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Tumulus of Karakus (south side)

Tumulus of Karakus (south side)



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Tumulus of Karakus (south side) - History

(You may also join this tour on the 4th day without Istanbul)

Day 1
Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel, check- in. Leisure afternoon.
Overnight Istanbul.

Day 2 – Sultanahmet – Old Istanbul (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:00am
Visit to Topkapi Palace, which was used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries. We will also see the impressive collection of priceless jewels, crystal, silver and porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and relics of the prophet Mohammed.(Entrance to the Harem is extra). After lunch break we will see the Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I, which is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul and visit the Yerebatan underground Cistern. At the end of the tour, at request, free time to see the Grand Covered Bazaar (except Sundays). *May be done as a walking tour if your hotel is centrally located. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 3 – Bosphorus Cruise with St. (Haghia) Sophia & Beylerbeyi (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:45am
Visit the exotic Egyptian Spice Market on the Golden Horn. Board your cruise of the Bosphorus, the waterway, which separates the continents of Europe and Asia. Pass Rumeli fortress, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 to prepare for his conquest of Istanbul. Cross over the Bosphorus Bridge to Asia and visit Beylerbeyi Palace, which was the summer residence of the Ottoman Sultans, then on to Camlica Hill for a magnificent view of Istanbul. Time for lunch in a seaside fish restaurant. Cruise is done by public boat unless other arrangements are made. Visit The St. (Haghia) Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian. It was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years. See its intricate mosaics and huge central dome. Order of visits may be reversed.. Return to Hotel around 17:00pm

Day 4 – Istanbul- Trabzon (B.D)

Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to airport in the morning and fly to Trabzon. Arrival and transfer to your hotel. Visit to Sümela Monastery, is a spectacular rock-hewn monastery perched dramatically on the narrow ledge of a steep cliff in the forests south of Trabzon. It was built in the fourth century, just before the Roman Empire split into east and west, by two Athenian priests, Barnabas and Sophronius, who, according to legend, found a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave. Overnight Trabzon.

Day 5- Trabzon- Erzurum (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Drive along the Silk Route through the Zigana Mountains which will take us to Karaca Cave that is considered to be the most beautiful in Turkey for its colors and formations. Continue to Erzurum via Bayburt where we check-in for overnight stay in Erzurum. Visit Cifte Minare and Yakutiye Medrese. Free time in Rustem Pasha Bedesten, devoted manufacture and sale of Oltutas jewelry. Overnight Erzurum

Day 6 – Erzurum – Kars – Ani (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
After breakfast, today we drive to Ani via Kars. Ani dates back as far as the 5th century AD and from 806 it served as the capital of Armenia. After our visits here we drive to Sarikamis once a favourite retreat of the Tsars of Russia where we spend the night. Dinner and overnight in Sarikamis.

Day 7 – Kars- Doğubeyazıt – Van (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Today we head on further south to Van via Dogubeyazit where we visit the legendary Ishakpasha Palace built towards the end of the 18th century by a powerful local family who were the rulers of the area. We then drive further past Mt. Ararat which according to ancient tradition is the mountain on which Noah’s Ark rested. Ararat consists of 2 peaks: Buyuk Agri (5165 m) and Kucuk Agri (3925 m). We visit the Muradiye waterfalls en route. Dinner and overnight in Van

Day 8 – Van (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
After a leisurely breakfast, we first visit Akdamar Island on which an 11th Century Armenian Monastery is situated with beautiful architecture on by the Lake Van. Continue with Tusba Castle. After lunch at a local restaurant we head on to Cavustepe. Dinner and overnight in Van

Day 9 – Van – Mardin (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Early departure for the longest bus ride of the tour (7:30 am – 3:30 pm). Drive west from Van around the southern end of Lake Van to Bitlis, then southwest to Mardin near the Iraqian border. We travel via Bitlis and Ahlat where we will visit the Conic Tombs of Seljuk-Turkish period. Overnight Mardin.

Day 10 – Mardin – Urfa (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Mardin: located on a high hill overlooking the plains of southern Turkey and Syria. After breakfast, we will visit Deir-Al-Zafaran (the Saffron Monastery), center of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchy and still an active monastery. After lunch drive to Hasankeyf, situated by the Tigris river. Soon to be submerged under the flood waters of a new dam on the Tigris, Hasankeyf has hundreds of caves, hidden waterways, tombs, a larger and smaller Palace, as well as ruins of the Great Mosque. Drive to Urfa for Overnight

Day 11 – Urfa – Kahta (Nemrud) (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Visit the Mevlid Halil Mosque, the Cave of Prophet Abraham, then the sacred fish pool. You will have a chance to wander in the Old Bazaar. – Continue to Harran, city of the prophet Abraham. See the fortress, Islamic school and curious beehive-shaped adobe houses. Drive to Kahta and overnight Kahta.

Day 12 – Nemrud – Cappadocia. (B.L)
Hike to the summit of the Mt. Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites), be amazed by the colossal heads and statues of ancient deities, as you step into mythology. There we will hire small mini-buses to drive up the mountain. This extraordinary landmark rests at an elevation of 8000 ft. The mountain top complex is composed of two flattened areas strewn with statues and separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antiouchus built the entire complex approximately 2000 years ago as a monument to his divine ancestry. Also definitely take time to visit the old castle, Arsemeia, cross over the still functioning Cendere Bridge (Septimius Severus bridge) dating all the way back to the 3rd century and Tumulus Tomb of Karakus. Then drive back to the hotel for breakfast. Drive to Kahraman Maras to have world famous ice-cream, then drive to Cappadocia for overnight

Day 13 – Cappadocia: (B.L)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am
Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Drive to Sahinefendi ( Sobesos )- where we see Byzantine Period Mosaic Art & Archaeological excavation site. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the “table top” mountains, are spectacular. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides it’s frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer. Visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old houses very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Continue with panorama of the Red Valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations, is in the heart of Cappadocia but away from the tourist crowd. Overnight Cappadocia

Day 14 – Cappadocia (B.L)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am
In the morning, first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia: rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley a journey in the past with its troglodyte houses, visit to Pasabag “fairy chimneys” where the voice of wind mixes with the “songs of fairies” near Zelve. Lunch in Avanos, centre of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century). Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Overnight Cappadocia

Day 15 – Cappadocia – Antalya (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am

OPTION 1: TURKISH VILLAGE LIFE & CULINARY TOUR Starting the day with a visit to local market ( available only on Monday, Friday and Saturdays ) or a morning walk to the fruit orchards of Ayvali Village. We will collect and taste fresh fruits from the trees (harvesting between June and October) or visit the cave storages for lemons and potatoes. The tour continues with a walk through the narrow streets of the village. Each door opens for an invitation as the villagers invite you for a cup of tea, a plate full of dessert or fruit from their house. According to the season, we join the villagers to learn and help make grape syrup, tomato sauce productions and pumpkin seed collecting. Visiting the local meeting point, Kahvehane,(coffeehouse) to learn more about their lifestyle and local games while drinking the Turkish coffee and tea.Visit the mosque in the village and learn more about the religious customs. For the lunch, we are invited to a real village house to join a Turkish family. We’ll collect the ingredients from their garden and we will participate in cooking a delicious Turkish meal. We are going to have lunch by sitting together with the family in a traditional Turkish fashion. After the lunch, a walk through a beautiful hidden valley near the village. Drive to see a cave wine house to see the process of making delicious and famous Cappadocia wine. Before going back to the hotel, there may be an optional stop to see an art and handicraft center of Cappadocia. Overnight Cappadocia.

OPTION 2: IHLARA CANYON HIKING Drive to Ihlara, on the way, Walking in Ihlara Canyon, a “mirage” in the Steps of Anatolia up to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema: “Valley of the Sky” along the Melendiz River. Rock-cut churches, spread across a wild plantation, will surprise you with their successfully painted representations from the Bible. Lunch in Belisirma, a local restaurant by the river. Stop by Selime, a village with cave houses at the end of the canyon and a “star wars” like landscape.

At the end of the day, transfer to airport for a direct flight to Antalya ( or via Istanbul ).
Arrival and meeting at the airport with your name sign. Transfer to your hotel in Antalya, Overnight Antalya.

Day 16 – Antalya (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am
Visit to Perge – Aspendos and Kursunlu waterfalls or Antalya Museum .Overnight Antalya

Day 17 – Antalya – Pamukkale ( B-D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Drive to Pamukkale. Discovery of Travertine terraces and Hierapolis. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are one of the most spectacular natural wonders we ever have seen from various mineral springs in a vast white cliff side, about 200 m overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have dripped down over a series of terraced levels and created a fairyland of bizarre solidified cascades and shell-shaped basins. It looks like creations from snow or like balls from cotton, which gave the scenery the Turkish name Pamukkale (cotton castle): “pamuk” for cotton and “kale” for castle. Moreover the water in the basins is changing its color according to how the light enters Overnight Pamukkale

Day 18- Pamukkale – Kusadasi (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:00am
Drive to Ephesus, on the way, visit to Aphrodisias. Aphrodisias was primarily known as a center for the arts, specifically sculpture. The Aphrodisias School of Sculpture had a distinctive style and was very well circulated throughout the Greek and Roman world. Overnight Near Ephesus

Day 19 – Ephesus (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:00am
Visit to the ancient city of Ephesus. We will spend several hours walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Cicero, Apostles Paul and John and many other familiar historical names. The recently opened Terrace Houses (entry extra) where the wealthiest Romans lived are an excellent example of sensitive excavation and presentation. The mosaics and frescos are spectacular. Tradition has it that Virgin Mary was brought here by St John after the Crucifixion and lived her final years near the city of Ephesus on an isolated mountaintop. A lovely chapel is constructed on the site tended by Franciscans and open to visitors. It has been designated a pilgrimage site by the Pope. Visit to temple of Artemis to see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Overnight Near Ephesus

Day 20 – Ephesus – Assos (Troy) (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:00am
Drive to Troy , visit Pergamon or Pergamum that became an important kingdom during the Hellenistic period, Pergamon had the second best library in the ancient Greek civilization (the ancient Library of Pergamum), after Alexandria. When the Ptolemies stopped exporting papyrus, partly because of competitors and partly because of shortages, the Pergamenes invented a new substance to use in codices, called “pergaminus” or parchment after the city. This was made of fine calf skin, a predecessor of vellum. Asclepion, located to the southwest of the lower city, was a sanctuary dedicated to the god of health, Asclepics which was one of the largest hospitals in history, is located to the west of the city, which was a great center of culture, art and medicine. Overnight Çanakkale near Troy.

Day 21 – Assos (Troy) – Istanbul (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:00am
Visit Troy in the morning. Troy (Truva) – 4000 years old Ancient City Troy, popular with the Trojan War and Trojan horse is a city which existed over4000 years and known as the center of ancient civilizations. Many years, people believed that it was the city in tales and never existed until it was first found. At this time it was known as Ilium or New Ilium. Today Troy or New Ilium places in Hisarlik at Canakkale. The remains of the city – the remains from the thieves and destructors – can be visit in here. Transfer to Istanbul. Overnight Istanbul

Day 22 – (B)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Connect to your international flight and leave Turkey.

Abbreviations

B = Breakfast L= Lunch D = Dinner (Lunch excluded on private tours)

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Arsameia. The ancient capital of the Commagene Empire

An ancient city, over two thousand years old, with exceptional stone reliefs would normally be a major tourist attraction. The abandoned city of Arsameia in southern Turkey gets only the occassional visitor, as it totally overshadowed by the wonders of nearby Mount Nemrut (XXXX).

Although largely unexcavated it is a well worth a visit, particularly as you will probably have it to yourself. Arsameia was the summer capital of the Commagene empire, located high up on a hill above a tributary of the River Euphrates.

The slightly self-obsessed ruler Antiochius I, whose colossal stone visage sits alongside that of the Gods atop of Nemrut, which was to be his tomb, expanded it during his reign (70 BC to 38 BC) and buried his father, King Mithridates I, here.

It was only re-discovered in 1951 by Freidrich Dorner, a German archaelogist doing a dig on Mount Nemrut (thankfully without the use of dynamite unlike some of his predecessors) but since then has had little attention paid to it.

A broken relief on the path up to the city of Arsameia

At the car park (big enough for about 4 cars) a caretaker will tell you a little about the site, but, as with Mount Nemrut, there is currently no charge to enter. If you look non-threatening, he will return to his hut and go back to his Turkish coffee and newspaper.

Otherwise he will follow you. Luckily I had shaved off the four day beard growth that morning and was granted the privledge of being able to explore the site totally by myself.

A number of broken reliefs are scattered along the pathway up to what had been the entrance to the city, which has a large stone relief of King Mithradates I shaking hands with Heracles, a God. Mithradates is beutifully rendered, with fine clothes and an ornate crown, while Heracles looks like he does in most Greek representions, naked with a large club.

King Mithradates I
Another example of Antochius I's efforts to raise himself, using his family this time, up to the level of a diety.

The relief is in remarkable condition, considering it is exposed to the weather, including the freezing winters here, and would have certainly been an imposing sight as you entered the city.

Ten metres beneath it is one of the best historical sources that has been discoverd for information on the Commagne empire.

One of the best sources for the history of the Commagne empire

Over five large columns is inscribed the history of Arsameia in Greek lettering, mentions that King Mithrdates I is buired here, provides information on religous practises, and has many homages to Antiochus I, who is described as both a friend to the Romans (a very sensible position to be in at the time with the empire still in the ascendant) and as a God to be respected and worshipped. No over-inflated ego there.

There is a tunnel here, and another one about fifty metres away, which could have held the remains of King Mithradates I, or for some other unknown purpose. They are not blocked off, as yet, but the steps are very uneven and irregulary cut, with no lighting, and the one I explored ended in a large room with a rather unsavoury smell. There is clearly work yet to be done here.

Descend into the tunnels inside Arsameia if you dare (bring a torch)

Climbing up from the Mithrades-Heracles relief is the remains of the palace and barracks. As with the rest of the site, much has yet to be excavated and what remains is a jumble of stones, columns, broken pottery, and steps.

One can only imagine what will be found when archaelogists eventually explore this city and uncover more of its riches.

Steps leading up the palace of Antiochus I
For those with a fascination of the little known Commagne empire, and I was certainly becoming one, go ten km's futher on down the mountain and see the Karakus Tumulus.

* Early nornings for visits to Arsameia are recommended as the sun shines directly on the reliefs and, particularly in summer, the heat is much more bearable. Take a hat, there is no shelter, and a big bottle of water.

* At this current time (2019) there are no charges for visiting any of these historical sites.


Commons:Quality images candidates/Archives March 03 2015

  • Nomination Subsidiary church Saint Oswald, Poertschach, Carinthia, Austria --Johann Jaritz 17:53, 28 February 2015 (UTC) Support Good quality --PIERRE ANDRE LECLERCQ 22:04, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion

  • Nomination Castle Krastowitz, Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria --Johann Jaritz 17:51, 28 February 2015 (UTC) Support Good quality --Halavar 19:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion

  • Nomination Oak tree at Krastowitz park, Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria --Johann Jaritz 17:50, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality.--Famberhorst 18:05, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Rural way and orchard, Poertschach, Carinthia, Austria --Johann Jaritz 17:47, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 17:52, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination The museum building. Erebuni Museum. Erebuni District. Yerevan, Armenia. --Halavar 17:39, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --Johann Jaritz 02:46, 01 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Khor Virap. Ararat Province, Armenia. --Halavar 17:39, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Johann Jaritz 02:48, 01 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Church of the Holy Mother of God. Khor Virap monastery. Ararat Province, Armenia. --Halavar 17:39, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 17:52, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Cemetery next to the Khor Virap monastery. Ararat Province, Armenia. --Halavar 17:39, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Johann Jaritz 02:52, 01 March 2015 (UTC)

  • NominationEuphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae. the flower buds are already visible in February.
    Famberhorst 16:32, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Johann Jaritz 02:55, 01 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Column at the North part of the Severan Bridge, Turkey --Bgag 15:46, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality --Halavar 17:39, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination A bridge over the Chabinas Creek near the Severan Bridge, Turkey --Bgag 15:46, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Decline Oppose Sorry, great landscape, but the images is not sharp enough. Lack of fine details. --Halavar 20:57, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Column with a statue of an eagle at the Tumulus of Karakus, Turkey --Bgag 15:46, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Nice.--Famberhorst 16:37, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Angkor Wat, province de Siem_Reap, Cambodge--PIERRE ANDRE LECLERCQ 14:13, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --Johann Jaritz 02:56, 01 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Garden ofTroy, Alcazar_of_Seville.--لا روسا 13:29, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Decline Many areas overexposed, detail gone, not a QI --Poco a poco 16:30, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Wespenspinne - Argiope bruennichi, Weibchen (female) --Hockei 11:10, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Bgag 15:59, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Cave in the cliffs of Heimaey, Westman Islands, Suðurland, Iceland --Poco a poco 11:01, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Isiwal 11:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Dynjandisheiði, Vestfirðir, Iceland --Poco a poco 11:01, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Jacek Halicki 14:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination The Hemispheric, City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain --Poco a poco 11:01, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Isiwal 11:19, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Bolungarvík lighthouse, Vestfirðir, Iceland. --Poco a poco 11:01, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Bgag 15:56, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Church of St. Anthony in Gołogłowy --Jacek Halicki 10:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Isiwal 11:21, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Saint John the Baptist church in Jaszkowa Dolna 1 --Jacek Halicki 10:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 12:12, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Saint John the Baptist church in Jaszkowa Dolna 3 --Jacek Halicki 10:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 12:12, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Saint John the Baptist church in Jaszkowa Dolna 4 --Jacek Halicki 10:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion very good quality --Rs-foto 23:19, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Allegory "fire", fish depository Lambach abbey --Isiwal 09:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 12:12, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Alpine cabin Dümlerhütte --Isiwal 09:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --Johann Jaritz 03:04, 01 March 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Neue Wache in Berlin-Mitte. --Code 08:21, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --XRay 08:50, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Building of the Salins de Frontignan, Hérault, France. --Christian Ferrer 08:12, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 12:14, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Gebänderte Prachtlibelle - Calopteryx splendens, Männchen (male) --Hockei 08:11, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Bgag 15:56, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Kuta, Bali, Indonesia: Pura Dalem Kampial, a balinese hindu temple alongside Dharmawangsa Road. --Cccefalon 08:08, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion
    Support Good quality. --Hockei 08:13, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Kuta, Bali, Indonesia: The Mother Temple of Besakih, or Pura Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung. It is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali. --Cccefalon 08:08, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion
    Comment I would brighten the shadow. --Hockei 08:17, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
    Done I brightened a little bit. More brightening was not possible, it turned out to rise big problems with colour noise. --Cccefalon 08:31, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
    Support Yes. --Hockei 08:41, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Desa Muncan, Bali, Indonesia: A rice paddy with irrigation system alongside Jalan Raya Muncan. The water is retrieved from Yeh Unda River (right side of the image). --Cccefalon 08:08, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion
    Support Good picture. --Hockei 08:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Taman Serinsim, Sabah, Malaysia: The FORD RANGER that I used in 2014 for the research and photo tours in Sabah at a ford over Sungai Bongan. The nearby Taman Sorinsim is a substation of Kinabalu Park. --Cccefalon 08:08, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Isiwal 10:48, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Saor Patrol beim MPS 2014 in Weeze. By User:Krd --Achim Raschka 06:50, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Isiwal 10:48, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Saor Patrol beim MPS 2014 in Weeze. By User:Krd --Achim Raschka 06:50, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 12:14, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Mr. Hurley & die Pulveraffen at medieval event Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum in Wassenberg, Germany, 2014 --Achim Raschka 06:50, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality -- Spurzem 07:16, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Location Natuurterrein The Famberhorst. Frosted yellow vibration fungus (Tremella mesenteric) on dead oak branch.
    Famberhorst 06:41, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --XRay 07:11, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Group of trees to cycle to Langweerderwielen (Langwarder Wielen). East.
    Famberhorst 06:41, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality -- Spurzem 07:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Exterior of the Dominikaner-Convent, Vienna --Hubertl 06:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion QI -- Spurzem 07:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Exterior figures at Jesuitenkirche, Vienna --Hubertl 06:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion QI -- Spurzem 07:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Detail of the Archduke Carl Ludwig Johann Joseph Laurentius von Österreich, Duke of Teschen - Monument at the Heldenplatz, Vienna --Hubertl 06:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality, maybe remove dark left upper corner? --Isiwal 10:48, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Farmhouse Cheddar, Isle of Mull Cheese, Sgriob-ruadh Farm, Tobermory Isle of Mull --Hubertl 06:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --XRay 07:12, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Plate at the Domus Universitatis, which is part of the buildings of the Alte Universität (Old University) in Vienna --Hubertl 06:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality.--Famberhorst 06:43, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Former engine shed and former track bed, Juist, Lower Saxony, Germany --XRay 06:09, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion
    Comment The picture is good, but IMO you should sharpen it a bit (not much). --Hockei 08:38, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
    Fixed Thanks. It's now sharper.--XRay 12:49, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
    Support Good now. --Hockei 12:57, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Mailbox, Juist, Lower Saxony, Germany --XRay 06:09, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality.--Famberhorst 06:46, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Construction site at Billstraße, Juist, Lower Saxony, Germany --XRay 06:09, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
    Good but left side leaning in Poco a poco 12:17, 28 February 2015 (UTC) Fixed Thanks for your advice. It's fixed now.--XRay 12:53, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 15:46, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination RWE, Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany --XRay 06:09, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Hubertl 06:26, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Doric capital - Temple of Heracles - Agrigento --Jbribeiro1 03:24, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Hubertl 06:26, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Detail - Unidentified building - Agrigento --Jbribeiro1 03:24, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality.--Famberhorst 06:48, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination The castle Trostburg in South Tyrol - Southern portal --Moroder 23:42, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --XRay 07:13, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Cablecar Raschötz in the Dolomites --Moroder 23:42, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Good quality. --Hubertl 06:26, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Cablecar Raschötz in the Dolomites --Moroder 23:42, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support Good quality. --Code 08:25, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Bus in Poitiers --Billy69150 21:44, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion QI -- Spurzem 07:25, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Academic gymnasium Graz, 16mm-fisheye-view, Graz, Austria. --Dnalor 01 19:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Withdrawn I withdraw my nomination, it's not a QI. --Dnalor 01 08:58, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • NominationCyclaam coum Russian Form Dark Nose. Location, Tuinreservaat Jonkervallei. A nice selection.
    Famberhorst 16:32, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion
    Comment Needs noise reduction. --Hockei 19:09, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    Done Noise reduction.--Famberhorst 06:34, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
    Support Good quality. --Hockei 08:31, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination Angkor Thom, La Porte du Sud. --PIERRE ANDRE LECLERCQ 15:28, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
    QI if you fix the perspective Poco a poco 20:31, 27 February 2015 (UTC) Done fix. Please care to take another look? --PIERRE ANDRE LECLERCQ 22:10, 27 February 2015 (UTC) the perspective.
  • Promotion Good quality. --Poco a poco 12:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Nomination The castle Trostburg in South Tyrol - Fresco on a southern wall --Moroder 13:28, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Promotion Support --Christian Ferrer 08:02, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

SMALL GROUP TURKEY TOURS


INCLUDED:
All airport transfers
Accommodation in hotels as mentioned
Meals as mentioned only (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Water during meals
Main museum entry fees
Transportation in non-smoking minibus with professional English speaking guide, fuel, road tolls and parking fees
Domestic Flights Istanbul-Adana/Trabzon &ndash Istanbul (Listed separately above, price is approximate)


NOT INCLUDED: International flights, drinks, porterage, tips to guide and driver and items of a personal nature. **Domestic flight price, listed separately, is approximate.


OPTIONAL: We can arrange for pre- or post-tours or hotel accommodation for those of you who want to see more of Turkey.


FEATURED HOTELS:

ISTANBUL
Almina Hotel, Amber Hotel, Dersaadet Hotel, Dosso Dossi Old City, Hotellino Hotel, Recital Hotel, Zeynep Sultan Hotel

ERZURUM
Xanadu Snow White Hotel, Dedeman Palandoken, Polat Renaissance or similar

KARS
Buyuk Kale Hotel, Sim Er Hotel or similar

VAN
Tamara Hotel, Buyuk Urartu Hotel or similar

MARDIN
Izala Hotel, Yay Grand Hotel, Artuklu Kervansaray or similar

SANLIURFA
Manici Hotel or similar

KAHTA
Zeus Hotel or similar

ADANA
Senbayrak Hotel, Kaya Premium Hotel or similar

Visiting eastern Turkey is an unforgettable adventure. In this tour we will be immersed in a completely different lifestyle and culture. We will encounter a mosaic of religions, very ancient civilizations, village life and more.

We visit Tarsus, the birthplace of St Paul, walking in his footsteps on the ancient road and where the legend of the Sahmaran (half woman &ndash half snake) lives on.

We can enjoy the completely different and delicious cuisine in Gaziantep and Mardin, see incredible examples of mosaics, trek to the top of Mt Nemrut and see Mt Ararat, the cave of Abraham and more. Breathe in the sacred history. Sumela Monastery clinging to a cliff, synagogues, churches and mosques side by side&hellipplaces that will linger in your memory and make the history you learned come alive.

Our Mysteries of Eastern Turkey tour is a full-service escorted tour which has a minimum of 4 passengers and allows a maximum of 10 passengers in air-conditioned non-smoking minibus with a professional English speaking guide and driver. Because there is some climbing done in this tour at a higher altitude and the itinerary involves long distances and full days of touring, we recommend it only for those who are physically fit and in good health. Due to extreme hot or cold weather in the eastern region of Turkey departures are from April through June and September through October.

Hotels are a mix of nice quality boutique or 3/4 star hotel, all with private ensuite facilities, heating and A/C. Most meals are included in this tour. Breakfasts are taken in the hotel, lunches in local restaurants, dinners in both hotels and restaurants. We introduce you to a variety of tasty regional Turkish dishes along the way.

How to sign up for this tour: Insight Mysteries of Eastern Turkey small group cultural tour departs on Sundays in season per request. Those wanting to sign up for this tour request a departure at least 6 months in advance and when we have a minimum of 4 people we confirm the tour departure.

Istanbul and/or Cappadocia tours and accommodation may be added to the package.

SUNDAY DEPARTURES ON DEMAND

Contact us to book and post other dates!

PRICE PER PERSON IN
DOUBLE/TRIPLE ROOM
FLIGHT:
IST - TRABZON
ADANA - IST
SINGLE
SUPPLEMENT
2495 EUROS + 200 EUROS + 480 EUROS

**Domestic Flights are listed separately - Prices are not valid during holiday or special events periods or for private tour quotations


Discover The Hidden Secrets of Turkey on a 22 Day Tour

Explore some of the best highlights of Turkey and see some of the amazing places of history and stunning landscape that this beautiful country has to offer. Throughout your trip, you&rsquoll visit Istanbul&rsquos highlights, including Hagia Sofia and cruise between two continents on a Bosphorus cruise.

Visit the Sumela Monastery, known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary and go to Trabzon, after the crusaders invaded Constantinople in 1204, Trabzon became the capital of the Byzantine Empire for a short time.

Drive on the &ldquoSilk Road&rdquo to Dogubeyazit, a beautiful, yet rugged area with the opportunity to see Mt. Ararat from all sides. Explore the medieval Armenian City of Ani, which lies mostly in ruins, but impressive fortified walls still surround the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries.

Visit Mardin, which is very unique with old-Arabic style houses which are often decorated with intricate carvings. Mardin is a very lively trading centre with people coming from surrounding villages to buy and sell, and you will have a fantastic view of the Plain of Mesopotamia.

You will go to Şanlıurfa (the Prophets' City also known as Urfa), is a pilgrimage town and spiritual centre. You will also visit Mount Nemrut, one the highest peaks of the Mesopotamia, with a summit at 2,206 metres above sea level and contains the tomb of King Antiochus I of Commagene that was commissioned by himself.

Explore the fairy-tale landscape of mystifying Cappadocia where you can also see the labyrinth of the underground city. You may even have the option to take a hot balloon ride, which is a memory you won't want to forget.

Visit the awe-inspiring pure white travertines of Pamukkale and take a dip in the Cleopatras pool where you can see the fallen columns below. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are one of the most spectacular natural wonders that you are able to see from various mineral springs in a vast white cliffside. Also, see the ruins of Hierapolis.

You will venture to the UNESCO-listed Ephesus where you will see one of the worlds best-preserved ancient site and see where Virgin Mary spent her final days at the House of the Virgin Mary. Get to experience Temple of Artemis one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

These are just a few places you will visit on this spectacular itinerary of the hidden secrets in Turkey.

  • Explore Istanbul with its many sights including Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar and enjoy a cruise on the Bosphorus
  • Drive along the Silk Route and through the Zigana Mountains and visit the Sumela Monastery which is also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary
  • Explore Ani that served as the capital of Armenia from 806 and see the Ishak Pasa Palace
  • Explore the huge Van Castle and explore the unique city of Mardin with lovely old-Arabic style houses
  • See the Cave of Prophet Abraham and the sacred fish pool in Sanliurfa
  • Hike to the summit of the Mt. Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites)
  • See the mysterious landscape of cappadocia and visit an underground city
  • Visit some stunning and spectacular places along the Turquoise Coast
  • See the pure white travertines at Pamukkale and the ruins of Hierapolis
  • Explore the ancient city of Ephesus one of the best-preserved ruins in the world
  • Visit Troy, a 4000 years old Ancient City popular with the Trojan War and Trojan horse
  • Scheduling: Private Tour
  • Languages offered on the Activity / Tour: English, German, French, Italian
  • Duration: 22 days
Easy Cancellation
  • Domestic flights in the program
  • Transportation by a comfortable AC non smoking Luxurious car/Van with professional driver
  • Professional and experienced licensed guide during the tours
  • All accommodation
  • Entry fees to the sites and museums
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities (optional)
  • Meals that are not stated in the itinerary
  • Drinks
1 Arrival Day

Arrival to Istanbul Airport where our driver/guide will meet you and transfer to your hotel for check-in before having the rest of the day at your leisure.

2 Sultanahmet – Old Istanbul

Go to the Topkapi Palace, which was once used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries and see the magnificent collection of priceless jewels, silver, crystal, and porcelain, robes that were worn by the sultans and the relics of the prophet Mohammed. (Entrance to the Harem is extra).

After lunch, we will visit the stunning Blue Mosque that was built for Sultan Ahmet I, and is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles.

Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II and visit the hidden Underground Cistern.

See the Grand Covered Bazaar with its many shops perfect for your holiday souvenirs.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Istanbul
3 Bosphorus Cruise with Haghia Sophia and Beylerbeyi

Visit the exotic Egyptian Spice Market located on the Golden Horn before boarding your cruise of the Bosphorus where the waterway separates the two continents Europe and Asia.

Pass by Rumeli fortress which was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452, so he could prepare for his conquest of Istanbul.

Cross over the Bosphorus Bridge to Asia where you will visit Beylerbeyi Palace, which was once the summer address of the Ottoman Sultans, then on to Camlica Hill for a fantastic view of Istanbul.

Time for lunch in a lovely seaside fish restaurant. Cruise is on a public boat unless other arrangements are made.

Visit the Hagia Sophia, which was built by Emperor Justinian and was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years and has intricate mosaics and a huge central dome.

Order of visits may be reversed.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Istanbul
4 Istanbul- Trabzon

Transfer to the airport in the morning and fly to Trabzon. Arrive and transfer to your hotel.

Visit the Sumela Monastery which is also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, and has been said that it is neither in heaven or on earth.

Carved on the mountain, it looks like a nine-story high building that hangs down from the clouds and sits on the top of the forest.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Trabzon
  • Flight : Flight to Trabzon
5 Trabzon - Erzurum

Drive along the Silk Route and through the Zigana Mountains which will take us to Karaca Cave that is considered to be the most beautiful in Turkey for its colours and formations.

Continue to Erzurum via Bayburt where we check-in for an overnight stay in Erzurum.

Visit Cifte Minare and Yakutiye Medrese before having some free time in Rustem Pasha Bedesten, a devoted manufacturer that sells Oltutas jewellery.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Erzurum
6 Erzurum – Kars – Ani

After a tasty breakfast, we drive to Ani via Kars.

Ani which dates as far back as the 5th century AD, and served as the capital of Armenia from 806.

After our visits here we will then drive to Sarikamis once the Tsars of Russia favourite retreat and where we spend the night.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Sarikamis
7 Kars - Doğubeyazıt – Van

Today we head further south to Van via Dogubeyazit.

We will then stop and see the Ishak Pasa Palace. This complex is made up of a mosque, a palace and a fortress, which initially had a different room for every day of the year and you can also see the remains of Eski Beyazit, and Urartian City which flourished in 1000 BC.

We will have the chance to see Mt. Ararat from all sides and is claimed to be the resting-place of Noah&rsquos Ark, but so far no one has found any evidence &ndash yet the search is still on.

We will also visit the Muradiye waterfalls en route.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Van
8 Van

We will take a ferry across the lake to visit the most exceptional Armenian architecture, the Church of the Holy Cross that is on Akdamar Island.

Explore the huge Van Castle from the days of Urartu where you will see the hieroglyphs and sense the spirit of the once Urartu capital Tushpa and feel the salty waters of the great Lake Van called &lsquothe Sea&rsquo by the locals.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we head to Cavustepe.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Van
9 Van – Mardin

We have an early departure for the longest bus ride of the tour (7:30 am &ndash 3:30 pm).

Drive west from Van around the southern end of Lake Van to Bitlis, then southwest to Mardin near the Iraqi border.

We then travel via Bitlis and Ahlat where we will visit the Conic Tombs of Seljuk-Turkish period.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Mardin
10 Mardin – Urfa

In the morning, visit Mardin, a unique city with lovely old-Arabic style houses, which are often decorated with delicate carvings.

This is a lively trading centre with people coming from different villages to buy and sell. Mardin also has a fantastic view of the Plain of Mesopotamia.

It is a city that played an essential part in the early development of Christianity. Visit the fascinating Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan just outside of Mardin and founded in 762 A.D.

After lunch, we will drive to Hasankeyf that is situated by the Tigris river.

Soon to be submerged under the floodwaters of a new dam on the Tigris, Hasankeyf has hundreds of caves, hidden waterways, tombs, a larger and smaller Palace, as well as ruins of the Great Mosque.

We will then drive to Urfa.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Urfa
11 Urfa – Kahta

Today we will visit the Mevlid Halil Mosque, the Cave of Prophet Abraham and the sacred fish pool.

You will also have a chance to wander the streets in the Old Bazaar before continuing to Harran, city of the prophet Abraham.

See Islamic school, the fortress and the curious beehive-shaped adobe houses.

We will then make our way to Kahta for an overnight stay.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Kahta
12 Nemrut – Cappadocia

Hike to the summit of Mount Nemrut (one of the most popular UNESCO world cultural heritage sites) and watch the sunset, be in awe of the colossal heads and the statues of ancient deities, as you take a step into mythology. This magnificent landmark sits at an elevation of 8000 ft.

The mountain top complex is made up of two flat areas that are strewn with statues and are separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antiochus constructed the entire complex around 2000 years ago as a dedication to his divine ancestry.

Also, you should take time to visit the old castle, Arsemeia, cross over the still functioning Cendere Bridge (Septimius Severus bridge) dating back to the 3rd century and Tumulus Tomb of Karakus.

Then drive back to the hotel for a delicious breakfast before driving to Kahraman Maras to have some world-famous ice-cream.

Then we will then drive to Cappadocia.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Cappadocia
13 Cappadocia

Tour the Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the fascinating underground settlements in Cappadocia then drive to Sahinefendi (Sobesos) which is newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses and Archaeological excavation site.

Villages in the valleys are surrounded by the &ldquotabletop&rdquo mountains which are spectacular.

Continue to the Keslik Monastery close to Cemil, that hides its frescoes behind a thin smoke layer which you can only see by torchlight.

Visit Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses outstanding examples of late Greek settlements and architecture.

Visit Saruhan Caravanserai, a roadside inn where travellers would rest and recover from their day&rsquos journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of information, commerce and people across a network of trade routes of North Africa, Asia, and South-Eastern Europe on the legendary Silk Road and the Spice Road.

Continue with the panorama of the Red Valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations and is in the heart of Cappadocia but still away from the tourist crowd.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Cappadocia
14 Cappadocia

Meet at the hotel reception after breakfast, then have your first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia with some rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley, walk-in Pasabag near Zelve and wonder at the &ldquofairy chimneys&rdquo where the sound of the wind mixes with the &ldquosongs of fairies&rdquo.

Lunch in Avanos which has been the centre of terra cotta work of art since around 3000 BC and you will get a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop.

In the afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art that are in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century).

Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Cappadocia
15 Cappadocia – Antalya

OPTION 1: TURKISH VILLAGE LIFE AND CULINARY TOUR
Starting the day with a visit to the local market (only available only on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays) or take a morning walk to the fruit orchards in Ayvali Village.

We will pick and taste fresh fruits from the trees (harvesting between June and October), or you could choose to visit the cave storages for potatoes and lemons.

The tour then continues with a walk through the narrow streets of the village where each door opens as the villagers invite you for a cup of çay (tea) and a plate full of dessert or fruit.

According to the season, join the villagers to learn and help make grape syrup, tomato sauce productions and pumpkin seed collecting. Visit the local meeting point, Kahvehane,(coffeehouse) to learn more about their lifestyle and local games while drinking Turkish coffee and tea. Go to the mosque in the village and learn about religious customs.

For lunch, we are guests of a real village house to join a Turkish family where we will collect the ingredients from their garden and participate in cooking a delicious Turkish meal.

After lunch, we will take a walk through a beautiful hidden valley near the village then drive to a cave wine house to see the process of making the tasty and famous Cappadocia wine.

Before heading back to the hotel, there may be an optional stop to see an art and handicraft centre of Cappadocia.

OPTION 2: IHLARA CANYON HIKING
Drive to Ihlara and on the way walk in the Ihlara Canyon, a &ldquomirage&rdquo in the Steps of Anatolia to Belisirma village, the ancient Peristrema: &ldquoValley of the Sky&rdquo along the Melendiz River.

Rock-cut churches spread across a wild plantation that will surprise you with their successfully painted representations from the Bible.

Have lunch in Belisirma, a local restaurant by the river and stop at Selime, a village with cave houses and a &ldquostar wars&rdquo like landscape.

At the end of the day, transfer to the airport for a direct flight to Antalya ( or via Istanbul ). Arrive and meet at the airport and transfer to your hotel in Antalya.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Antalya
  • Flight : Flight to Antalya
16 Antalya

We will see Perge, which was initially settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC. Visit the impressive collonaded street, baths, nymphaeum, and agora and the fountain of the River God, where waters once poured down the centre of the city.

Visit Aspendos to see one of the best-preserved amphitheatres in the world.

We will then visit the beautiful Kursunlu waterfalls or Antalya Museum.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Antalya
17 Antalya – Pamukkale

Drive to the travertine terraces at Pamukkale which are definitely one of the most spectacular natural wonders that you will be able to see from several mineral springs in a substantial white cliffside.

About 200 m overlooking the plain you can see how the calcite-laden waters have dripped over a number of terraced levels and created a fairyland of unusual solidified cascades and shell-shaped basins and look like creations made from snow or like balls from cotton, which gave the scenery the Turkish name Pamukkale (cotton castle).

Moreover, the water in the basins changes its colour according to how the light enters.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Pamukkale
18 Pamukkale – Kusadasi

Drive to Ephesus, on the way, visit Aphrodisias which was primarily known as a centre for the arts, specifically sculpture. The Aphrodisias School of Sculpture had a distinctive style and was very well circulated throughout the Greek and Roman world.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Kusadasi
19 Ephesus

Visit the ancient city of Ephesus and spend a few hours walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Apostles Paul, Caesar, Cicero, and John and many other well-known historical names.

The recently opened Terrace Houses (entry included) which is where the wealthiest Romans lived and are a great example of sensitive excavation and presentation and the mosaics and frescos are stunning.

Tradition has it that St John brought Virgin Mary hereafter the Crucifixion and lived her last years close to the city of Ephesus on a secluded mountaintop. A lovely chapel was constructed on the site and tended by Franciscans and open to visitors and has been designated a pilgrimage site by the Pope.

We will continue with Saint John Church where Apostle John spent his final years and was buried and visit the temple of Artemis to see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Kusadasi
20 Ephesus – Assos (Troy)

Visit Pergamon that became an important kingdom during the Hellenistic period and had the second-best library in the time of the ancient Greek civilisation, after Alexandria.

When the Ptolemies stopped exporting papyrus because of competitors, and partly because of shortages, the Pergamenes created a new substance to use in codices, called pergaminus or parchment after the city. This was made of calfskin, a predecessor of vellum.

Asclepion that is located to the southwest of the lower city and was a sanctuary dedicated to the god of health. Asclepics that was one of the largest hospitals in history and is located to the west of the city, which was a great centre of culture, art and medicine.

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Canakkale
21 Assos (Troy) – Istanbul

Visit Troy in the morning, 4000 years old Ancient City popular with the Trojan War and Trojan horse and known as the centre of ancient civilisations.

Many years, people believed that it was a city in tales, and that is never actually existed until it was first found.

It was first known as Ilium or New Ilium. Today Troy or New Ilium places in Hisarlik at Canakkale.

The remains of the city from the thieves and destructors can be visited.

After your visit, you will be transferred to Istanbul.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation : Hotel in Istanbul

Why You Should Run The Istanbul Marathon

When we received the invitation from Turkish Airlines and Turkey Tourism, we wondered why we would fly 11 long hours to run the Istanbul Marathon. For the same amount of flying hours, we have endless options of marathon events lining up for us to choose, from those closer to home to one of the 6 majors.

That again, we asked. Are we just interested to run the marathon or experience the journey? We are neither podium runners nor the last few waiting for sweepers to pick us up. The answer became clearer and our heart started pumping faster with excitement. Let’s not just run the marathon. Let’s savor the journey, learn the culture, interact with the people, taste the food and appreciate the history. Turkey! Here we come……

Ayasofya Museum

Sitting at the crossroad between Asia and Europe, Turkey bridges Western Asia with Eastern Europe. Due to its geographical location, Turkey is rich with breathtaking natural beauty, unique history, and archaeological sites. Neighboring Azerbaijan and Iran on the east, Iraq and Syria on the southeast, Georgia and Armenia on the northeast, and Greece and Bulgaria on the northwest, the rectangular-shaped country is also encircled by the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

Istanbul Avrasya maratonu a.k.a The Istanbul Marathon

Istanbul Avrasya maratonu, Istanbul intercontinental marathon or simply The Istanbul Marathon is the only transcontinental marathon in the world which participants run across two continents. The marathon starts on the Asian side of Istanbul’s July 15 Martyrs Bridge, formerly known as the Bosporus Bridge.


Tumulus of Karakus (south side) - History

If you have come to explore South East Anatolia then you will certainly be visiting its museums too. When you will explore its history then you will get to learn about this place. The historical places here will tell you different stories from the past.

There are many historical locations in South East Anatolia which are worth seeing and exploring. They are not just visited by the archeologists or the people interested in history but also the people who come to visit this region for fun sake.

The South East Anatolian of Turkey is not only a holiday location. It is also promoting tourism Turkey all across the world. Many people come to visit Turkey to not only to enjoy their vacations but also to learn more stuff about the attractions here.

The South East Anatolian region of Turkey is mostly known for its historical locations and museums where artifacts from the past era are persevered. These museums tell the historical stories of the past which not only cherish the tourists and archeologists but also the visitors. Yes, even if you have come to enjoy holidays in the region you can still look into the history of the important historical sites and museums.

Hence, let us discuss the popular museums of the South East Anatolian region. The Kucuk Haci Mustafa Hacikamiloglu Konagi is a mansion that had been built in the 18th century. It is an art gallery where you can find many miniatures and canvas made by the artists of the past.

If you are interested in seeing some remains from the past such as from the Hittite, Roman and Neolithic era then you must visit the Archeology Museum in Gaziantep. The Ethnographical Museum here in this region is also a great historical museum. The Hasan Suzer House has been restored in this museum.

Like all regions of Turkey, this region also has an open - air museum. It is named as Kargamis. Another open air museum is the town of Kuzeyne. It contains mosaics and it is just like a castle.

If you want to see more remains from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic times then for that you can visit the Archeological Museum of Adiyaman. For more archeological remains, you must visit Harran. The largest Islamic university established in the 18th century is also found here. It has a citadel and 4 gates.

The house of Ataturk in the city of Diyarbakir is also a historical site. It has now been converted into a museum.

Apart from the museums of the South East Anatolian region, there are many other places too which have historical importance. One such place is the Typical houses in Harran. There are many other worth-seeing locations and building that are truly pieces of art.

Karakus Tumulus, Adiyaman is an artificial tumulus that had been constructed in 1st century B.C. four pillars have been constructed around the Tumulus. Many of the archeologists are found at this place searching and doing research on the people who used to live here in the past.

When you come to Turkey, visiting the historical places here will make you learn much about the past civilizations. Even the locals love to visit various museums and historical locations off and on because of their beauty. It is really interesting to learn various facts about the people who used to live in the regions here.

There are a lot of myths and stories that we keep on hearing about the people who used to rule Turkey in the past. Many of the archeologists come to explore their facts and learn what really the people of the past were like. Your trip to turkey will remain incomplete if you do not explore the museums and historical sites here.


Tumulus of Karakus (south side) - History

Limited distribution SC-87/CONF.005/9 Paris, 20 January 1988

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION CONVENTION CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF THE WORLD CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE REPORT OF THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE

Eleventh session (Unesco Headquarters, 7-11 December 1987)
Nemrut Dag 448 Turkey C(i)(iii)(iv)The Committee took note of the undertaking of the representative of Turkey that the archaeological state of the site would be respectedduring the works foreseen in the next few years.


The kingdom of Kommagene was situated in the south east of Turkey, at the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
"Oaks and plane trees cover the hillsides. The valleys are full of fig, olive, walnut and pomegranate trees, grapevines and oleanders, nowhere do the corn fields give such an abundant harvest. " You can hardly imagine that this description was given less than one hundred years ago, by a German who travelled through this region. If you read his report, it seems as if he describes paradise. Indeed, it is said that here once blossomed the garden of Eden.

Today, this land resembles little its former paradise. Most of the trees have been felled and goats are busily eating away the last vestiges of vegetation. Nevertheless, irrigation, presently undertaken, will work miracles, and efforts are undertaken to refoster the land. The soil is very fertile and silver mountain water sparkles from the numerous springs.

In the past, Kommagene was a very rich region known for its wealth of minerals and ores such as brown coal, gypsum, iron, gold and petroleum. A part of this richness has been re-discovered. In the sixties for example, an archeologist panned succesfully for gold in the Euphrates.

Another discovery has been petroleum. During the last few years there has been extensive drilling for crude oil. verywhere on the landscape the oil riggs of the Turkish Petrol Organisation (TPO) are multiplying, drilling for black gold.

But now, we have to travel back in time. Around 850 B.C. Kommagene appears for the first time in the annals of written history. According to the records of an Assyrian king, the population had to pay an annual tribute to him of gold, silver and the famous wood of the cedar trees. Apparently, the valuable cedar tree not only grew on the hillsides of the Lebanon in those days, but also in Kommagene. Kommagene became a satellite state of the Assyrians.

Around 700 B.C. a Kommagenian king rebelled against the Assyrians. The Assyrian king, Sargon, defeated him. Sargon has given us a vivid description of this rebel king : " He is a godless man, who does not fear the gods. He plots only bad things and is full of cunning." We may assume that Sargons' description is a little subjective. Sargon continues : " I took his wife, his sons, his daughters, his possessions, his treasures, and finally I took the population of his land and had them deported to the south of Mesopotamia (Iraq). Nobody escaped. The people of the south of Mesopotamia I transferred to Kommagene." As we see, the policy of deporting people was already excercised in those days.

Around 600 B.C. the Assyrians were defeated by the Babylonians. The last battle was fought at Samosata, a town which would become the future capital of Kommagene. Here, at the banks of the Euphrates the remains of the Assyrian army had united with the Egyptian army to withstand the Babylonians. The Babylonian king defeated the united forces.

The people of Kommagene saw, how in their turn the Babylonians were replaced by the Persians, around 550 B.C. and then the Persians by the Greek intruders under Alexander the Great.

Around 300 B.C. one of the heirs of Alexander the Great came into possession of the land. It was King Seleukos I Nicator, who founded the dynasty of the Seleucides. He is one of the Greek ancestors of the Kommagenian kings. Around 130 B.C. Kommagene became an independent kingdom.

King Mithridates I Kallinikos
Like many of the other small kingdoms of Asia Minor, Kommagene was a melting pot of people from east and west. They had different cultures, habits and spoke different tongues. They certainly did not feel united as one people. Family ties and bonds of blood were more important than belonging to the people of Kommagene. King Mithridates did a great deal to change this a ttitude.
For example, he organised each year in Kommagene, Olympic Games in honour of the ancestors. Those games could virtually be compared with the Olympic Games of the Greeks. In his younger years, King Mithridates was one of the participants, which made him popular amongst the Kommagenians. His skills won him many victories. As a result of his sporting achievements, Mithridates received the honorable name Kallinikos. This means literally 'He who triumphs beautifully'.

Mithridates married a Seleucid princess, named Laodike. They begat three daughters and after bearing their fourth daughter, they began to despair of ever having a son. This was very important, as without a son there was no heir to the throne, so the stability of the kingdom would be threatened. The joy and relief when Laodike bore a son was immense. He was given the name of the father of Laodike, Antiochus.

Mithridates was in need of help, for Kommagene was surrounded by powers which outnumbered Kommagene many times. Therefore Mithridates concluded a treaty with the gods. We do not know whether these gods were real or imaginary. Obviously it helped to protect his small kingdom and keep it independent.

Secondly this treaty softened the mutual discordance of his people. The population of Kommagene was a varied mixture of people, coming from different origins. They hardly felt that they were related to each other. However, by this treaty with the gods, there grew the feeling amongst them that they were a chosen people, favored by the gods and under their protection.

As a consequence of this, Mithridates could forge a link between the different population groups in his kingdom. To honour this treaty, Mithridates had built all over the country small sanctuaries, called temenos.

The temenos of King Mithridates were built on top of striking points in the landscape. From there you could always see the most important of them all, the sanctuary on top of holy Mount Nemrud. Each of these sanctuaries consisted of five stone slabs, depicting King Mithridates shaking hands with one of the gods.

Mithridates gave each of the five gods a Greek and a Persian name :

Apollo/Mithras
Artagnes/Herakles
Zeus/Oromasdes
Hera/Teleia
Helios/Hermes
The Greek and Persian names of the gods meant that each Kommagenian, whether he had Greek or Persian ancestors, felt close to them. These stone slabs were known as steles. By these steles, Mithridates made everyone aware that through him alone, all of his subjects were under the protection of the gods. These temenos had to bear testimony of his treaty with the gods.

The five steles of King Mithridates I Kallinikos welcoming the Gods Apollo/Mithras, Artagnes/Herakles, Zeus/Oromasdes, Hera/Teleia and Helios/Hermes.

The 10th of Loos, the 14th of July was called the day of the "Manifestation of the Great Gods". It was also the day chosen for the coronation of Mithridates. Each year, on that particular day, all the citizens of Kommagene assembled at the small sanctuaries within reach of their village or town, to celebrate this occasion.

King Mithridates gathered together the nobles and other important men of Kommagene on top of Mount Nemrud. There, in the presence of hundreds of Kommagenians, the king received the representatives of the Great Gods. For the people of Kommagene this was the annual confirmation of their treaty with the gods.

King Antiochus I Theos
Antiochus, the son of King Mithridates, received an education from his parents which was a mixture of Greek and Persian. From his mothers side, queen Laodike, he descended from Alexander the Great. While from his fathers side, he descended from the Persian 'King of Kings', Darius I.
When Antiochus was still quite young, his father arranged a marriage for him with a Seleucid princess named Isias Philostorgos, 'the Beloved One'. Such a marriage had little to do with love, its purpose was purely political.


When Mithridates abdicated the throne in favor of his son, he stayed by his side. Together, they planned the sanctuary on top of Mount Nemrud. This was to be the spiritual centre of the treaty with the gods, for which Mithridates had lain the foundations.

As usual, Mithridates had a practical aim. It should become such an impressive monument, that it would give his subjects proof of the greatness of their treaty with the gods. As the Nemrud dominated the landscape, this proof could be seen by every Kommagenian from almost any place in Kommagene.

Antiochus had an idealistic aim. The cult of the treaty with the gods had to culminate in a new religion and Mount Nemrud was to become the centre. From Mount Nemrud his religion would radiate all over the civilised world. As the originator of this religion, he called himself Theos (God) directly after his coronation. A legend in his own mind !

For his father, Antiochus felt a deep respect, but his mother Laodike, he loved above all. He mentioned her specifically in various inscriptions, calling himself 'He who loves his mother'. He bestowed upon her the honorary name Thea (Goddess). Together with his mother he immortalised himself between the statues of the gods on Mount Nemrud. He, sitting at the left side of Zeus, as the king of Kommagene, Theos. She, sitting at the right hand of Zeus, as the mother of Kommagene, Thea.

Art
Kommagene had an art tradition which was completely its own. It was an unique synthesis of Greek and Persian art. Antiochus stimulated the art in a special way. He gathered together at his court a group of artists and scientists. They were called Philoi, the 'Friends of the King'.
Under the reign of King Mithridates the art was still dominated by eastern influences. During the reign of Antiochus, the style became more naturalistic and less stylised. Antiochus himself, preferred the Greek culture. He called himself literally a 'Friend of Greeks and Romans'.

The statues on top of Mount Nemrud became the crowning glory of Kommagenian art. Here, east and west fused into total harmony. A beautiful example is the head of Antiochus at the West Terrace. Any superfluous detail that could possibly disturb the form of the statue has been avoided. There are no luxuriant beards, jewelry and other ornaments. In this way a harmonic tension has been realised in the carving of Antiochus. Even today the gazing head of Antiochus impresses the people by its timeless beauty.

Trade
Trade was an important source of income. The growing difficulties between the Romans and the Parthians hindered the profitable trade between east and west. The only independent state between both super powers, Kommagene, was an acceptable trading partner for the Romans as well as the Parthians. The Kommagenian traders could travel freely through the land of the Parthians. They brought among other things, exotic animals and spices from India and silk from China.
Antiochus could levy heavy tolls, as he controlled the passes of the Taurus Range as well as the crossings of the Euphrates river. Because of its wealth, Kommagene was not only a transit point but could afford to import costly goods as well.

The traders sold their valuable wares in Samosata to Roman traders and prosperous Kommagenian citizens. Under the reign of Antiochus, Samaosata became the centre of trade between the east and west. Here, Parthians, Kommagenians, Romans, Greeks and Arabs met.

War with Rome
After the Romans had obtained a foothold in Western Turkey, they captured one by one, the kingdoms of Asia Minor, Bythinia, Pisidia, Galatia and Cappadocia.
After Pergamum, they captured around 80 B.C. Bythinia and Pisidia. At the same time the Parthians reached the borders of Kommagene.

Around 70 B.C., the Romans destroyed their greatest enemy, the kingdom of Pontus. Next, the Romans overran the mighty ally of Pontus, the kingdom of Arm. Tocomplete their conquest, the Romans continued swiftly to the last independent kingdom, Kommagene. Like a steam roller, they invaded this small country.

In 69 B.C. the capital of Kommagene, Samosata, was besieged. Then the unexpected happened. The Roman war machine was stopped. To their horror, the Roman soldiers were ombarded with an alien substance, unknown outside Kommagene. A Roman historian Plinius recorded "a soldier who is touched by it, burns with all his weapons". Obviously the fear caused by this weapon was tremendous.

Samosata could not be captured. There was a personal meeting between the Roman consul Lucullus and King Antiochus. We do not know what they discussed, but it resulted in the withdrawal of the Roman legions.

Still, the situation remained tense for Kommagene, as it was caught between two walls. On one side, the imperialistic, warlike Romans and on the other, the powerful realm of the Parthians.

Map of Asia Minor 100 B.C.: Bythinia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Pisidia, Pontus, Arm, Seleucia, Kommagene, Parthia, Roma.

Map of Asia Minor 80 B.C.: Bythinia, Pergamum, Galatia, Cappadocia, Pisidia, Pontus, Arm, Seleucia, Kommagene, Parthia, Roma.

Map of Asia Minor 70 B.C.: Pontus, Arm, Seleucia, Kommagene, Parthia, Roma.

Map of Asia Minor 60 B.C.: Kommagene, Parthia, Roma.

In 64 B.C. the Romans continued their conquests. The remnants of the Seleucid state were swept away and absorbed into the province of Syria. By this time Rome had subjected all the independent states of Asia Minor, except for Kommagene.

Kommagene even profited from the fall of the Seleucid state, by gaining a limited extension of territory. From the strategic position of Kommagene, it was obvious that sooner or later Rome had to conquer that land or halt its eastward expansion.

Therefore, Antiochus reinforced his ties with the Parthians by giving his daughter, Laodike, in marriage to the Parthian king. They begat a son named Pakoros. He was the favourite of his father and heir to the throne.

The wars in Asia Minor continued. In 53 B.C. the Parthians defeated the Romans and conquered Syria

An important touristic site, possessing great natural, historical and cultural values, is Adiyaman, situated in the southeastern part of Turkey. At an altitude of 669m, the land is mountainous, the extensions of the Taurus Mountains covering the northern side. The famous Euphrates (Firat) River flows through the region and delineates the eastern and southern borders of the province.

Being very close to the plain of old Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Adiyaman has been a center of history having witnessing the earliest ages. There exist artifacts dating back to the 4th- millenium BC, like the paintings in the Palanil Cave. Signs of neolithic and calcholithic ages are found at the tumuluses of Gritille and Samsat. Changing hands from Hittites to Commagenes, then from Seljuks to Ottomans, this province has seen many civilizations, remains of which are spread all over the land.


95 kms northeast from Adiyaman, the impressive peak of Mount Nemrut is the most outstanding landmark
of the region. It is the highest mountain of northern Mesopotamia, reaching a height of 2150 meters, and is
a unique historical treasure possessing marvelous sights. On its summit there exists the tumulus of
Antiochus I, one of the kings of Commagene, constructed in the 1stcentury BC. This mound, made by
heaping up pieces of rock, is surrounded by terraces where gigantic toppled heads of Apollo, Zeus,
Hercules, Tyche, and Antiochus from GrecoPersian style stone statues stand on the ground all of these
date from the same period. At the foot of the ancient Nymphaios (Eski Kale), there is the magnificent relief
of Hercules greeting the Commagene king, Mitradtes, and also evidence of remains which might have been
the Commagene Palace of opposite, separated by the Eski Kahta river, are the remains of Yeni Kale (new
castle) which was built by the Mameluks. Nearby are the remains of a Roman bridge at Cendere and the
Karakus royal tumulus. The Derik and Gerger fortresses, the Palanil Cave, the Haydaran Rock Tombs, the
Karadag Tumulus, Zey, Bestepeler and Malpinan are other historical sites worth visiting. Besides seeing
these historical beauties, it is worth to climb here to feel the charm of nature, coupled with the fascinating
views of sunrise and sunset.

Another interesting site is the necropolis of Pirin (Perre), 5 kms north of Adiyaman which is an ancient city
of early Roman times. At this site also called the "Pirin caves" there are 208 tombs carved into the rock,
with other remains some of which are still in use like the Roman fountain and Byzantine city walls. In
addition to the historical many ruins in the area, the Ataturk dam, the fourth largest in the world,
constructed across the river, Euphrates is here in this region being a special place of interest. This dam, 40
kms from Adiyaman, is the centerpiece of the enormous Southern Anatolian Project (GAP), provides for
agriculture and energy and is worth seeing. The lake to be formed will become an important tourist center in
the near future.

Other lakes found in this region are the Golbasi and Abdulharap Lakes beautifying the land with their
wonderful scenery, and offering wide opportunities for fishing and hunting. The mineral springs of
Celikhan, Kotur and Besni, on the other hand, are thermal centers to be visited for relief from various
illnesses.

A last stopover in this city should be at the Adiyaman Museum, which houses archaeological finds from
the area, together with the local ethnographic works. The specialty of the region is good quality kilims,
woven with various colors and sold at low prices.


Turkey National Parks

In terms of scenic beauty rich in flora and fauna, or areas of great historical importance, Turkey's 33 official national parks are of great interest to visitors. In addition there are 16 areas which have been recognised as natural parks or nature reserves, which are valued for their aesthetic, botanical and scientific value and their cultural and natural qualities preserved. These natural areas can provide a welcome break from the busy atmosphere of Turkey's cities and resorts. For more information, contact:Forest Ministry Wildlife and National Parks Gazi Tesisleri 11

Adıyaman - Nemrut Mountain National Park Most famous site of all, and one of the best-known images of Turkey, are the huge sculptures of gods on the mountain. In addition, it is also the site of tumulus of Antioch, Arsameia (Eskikale), Yenikale (New Castle), Karakus Tepe (Peak), and Cendere Bridge. In the ancient city of Commagene, King Mithridates I established an independent kingdom, which gained importance during the reign of King Antioch (62 - 32 BC), the son of Mithridates. In 72 AD, the Commageneians lost the war against the Roman Empire, after which they also lost their independence.

Afyon - Akdağ National Park

Akdag Park covers an area of 14,916 hectares, and lies between the borders of the Sandikli district of Afyon Province, and Civril district of Denizli Province, in Central Anatolia. Akdag is best known for its abundance of wildlife, canyons, valleys and landscape, as well as having great opportunities for recreation, and was declared a Natural Park in June 2000. There are plans to develop its facilities, and this will be balanced with the need to protect and preserve the rich diversity of plant life.

Afyon - Başkomutan Historical National Park

The Baskomutan (Chief Commander) Historical National Park is near the Afyon, Kutahya and Usak provinces of Western Anatolia. It can be reached via the Ankara - Izmir highway, Antalya - Afyon highway and Istanbul - Bursa - Eskisehir highway .This park was established as a monument on behalf of war veterans who lost their lives in the War of Independence. The Turkish Liberation Attack, which began on 26 August 1922 and lasted three days, chased enemy troops and fought bloody battles in Kocatepe, before reaching Afyon. It was considered a great victory, under the command of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which surprised the entire world.

Ankara - Soguksu National Park

The Soguksu National Park is in Kizilcahamam, in the province of Ankara. The park can be accessed via the Ankara - Istanbul highway. It is 78km from Ankara, and 2km from Kizilcahamam, a district famous for its thermal springs.

The area, which lies between the dense forest areas of northern Anatolia and the Central Anatolian steppes, has a geomorphologic structure consisting of planes in between small valleys and streams, which opens to two main valleys. The main elements of the geological structure are basalt and tuff. The forest ecosystem contains black pines, Scotch pines, oaks and poplars, which retain their natural appearance, and is full of sub-flora species. Wild boars, bears, wolves, foxes, deer, martins and vultures are the main species of animals and birds inhabiting the area.

Outside the national park, there are partridge and pheasant production farms managed by the park directorate. In the production stations there are different partridge species, falcon, pheasant, and quail.

Antalya - Altinbesik Cave National Park

Altinbesik Cave is on the western side of the steep Manavgat Hill, 7km from Ibradi (Aydinkent) district of Antalya, and 5 km southeast of Urunlu village. The National Park is accessible via the Antalya - Ibradi - Urunlu road, then a one-hour walk from Urunlu to the cave.

Altinbesik Cave is a horizontal and partly active cave system, and its name comes from the Altinbesik Hill, on the upper side of the cave. This region of the Taurus Mountains has a very complex geological and geomorphologic structure with geological overlaps, large twists and deep valleys.

The cave was carved into old limestone in the upper Creosote.

Antalya - Bey Mountains Shore National Park

The park is in the west of Antalya, and 30km northeast of Finike. The park crosses the Antalya - Kemer - Kumluca state highway. The road is part of the Mersin - Antalya - Mugla sea road.

The area is in western Taurus Mountains, with a geological structure predominantly made up of limestone and serpentine rocks, and ecological characteristics of the Mediterranean.

The plant cover begins with peanut pines at the shore, moving on to cluster pines and black pines at higher altitudes, then cedars at 1000m. The park has a vast array of plants, with around 1000 species. Also living there are bears, wild goats, wild boars, foxes, jackals and wolves, as well as fish and birds.

In the mountains 13 km west of Olimpos, the natural gas emitting from the cracks of limestone and serpentine has been burning for thousands of years. This flame is the subject of the Bellerophon Myths, and known as the Chimaera Burning Stone.

Antalya - Güllük Mountain (Termessos) National Park

The park is in 34km northwest of Antalya, in the Taurus mountains in the Korkuteli district.It can be reached via the Antalya - Korkuteli highway.

Termessos is one of the most spectacular ruined cities in Turkey, mainly because of its stunning location. It is situated on the slopes of Gulluk mountain to the north of Antalya. Its history is not clearly known, but is known to have started with Alexander the Great's arrival in 333 BC, who was then fought off.

The city is split into three areas downtown, city centre and the cemetery. Its best years were during the Roman Empire, and its best remains are the city walls, King's road, Harian's Gate, gymnasium, theatre, Odeon, decorated walls and cisterns.

Antalya - Köprülü Canyon National Park

The park is in the mountains 49km northeast of Antalya. Koprulu Kanyon National Park is in the Manavgat district of the Antalya province. The road along the coast from Antalya to Manavgat then passes through Tasagil and Beskonak.

The Kopru River is ideal for rafting and camping, with trees along one side of the bank. It forms a valley between the villages of Bolasan and Beskonak, the walls of which are as high as 100m, and at 14km is the longest canyon in Turkey. Pine, cypress and cedar trees form the ecosystem of the area, and the Mediterranean cypress forest, at 400 hectares wide, is the most significant flora characteristic in the park. Hunting in the area has meant that the number of species of animals has decreased, and now the most significant wildlife includes deer, mountain goats, bears, foxes, wolves, rabbits and badgers. There are plenty of trout in various branches of the River Kopru.

Antalya - Kurşunlu Waterfall

Kursunlu Waterfall is in the Central District of Antalya, in the Mediterranean region. The park is 20km northeast of Antalya, and can be reached via the Antalya - Aksu Highway, then going north at Sogucaksu Bridge along the 8km long road.

The dense of forest area was made into a Natural Park in 1991, and the rich plant life combined with interesting water and rock formations at Kursunlu Waterfall has created an unique natural landscape.

The cluster pine is the dominant tree species in the area, with small groups of eastern plane, laurel, carob, wild olive, mastic, willow, fig, myrtle, oleander, blackberry, wild rose, tamarisk, spruce, kermes oak, thyme, wild mint, beech tree, bracken and ivy. On the water, there are clusters of water mint, bamboo, water chandelier, and green water lily.

Animals like wild boar, fox, rabbit, squirrel, bat, hoopoe, woodpecker, stock dove, carp, water tortoise, snake and lizard are live in the Natural Park..

Artvin - Karagöl National Park

The park is situated within the borders of Savsat and Artvin provinces, and is spread over the plateaus of Karagol and Sahara.By road, the old Georgian town of Savsat is 45km south of Karagol, and 17km from Sahara.

The area around Karagol is Paleocene or neocene and is separated by valleys, with cracks causing landslides, and dense forests with spruce trees and pines. The area at the northeast of the lake, around Bagat, is good for grass-skiing.

The Sahara Plateau has a geological structure formed by the basalt cover of the region. The ground in this area breaks easily, which causes the slope to increase. The forests here have spruce and fir trees, and Scotch pines in the lower regions.

The area around the Kocabey Plateau has plant species from the Alpine zone. Around the River Resat, at an altitude of 1800m, there is a Pancar (beetroot) festival every year during which many visitors come to participate, which in turn gives a significant economic boost to the area.

Artvin - Hatila Valley National Park

Hatila Valley is a branch of the River Coruh, in the province of Artvin.

Transportation: Transport to the park is via a 10km road from the centre of Artvin.

The valley is v-shaped, narrow based, with inclination cracks which cause the waterfalls. There are parts of the valley where the slopes are almost vertical. The vegetation is rich and dense in the middle and upper regions, with over 500 species of plants, reflecting the Mediterranean characteristics. The wide variety of fauna in the Halita valley includes bears, pigs, foxes, badgers, wild goats, sparrow hawks, eagles, jackals, vipers and trout. It has geographical characteristics quite unique to Turkey, caused by its unusual geological and geomorphologic structure that has helped to create the beautiful landscape.

Aydin - Büyük Menderes National Park

This park in the region of Kusadasi and Soke, in the province of Aydin. The park can be reached via the Kusadasi - Soke highway, and lies roughly in the middle of the two towns.

The northern side of the park has plants rarely seen in the Mediterranean region. There are many bay and chestnut trees, and it is the only area where the Finike juniper and pirnal oaks are found together. Mediterranean seals and sea turtles are breeding on the shores of the lake,.

Guzelcamli village, at the northeast edge of the national park and at the foot of Dilek mountain, was used as the assembly place for the political and scientific centre of Ionia in the 9th and 8th centuries BC

Aydın - Bafa Lake

Bafa Lake is in the Soke District of Aydin province, in the Aegean Region. Bafa Lake is at the southeast of the Buyuk Menderes Delta, and 25 km from Soke from where it is easily accessible.

The lake, once part of the Aegean Sea, became a lake as result of geomorphologic development of Buyuk Menderes Delta and is in an area of relatively unspoilt beauty. Its main sources are from Buyuk Menderes, and the underground rivers flowing from the surrounding mountains.Plant life consists of tamarisks, pine trees, and olive groves. The lake protects the ecosystem of the delta, and therefore provides a winter habitat for many species of birds which would otherwise be in danger of extinction: Around 300,000 birds nest here, including pelican, dwarf cormorant and sea eagle and there are 700 kinds of plankton in the lake and a variety of water plants, which encourages many species of fish.

Balikesir - Kaz Mountain National Park

The park is in the district of Edremit, in Balikesir province. The park can be reached via the 230 highway from Balikesir (92km), and the 24 highway from Bursa.

Kaz Mountain, originally called Ida in ancient times, separates the Aegean and Marmara regions and is the highest in the Biga peninsula at 1774m. Places to visit include the valleys with their rich variety of flora and fauna the mythological Ida Mountain which was said to be the venue of the first beauty contest and the area of Sarikiz, in which the Sarikiz myth took place.

Balikesir - Bird Paradise National Park

Kuscenneti (Bird Paradise) is 20km southwest of Bandirma, and around 50km north of Balikesir, adjacent to Kus lake. The park can be reached via the Balikesir - Bandirma highway.

At the end of the winter the level water in Kus Lake rises, which cover the small willow grove and reed beds at the northwest of the lake. By spring, migrating birds fly from the southern regions to the national park and nest, so their young are hatching and growing in the area. At the end of summer, they return to the warmer south. This tiny area (64 hectares) is a popular migrating spot for birds from Europe and Asia, who fly here for the nourishment of the lake water, willow tree groves and reeds, making it a world-famous bird-watching location. There are 239 different species inhabiting the area during these months, with a total of three million birds.

Balıkesir - Ayvalık Islands

The Ayvalik Islands are just off the coast of Ayvalik, 100km west of Balikesir and 50km northwest of Bergama. The islands are accessible by road and boat. The largest, Alibey Adasi, is accessible by two causeways which link it to the mainland and to the tiny Lale Adasi, and there are public buses which take both these routes. In the summer, there are boats leaving from the centre of Ayvalik.

Alibey Adasi is the best known for its ruins of Greek churches and old stone houses, inhabited by Greeks before 1922, and has a pleasant village atmosphere when walking around the quiet backstreets. Halfway up the hill from the harbour is the Church of the Taksiarhis, now abandoned. The structure of the islands means there is little plant life.

Bolu - Yedigöller National Park

The Yedigoller (Seven Lakes) National Park is in the north of the Bolu province, and south of Zonguldak in the western Black Sea region.

The park can be reached via the Yenicaga road, 152km off the Ankara - Istanbul highway. The Bolu - Yedigoller route is closed during winter, which means transport is only available via the Yenicaga - Mengen - Yazicik road.

The park is the best known for the lakes formed by landslides, the rich plant life which gives dense coverage to the area, and the abundance of trout living in the lake. The structure of the land, which has tendencies to subside, is the main factor in the lake's formation.

The dominant plant cover is beech trees, and there are also oaks, hornbeams, alders, black pine, Scotch pine, firs elm and lime trees. As a result of effective protection of plant and animal life, the animals inside the park like deer, pigs, wolves, foxes and squirrels are increasing in number. There is also a deer protection area.

Bolu - Abant Lake

Abant Lake is 33km away from Bolu, in the west of the Black Sea region, and exactly halfway between Ankara and Istanbul.

The lake can be reached via the E-5, the Istanbul - Ankara highway, and then turning off at Omerler Madensuyu for 22km. Bolu is well connected by bus to other parts of the country.

The lake shelters a variety of plants, and 1150 hectares were designated the status of Natural Park in 1988. The main species are Scotch pine, beech, larch, oak, poplar, ash, horn- beam, willow, juniper, forest rose, tamarisk, hazelnut, holly, dog-rose, bracken, blackberry, strawberry, mint, raspberry, ivy, nettle, mare's tail, and a variety of pasture grasses and trees. Species of animals include pig, deer, roe deer, bear, fox, jackal, rabbit, plus birds of prey and singing birds.

Bursa - Uludag National Park

Uludag is 30km southeast of Bursa. A cable car makes the journey up to Uludag from Bursa to the Sarilan Plain, which takes around 20 minutes, and then a dolmus to the hotel area of the park. The mountain road, 34km from Bursa, is open throughout the year. There is also a private helicopter service from Istanbul which takes 25 minutes.

Uludag (Great Mountain) is 2543m high, making it the highest point in the Marmara region, and the Aras Waterfalls and glaciers at the peak are its most interesting geographical features. The steep slopes mean that plant life varies widely between the Bursa plane and the peak, something which has been analised by botanical scientists and has made Uludag prominent around the world in this type of research. The suitable conditions have also formed a habitat for many species of animal and bird life, like bears, wolves, jackals, foxes, roe deer, rabbits, pigs, partridges, wild pigeons, vultures, eagles, black kites, nightingales and goldcrests. The Bakacak watchtower at Cobankaya gives a great view over the surrounding area.

Çanakkale - Gelibolu Peninsula Historical Park

The Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park, with a total area of 33,000 hectares, was founded in 1973 and is on the United Nations list of Parks and Protection Areas. It is in the province of Canakkale, at the southern edge of the Gelibolu Strait, on the European shore of Dardanelles (Canakkale Bogazi).

From Edirne and Istanbul, it can be reached from the Tekirdag and Gelibolu highways. From Canakkale, there are ferries to Kilitbahir and Eceabat. There is a small domestic airport in Canakkale.

This area is known for the war cemeteries and memorials for the Turkish and foreign soldiers killed during the Canakkale Sea and shore battles in 1915. There are sunken ships, trenches, castles, towers and hundreds of remains of the war. In total, there are graves and memorials of around 250,000 Turkish soldiers, and 250,000 from Australia, New Zealand, England and France. Thousands of people visit the war cemeteries every year, and it is one of the most famous sites in Turkey.

The entire area has been officially registered as a historical site area, and has enormous cultural importance. Within the park, there are also many archaeological sites and monuments, some of which date back to 4000 BC. Between the ancient sites and monuments, there are beaches, bays, an interesting variety of plant life, a salt lake and geological and geomorphologic structures. The thickly wooded hills and valleys of the area are though to have played an important role on the outcome of the war.

Çorum - Alacahöyük National Park

Alacahoyuk is 52km southwest of Corum, in Central Anatolia, 29km north of Yozgat and west of Ankara.

By road, Alacahoyuk is off the Sungurlu - Corum highway, and easily accessible by bus from Yozgat or Corum. It is roughly equidistant between the airports at Ankara, Nevsehir and Kayseri.

The area is best known for its historical and archaeological interest, which includes remains of Bogazkoy (Hattusas) which was the centre of the Hittite civilisation, and one of the most important in Anatolia. The main structures still remaining are the city walls and gates, the tunnel, Palace archive building in Buyukkale, and the temples.

Yazilikaya Open Air Temple, which is 2 km north of Bogazkoy, can be reached via the road from Sungurlu. Yazilikaya was the first Pantheon known in Anatolia, and there are reliefs of Hittite kings, queens, gods and goddesses.

Denizli - Honaz Mountain National Park

The Honaz Mountain National Park is in the Honaz region of the province of Denizli.

It can be reached via the Afyon-Denizli, or Afyon-Izmir highway.

The main feature of the park is the Honaz mountain, which is the highest in the Aegean region, at 2528m. There are species of Alpine flora at the higher altitudes, the most common of which are cluster pine, black pine, and juniper. A wide variety of animals includes an abundance of wild goats, as well as wild boar, rabbit, foxes and badgers. The snow coverage makes this a good spot for skiing.

Isparta - Kizildag National Park

The park is 120km in the northeast of Isparta, and 5km south of Sarkikaraagac, and on the northern edge of Lake Beysehir. It can be accessed by road from Sarkikaraagac.

The landscape between Kizildag and Beysehir lake is noted for its erosion, with formations of limestone rocks. Buyuksivri hill, at an altitude of 1840m, can be climbed by amateur mountaineers. The area is also famous for its rich plant cover, especially cedar forests. Many visitors come to celebrate the traditional Halvah Bairam (festival) in Sarkikaraagac on the second Sunday in July.

Kastamonu - Ilgaz Mountain National Park

The park is 45km in the south of Kastamonu, and 200km north of Ankara, and lies in the Central Anatolian region. The park can be accessed from the Cankiri - Kastamonu highway.

The Northern Anatolian fault line, which is the longest and most active in Turkey, passes through the southern foot of Ilgaz Mountain. The dominant species of flora are the black pine, Scotch pine and fir tree, and cover almost all of the mountain. The high annual rainfall, plus the large amount of plant cover, has made this an area with much wildlife, including roe deer, wild boar, wolves, bears and foxes. There is also the possibility of skiing here in the winter, and has the nearest facilities to Ankara

Kastamonu - Küre Mountain National Park

The park lies between Kastamonu and Bartin, in the western Black Sea region. The nearest large town is Zonguldak, on the west, and the park is off the coastal road running west towards Bartin.

This park has the variety of flora and fauna but is also one of the places least affected by industrialisation. Around the area are Azdavay, Pinarbasi, Ulus, Bartin, Kurucasile, Amasra and Cide districts. The main animal species found here deer, roe deer, bears, wolves, foxes, jackals, rabbits, wild boar, singing birds, birds of prey and reptiles. Recommended places to visit are Ilica Waterfalls, Valla Canyon, Aydos Canyon, and Ilgarini Cave.

Konya - Beysehir Lake National Park

Beysehir Lake lies in the middle of Isparta (105km) and Konya (94km), in the province of Beysehir.

The 238th State Highway connects Konya and Beysehir, and the lake is just to the west of that. There is also transport by road from Isparta.

Beysehir lake is the third largest lake in Turkey, and as a result of chemical reaction it has formed many islands, which are the remains of cavernous geological structures. The water is alkaline, and within it are carp, trout, bass, turtles and snakes. The islands provide a home for thousands of water birds who nest there, including swans, cormorants, ducks and divers. Species of trees here include juniper, black pine, firs, cedar and oak.

Manisa - Spil Mountain National Park

The mountain is 24km from Manisa. Manisa can easily be reached by private and public transport.

The park is known for its historical and mythological points, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. Cavernous formations in the area have resulted in many canyons, caves and steep valleys. The main species of trees here include pine, juniper, poplar, walnut, elm and oak, 20 of which have been determined in scientific research as endangered. Also found in this area are the Manisa tulips, which gave their name to a period of the Ottoman Empire and were taken to Europe. Species of wildlife living in the park include bears, jackals, roe deer, foxes, badgers, wild goats, vultures and eagles, and there is also a pheasant production farm.

The park is rich in history with many myths attached to the location. According to one, the mountain was named after Cybele, the wife of god Cronos, and there is a relief of her carved into the rocks in Akpinar. But another account states that the mountain was named after Spilos, the daughter of Friesian king Menos, who had been kidnapped and was left at the mountain and brought up by wild animals. Tantalos, the king of Lydia, built a castle here and to celebrate he sacrificed his son to the gods, for which he was later punished.

Mugla - Marmaris National Park

The park is 6km from Marmaris, in the province of Mugla. The state highways 550 and 400 reach the park.

The area on the northwestern side has a red appearance, due to the oxidation of the old magnetic rocks. The forests include species of trees which are endangered and only grow in certain areas which have high humidity and heavy sand. Cluster pine, oak and plane tree ensure a varied and colourful landscape, and there are Mediterranean species like wild olive, arbutus, rosary, sumac, locust tree, oleander, and bay trees.

Between Marmaris and Koycegiz there are many wild goats, but are decreasing rapidly and under threat of vanishing completely. There are also bears, lynx, foxes, squirrels and weasels. There are also quiet, unspoilt beaches around the edges of the park, and Cennet Island is well worth visiting.

The park is also the site of the ancient cities of Physkos (Marmaris) and Amos (Hisaronu), which used to be called the Caria region and still has evidence of the colony of Rhodes. In Amos, there are the remains of a theatre, a temple and sculpture pedestals, which are surrounded by city walls. The Physkos walls date back to the Hellenistic age.

Mugla - Saklikent National Park

Saklikent is around 40km due east of Fethiye and north of Kas. From the south, the park can be accessed via the Kalkan - Yesilova road leading to the village of Palamut, and from the north via the Kemer road.

The Saklikent Gorge is 18km long and is steep and narrow. The water at the bottom is cold even in summer, because sunlight hardly penetrates, and it is possible to walk through the water, and sometimes on suspended wooden platforms. The forests in this area consist of cluster pine, black pine and cedar trees, which are growing in specific areas according to altitude. Dumanlidag is known for its attractive landscape of cedars

Nevsehir - Göreme National Park

Goreme National Park is just outside the village of Goreme, 12km east of Nevsehir and in the heart of Cappadocia, in Central Anatolia. Goreme village is easily accessible by road from all directions, especially through Nevsehir. The Ankara - Adana highway approaches from the northwest, the Aksaray - Nevsehir from the southwest, and the Kayseri - Urgup highway from the northeast. The national park can be reached on foot from the village.

The national park consists of valleys with the world-famous rock formations of Cappadocia, the conical shaped rocks shaped over centuries out of eroded volcanic stone, and known as Fairy Chimneys.

In addition to the fascinating landscape formed by the volcanic tuff and cave dwellings, there are also important Byzantine churches, which reflect the history of religious art in that period. Because of the geological characteristics of the area, and the fact that it was secluded, people living here could hide themselves away from the various battles taking place, as well as from the authority of the central administration

Nigde - Ala Mountains National Park

The Aladaglar national park is in the province of Nigde, south of Kayseri, and lies 30km from Yahyali.

The park is adjacent to the main highway from Nigde to Kayseri, and can also be accessed from Yahyali.

Inside this huge park of around 55,000 hectares, the summit of Demirkazik at 3756m is the highest point in the middle Taurus mountain range. There is a huge range of flora and fauna, and visitors may fish in the streams full of trout. Wildlife includes wild goats, bears, lynx and sable.

The park has extremes of climate, with hot summers and very cold and snowy winters, with snow-capped peaks throughout the year. There is also a huge difference between night and day temperatures, with the lake usually freezing at night yet can reach up to 30°C during the day


Watch the video: Karakuş Tümülüsü (August 2022).