You will be arriving at Ankara International Airport in Ankara. After going through customs (where you will also pay the Turkish Visa fee, currently $20), you will be greeted by your Turkey At Its Best English-speaking private guide or host will transfer you to your selected hotel. Balance of the day will be at leisure.
You will start your tour of Turkey with the perfect starting point: Museum of Ancient Anatolian Civilizations, a world-class museum housed in a restored covered bazaar and the adjacent caravanserai and warehouse. The museum offers a spectacular and comprehensive display of artifacts going back to 10,000 B.C. and ending with the Roman period. The heart of the museum is the greatest collection of Hittite Art, as well as Urartu and Phrygian periods, making it the best starting point of any tour in Turkey.
Next stop will be at the Mausoleum of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, which is also a very important museum celebrating the life and accomplishments of this great leader. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is well worth a look, as is the recent War of Independence Museum, which encircles the courtyard at its lower level as well as the Gallipoli War reenactment. Also visit the Roman Baths, dating back to 3rd Century A.D, where you can see the heating system and the different sections such as Caldarium (hot water), Tepidarium (warm water) and Frigidarium (cold water). Beneath the baths are the 7th Century B.C. If time permits, drive by the Yeni Cami (New Mosque), built in 1566 by the famous architect Sinan, and at the Temple of Augustus from the 2nd century B.C.; it is important today for the “Monument Ancyranum, inscribed on its walls in Latin and Greek. Then, start your drive to the Cappadocia region, which would take about 4 hours driving through Turkey’s breadbasket. Overnight stay will be at your selected cave hotel.
Cappadocia means “the Land of Beautiful Horses” in an ancient language. The terrain is a natural wonder that is reminiscent of a lunar landscape with its unusual rock formations; there is also another type of “wonder” that has been created by people in the form of underground cities, cave churches and cave living! Your guide will take you to one of the underground cities, Derinkuyu or Kaymakli. Archaeologists estimate that there to be at least 30 underground dwelling complexes in the area, some connected by tunnels that were built over the millennia, first started by the Hittites around 2,000 B.C. The underground city that you visit has 8 stories carved into the ground beneath the surface. The spaces are well lit and there is good ventilation; it is interesting to see the living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, stores, churches, etc. but you will need to stoop over as the ceilings are low at certain places.
Optional Acitivity: Tonight, attend a performance of the Whirling Dervishes at Sarihan, a Seljuk Caravanserai from the 13th Century. (It may be crowded with tourists and would be recommended for those who really have an interest in Mevlana and Sufism.)
Optional Activity: An optional hot-air balloon ride is offered very early this morning (about 5:30 a.m.); it will be an amazing experience as you fly over this unbelievable landscape. You can still have your breakfast after you return to your hotel at around 8:00 a.m..
You will be spending the entire day visiting this amazing land with natural and man-made wonders: Goreme Valley, the open-air museum with many rock churches that are decorated with frescoes; Peri Bacalari (“Fairy Chimneys”), towering rock formations that are now the symbol of Cappadocia, and quaint hamlets such as Avanos, famous for its potteries, and Zelve; the three valleys of Zelve are parts of another Open-Air Museum where you can see rock caves that had been used early Christian monks. Stop at quaint hamlets such as ancient Sinassos (current Mustafapasa) and Avanos, famous for its potteries. In Avanos you can try your hands on the old-fashioned potter’s wheel to make your masterpiece!
You will be then transferred to Kayseri Airport for your flight to Istanbul and beyond.
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Ankara and Cappadocia Module (sm)
THE BEST PLACE FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF ASIA MINOR, FROM EARLIEST NEOLITHIC PERIOD FINDINGS THAT GO BACK 10,000 YEARS TO THE ROMAN PERIOD, IS THE “MUSEUM OF ANCIENT ANATOLIAN CIVILIZATIONS” IN ANKARA, CAPITAL OF THE TURKISH REPUBLIC. FOR MORE RECENT HISTORY, A VISIT TO THE MAUSOLEUM OF ATATURK, FOUNDER OF THE TURKISH REPUBLIC, TELLS A LOT ABOUT WORLD WAR I AND THE GALLIPOLI WAR, AS WELL AS THE GENIUS THAT ATATURK WAS.
THE CAPPADOCIA REGION, SOUTHEAST OF ANKARA, IS A MOST INTERESTING AND UNUSUAL PART OF TURKEY, RESEMBLEING A LUNAR LANDSCAPE. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF CAVE CHURCHES, CARVED INTO THE SOFT ROCK AND DECORATED WITH FRESCOES, AND UNDERGROUND CITIES EXTENDING MORE THAN EIGHT STORIES BELOW THE EARTH! THE UNIQUE REGION, WITH ITS QUAINT VILLAGES AND COLORFUL SHOPS, MAKE THIS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR EXCURSIONS IN TURKEY. AND, YOU GET TO SLEEP IN A LUXURIOUS “CAVE” HOTEL!
Private Tour May Start On Any Day in Turkey Except On A Monday.
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*We innovate unique, premium, custom travel experiences, with our dedicated Operations Center in Turkey *34th Anniversary, over 10 years as 'Exclusively Virtuoso' Tour Operator *Team of M. Esat Kadaster, CEO, and Engin Kadaster, VP & GM, offers decades of experience and expertise; premier tour operator for customized upscale private tours in Turkey. *Engin's 40 years, start as Tour Guide, Archaeologist, and GM of a major Turkish ‘on-site’; *Served as Official Guide to HRH Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's 1971 visit in Ephesus *2018 A-List honoree, Travel + Leisure listed multiple times as top advisor for Turkey.
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