Istanbul & Izmir
Day 1 Istanbul Arrival
Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Transfer to old city and tour of Istanbul including the Blue Mosque, famous for its blue tiles and unique with its six minarets built in the name of Sultan Ahmet I. Next we will have a look at the Hippodrome of Constantinople where horse and chariot races used to take place. Then visit the St. Sophia museum which is one of the greatest religious and architectural marvels of all times. Finally the famous Topkapi Palace museum will be visited, which was built as the home of the Ottoman sultans. Then check-in to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (L)
Day 2 Istanbul / Izmir – Pergamum
Departure in the morning. Domestic flight to Izmir. Meet and drive to Pergamum Ancient city. Visit of the Acropolis, Temple of Athena, Library, Royal Palace, Temple of Trojan, Temple of Dionysus, Altar of Zeus. Following lunch in the town of Bergama, three kilometers south of the Acropolis, down in the valley we will visit the Asclepieion, ancient medical center built in the name of Asclepius, the God of Medicine. Then visit of Red hall, one of the largest buildings in antiquity, dedicated to the Egyptian goddesses Serapis & Isis. Drive back to Izmir. (B,L,D)
Day 3 Izmir – Ephesus
Meet and drive to Kusadasi area for afull day tour of Ephesus.Places of visit:
House of the Virgin Mary
About 3 miles away in the forested mountain above Ephesus is House of Virgin Mary. It is a modest stone house. St John brought Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Jesus, in keeping with Jesus Christ’s admonition to St. John to care for his mother. House of Virgin Mary, is now visited by over a hundred thousand pilgrims each year. Many people congregate at this sanctuary every August 15 to observe the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin.
Gleaming white with marble, offering a full range of business and entertainment opportunities, Ephesus rivalled Rome in its magnificence. For pagans, the glorious Temple to Artemis drew the crowds. The most important commercial center in western Anatolia, probably over a quarter of a million people lived here at its height in the Roman and early Byzantine Periods. Even ruins are impressive. The commercial banks of Ephesus, which handled the foreign exchange, are considered to be the institutions where banking as we know it today originated.
Enter through the Magnesia Gate and begin a slow, downhill walk with your guide into the ruins of this Roman provincial capital. Your route takes you past the Odeon, the Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Great Theater.
Filled with attractively displayed mosaics, statuary, and other artifacts, the museum exhibits several marble statues of the Mother Goddess Artemis, goddess of nature, childbirth, and the harvest. Combining the information at the Ephesus ancient city and the Archeology Museum will give you a very fulfilling idea of the city of Ephesus and its importance in the ancient times.
St. John’s Basilica
A once great church built on a 2nd century tomb thought to hold the remains of St. John. While the church is now in ruins, many frescoes, mosaics and graceful columns attest to the glory that marked the place where St. John, the Evangelist, lived and died. Drive back to Izmir. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Izmir
Full day free at leisure. Overnight. (B)
Day 5 Izmir – Istanbul
After breakfast, transfer to Izmir airport for flight to Istanbul. Arrival Istanbul and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon free at leisure.
Day 6 Istanbul
Free until transfer time. Transfer to Istanbul Ataturk Airport for flight home.(B)
Istanbul Seminal Hotel or similar (4 star)
Izmir Best Western Konak Hotel Hotel or similar (4 star)