Turkey – The Ancient Gods of Anatolia

  • 12 Days , 8 Cities
  • From $4,800
Customizable Itinerary This sample itinerary was created by our destination specialist to inspire you. It can be customized to your exact preferences and budget.
With its unique stone architecture, Mardin became the second city in the world to be declared a conservation area in its entirety. When you examine its buildings, you will astonish at how the Syrian Orthodox builders worked the stone with the delicacy of kilim or lace patterns.
Countries Visited Turkey
Places Visited İstanbul, , Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Kahta, Diyarbakır, Midyat
Suggested Duration 12 days
Travel Styles Cultural Tours
  • DAY 1

    Welcome to Istanbul, Turkey!

    Welcome to the Istanbul!

    Upon arrival, meet with your driver and transfer to your accommodating hotel. Spend the day at leisure to relax and rest after your overseas flight in this stunning city.

    What's included?

    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Transfer Transfer
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  • DAY 2

    Adana - Visit small town of Tarsus, Karatepe Aslantas Museum Black Hill Lion Stone Museum

    Early morning fly to Adana, Meet your driver at Adana airport, and transfer to Tarsus, where St. Paul was born almost 2000 years ago. We will visit St. Paul’s well and the old houses of Tarsus. Then, we will visit the Karatepe Aslantas Museum Black Hill Lion Stone Museum). This site has been inhabited for almost 4000 years.

    The extant ruins date from the 13th century BC, when this was a summer retreat for the neo Hittite kings of Cilicia, the greatest of whom was named Azitawadda. Our next stop will be the Toprakkale Castle ( The Earth Castle ), built of dark volcanic stone, and the Anavarza fortress city built by the Romans on top of a hill dominating the fertile plain.

    Return to Adana for dinner and overnight in Adana.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
    • Flight Flight
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  • DAY 3

    Antakya - Discover amazing mosaics museum and the grotto of St. Peter

    We will head to Antakya and visit the fantastic mosaics museum and the grotto of St. Peter in old Antakya with its maze of narrow streets. The Arabic-speaking resort town of Samandag and the Roman tunnel of Titus and Vespasianus present further evidence of an ancient sophisticated society.

    Overnight in Antakya.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
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  • DAY 4

    Sanliurfa - Antakya - Gaziantep -

    Today, we will head to Sanliurfa via Gaziantep. We will visit Gaziantep Archeological Museum to see the spectacular mosaics saved from Zeugma Antique Site. In the historical Tepebasi district, a fine example of mid-nineteenth century southeastern Anatolian architecture may seem an inappropriate feature of this once-wealthy trading center of southeast Turkey. Still, it is only one of the elements in a well-preserved example of cultural and religious integration in the late Ottoman Empire. The missionary hospital and school constructed at the request of Tepebasi’s merchants still stand alongside a collection of synagogues, mosques, and Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches in the historic district of Gaziantep. Lunch at a local restaurant to taste rich and delicious kebabs and dessert. We will head to Halfeti for a boat trip on the Euphrates to see Rumkale (Hromgla). Rumkale is where one of Jesus Christ’s apostles, St. John wrote copies of the Holy Bible. We will also see a ruined fortress, rebuilt and used by the crusaders. We will continue to Sanliurfa, known as Ur in ancient times and later as Edessa. Overnight in Sanliurfa.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
    • Cruise/Boat Cruise/Boat
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  • DAY 5

    Sanliurfa - Explore the birth place of Abraham

    Morning visit to the beehive-style mud houses of Harran. This is one of the most ancient continuously inhabited sites on Earth and is where Abraham and his wife Sarah spent some years. Return to Sanliurfa for afternoon sightseeing. Tradition relates that Sanliurfa was the birthplace of Abraham. A great Roman ruin surmounts the mountain opposite our hotel and sacred carp swim in a quiet pool near the rose gardens. The ancient vaulted bazaar captures the atmosphere of the exotic East and you may find fabulous silks and other fabrics here.

    Overnight in Sanliurfa

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
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  • DAY 6

    Sanliurfa - Nemrut Mountain - Kahta

    Today, we will visit the Ataturk Dam, one of the world's biggest projects. After lunch, we will depart to Nemrut Dag’s rugged peak, Built-in honor of Antiochus, a Commagene ruler. Marvel at the colossal stone heads of the gods that guard the entrance to King Antiochus' tomb.

    Dinner and overnight in Adiyaman.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Lunch Lunch
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
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  • DAY 7

    Diyarbakir - Discover this amazing ancient city

    We will head to Diyarbakir. We will see the gorgeous city walls of Diyarbakir. They are between 3.5 and 4 miles in length and, with their 16 keeps and five gates, give the city an ominous appearance. We will visit Ulu Mosque, and on our walk through the streets of the old town, we will meet many people whose families have lived here for centuries and take the opportunity to visit the small Christian community. This is an amazing experience and the area with its base stones originating from a pagan temple that once stood on the site.

    Overnight in Diyarbakir.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
    View on map
  • DAY 8

    Mardin - Historic city from 8000 B.C.

    Our journey will take us to Mardin, where, from a distance, the golden stone of the houses blends into the rock on which the city is built.

    Now, it is the time to discover Mardin, which has a history going back to 8000 BC. With its unique stone architecture, Mardin became the second city in the world to be declared a conservation area in its entirety. When you examine its buildings, you will be astonished at the way the Syrian Orthodox builders worked the stone with the delicacy of kilim or lace patterns. Syrian Orthodox churches stand side by side with mosques and medreses here, Syrian Orthodox gold and silversmiths whose work is famous throughout the country still practice their craft here. The city museum is housed in the former patriarchate constructed in 1895 by the Patriarch of Antakya, Ignatios Benham Banni. Now restored to its original condition, the building houses collections dating from 4000 BC to the present day and representing the Assyrian, Urartian, Hellenistic, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Artuklu, and Ottoman periods. Then we will visit The Deyrulzafaran Monastery or saffron monastery", under the auspices of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch from 1160 until the 1920s, when it was relocated to Damascus. Our last stop will be Kasimiye Medresesi.

    Overnight in Mardin.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
    View on map
  • DAY 9

    Mardin - Midyat - Hasankeyf - Van

    Early in the morning, we will head to Midyat. Midyat is the western gateway to the Tur Abdin proper, which still has 32 villages wholly or partly inhabited by Syrian Orthodox Christians, plus 46 monasteries and churches in varying states of repair and use. We will visit the active Syriac Jacobite Monastery of Mar Gabriel, Dating from the 5th century. Fourteen nuns and three monks occupy separate wings. A fluctuating number of local lay workers and guests sent by Turkish emigrants to learn the Syriac language and retie hazy cultural connections.

    Then, we will continue to Hasankeyf, the spectacular site of a now ruined city built by the Artukid Turcoman Tribe on the banks of the Tigris, which involves a gradual, scenic descent towards the river. Continue to Van.

    Overnight in Van.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
    View on map
  • DAY 10

    Van - Visit the ancient castles and churches

    This morning we will travel to Akdamar Island. The small Akdamar church built by Vaspurakan King Gagik I in the 10th century is a masterpiece. It is the work of architect Manuel. Red claystone was used in the construction of this church, and it has domes, a cruciform plan, and three entrances. Added a chapel in the 13th century and a large front section in the 14th century to the church. The Armenian Patriarchy was moved here like in the 10th century. The outside walls are decorated with scenes from the Old Testament, and these figures look like sculptures under the sunlight. In the shade, these figures seem almost to disappear. The inside walls of the church have frescoes depicting scenes from the bible. A Byzantine influence is seen in the wall pictures, even though some are badly ruined. End our day with a visit to the famed Van Castle from the Urartians.

    Overnight in Van.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
    View on map
  • DAY 11

    Van - Istanbul

    Transfer to Van airport for a morning flight to Istanbul. Upon your arrival in Istanbul, start the tour of the city, including St. Sophia Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Tonight you have a farewell dinner.

    Overnight in Van

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Dinner Dinner
    • Accommodation Accommodation
    • Tour Tour
    • Transfer Transfer
    • Flight Flight
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  • DAY 12

    Istanbul - Goodbye to Turkey!

    Today is the final day of our journey. Morning is yours to relax and have breakfast until your departure. Later, check out at noon and private transfer to Istanbul Airport for your departure flight.

    What's included?

    • Breakfast Breakfast
    • Transfer Transfer
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Starting from $4,800 per person

Price per person in double occupancy
The rate is based on 4-star and luxury accommodation
Price excluding international flights
This trip is customizable for your private travel.
Please inquire to request a quote for your custom trip!


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What’s Included?

  • 15 nights’ accommodation at 4 Star and luxury and boutique hotels, centrally located
    1 night in Istanbul
    1 night in Adana
    1 night in Antakya
    2 nights in Sanliurfa
    1 night in Diyarbakir
    2 nights in Mardin
    2 nights in Van
    1 night in Istanbul
  • BB accommodation in Istanbul
  • Half Board Basis during the tour (breakfasts and dinners in hotels)
  • 3 lunches (1 Urfa, 1 Gaziantep and 1 in Van)
  • Domestic flight tickets Istanbul- Adana, and Van – Istanbul
  • Transportation by a vehicle as per program (Mercedes Vito)
  • Professional English-speaking guide services throughout the tour
  • Entrance fees to the museums/sites (as mentioned in your program)

Sightseeing Highlights Included

  • Visit Tarsus, where St.Paul was born almost 2000 years ago
    • Visit St. Paul’s well and the old houses of Tarsus
    • Visit the Karatepe Aslantas Museum, Black Hill Lion Stone Museum)
    • Toprakkale Castle (The Earth
      Castle)
    • The Romans built Anavarza fortress city
  • Antakya
    • Visit the fantastic mosaic museum
    • Visit The Grotto of St.Peter in old Antakya
  • Gaziantep
    • Visit Gaziantep Archeological Museum
    • Go to Halfeti a boat trip on the Euphrates to see Rumkale (Hromgla)
  • Sanliurfa
    • Visit the beehive style mud houses of Harran
    • Sightseeing tour in the city
    • Visit the ancient vaulted
      bazaar
    • Visit the Ataturk Dam, which is one of the biggest projects in the world
    • Go to Nemrut Dag’s rugged peak
  • Diyarbakir
    • See the gorgeous city walls of Diyarbakir
    • Visit Ulu Mosque, walk through the streets of the old city
  • Mardin (the town has a history going back to 8000 BC.)
    • Full-day tour at Mardin
    • Visit The Deyrulzafaran Saffron monastery
    • Visit Kasimiye Medresesi
  • Visit the small town of Midyat (Midyat. Midyat is the western gateway to the Tur Abdin proper, which still has 32 villages wholly or partly inhabited by Syrian Orthodox Christians, plus 46 monasteries and churches in varying states of repair and use)
  • Van
    • Visit the Akdamar Island and the small Akdamar church built by Vaspurakan King Gagik
    • A visit to the famed Van Castle from the
      Urartians by the Sunset
  • Istanbul
    • Full-day tour in Istanbul
      • St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia)
      • Blue Mosque
      • Topkapi Palace

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