The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle

MTR-D - The Golden Triangle

Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul

Meet and assist at the airport. Transfer to the hotel for overnight.

Day 2: Istanbul – Full-day city tour

We begin our tour of the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul, at Hagia Sophia. Built by the Emperor Justinian in the early 6th century AD and designed by Anthemius of Tralles and Isodore of Miletus, the church is one of the marvels of world architecture. It is converted into a mosque in 1453. Its massive dome still dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is also famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses and a poignant Virgin and Child. Next we visit the Blue Mosque which takes its name from the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Built by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 17th century and designed by a pupil of Sinan, the greatest of Ottoman architects, it is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. Its courtyard is especially grand. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar*, indulge in some shopping, Ottoman style. Lunch. We continue our tour with Topkapi Palace, which, from the 15th to the 19th century, was the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans. We will visit the fabulous Imperial Treasury and the Baghdad Kiosk. Topkapi Palace is now a museum and has unrivalled collections of jewelry, including the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, the 3rd largest in the world. It also possesses numerous Ottoman court costumes and ceramics, notably including one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese celadon ceramics, many of which were gifts from other rulers. Interestingly, some of the ceramics have a special glaze that was said to change color in the presence of poison. We also visit the Imperial Armory, displaying centuries of Ottoman weaponry. But perhaps the loveliest feature of Topkapi Palace are its courtyards with their ancient trees; it is easy to imagine the sultan strolling here far from the cares of state and empire. Last but by no means least; we visit the New Mosque, completed in 1665. Originally named Valide Sultan Mosque, the construction is ordered by Safiye Sultan, the wife of Sultan Murad III and the mother of his successor Sultan Mehmed III, hence the name Valide Sultan meaning Queen Mother. The mosque is an imperial mosque and one of the famous architectural landmarks of Istanbul. (B, L)

Day 3: Istanbul – Half-day Bosphorus tour

We begin with a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaar*, one of Istanbul’s most colorful, bustling attractions. Next, we travel the Golden Horn on our way to an unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosphorus’ wooded shores : mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and Rumeli Hisari, a massive fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy on this tour are the 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultans’ fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges. (B)

Day 4: Istanbul / Izmir – Half-day city tour

Transfer to Istanbul airport and fly to Izmir. Arrival in Izmir and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city of Izmir with a stop at the Agora, then continue to the historical elevator for a panoramic view of the bay of Izmir and visit the Old Bazaar. Overnight in Izmir. (B)

Day 5: Izmir – Full-day tour of Ephesus

Drive to Ephesus, one of the most impressive and well-preserved archaeological sites in the world. Spend the morning strolling trough the streets, temples, including the temple of Artemis, and fountains of the ancient metropolis. Lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch visit the Basilica of St.John, where the apostle is buried and the House of Virgin Mary; where it is believed that she has spent her last days. After the tour, return to Izmir for overnight. (B, L)

Day 6: Izmir – Full-day tour of Pergamum

Breakfast and full-day tour to Pergamum, home of the Hellenistic Attalaid kings. Visit the Acropolis where you will see the theatre, altar of Zeus and the famous library which once had 200.000 volumes. After having lunch at a local restaurant, visit Asclepion, the famous medical center of the ancient world. At the end of the tour, transfer to hotel in Izmir and overnight (B, L)

Day 7: Izmir / Ankara / Cappadocia

Transfer to the airport and fly to Ankara. Arrival in Ankara. The tour starts with the visit of Anatolian Civilizations Museum (Hittite Museum).The Mausoleum of Ataturk is the next stop. Lunch will be taken in Ankara and then drive to Cappadocia for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Cappadocia

Breakfast at the hotel, morning visit to the Underground city of Kaymakli and Citadel of Uchisar. After lunch continue with the valley of Goreme and Open Air Museum, Cavusin village, Pasabag valley and Avanos. After tour transfer to the hotel, dinner and overnight in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)

Day 9: Cappadocia / Kayseri / Istanbul

After breakfast, transfer to Kayseri Airport for the morning flight to Istanbul. Arrival to Istanbul airport and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Istanbul. (B)

Day 10: Departure from Istanbul

Breakfast and transfer to the airport. (B)


Special Terms for This Tour:

  • Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
  • Spice Bazaar may be visited prior to the Bosphorus Cruise, depending on the number of tour participants.

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