic Harran houses. Back to Sanliurfa, paying a visit to the cave where Abraham is believed to have been born. Visit the sacred fish pool & the fortress that overlooks both these holy sites.
Day 7 : Mardin
Drive to Mardin, the city is located along the historical Silk Road. Visit the Deyr ul Zaferan Monastery, which is one of the most known structures of Upper Mesopatamia & the religious center of 'Suryani Kadim' community. Continue to the Kasimiye Mederese, a theological school constructed between 1469-1503. After lunch, drive & walk through Mardin visit a typical Mardin House, opportunity to meet local people. Visit the Mardin Museum, ceramics, official seals, coins, candles, figurines, jewelry & vases belonging to the Assyrian, Urartu, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljukian, Artuklu Nation & Ottoman period varying between BC 4000 & nowadays. Overnight stay in Mardin.
Day 8 : Mardin - Diyarbakir - Istanbul
Check out & transfer to Diyarbakır. The Romans, who built walls that enclose the inner city on an artificial mound, called the city Amida. Visit the walls of the old city, massive black basalt walls as second only to the Great Wall of China in length & height. Depending n the flight schedule, transfer to Diyarbakir Airport for Istanbul flight. Meeting & assistance upon arrival to Istanbul airport.
Day 9 : Istanbul
After breakfast check out & transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport for your homebound flight. Additional night(s) can be added in Istanbul.