7 Days Western Turkey Tour. Spend 7 glorious days in Turkey seeing all the must see sights. Soak up the culture and history of Istanbul. Explore the ancient city of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient…
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7 Days Western Turkey Tour. Spend 7 glorious days in Turkey seeing all the must see sights. Soak up the culture and history of Istanbul. Explore the ancient city of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Luxuriate in the thermal hot springs of Pamukkale and retain your youth in Cleopatra’s Pool. Pay your respects to the soldiers who laid down their lives at Gallipoli. Climb inside a replica of the Trojan horse. Explore the ancient ruins of Pergamon. Don’t miss this trip, which is jam packed with adventure and beautiful places waiting to be seen!
About the Western Turkey Tour – 7 Days, Your Turkey Tour Destination
Istanbul Western Turkey Tour:
Istanbul has been around for thousands of years. It’s packed with culture, history and amazing sites. Every part of the city has something exciting waiting to be discovered. Give yourself at least 3 days to see everything. The city has been around since 600 BCE and there is so much to explore.
The city was founded by the Greeks around 600 BCE who named it Byzantium after their leader Byzas. After the Romans came into power, they conquered the city and implemented their Christian religion. In the year 306 AD the Emperor of Rome, Constantine, declared Byzantium the Roman capital of the East and renamed it Constantinople and so began the Byzantine Era. Constantinople enjoyed prosperity until the Ottoman Turks conquered it in 1453. The Ottomans renamed the city Istanbul and changed the religion to Islam. Istanbul was part of the Ottoman Empire until it fell in 1918 after its defeat during WWI. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara. However, Istanbul still remains the country’s central hub of all things historically, culturally and socially.
Due to the many different cultures and religions that have occupied the city over its long history, Istanbul is packed with historical relics from every era. It is a treat to visit the old city, or Sultanahmet, as locals know it, and visit the palaces, mosques, basilicas and bazaars that are so well preserved today. The main square in Sultanahmet boasts the city’s two most popular sites, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. The Blue Mosque was built in 1603 by Sultan Ahmet II and was quite controversial. This was the first mosque to be built with six minarets instead of four. The Hagia Sophia dates back to the Byzantine Empire and was built in the year 537 AD as a Christian basilica and still remains standing today.
Within easy walking distance of Sultanahmet Square are Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar, all a must see on a visit to Istanbul. Topkapi Palace was built in the late 1450’s and was the place of residence for 30 sultans. Today it is open as a museum where you can see what life was like in court during the Ottoman Empire. It also contains other precious relics of the Islamic faith. The Basilica Cistern was used during the Byzantine Empire to store water for the city to use. Back in its heyday it held 80,000 meters of water. It is no longer filled with that much water and tourists can walk through the beautifully lit passages. The Grand Bazaar is the largest covered bazaar in the world and is still fully operational. While there was always a bazaar in that location, it was covered in 1463 by Fatih Sultan Mehmet. The Grand Bazaar contains over 3,600 stores and is definitely worth a visit.
Istanbul is unique in being the only city in the world that spans two continents. The Bosphorus Bridge connects the European side of the city to the Asian side. Other great sites around Istanbul are Dolmabahce Palace, the Galata Tower, Pierre Loti Hill and Taksim Square. Another popular activity is to take a cruise on the Bosphorus. It’s a great way to see the city from a different view.
Ephesus Western Turkey Tour:
The Greeks founded the ancient city of Ephesus in the eleventh century B.C. Its history after that is largely undocumented, however, in the seventh century B.C., the city was taken over by the Lydians. The Lydian King Croesus, who ruled from 560 B.C. TO 547 B.C., is known for building the Temple of Artemis in the city, which would become one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Over the next few hundreds of years, the city was conquered by many different empires, but eventually came to be ruled by the Roman Empire in 129 B.C. and under the reign of Caesar Augustus it became one of the greatest cities in the Empire. After the death of Jesus Christ, his followers Saint John and Saint Paul traveled to Ephesus and converted many of the citizens to Christianity. It is also believed that Ephesus is the final resting place of the Virgin Mary as it is said that she traveled there with Saint John near the end of her life. In 262 A.D. the Goths invaded the city and destroyed everything, including the beautiful Temple of Artemis. After that, the city was never rebuilt and fell into decline. When the Ottoman Empire took control of the region, the city and the harbor were almost useless. It was officially abandoned and left for archeologists to explore much later.
Many of the ruins of the city are still very well preserved and visitors and walk through the ancient city and get a feel for what life was like back then. The Celsius Library and the theater are in excellent condition and are definitely worth a visit.
The final resting place of the Virgin Mary is also open for visitors. Tourists can walk through her modest stone house and leave thoughts and prayers for the Virgin Mary. A mass is held outside her house every Sunday.
When visiting the ancient city of Ephesus, the best place to stay is the nearby seaside town of Kusadasi. After the tour, relax on the beach or take a stroll through the castle that juts out into the sea. At night, the area comes alive with tourists and locals alike relaxing at the many restaurants and bars that line the seaside.
Pamukkale Western Turkey Tour:
Pamukkale translates to cotton castle and gets its name from the large white travertines that have formed on the side of the hill near the ancient city of Hierapolis. The “cotton castle” is formed due to a buildup of limestone in the thermal waters that flow down the side of the mountain. Eumenes II, King of Pergamon built the city for his wife Hiera sometime around 175 B.C. The thermal hot springs around the city were said to have healing powers and many flocked to the city from all over to bathe in the waters. In 133 B.C., the King of Pergamon willed the city of Hierapolis to the Roman Empire. During the Roman reign, the city rose to prosperity. The city began to decline in the 6th century and finally, after an earthquake in 1334, the city was abandoned.
The highlight of the ancient ruins is the Roman theater, which is in impeccable condition. You do have to hike up a little hill, so wear comfortable shoes! The view from the top is definitely worth the climb.
Make sure to bring a bathing suit with you when you visit the site as the main attraction are the travertine pools that you can walk and bathe in. Try to arrive as early as possible as the travertines get very crowded during the day. In addition to the travertines is Cleopatra’s Pool. It’s open for visitors to swim in as well. It is said that Cleopatra traveled to the ancient city and bathed in this bath believing that the thermal waters would help her retain her youth. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim where a queen once did!
Gallipoli Western Turkey Tour:
During WWI, Turkey, which was then, the Ottoman Empire allied itself with Germany essentially because of a failed business transaction with Great Britain. Britain, hoping to aid its ally Russia, devised a battle strategy to move up the Gallipoli peninsula, capture Istanbul and gain access to the Black Sea from which they could reach Russia. At that time, Australia and New Zealand were still colonies under the rule of the British Empire. Looking to prove their worth, the two colonies sent many enlistees to aid the Empire.
At dawn on April 25, 1915, the allies launched their attack against the Ottoman forces, the goal, to conquer the Gallipoli Peninsula. The Ottoman forces had scouts watching and saw the ANZAC forces coming. Led by the young ambitious Colonel Mustafa Kemal, the Ottoman forces were able to hold off the ANZAC forces. Both sides dug trenches and hunkered in for what was to be a long, bloody eight months. On December 15, 1915, realizing they couldn’t win and the casualties were too high, the British and ANZAC forces started pulling out of Gallipoli.
At the end of WWI, the Ottoman Empire fell and Turkey became a Republic with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as its first President. Following WWI, Turkey built a series of burial grounds and memorials for the soldiers that lost their lives on both sides. It’s quite a moving tribute and each year on April 25, Australians, New Zealanders, Turks, Brits and Frenchmen gather at dawn to remember the fallen at the memorial in Gallipoli. It’s known as ANZAC Day and after more than 100 years; it’s still a major event.
Daily tours of the battlefields and the memorials are offered for visitors with extremely knowledgeable guides that take you step by step through the routes of the soldiers. Despite the fact that a century has passed, the sites are still incredibly moving and you can still feel the weight of what happened there. It’s an absolute must see on any trip to Turkey.
Troy Western Turkey Tour :
The legend of the battle of Troy and the Trojan horse is a legend that has spanned for thousands of year thanks to Homer’s epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey. In his tales, Homer talks of a battle that was waged due to the theft of Helen, the Queen of Sparta by Paris, the son of King Priam, ruler of Troy. Homer claims that the battle waged on for many years, taking its toll of the Greeks, who eventually defeated the Trojans with the ever-popular Trojan horse. Whether or not any of these events actually happened or if this ancient city is actually the Troy of the legends is up for debate. However, what is known is that there is no one ancient city of Troy, but many. Archeologists have found evidence of at least ten different cities built on top of each other dating all the way back to 3,000 B.C. It seems that when one city was destroyed, either but people or the elements, another city was built on top.
Heinrich Schliemann first excavated the ancient site in 1873and he claims to have found a cache of treasure, which he then concluded was the treasure of King Priam. Historians don’t think that Heinrich actually found all of the treasure at the same time, but believe that pieces were dug up all around the site over a number of weeks. Further testing of the treasure showed that these were about a thousand years too early to have belonged to King Priam.
Whether or not this is indeed Homer’s Troy, there’s no denying that the ancient ruins that exist are impressive. With the discovery of ten different cities and their many antiquities, there is so much to see here. Daily tours take visitors to see the multiple different cities and discusses the many legends and theories. There is even a giant replica of the Trojan horse that visitors can climb into for a photo op.
Pergamon Western Turkey Tour:
Not far from the ancient ruins of Troy, are the ancient ruins of Pergamon, an important city in its own right and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the death of Alexander the Great, the territory that he had conquered was divided up between his generals. The hilltop fortress of Pergamon fell to the Macedonian general Lysimachus. After the division of Alexander’s territory, there were conflicts between the generals. Lysimachus left Pergamon in the hands of his most trusted advisor, Philatauerus and marched off to confront the Greco-Macedonian general, Seleucus. Lysimachus died in battle and Pergamon passed to Philatauerus who quickly swore allegiance to Seleucus. However, it isn’t Philatauerus but his great nephew Attalus I who is credited as the founder of the Pergamon Empire. Attalus I conquered much of what is modern day central Turkey. The next ruler, Eumenes II conquered more land and swore his allegiance to Rome, gaining their protection and angering his fellow Greeks.
Eumenes II turned the city of Pergamon into the greatest city, second only to Rome. He built marvelous temples and the second largest library in the world. The largest being in Alexandria in the Greek ruled Egypt. Pergamon was truly the cultural capital of the world. The next ruler, Attalus III willed the kingdom of Pergamon to Rome, and when he died, the Romans made the city their capital in Asia. The Greek citizens were not at all happy to be ruled by the Romans and began revolting. The Romans quickly took control and punished the city by stripping their role as the Asian capital and rewarding it to the nearby city of Ephesus. The city started to fall in to decline in the 3rd century C.E. After suffering an earthquake and being sacked by the Goths, the city never recovered. The final nail in the coffin was the rise of Christianity, which denounced the Roman Gods and their temples.
Excavations of the ruins began in 1878 by archeologists from the Berlin Museum. Nowadays, visitors can tour the stunning remains of the ancient Greek and Roman ruins. Unfortunately, the most beautiful archeological find, the large alter built by Eumenes II was moved to the Berlin Museum. However, there’s still plenty to see at the original site.
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Arrival to Istanbul and transfer to the hotelOnce you arrive in Istanbul, our driver will be waiting to pick you up and escort you to your boutique hotel in the heart of the Old City, also known as Sultanahmet. After checking in the Byzantium Hotel, or similar, you'll have the rest of the day to get acclimated and explore the city on your own.
Istanbul Old City Walking Tour (B,L)Following breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up at 8:30 by our experienced guide to begin a full day walking tour of the Old City. You'll start by seeing the Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest buildings in the city. From there, you'll continue on the Blue Mosque where you can admire the beautiful interior. The Blue Mosque lets out on to the Hippodrome where your guide will tell you of the significance of each item. Lunch is provided at a traditional Turkish restaurant. After lunch, you'll walk through the historic neighborhoods of Fener and Balat before coming to Topkapi Palace. Admire the longtime palace of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire as you learn how they spent their days. You'll finish your tour in the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered bazaars in the world. At the end of the tour, our guide will take you back to your hotel. You will have the rest of the evening to rest or explore.
Istanbul to Gallipoli – Gallipoli day tour (B, L)Our guide will pick you up from your hotel in Istanbul at 6:30 AM for the 3-hour drive down to Gallipoli. You'll arrive in the seaside town of Eceabat around 12:00 PM where you will have lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant. After lunch, our guide will show you the many battlefields, graveyards and memorials of Gallipoli, while expertly explaining the strategies and events of the grueling eight-month long battle. At the end of the tour, your guide will take you to Kolin Hotel, or similar, in the nearby town of Canakkale. You'll have the rest of the evening to relax and explore.
Day tour of Troy and Pergamon/ Transfer to Izmir Kusadasi ( B, L)After breakfast at your hotel, our guide will pick you up at 8:30 AM for your day tour of Troy and Pergamon. Your first stop of the day will be the ruins of ancient Troy. Your guide will take you around the site and speak about the many cities of Troy and of Homer's legendary battle between the Trojans and the Greeks. You'll also have time to explore the replica of the Trojan horse. From there, you will travel to the ancient ruins of Pergamon. Before your second tour begins, you'll stop for lunch. After lunch, your guide will take you through the site, explaining the Greek and Roman structures and the history of the city that was once the cultural capital of the Roman Empire. When the tour is finished, our driver will take you to your hotel in Kusadasi. You will be staying in Efe Boutique or similar.
Day Tour of Ephesus (B,L)Following breakfast at your hotel, our guide will pick you up at 9:00 AM for a full day tour of Ephesus. The tour begins at the site of the last dwelling place of the Virgin Mary. You can tour her modest home and leave her a message before departing for the main event. Next, your guide will take you through the ancient city of Ephesus explaining the history and stopping for pictures through the site. Following the tour, you will have lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant before continuing on the view what remains of the Temple of Artemis. Once one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World, only one pillar remains. You'll make a quick stop to learn about the history and take some photos. At the end of the tour, you'll be taken back to your hotel. The rest of the evening is free.
Day Tour of Pamukkale and Hierapolis and flight back to Istanbul (B,L)After a quick breakfast at your hotel, your guide will pick you up at 7:30 for the 3-hour bus ride to Pamukkale. When you arrive around 11:00 AM, you'll begin the tour with lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant. Following lunch, your guide will gibe you a tour of the ancient ruins of Hierapolis. After, you'll have two hours of free time. You'll be free the explore the onsite archeological museum, swim in Cleopatra's Pool or head to the main attraction, the white travertines where you can wade through the thermal waters. At the end of the tour, you'll make one final stop at the base of Pamukkale for a great photo op. From there, our driver will take you to the airport for a one-hour flight back to Istanbul. Once you arrive, our driver will pick you up and take you back to your hotel.
Istanbul (B)According to your flight time, our driver will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport.
All Airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary
Fight tickets with taxes
5-day tour mentioned by the itinerary (Guide, Lunch, Transportation and all entrance fees )
3-Night Hotel in Istanbul (Boutique Hotel) with breakfast
1 night hotel in Canakkale
2- Night Hotel in Kusadasi or Selcuk with breakfast
All meals mentioned by the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
Vegetarian meals available
Full travel insurance
Tips and international flight tickets
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