|Duration : 12 Nights
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Day 1 ( Welcome to Istanbul )
- Arriving at Istanbul International Airport, pick up and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay in Istanbul.
Day 2 ( Full-day Tour of Byzantine and Ottoman Relics / Istanbul )
- Pickup time: 08:15 am at the hotel for the tour,
- Places to visit: Haghia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace.
- The tour is scheduled to end around 4:00 pm,
- Back to the hotel and overnight in Istanbul.
Bosphorus Strait, the world’s narrowest strait, forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus is particularly famous for the 620 historic waterfront houses (yalı)built during the Ottomam period, which stretch along the strait’s European and Asian shorelines.
Today’s program is as followed;
- Pickup time:08:15 am
- First stop: Spice Bazaar was completed in1 660and is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar.
- Bosphorus Cruise for an hour, Rumeli Fortress (observing from the sea), Beylerbeyi Palace, Bosphorus Bridge and Camlica Hill.
- The tour ends around 5:00 pm.
- Return back to the hotel and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 4 ( Full-day Jewish Heritage Tour in Istanbul )
The vast majority of the Jewish community in Turkey lives in Istanbul, currently estimated at around 26.000 people which is only a fraction of the 500.000 Jews that once lived in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire. There are currently 26 active synagogues in Istanbul. Synagogues are closed on the weekends. ” Passports are required for making reservation and during your visits.”
Today you will visit;
- Galata neighbourhood, one of the oldest Jewish neighbourhood, where Galata Tower was built by the Genoese in 1348.
- Neve Shalom Synagogue ; The meaning of the name is Oasis of Peace. There was another synagogue with the same name in the history of Istanbul’s Jewry. In 1923, during the opening ceremony of Apollon (Knesset) synagogue, the leader of Galata Jewish community, Abraham Botton made the promise to open a big and modern synagogue.
- Ashkenazi Synagogue ; It is the last remaining synagogue from a total of three built by Ashkenazim as well as the only currently active Ashkenazi synagogue in Istanbul open to visits and prayers.
- Balat ; It is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the old city on the historic peninsula, on the western bank of the Golden Horn, where the Star of David appears on the facades of some buildings.
- Ahrida Synagogue ; It was completely destroyed in the fire of 1690 and reconstructed. The last restoration took place between 1990 and 1992 by the Turkish architect Hüsrev Tayla. The temple was reopened on the 16th November 1992. This restoration was based on the plans of 1694 reconstruction and the decoration trends of the same period.
- Zulfaris Synagogue ( Jewish Museum ) ; The name of the synagogue comes from the street of the synagogue: Zulf-U Arus. Zulf-u Arus in old Turkish means the fringe of a bride. Because most of the Jewish weddings were held in this temple, the street was name the fringe of a bride. Today the street is called Percemli Sokak, which has the same meaning in modern Turkish
- If required, lunch at Jewish Hospital (Or-Ahayim).
- The special “Exhibition of the Quincentennial Foundation” about the Jews in Turkey, upon private randezvous, and the Jewish Cemetery where the martyrs of Neve Shalom are buried.
- Etz-Ahayim Synagogue ; located in Ortakoy, was heavily damaged in the fire of 1703 and was restored by the order of the Sultan in 1707. It went through major restoration in 1825.
- Return back to the hotel and overnight in Istanbul.
The sightseeing program of the day includes;
- Havra Sokak: It was once known as the “Street of Synagogues,” because of its nine small, active synagogues which served the Jewish merchants and artisans who worked close by. We will visit 200-year-old Seniyora Synagogue which is the most active of the remaining three synagogues on Havra Sokak, open every morning.
- Karatas quarter: Here you will see Beth Israel Synagogue in Ottoman-Victorian style, and Asansor a 19th century hilltop funicular.next
- Archaeological & Ethnographic Museum in Izmir.
- A drive up to Kadifekale hill overlooking the city and the bay
- Overnight stay in Kusadasi.
Day 6 (Excursion to Sardis / Manisa Province )
- In Ancient Sardis, once the capital of the kingdom of Lydia, there was a large and prosperous Jewish community resided in its heyday as a Roman city and Jews held seats on the city council and important offices in the Roman civil administration. Though Sardis plays no role in the history of Jewish immigrants who came to the Ottoman Empire from Spain and Portugal, it is of interest because of its large and enormously rich Roman synagogue dating from the 200s C.E.
- Return to Izmir after lunch.
- Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 6 ( Ephesus and its surroundings)
- A full-day tour includes visits to the House of Virgin Mary, accepted by the Vatican as a pilgrmage destination, is believed to be where she lived out her final days after the death of Christ.
- Ephesus, the most influential capital city of Asia Minor in the Aegean Sea in Roman Period, is where you will explore one of the best preserved Great Theater, the Celsus Library, Terrace Houses as well as fountains and temples in Asia Minor.
- Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
- The Basilica of St. John, a great church outside Ephesus city, is believed to be built over the burial site of St John the baptist.
- Back to the hotel in Kusadasi for overnight stay.
Day 8 – 9 – 10 ( Cappadocia )
- Cappadocia is Turkey’s most visually striking region, especially the “moonscape” area where erosion has formed caves, clefts, pinnacles, “fairy chimneys” and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock.
Day 8; Domestic flight from Izmir to Cappadocia where you will stay over night.
Day 9: Pickup at 09:30 am from the reception for a full-day tour.
- Visiting Devrent Valley, Pasabag Valley for world-famous “fairy chimneys”
- The Goreme Open Air Museum where you will visit the numerous rock carved churches and monasteries.
- The last visit of the day: Uchisar, a natural rock castle.
- Back to the hotel around 5pm.
- Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 10: departure at 9:30 am for today’s tour
- Red valley, the famous rock-cut churches
- A walk of 4-5 km through the volcanic Gulludere valley (Rose Valley).
- Cavusin Village famous for the houses and churches of the Christian clergymen.
- After lunch, the Pigeon valley.
- An afternoon visit to Kaymakli underground city where early Christians lived in fear and faith
- Transfer back to the hotel around 5pm
- Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 11 ( Ankara )
- A 3-hour drive after breakfast from Cappadocia to Ankara, the Capital of Turkey.
- The places of sightseeing of the day are the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, the Mausoleum of Ataturk, Angora Castle and the Jewish quarter of Samanpazari.
- Overnight in Ankara.
Day 12 ( Fly back to Istanbul )
- You will be transferred to Ankara airport after breakfast for a flight back to Istanbul where you will have the afternoon at your leisure.
- Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 13 ( Farewell )
- Pickup and transfer to the airport is scheduled 3 hours before your international flight.
- Have a safe journey home !
- 12 nights hotel accommodation (4* & Boutique Hotels).
- Services of professionally licensed guides on local tours.
- 18 Meals (11 Breakfasts + 7 Lunch)
- All domestic flights mentioned in the itinerary.
- Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking coaches on local tours and transfers.
- English speaking guided tours mentioned in the itinerary.
- Inbound and outbound airport transfers to/from your hotel.
- All taxes, entrance & museum fees, baggage handling.
- International airfares.
- VISA needed for Turkey
- Tips to guide, driver, hotel staff etc.
- Items of a personal nature
- Harem and Treasure room entrance fees in Topkapi Palace
- Drinks with meals (except the drinks served with breakfast)
- Travel Insurance and medical services