South East and East Turkey

Day 1 - Saturday, ,  ISTANBUL
When ever you come to Istanbul, we will pick you up from the air port. The transfer is included in the price of the tour. Some people choose to arrive a day or two  before the tour starts to recover jet lag. For your extra days in Istanbul we can arrange hotel ( Single room US$55 Double room US$85 BB)
The tour starts with a group meeting in Istanbul in the lobby of the Hotel Ayasofya at 5:00 PM. Dinner at a nearby resturant. Overnight at Hotel Ayasofya

Day 2 - Sunday,   KARS
Fly to Kars from istanbul.
Kars is farthest eastern city of Turkey on the Armenian border. This city with its imposing fortress cries out that she has been a frontier city for all ages. Visit the bridge that was made to survive centuries with egg white in its mortar.
After check in to the hotel we will drive 23 miles to the border town of Ani, the 10th century capital of Armenia. The city walls of red stone will make you feel like you might be walking into a movie set. But when you see the cathedrals, churches, temples dedicated in Zoroastrian deities, caravansarai and the Silk Road, you will realize that you are actually walking in the time tunnel of hundreds of years.
Visit the village house closest to the border of Turkey. Find out how one can live by raising ducks. Overnight at Hotel Sim-Er Hotel KARS.

Day 3 - Monday ,  ERZURUM
Leave Kars in the morning and drive southwest to Erzurum. Once the Caravans of the Silk Road used the road that we will take from Kars to Erzurum. Of great interest will be the villages of stone houses and the  black sheep on green meadows. Of even more interest will be the time we will spend with the villagers visiting their homes to find out what it means to be living in those mountains.
Arrive in Erzurum in the late  afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Oral Hotel.

Day 4 - Tuesday,  ERZURUM
Visit a nearby village. See a hay, duck and dung economy.
People in Erzurum are very loyal to their cuisine. Lunch will give us an opportunity to taste what the people of Erzurum have been eating for hundreds of years.

Visit the 12th century Medrese (a Seljukian School). Talk with the imam at the 12th century Mosque and enjoy the ethnographic museum.
Visit an old caravan stop where the local black stone is mounted in silver and gold by the local artists in the most aesthetic art form.
Dinner and Overnight in Oral Hotel

Day 5-Wednesday  DOGUBEYAZIT, 
Free time in the morning.
Drive east from Erzurum to Igdir then south to Dogubayazit. Have a picnic lunch at a spectacular site. Arrive by Mount Ararat to enjoy its grandeur before sunset. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Simer, Dogubeyazit

Day 6 - Thursday,  VAN
As the sun rises over the planes of Iran, Mount Ararat catches the light of the new day before you can see the sun. The halo on the peak will be a spiritual experience as you sip your coffee on the balcony of your hotel. Visit Noah's ark. See a village which for hundreds of years lived with Mount Ararat as a backdrop. Mail your post cards from the eastern most post office that you can find in Turkey on the Iranian border. See the miles of petrol tanks coming from Iran to put the economic reality of the region in a different perspective.
After lunch visit a palace which is like an experiment model for an architect trying to put the
architectural features of all those who had run caravans on the Silk Road. Iranian gateways,
Ottoman domes, Baroque harem rooms, Armenian stonework, Georgian reliefs will be
captured in your pictures as a proof of synthesis of civilizations.
Drive south to Van. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Merit by Lake  Van

Day 7 -  Friday,     June 03, VAN
Drive to a meadow to watch local folk dancers. Have a picnic lunch with the dancers and talk to these Kurdish students. In our private boat, sail to the island in the middle of Lake Van and feel the excitement of the masons carving the scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament on the walls of this church 1,100 years ago. With the snow in the mountains and blooming almond trees, try to understand how the word white can have different meanings. Swim in the clear waters of the lake. Return to Van to see an amazing Kilim collection. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Merit by Lake  Van

Day 8 - Saturday, MARDIN
Early departure for the longest bus ride of the tour (7:30 am - 4:30 pm). Drive west from Van around the southern end of Lake Van to Bitlis, then southwest to Mardin near the Iraqian border. As we drive via Tigris River and visit the ancient and modern towns which will forever  get buried under the dam lakes of the new irrigation systems, we will understand the importance of the proper  use of our natural resources in the world. Not to have the need to built one more destructive dam , you will promise your self not to waste  even one drop of water. The landscape is stunning. The history of Christianity will come alive in MIDYAT with our visits to the living Syrian Orthodox churches. This day will be hard to forget w'th  the subjects we will cover on the environmental and historic aspects of the region.
Day 9 - Sunday, MA
Visit one of the oldest Christian Monasteries on Earth where the congregation is still speaking Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke. The father of the monastery will open the doors to us where monks will proudly show us the in and out of their thousands of years old building. My monk friend, Gabriel will give us the pleasure of hearing how Jesus would have sounded if he were teaching what we read in the Bible. Because he will be reading his Bible in the language  that Jesus  spoke. We will have a chance to see Mesopotamia with its fertile fields stretching under our feet when we walk the streets of Mardin.

Day 10 - Monday, URFA ,
Drive south to Harran. and the Syrian border
You will be mesmerized with what man can do to a desert. Instead of the sand dunes of thousands of years now the captured water of the Euphrates river irrigates the cotton fields giving the people of not just the region but of all of Turkey a new hope for the future. Harran where Abraham lived seems like it has not changed at all. The conic homes look like they could have been his house. The women dressed in layers and layers of colorful dress look like they could have been his followers marching down to Canaan.
Overnight in Urfa
Day 11 - Tuesday, NEMRUT
Urfa have  another Biblical experience in its sacred lake, birth place of Abraham and many more treasures for your memories and /or cameras.
On the way to Adiyaman, we will stop at the biggest dam of Turkey. 22% of the electric energy we consume in Turkey is being produced in the turbines of this Ataturk Dam.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Nemrut Kahta
Day 12 - Wednesday
Wake up at 2 am. This is the day we will hike to the top of Mount Nemrut and see how a megalomaniac king wanted to compete with the grandeur of Gods and built his tomb on the top of a 7,000 ft mountain. Watching the sun rise from the same place where the giant size statues of Gods watched, you will understand how these 1,000 year old statues did not want to be removed from their place. On the way back a Roman Bridge will give us the sad story of Emperor Septimus Severus. His dead son was immortalized in this bridge which is still the only connection of two sides of the River.
After lunch at our hotel we will drive to Gazi Antep.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Kaleli
in Gazi Antep


Visit the craft centers of Gaziantep and the world famous museum which contains the mosaics of the lost city ZeugmaEvening Flight to Istanbul
Day 14 - Friday,
The Tour will be over after breakfast. transfer to the air port is included in the tour price


After this tour we are offering a short tour to Troy and to the villages of Western Turkey where villagers are preparing natural dies for the carpets they weave. The name of their cooperative is DOBAG. We call this tour extension DOBAG tour. Please check the tour hand book for DOBAG extension

Or you can join a three day yacht tour on the blue Coast of Turkey