Duration: 11 days+ more details
- All airport transfers
- 3 Full day private tours of Istanbul (cruise is a public ship)
- All intra-country flights - Istanbul- Izmir, Izmir -Cappadocia, Cappadocia -Istanbul
- 2 Full day private tours of Ephesus and surroundings
- 10 Breakfasts
- 9 Lunches
Duration: 11 days+ more details
Day 1: Arrive Istanbul İn the afternoon meeting over drink for We will give brief information about all the tour and program. İn the evening enjoy a welcome dinner. At the welcome dinner you will receive an overview of the sites we will visit during this holiday as well as a brief introduction traditional Turkish cuisine across this large, beautiful country. We will highlight the food typical in the western region of Turkey that we will study, sample and learn how to make. Over-night in Istanbul in the Old City.
Day 2: Travel from Istanbul to Izmir (Ephesus) After breakfast we will transfer you to the Istanbul airport for your flight to İzmir. Upon arrival in Izmir, you will be met by an English-speaking guide for a full day tour of Ephesus and the surrounding areas including the Virgin Mary’s House. On the way to Ephesus we will stop att the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Then we proceed to the Ancient City of Ephesus where you will explore some of the best preserved theatres, fountains and residences of the Roman era. From Ephesus we will proceed to the House of the Virgin Mary nestled in a beautiful and picturesque setting. This shrine is a pilgrimage site for many people of all denominations. Lunch is included in the tour. After our full tour day ends, we will drive to our hotel at Kusadasi, a rustic town located in the pesticide-free region of Kirazlı .Enjoy a relaxed dinner at the Ephesus Boutique Hotel. Before dinner enjoy a cocktail and be introduced to our host Mustafa and learn about the hotel, surrounding areas and the concepts behind Turkish family cooking. Over-night at Ephesus Boutique Hotel.
Day 3: Priene, Miletos & Didyma Breakfast is served at the hotel. After breakfast, depart for the first ancient city; Priene which in its time was one of the most spectacular of all the ancient Ionians cities. Then travel on to Miletus with its magnificent theatre and the Byzantine fortress on the acropolis towering above. Last, but not least, visit Didyma. Here we will find the largest Ionic Temple in the world, that of Apollo. Also in Didyma lies the huge, cracked head of Medusa. Lunch is included in our tour. Upon returning to the hotel get a tour of the garden where much of the vegetables we enjoy are grown. Dinner will be at the hotel. After dinner we will discuss the history of the region and how the events of the time influenced the food we now call Turkish Cuisine. Over-night at Ephesus Boutique Hotel.
Day 4: Day of Food After breakfast we will have an introduction to the day which includes an overview of the market we will visit to shop (fish and meat) for the afternoon’s cooking classs. We will return to the hotel around noon for a light lunch ( Gözleme, Omlet, local salad) Than we will visit our vegetable garden and pick up our fresh vagetables for cooking class then we will start cooking. The food we prepare will be served in the evening. Over-night at Ephesus Boutique Hotel
Day 5: Food, wine and the great outdoors In the morning we have a small cooking class about Turkish breakfast. After breakfast we will visit local winery, olive oil press and şirince village and have lunch at şirince. Depending on the weather (and time of year) after lunch we will visit the national park - hike or enjoy free time for swimming. We return tired and hungry in time for our final dinner (a barbeque) at the hotel. Over-night at Ephesus Boutique Hotel.
Day 6: Cappadocia After Breakfast, transfer to Izmir Airport for flights to Cappadoca (or Istanbul). Our tour guide will meet you at the airport and you start full day tour of Cappadocia. We begin with the natural citadel of Uchisar which provides with a panaromic view of the region and we then continue with the Goreme valley which is the highlight of the day. This valley houses the Goreme open air museum with its churches hewn out of rock and the colorful frescoes dating backto the (need to add century) which decorate them. The next stop is Zelve and the caves of this ancient village. Afterwards we will stop at Avanos and Cavusin villages. Lunch will be served enroute at a typical regional restaurant. Dinner will be on your own – choose from a variety of restaurants we recommend. Consider enjoying a Turkish bath or shopping in town. Overnight in Cappadocia at the Cappadocia Cave Hotel.
Day 7: Cappadocia Wake before daybreak for a balloon ride (weather permitting) for those who reserve this experience ahead of time. See the breathtaking Fairy Caves and topography of the region from the air as the sun rises over the breath-taking landscape. Return for Breakfast at the hotel (and join up with those who chose to sleep in). Our second full day tour of Cappadocia begins with the Soganli Village which is the most interesting part of the region. At this site you will be able to see the everday life of a small Cappadocian village with its churches and its authenticity. Our next visit will be to Ortahisar which is one of the highest points of the area and you will get a full view of this spectacular volcanic region.overnight will be at the hotel in Cappadocia. Return to the hotel for dinner on your own.
Day 8: Istanbul After breakfast transfer Kayseri airport for your flight to Istanbul. Our car will meet you at Istanbul airport and will take you to your hotel in Istanbul. After a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaar, the second largest covered bazaar in Istanbul, we leave the old city and cross the Golden Horn to the New City for a tour of the Dolmabahci palace. We then ride the Funicular to the top of the hill and spend some free time enjoying shopping and site-seeing along Istical Street. Visit the oldest candy (Turkish Delight) store in Istanbul and wander side streets to find hidden wonders (not to worry, we will give you a map). We then transfer back to the hotel for freshening up before dinner on your own at a local restaurant. Before dinner we will discuss the food in Istanbul and how it has evolved over the centuries. Over-night at the Hotel Uyan in Istanbul’s old city
Day 9: Full Day Byzantine & Ottoman Empires After breakfast at the hotel, depart for a full day tour of Istanbul tour visiting the magesty of the underground cystern, Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome and Obelisks and the magnificence of the Haghia Sophia. Also a visit to the maze that is the Grand Bazaar before a break for lunch. After lunch continue on our journey to the Topkapi Palace and Suleymaniye Mosque. After the tour, transfer back to your hotel. Dinner is on your own. Over-night at the Hotel Uyan in Istanbul.
Day 10: Full Day Bosphorus Cruise Cruise up the Bosphorus, the legendary strait separating Europe and Asia. We cruise past the Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden 19th century seafront mansions, picturesque villages and modern pleasure palaces. We disembark and visit Çamlica Hill the highest point in Istanbul, commanding a panoramic view of the city. We take a short drive to the 19th century summer palace of the Sultans in the Bosphorus village of Beylerbeyi. Completed in 1865, the palace has 24 rooms and six large halls. After the tour, transfer back to your hotel for a final dinner on your own.
Day 11 Early transfer to Airport and fly Home
Miletos which is in the vicinity of Söke, was on the seashore in the ancient times. The Miletos people who had founded about 90 colonies in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, after 650 B.C, had resisted the Persian invasions in Anatolia, but they were defeated finally and the city was destroyed by the Persians.
When you arrive at the zone of the ruins, the magnificent theater of the city appears in sight at first. The theater had been constructed during the Hellenistic period and, it acquired its present characteristics by means of the annexes made during the Roman period. The walls of the front facade of the theater, are 140 m long and 30 m high, and are an interesting example of stone workmanship. This theater was large enough to hold 15.000 people, and a fortress was built upon it during the Byzantine period.
Priene which is in Güllübahçe at a distance of 15 km from Söke, was carried to its present locality in the year 350 B.C. from the original place where it had been founded earlier. At the point of entrance of the ruins, a road on the right leads us to the Theater of Priene.The theater had been built during the Hellenistic period, and underwent modifications during the Roman period.
The theater consists of 50 rows of seats and is capable of holding 5.000 people and, in the section of the orchestra of the theater, there are marble armchairs reserved for eminent people. On the right side of the theater, the Themenos of Egyptian Gods is situated. The upper Gymnasium is in front of the theater and the Byzantine church is at its side. You pass to the famous Temple of Athena from here. The Temple of Athena belongs to the 4th century B.C. and it is the work of the architect Pytheos. The temple, with 6 x 11 columns, has dimensions of 19.55 x 37.20 m. A few columns of the temple, which is a classical example of Ionian architecture, have been erected.
Alexander the Great had the eastern half of the temple completed. The altar in the front was decorated with high reliefs in the past, and it belongs to the 2nd century B.C. The Stoa that displays a graceful example of stone-workmanship, is on the south of the Temple of Athena. When you go downwards from the temple, you see the Agora of Priene which belongs to the 3rd century B.C. The sacred Stoa belonging to the 2nd century B.C., is situated north of the Agora. Bauleuterion (the assembly building) which looks like a small theater, with dimensions of 20 x 21 m and capacity for 640 people, is adjacent to the Stoa and, adjacent to it, there is Prytaneion (2nd century B.C.) where the sacred fire used to burn. Temenos of Zeus Olympios and the food market are situated east and west of the Agora respectively. There are houses on two sides of the avenue which connects the Agora to the western gate. Temenos of Kybele and the house of Alexander the Great, are situated at the western gate side of the avenue. In the extreme south of Priene, the lower Gymnasium and the Stadium are situated.
Didyma, on the west coast of Turkey, was an important sacred site in the ancient Greek world. Its famous oracle and Temple of Apollo attracted crowds of pilgrims and was second in importance only to Delphi. Today, the temple's magnificent ruins still attract thousands of visitors - Didyma is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey. The modern name of the town is Didim.
Didyma means "twin" and refers to the twins Apollo and Artemis, who were born to Zeus and Leto. The Temple of Artemis was in the nearby city of Miletus, while the much more important Temple of Apollo was in Didyma.
The Temple of Apollo at Didyma, also known as the Didymaion, has a long history. Pausanias (c. 160 AD) said the Didymaion was constructed before Greek colonization (10th century BC), and some date it to the 2nd millennium BC.
However, the earliest fragments of the temple found thus far date to the end of the 8th century BC. This Archaic temple was in the charge of the Branchids, a priestly caste named after Branchus, a favourite youth of Apollo. Three prose oracles and one dedication survive from this period.
The original temple was destroyed by Darius I of Persia in 494 BC, who looted many of the statues and its vast treasury built up by the generous gifts of Croesus, King of Lydia. The Branchids were exiled to Sogdiana.
After Alexander the Great conquered Miletus in 334 BC, the oracle of Apollo at Didyma was resanctified and quickly regained its importance. Thereafter Miletus administered the cult of Apollo, annually electing a prophet. In 313 BC, the Milesians began to build a new Hellenistic temple on the site of the earlier shrine, which they intended to be the largest in the Greek world. It is this temple that visitors see today.
Construction continued during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, and portions were still under construction in the Roman period. It was never entirely completed. Modern experts believe the magnificent temple would have been one of the seven wonders of the ancient world had it been completed. Even incomplete, the temple is enormous and impressive; it is the third largest in the ancient world after those of Ephesus and Samos.
In ancient times, pilgrims walked 12 miles (20 km) along the Sacred Way from Miletus to the sanctuary at Didyma participate in the annual spring festival, the Didymeia. The festival became Panhellenic in the beginning of the 2nd century BC.
The Oracle of Apollo at Didyma rivaled that of Delphi; pilgrims flocked to Didyma not only to worship Apollo and attend the festival, but also to find answers about their future. Famous persons known to have visited Didyma's Temple of Apollo include Alexander the Great's generals Lysimachus and Seleucus I, and the Roman emperors Augustus and Trajan.
A strict ritual surrounded the giving of oracles. Oracles could only be given on a limited number of days; the absolute minimum was every four days, but the interval was often much longer, perhaps many months. The session began with a three-day fast by the priestess, during which time she resided in the adyton (sacred precinct).
On the appointed day, the priestess would take a ritual bath and enter the naiskos (inner chapel). Meanwhile, those who wished to consult the oracle sacrificed outside and choruses sang hymns to the gods.
The priestess sat on an axle suspended over the sacred spring and, when a question was asked of her, she would dip her foot or her dress into the spring before giving her answer. The oracular responses were probably given in prose, which were then turned into verse by the priests or prophets, who were appointed by Miletus.
Didyma's fate was probably sealed in 303 AD, when an oracle advised the Emperor Diocletian to initiate his persecution of the Christian church. Constantine the Great, who was raised in the court of Diocletian and later converted to Christianity, closed the oracle and executed the priests.
In the 5th century AD, Emperor Theodosius built a Christian basilica in the adyton (sacred precinct) of the temple at Didyma, which testifies to the site's religious importance. Indeed, a number of oracles have been found on inscriptions and in literary sources that postdate Constantine's closure.
The church and much of the temple stood until the 15th century, when a great earthquake reduced the temple to rubble. Excavations made between 1905 and 1930 revealed all of the incomplete Hellenistic temple and some carved pieces of the earlier temple and statues.
İzmir is the third biggest city in Turkey, with a population of around 2.5 million, the second biggest port after Istanbul, and a good transport hub. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, it is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial centre, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains and was. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centres are dotted with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, although the city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.
The climate is comfortable, with a relatively mild summer due to the refreshing breeze from the Aegean. The long attractive palm-fringed promenade, Birince Kordon, which stretches the entire length of the city up to the Alsancak Ferry Terminal, is a popular spot for evening walks, and there are many cafes along the waterfront. Izmir has a good selection of culture and entertainment, from the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museums, to the Izmir State Opera and Ballet and Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, to the many bars and clubs. The cosmopolitan and lively city gets even busier during the International Izmir Festival (mid-June to mid-July) with music and dance, with performances also in nearby Cesme and Ephesus.
Districts : Balcova, Cigli, Gaziemir, Güzelbahçe, Karsiyaka, Konak, Aliaga, Bayindir, Bayrakli, Bergama, Beydag, Bornova, Buca, Cesme, Dikili, Foca, Karabağlar, Karaburun, Kemalpasa, Kinik, Kiraz, Menderes, Menemen, Narlıdere, Odemis, Seferihisar, Selcuk, Tire, Torbalı and Urla.
The god and human, nature and art are together in there, they have created such a perfect place that it is valuable to see." Lamartine’s famous poetic line reveals his love for İstanbul, describing the embracing of two continents, with one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe.
İstanbul, once known as the capital of capital cities, has many unique features. It is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, and the only one to have been a capital during two consecutive empires - Christian and Islamic. Once was capital of the Ottoman Empire, İstanbul still remains the commercial, historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, and its beauty lies in its ability to embrace its contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here.
Its variety is one of İstanbul’s greatest attractions: The ancient mosques, palaces, museums and bazaars reflect its diverse history. The thriving shopping area of Taksim buzzes with life and entertainment. And the serene beauty of the İstanbul strait, Princes Islands and parks bring a touch of peace to the otherwise chaotic metropolis.
Adalar, Avcılar, Bağcılar, Bahçelievler, Bakırköy, Beşiktaş, Bayrampaşa, Beykoz, Beyoğlu, Eminönü, Eyüb, Fatih, Gaziosmanpaşa, Kadıköy, Kâğıthane, Kartal, Küçükçekmece, Pendik, Sarıyer, Şişli, Ümraniye, Üsküdar, Zeytinburnu, Büyükçekmece, Çatalca, Silivri, Şile, Esenler, Güngören, Maltepe, Sultanbeyli, and Tuzla.
The İstanbul strait
Golden Horn: This horn-shaped estuary divides European İstanbul. One of the best natural harbours in the world, it was once the centre for the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests. Today, attractive parks and promenades line the shores, a picturesque scene especially as the sun goes down over the water. At Fener and Balat, neighbourhoods midway up the Golden Horn, there are entire streets filled with old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues dating from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides at Fener and a little further up the Golden Horn at Eyup, are some wonderful examples of Ottoman architecture. Muslim pilgrims from all over the world visit Eyup Mosgue and Tomb of Eyup, the Prophet Mohammed’s standard bearer, and it is one of the holiest places in Islam. The area is a still a popular burial place, and the hills above the mosque are dotted with modern gravestones interspersed with ornate Ottoman stones. The Pierre Loti Cafe, at the top of hill overlooking the shrine and the Golden Horn, is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the view.
Beyoğlu and Taksim: Beyoğlu is an interesting example of a district with European-influenced architecture, from a century before. Europe’s second oldest subway, Tunel was built by the French in 1875, must be also one of the shortest – offering a one-stop ride to start of Taksim. Near to Tunel is the Galata district, whose Galata Tower became a famous symbols of İstanbul, and the top of which offers a tremendous 180 degree view of the city.
From the Tunel area to Taksim square, is one of the city’s focal points for shopping, entertainment and urban promenading: İstiklal Caddesi is a fine example of the contrasts and compositions of İstanbul; fashion shops, bookshops, cinemas, markets, restaurants and even hand-carts selling trinkets and simit (sesame bread snack) ensure that the street is packed throughout the day until late into the night. The old tramcars re-entered into service, which shuttle up and down this fascinating street, and otherwise the street is entirely pedestrianised. There are old embassy buildings, Galatasaray High School, the colourful ambience of Balık Pazarı (Fish Bazaar) and restaurants in Çiçek Pasaji (Flower Passage). Also on this street is the oldest church in the area, St Mary’s Draperis dating back to 1789, and the Franciscan Church of St Antoine, demolished and then rebuilt in 1913.
The street ends at Taksim Square, a big open plaza, the hub of modern İstanbul and always crowded, crowned with an imposing monument celebrating Ataturk and the War of Independence. The main terminal of the new subway is under the square, adjacent is a noisy bus terminal, and at the north end is the Ataturk Cultural Centre, one of the venues of the İstanbul Theatre Festival. Several five-star hotels are dotted around this area, like the Hyatt, Intercontinental and Hilton (the oldest of its kind in the city). North of the square is the İstanbul Military Museum.
Taksim and Beyoğlu have for centuries been the centre of nightlife, and now there are many lovely bars and clubs off Istiklal Cadesi, including some of the only gay venues in the city. Beyoğlu is also at the centre of the more bohemian arts scene.
Sultanahmet: Many places of tourist interest are concentrated in Sultanahmet, in heart of the Imperial Centre of the Ottoman Empire. The most important places in this area, all of which are described in detail in the “Places of Interest” section, are Topkapı Palace, Aya Sofya, Sultanahmet Mosgue (the Blue Mosque), the Hippodrome, Kapalı Carşı (Covered Market), Yerebatan Sarnıcı and the Museum of Islamic Art.
In addition to this wonderful selection of historical and architectural sites, Sultanahmet also has a large concentration of carpet and souvenir shops, hotels and guesthouses, cafes, bars and restaurants, and travel agents.
Ortaköy: Ortakoy was a resort for the Ottoman rulers because of its attractive location on the İstanbul strait, and is still a popular spot for residents and visitors. The village is within a triangle of a mosque, church and synagogue, and is near çirağan Palace, Kabataş High School, Feriye, Princess Hotel.
The name Ortaköy reflects the university students and teachers who would gather to drink tea and discuss life, when it was just a small fishing village. These days, however, that scene has developed into a suburb with an increasing amount of expensive restaurants, bars, shops and a huge market. The fishing, however, lives on and the area is popular with local anglers, and there is now a huge waterfront tea-house which is crammed at weekends and holidays.
Sarıyer: The first sight of Sarıyer is where the İstanbul strait connects with the Black Sea, after the bend in the river after Tarabya. Around this area, old summer houses, embassies and fish restaurants line the river, and a narrow road which separates it from Büyükdere, continues along to the beaches of Kilyos.
Sarıyer and Rumeli Kavağı are the final wharfs along the European side visited by the İstanbul strait boat trips. Both these districts, famous for their fish restaurants along with Anadolu Kavagı, get very crowded at weekends and holidays with İstanbul residents escaping the city.
After these points, the İstanbul strait is lined with tree-covered cliffs and little habitation. The Sadberk Hanım Museum, just before Sariyer, is an interesting place to visit; a collection of archaeological and ethnographic items, housed in two wooden houses. A few kilometres away is the huge Belgrade Forest, once a haunting ground of the Ottomans, and now a popular weekend retreat into the largest forest area in the city.
Üsküdar: Relatively unknown to tourists, the suburb of Üsküdar, on the Asian side of the İstanbul strait, is one of the most attractive suburbs. Religiously conservative in its background, it has a tranquil atmosphere and some fine examples of imperial and domestic architecture.
The iskele, or Mihrimah Mosgue is opposite the main ferry pier, on a high platform with a big covered porch in front, often occupied by older local men watching life around them. Opposite this is Yeni Valide Mosgue, built in 1710, and the Valide Sultan’s green tomb rather like a giant birdcage. The Çinili Mosque takes its name from the beautiful tiles which decorate the interior, and was built in 1640.
Apart from places of religious interest, Üsküdar is also well known as a shopping area, with old market streets selling traditional local products, and a good fleamarket with second hand furniture. There are plenty of good restaurants and cafes with a great views of the İstanbul strait and the rest of the city, along the quayside. In the direction of Haydarpaşa is the Karaca Ahmet Cemetery, which is the largest Muslim graveyard in İstanbul. The front of the Çamlıca hills lie at the ridge of area and also offer great panoramic views of the islands and river.
Kadıköy: Further down to the south along, the İstanbul strait towards the Marmara sea, Kadıköy has developed into a lively area with up-market shopping, eating and entertainment making it popular especially with wealthy locals. Once prominent in the history of Christianity, the 5th century hosted important consul meetings here, but there are few reminders of that age. It is one of the improved districts of İstanbul over the last century, and fashionable area to promenade along the waterfront in the evenings, especially around the marinas and yacht clubs.
Bağdat Caddesi is one of the most trendy – and label-conscious – fashion shopping streets, and for more down-to-earth goods, the Gen Azim Gündüz Caddesi is the best place for clothes, and the bit pazari on Ozelellik Sokak is good for browsing through junk. The Benadam art gallery remains in Moda district with many other foreing cusines, restaurants and cafes.
Haydarpaşa: To the north of Kadikoy is Haydarpasa, and the train station built in 1908 with Prussian-style architecture which was the first stop along the Baghdad railway. Now it is the main station going to eastbound destinations both within Turkey, and international. There are tombs and monuments dedicated to the English and French soldiers who lost their lives during the Crimean War (1854-56), near the military hospital. The north-west wing of the 19th Century Selimiye Barracks once housed the hospital, used by Florence Nightingale to care for soldiers, and remains to honour her memory.
Polonezköy: Polonezköy, although still within the city, is 25 km. away from the centre and not easy to reach by public transport. Translated as “village of the Poles”, the village has a fascinating history: It was established in 1848 by Prince Czartorisky, leader of the Polish nationals who was granted exile in the Ottoman Empire to escape oppression in the Balkans. During his exile, he succeeded in establishing a community of Balkans, which still survives, on the plot of land sold to him by a local monastery.
Since the 1970s the village has become a popular place with local İstanbulites, who buy their pig meat there (pig being forbidden under Islamic law and therefore difficult to get elsewhere). All the Poles have since left the village, and the place is inhabited now by wealthy city people, living in the few remaining Central European style wooden houses with pretty balconies.
What attracts most visitors to Polonezkoy is its vast green expanse, which was designated İstanbul’s first national park, and the walks though forests with streams and wooden bridges. Because of its popularity, it gets crowded at weekends and the hotels are usually full.
Kilyos: Kilyos is the nearest beach resort to the city, on the Black Sea coast on the European side of the İstanbul strait. Once a Greek fishing village, it has quickly been developed as a holiday-home development, and gets very crowded in summer. Because of its ease to get there, 25km and plenty of public transport, it is good for a day trip, and is a popular weekend getaway with plenty of hotels, and a couple of campsites.
Şile: A pleasant, small holiday town, Şile lies 50km from Üsküdar on the Black Sea coast and some people even live there and commute into İstanbul. The white sandy beaches are easily accessible from the main highway, lying on the west, as well as a series of small beaches at the east end. The town itself if perched on a clifftop over looking the bay tiny island. There is an interesting French-built black-and-white striped lighthouse, and 14th century Genoese castle on the nearby island. Apart from its popular beaches, the town is also famous for its craft; Şile bezi, a white muslin fabric a little like cheesecloth, which the local women embroider and sell their products on the street, as well as all over Turkey.
The town has plenty of accommodation available, hotels, guest houses and pensions, although can get very crowded at weekends and holidays as it is very popular with people from İstanbul for a getaway, especially in the summer. There are small restaurants and bars in the town.
Prince’s Islands: Also known as İstanbul Islands, there are eight within one hour from the city, in the Marmara Sea. Boats ply the islands from Sirkeci, Kabataş and Bostancı, with more services during the summer. These islands, on which monasteries were established during the Byzantine period, was a popular summer retreat for palace officials. It is still a popular escape from the city, with wealthier owning summer houses.
Büyükada The largest and most popular one in İstanbul is Büyükada (the Great Island). Large wooden mansions still remain from the 19th century when wealthy Greek and Armenian bankers built them as a holiday villas. The island has always been a place predominantly inhabited by minorities.
Buyukada has long had a history of people coming here in exile or retreat; its most famous guest being Leon Trotsky, who stayed for four years writing ‘The History of the Russian Revolution’. The monastery of St George also played host to the granddaughter of Empress Irene, and the royal princess Zoe, in 1012.
The island consists of two hills, both surmounted by monasteries, with a valley between. Motor vehicles are banned, so getting around the island can be done by graceful horse and carriage, leaving from the main square off Isa Celebi Sokak. Bicycles can also be hired.
The southern hill, Yule Tepe, is the quieter of the two and also home of St George’s Monastery. It consists of a series of chapels on three levels, the site of which is a building dating back to the 12th century. In Byzantine times it was used as an asylum, with iron rings on the church floors used to restrain patients. On the northern hill is the monastery İsa Tepe, a 19th century house.
The entire island is lively and colourful, with many restaurants, hotels, tea houses and shops. There are very big well-kept houses, trim gardens, and pine groves, as well as plenty of beach and picnic areas.
Burgazada It is a smaller and less infrastructured for tourists.The famous Turkish novelist, Sait Faik Abasıyanık lived there, and his house has been turned into a museum dedicated to his work, and retains a remarkable tranquil and hallowed atmosphere.
Heybeliada ‘Island of the Saddlebag’, because of its shape, is loved for its natural beauty and beaches. It also has a highly prestigious and fashionable watersports club in the northwest of the island. One of its best-known landmarks is the Greek Orthodox School of Theology, with an important collection of Byzantine manuscripts. The school sits loftily on the northern hill, but permission is needed to enter, from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Fener. The Deniz Harp Okulu, the Naval High School, is on the east side of the waterfront near the jetty, which was originally the Naval War Academy set up in 1852, then a high school since 1985. Walking and cycling are popular here, plus isolated beaches as well as the public Yöruk Beach, set in a magnificent bay.
There are plenty of good local restaurants and tea houses, especially along Ayyıldız Caddesi, and the atmosphere is one of a close community.
Environment: Wide beaches of Kilyos at European side of Black Sea at 25th km. outside the İstanbul, is attracting İstanbul residents during summer months. Belgrad Forest, inside from Black Sea, at European Side is the widest forest around İstanbul. İstanbul residents, at week ends, come here for family picnic with brazier at its shadows. 7 old water tank and some natural resources in the region compose a different atmosphere. Moğlova Aqueduct, which is constructed by Mimar Sinan during 16th century among Ottoman aqueducts, is the greatest one. 800 m. long Sultan Süleyman Aqueduct, which is passing over Golf Club, and also a piece of art of Mimar Sinan is one of the longest aqueducts within Turkey.
Polonezköy, which is 25 km. away from İstanbul, is founded at Asia coast during 19th century by Polish immigrants. Polonezköy, for walking in village atmosphere, travels by horse, and tasting traditional Polish meals served by relatives of initial settlers, is the resort point of İstanbul residents. Beaches, restaurants and hotels of Şile at Black Sea coast and 70 km. away from Üsküdar, are turning this place into one of the most cute holiday places of İstanbul. Region which is popular in connection with tourism, is the place where famous Şile cloth is produced.
Bayramoğlu - Darıca Bird Paradise and Botanic Park is a unique resort place 38 km. away from İstanbul. This gargantuan park with its trekking roads, restaurants is full of bird species and plants, coming from various parts of the world.
Sweet Eskihisar fisherman borough, to whose marina can be anchored by yachtsmen after daily voyages in Marmara Sea is at south east of İstanbul. Turkey's 19th century famous painter, Osman Hamdi Bey's house in borough is turned into a museum. Hannibal's tomb between Eskihisar and Gebze is one of the sites around a Byzantium castle.
There are lots of İstanbul residents' summer houses in popular holiday place 65 km. away from İstanbul, Silivri. This is a huge holiday place with magnificent restaurants, sports and health centers. Conference center is also attracting businessmen, who are escaping rapid tempo of urban life for "cultural tourism" and business - holiday mixed activities. Scheduled sea bus service is connecting İstanbul to Silivri.
Islands within Marmara Sea, which is adorned with nine islands, was the banishing place of the Byzantium princes. Today they are now wealthy İstanbul residents' escaping places for cool winds during summer months and 19th century smart houses. Biggest one of the islands is Büyükada. You can have a marvelous phaeton travel between pine trees or have a swim within one of the numerous bays around islands!
Other popular islands are Kınalı, Sedef, Burgaz and Heybeliada. Regular ferry voyages are connecting islands to both Europe and Asia coasts. There is a rapid sea bus service from Kabataş during summers.
Cappadocia which is unique in the world and is a miraculous nature wonder is the common name of the field covered by the provinces of Aksaray, Nevsehir, Nigde, Kayseri and Kirsehir in the Central Anatolian region.
In the upper Myosen period in the Cappadocia region as a result of the vulcanic eruptions occurred in Erciyes, Hasandag and Gulludag, in the region was formed a large tableland from the vulcanic tufas and together with the erosion of the Kizilirmak river and wind over ten thausands of years there appeared the chimney rocks which are a wonder of the nature. In the old Bronze Age the Cappadocia which was the population zone of the Assyrian civilization later has hosted the Hittite, Frig, Pers, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman civilizations. The first Christians escaped from the persecution of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century B.C. came to the Cappadocia over the Antakya and Kayseri and they have settled here. The first Christians finding the underground cities from Cappadocia have been hidden in these underground cities which gates were made in such way in which they couldn't be easily observed and they have escaped from the persecution of the Roman soldiers. Due that they had live in the underground cities for long duration without being able to go out they have developed these underground cities by making provisions rooms, ventilation chimneys, wine production places, churches, abbeys, water wells, toilets and meeting rooms.
In the prehistoric periods the first human settlements have begun and the humans have constructed the underground cities in the volcanic rocks in form of tufa due to protect themselves from the wild animals and they lived for long times in these underground cities. There are so many underground cities on the Cappadocia area of Turkey but the biggest is Derinkuyu Underground City.
Urgup , Cappadocia Turkey
Urgup, Cappadocia Turkey
In these cities made in form of rooms connected to each others some of the rooms were connected to each other only with the tunnels tight and permitting passing of just a person. At the access gates of these tunnels there were huge stone rollers used for closing the tunnels for security reasons.
The first populations of the region of Cappadocia were Hatties, Luvies and Hittites. In the 3000-2000 years B.C. the Assyrians have established trade colonies in this region. The Cappaddocian tables with cuneiform in Assyrian language founded at Kanes which are lighting the social and politic life of the period and were in the same time the trade and economical agreements are the firs written tablets of Anatolia. According to these documents in that period in Anatolia were founded small local kingdoms non-depending from a central authority. These had in generally in their hands a little area and were living in peace. The region creating the core of the Hittite Empire later has go under the domination of Phrigia and Pers. The Pers civilization has called this region Katpatuka and its center was Mazaka. When Datames the Satrab (Starab: little district administrator at Pers) of Cappadocia has bear arms against the biggest king of Pers, the other Anatolian Satrabs have been supported him but the revolt has been raided. In 33 b.c. the Big Alexander has captured a big part of Cappadocia. In 188 B.C. The Cappadocia which entered under the Roman domination has been captured in 100 B.C. by the Mithridatesd the king of Pontus but in 63 B.C. Pompeius has defeated Mithridates and took again the Cappadocia under the domination of Rome. In the period of Tiberius the Cappadocia gainded the status of Roman district.
Cappadocia was one of the most important places in the spreading periods of the Christian religion. The first christians trying to escape from the Roman soldiers who wanted to avoid the spreading of the Christian religion have settled in the region of Cappadocia which was so suitable for hiding and so they were able to continue their natures and to spread their religions. Saint Basileious from Kaisera and Saint Gregorios from Nyssa had settled in Cappadocia. In 647 A.C. together with occupation of Kayseri by Muaviye Cappadocia has met with the Arabian invasions. Cappadocia which went under the domination of the Seljuks in 1072 has been added to the lands of Ottoman Empire in 1399 by the Ottoman Sultan Yildirim Beyazit.
Goreme Open Air Museum
Cappadocia which is in our days one of the most important tourism centers of Turkey and Cappadocia balloon tour on of the most popular balloon tour center of the world is visited every year by hundred thousands of tourists coming from every part of the world.
This article is about the strait in Turkey. For the strait in Russia, see Eastern Bosphorus. For the surrounding neighbourhoods of Istanbul, see Boğaziçi. For the university in Turkey, see Boğaziçi University. For the ancient Hellenic state, see Bosporan Kingdom.
Satellite image of the Bosphorus, taken from the International Space Station in April 2004.
The Bosphorus (/ˈbɒsfərəs/) or Bosporus (/ˈbɒspərəs/, Turkish: Boğaziçi, Greek: Βόσπορος, Vosporos, Bulgarian: Босфора, Bosfora), also known as the Istanbul Strait (Turkish: İstanbul Boğazı), is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles strait to the southwest together form the Turkish Straits. The world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, the Bosphorus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea.)
The Bosphorus' limits are defined as the connecting line between the lighthouses Rumeli Feneri and Anadolu Feneri in the north and between the Ahırkapı Feneri and the Kadıköy İnciburnu Feneri in the south. Between the limits, the strait is 31 km (17 nmi) long, with a width of 3,329 m (1.798 nmi) at the northern entrance and 2,826 m (1.526 nmi) at the southern entrance. Its maximum width is 3,420 m (1.85 nmi) between Umuryeri and Büyükdere Limanı, and minimum width 700 m (0.38 nmi) between Kandilli Point and Aşiyan. This part of the strait is a dangerous point for maritime traffic: a 45-degree course alteration is required, and the current can reach 7–8 knots. To the south, at Yenikoy, the necessary course alteration is 80 degrees. All the dangers and obstacles characteristic of narrow waterways are present and acute in this critical sea lane. At the above mentioned turns (Kandilli and Yenikoy) where significant course alterations have to be made, the rear and forward sights are totally blocked prior to and during the course alteration. Ships approaching from the opposite direction cannot be seen round these bends. The risks posed by geography are increased dramatically by the heavy ferry traffic across the strait, linking the European and Asian sides of the city.
The depth of Bosphorus varies from 36 to 124 m (118 to 407 ft) in midstream with an average of 65 m (213 ft). The deepest location is between Kandilli and Bebek with 110 m (360 ft). The most shallow locations are off Kadıköy İnciburnu on the northward route with 18 m (59 ft) and off Aşiyan Point on the southward route with 13 m (43 ft).
The shores of the strait are heavily populated, straddled as it is by the city of Istanbul (with a metropolitan area in excess of 12 million inhabitants) which extends inland from both coasts.
The name comes from Greek Bosporos (Βόσπορος), which the ancient Greeks analysed as bous βοῦς 'ox' + poros πόρος 'means of passing a river, ford, ferry', thus meaning 'ox-ford', which is a reference to Io (mythology) from Greek mythology who was transformed into a cow and condemned to wander the earth until she crossed the Bosphorus where she met Prometheus. Although it has been known for a while that the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara flow into each other in an example of a density flow, findings of a study by the University of Leeds in August 2010 reveal that there is in fact an underwater channel of high-density water flowing across the floor of the Bosphorus (caused by the difference in density of the two seas), which would be the sixth largest
Hagia Sophia is the one of the most visited museums and most prominent monuments in the world in terms of art and the history of architecture. It has also been called “the eighth wonder of the world” by East Roman Philon as far back as the 6th century.
The current Hagia Sophia is the third construction, done in a different architectural style, even though it occupies the same location as the previous two. The original building was constructed by the most important architects of the period (527-565), Anthemios (Tralles) and Isidoros (Miletus), under the order of Emperor Justinianos. It is mentioned in the resources that during its construction period, the two prominent architects each had 100 architects working under them, who in turn had 100 workers each working under them.
The construction of the Hagia Sophia began on February 23, 532. It was completed before long, approximately within 5 years and 10 months. It was then opened to divine service with a great ceremony on December 27, 537.
It was used as a church for 916 years but, following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into mosque. Afterwards, it was used as a mosque for 482 years. Under the order of Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935.
Hagia Sophia is open for visit every day except Mondays. The winter visiting hours for the Hagia Sophia are from 09.00 to 17.00, with the final entry being at 16.00. During the summer, the visiting hours are between 09.00 and 19.00, with the final entry being at 18.00. Passes are available at the box office in the museum.
Topkapý Palace was not only the residence of the Ottoman sultans, but also the administrative and educational center of the state. Initially constructed between 1460 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, and expanded upon and altered many times throughout its long history, the palace served as the home of the Ottoman sultans and their court until the middle of the 19th century. In the early 1850s, the palace became inadequate to the requirements of state ceremonies and protocol, and so the sultans moved to Dolmabahçe Palace, located on the Bosphorus. But despite this move, the royal treasure, the Holy Relics of the Prophet Muhammad, and the imperial archives continued to be preserved at Topkapý, andsince the palace was the ancestral residence of the Ottoman dynasty as well as the place where the Holy Relics were preservedTopkapý continued to play host to certain state ceremonies. Following the abolishment of the Ottoman monarchy in 1922, Topkapý Palace was converted into a museum on 3 April 1924, on the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
After the conquest of Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II (r. 144446, 145181) had a palace built in what is modern-day Istanbuls Beyazýt district, on the spot where the University of Istanbul stands today; this first palace subsequently became known as the Old Palace (Eski Saray). Following the construction of the Old Palace, Mehmed II then had the Tiled Kiosk (Çinili Köþk) built, followed by Topkapý Palace itself, to which the court relocated when construction was complete. Mehmed called this place the New Palace (Sarây-ý Cedîd). The palace received its current name when Sultan Mahmud I (r. 173054) had a large wooden palace constructed near the citys Byzantine walls, in front of which were placed several ceremonial cannons; this seaside palace was named the Cannon Gate Palace by the Sea (Topkapusu Sâhil Sarâyý), and, when this palace was destroyed in a fire, its name was transferred to Mehmed IIs New Palace.
Topkapý Palace, which developed and grew over the centuries, had a design that itself played an important role in Ottoman governmental philosophy and in the relations between the palace and its subjects. When Topkapý was first built, its plan was influenced by the splendor of the Edirne Palace located on the Tunca River, which had been constructed by Mehmed IIs father, Sultan Murad II (r. 142144, 144651) but very little of which survives today. The basic design of the palace is centered on various courtyards and gardens, around which are arranged offices devoted to state business, the buildings and pavilions serving as the residence of the sovereign, and the buildings set aside for the court employees who lived in the palace.
Following the Peace of Zsitvatorok (1606) and the unfavourable result of the wars with Persia, Sultan Ahmed I decided to build a huge mosque in Istanbul. It would be the first great imperial mosque to be built in more than forty years.His predecessors had paid for their mosques with their war booty, Sultan Ahmed I had to withdraw the funds from the treasury, because he had not won any notable victories during his time. This provoked the anger of the Ottoman ulema, the Muslim legal scholars.
The mosque was to be built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, facing the Hagia Sophia (at that time it was most venerated mosque in Istanbul) and the hippodrome, a site of great symbolic significance. Large parts of the southern side of the mosque rest on the foundation and vaults of the Great Palace. Several palaces was already built there, most notably the palace of Sokollu Mehmet Pasha, so these first had to be bought at a considerable cost and pulled down. Large parts of the Sphendone (curved tribune with U-shaped structure of the hippodrome) were also removed to make room for the new mosque. Construction of the mosque started in August 1609 when the sultan himself came to break the first sod. It was his intention that this would become the first mosque of his empire.
He did appoint his royal architect Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa, a pupil and senior assistant of the famous architect Mimar Sinan to be in charge of the Mosque construction. The organization of the work was described in meticulous detail in eight volumes, now found in the library of the Topkapı Palace. The opening ceremonies were held in 1617 . The sultan could now pray in the royal box which called hünkâr mahfil. The building was not yet finished in this last year of his reign, as the last accounts were signed by his successor Mustafa I. Known as the Blue Mosque , Sultan Ahmed Mosque is currently one of the most impressive monuments in the world.
Kapalıçarşı is a great bazaar in Nuri Osmaniye and Beyazid Mosques and Mahmutpaşa Bazaar, made up of streets of various shops sheltered by roofs and domes. Though not very regularly shaped, it holds and area of about 31 thousand square meters. It has hundreds of domes which are covered with lead and windows. The nucleus of Kapalıçarşı is a Byzantine building which is today called Old Bedesten. The section of the bazaar where valuables and jewellery are bought and sold was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and the main great bazaar itself was commissioned during Kanuni Sultan Suleyman, on a wooden basis. Kapalıçarşı, today has a surface of 30.7 hectares, 61 streets, 10 wells, 4 fountains, 2 mosques and over 3 thousand shops, managed to claim its present look within 250 years
Kapalıçarşı, which burned in years of 1546, 1618, 1652, 1660, 1695, 1701, 1750 has always been repaired after each disaster. After all this, it had undergone great damage in the earthquake of 1766. It is partially burned in fires of 1791 and 1826. The bazaar which had just regain is composure was again shaken by an earthquake in 1894 this time. It catches fire again in 1954 at the latest and could only be repaired in five years. The major sections of Kapalıçarşı are :
Inner Bedesten : It was the first building to rise in Kapalıçarşı, actually it is Old Bedesten which forms the backbone of the bazaar. The gates’ names are as follows : Bouquinistes, Hat Shops, Jewellery Shops and Costume Shops.
Sandal Bedesten : It is the one with most number of domes in Kapalıçarşı. At present it can be accessed through two gates, one is through Kapalıçarşı and the other is through Nuruosmaniye district.
Other Sections : The architectural design of roads making up other sections apart from two bedestens is not symmetrical and geometrical, it has a scattered nature due to reflect its formation and the catastrophes it has gone through. In this way, it stays away from the closed bazaar style of the West and has a character of an Eastern bazaar. This laid back settlement; this scattered nature prevents the bazaar from being dull and at the same time gives it a romantic flavor. Such a complicated structure and settlement not only maintains the monumental state of the bazaar, but also makes it a palace for shopping.
Hans : Four adjacent sides of Kapalıçarşı is surrounded by hans which are separate units by themselves. Today the hans which are directly connected to the bazaar, that is, which can be accessed through the bazaar and not through an outside entrance are : Astarcı Han, Büyük and Küçük Safran Hans, Evliya Han, Sarraf Han, Mercan Ağa Han, Zincirli Han, Varakçı Han, Rabia Han, Jewellers’ Hani Yarım Taş Han.
The Suleymaniye Complex, consisting of a large number of courtyards and a caravansarai, was constructed starting on June 13, 1550 through October 15, 1557 by Architect Sinan (the grand old master of Ottoman architecture). A total of 3,523 workers were employed during the construction of the complex. There were 1,713 Muslim employees. According to the historian Peçevi, a grand total of 96.360 filoris (gold coins) and 82.900 akçe (silver coins) was spent during the construction of the complex. Stones and columns of the complex were brought from different regions of the Ottoman Empire: Bozcaada, İzmit, Mut, Ezine, Gazze Lebanon, etc. In addition, other building materials were brought from different regions of the Ottoman Empire to be used in the complex. The Süleymaniye Complex is composed of 15 sections:
2-Rabi Madrasah (High School)
3-Salis Madrasah (Intermediate School)
4-Evvel Madrasah (Elementary School)
5-Sani Madrasah (Seconday School)
6-Tıp Madrasah (Medical School)
7-The Tomb of Suleiman the Magnificent
8-The Tomb of the Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana, wife of the Suleiman the Magnificent )
9-Türbedar (caretaker) Room
11-Darüzziyafe (Restaurant, previously a soup kitchen in the 16th century)
12-Darülhadis Madrasah (school of traditions of the Prophet)
13-Tabhane (the hostel attached to a mosque where travellers usually dervishes and mystics) could live free for three days)
14-The Tomb of the Architect Sinan
The most charming section of the Süleymaniye Complex is naturally the mosque itself. It is similar to the other works of the architect Sinan in that he refused to make concessions away from simplicity, but converted simplicty into glory. The decoration and ornamentation in the mosque are primarily inscriptions, and the architectural geometry is recocognized as an aesthetic wonder unto itself.
Windows with stained glass on the wall of the mihrab (niche in a mosque wall indicating the direction of Mecca) and frames on both sides of the mihrab are works of a master named Sarhoş Ibrahim. There is a huge dome in the mosque, having a diameter of 26.5 meters; it was constructed on four large rose-coloured columns. The depth of the dome is double the diameter of the dome and is 53 meters high. In order for the dome to be built easily, special bricks were manufactured and used in the construction of the dome. In addition, stones of the mosque are attached one another by fasteners of internal iron clamps, and then melted lead is poured over the iron clamps.
The mosque was lighted with 128 windows and a great number of candles. In order to prevent the pollution of the walls with soot that came from the candles a soot room was constructed above main entrance. Ink was produced from the collected soot. It has four minarets rising at the four corners of the inner court which are constructed from white marble called “Beyaz Harem” (White Harem). Two of them have three shrefes (minaret balcony) each and the other two have two shrefes for a total of ten. The four minarets of the Mosque symbolize Suleiman the Magnificient becoming the fourth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Istanbul. The ten shrefes symbolize his becoming the 10th sultan in Ottoman history. In addition, there is a fountain in the middle of the inner court consisting of a rectangular-shaped pool with two fountains with a decorative plant motif.
The central buildings adjacent to the mosque are considered to be part of the mosque. The other buildings in the complex are arranged around this central area.
There are six madrasahs of the complex with the Medical School. Those madrasahs toward the direction of Bayezit are Evvel Madrasah (Elementary School) and Sani Madrasah (Secondary School) which are used as the Suleymaniye Library. A part of the medical school located alongside of these two madrasahs collapsed during the road opening work and the rest of it was turned into a hospital. The building located on the right side of the Medical School and the crossband of the coutryard of the mosque was used as an insane asylum during the Ottoman Empire era.
Darüzziyafe (Restaurant, previously a soup kitchen in the 16th century), tabhane (the hostel attached to a mosque where travelers (usually dervishes and mystics) could live free for three days) are located on the road toward the northwest part of the complex and over against the courtyard. Turning right at the end of this road, there is an outstanding and modest, triangular-shaped tomb belonging to the Architect Sinan. Salis Madrasahs (Intermediate School) and Rabi Madrasahs ((High School) are located 100 meters ahead of the wall of the mosque and is fairly high on the road. Külliye Hamamı (Bathhouse) is located on the cross road of the right hand side of the Rabi Madrasah ((High School). Darulhadith Madrasah (school of traditions of the Prophet) is located a little forward on the road.
There are two tombs in the complex, one of them belonging to Suleiman the Magnificient, and the other one belonging to Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana, a Russian slave girl). They were constructed on an octagonal plan with a dome. Ceramic tiles with decorative plant motif are used in the tombs and have artistic value. Other notable people of that period were buried in the graveyard of the complex.