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Distinctly Different Southeast Anatolia           [Back to Tours]

Post Conference Tour
April 23th-28th, 2007

Day 1- We will take a morning flight from Istanbul to Diyarbakir. There we will walk the huge basalt city walls that are second only to China’s Great Wall. Next we will visit the 11th century Seljuk mosque built by Sultan Melik Shah. It was built in the style of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus without a dome and was decorated with beautiful Kufic script.

We will then drive to Mardin and have lunch before departing for Midyat. The region around Mardin was once populated by Syrian Orthodox Christian communities. As we make the drive to Midyat you will see the abandoned monasteries and hermitages that dot the mountainous landscape. Midyat is a small village with extraordinary carved stone, honey-coloured houses lining alleyways. Time will be spent walking the streets and visiting the local handicraft shops. Dinner and overnight in Mardin.

Day 2- Mardin is a fascinating city that cascades down the side of a mountain to the plains of Mesopotamia. Centuries old, you will see the influence of many different cultures. You will visit the 11th century Ulu Camii with its unique, heavily carved cylindrical minaret set on a high square base. Near the camii you will climb to the Kasim Pasha medrese. This is a wonderfully preserved complex built in the 15th century by Ak Koyunlu (white sheep) Turkmen. Finally, we will spend time in the rabbling Mardin bazaar. The bazaar is a rabbit warren of shops and the atmosphere has little changed in the last couple of centuries.

Setting just outside Mardin, we will visit the Deir Al Zafaran monastery. A monastery has continously occupied this location since the 5th century. Inside the monastery you will see a structure that once was part of a temple to the sun and predates the monastery by hundreds of years. Then we will drive to Urfa for dinner and overnight.

Day 3- Urfa (ancient Edessa and modern Sanliurfa) has strong historical ties to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. We will visit Golbasi park that is the location of the famous confrontation between Abraham and the Assyrian king Nimrod. Legend has it that the Assyrian king burned Abraham on a pyre and that God saved Abraham from certain death. Nearby is the Dergah complex that contains the cave in which Abraham was born. We will next visit the Sipahi bazaar. The bedesten, an ancient caravanserai, in the bazaar is where you will find rugs, kilims and other textiles. Time permitting, we will trek to the fortress that overlooks Urfa and take in its spectacular views.

Leaving Urfa we will make a short stop at Harran. Harran is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. It is famous for its beehive houses. This style of homebuilding is thought to have originated in the 3rd century BCE. We will also see the 8th century Ulu Camii that is the oldest mosque in Anatolia. Then we will drive on to Gaziantep for dinner and overnight.

Day 4- Gaziantep is the pistachio capital of Turkey. Many consider its cuisine here to be the best in Anatolia. It is the reputed home of that delicious dessert baklava. The baklava from here is baked in a special oven lined with quarry stones. The highlights of your visit to Gaziantep will be the chances to taste the local cuisine.

We will visit the museum that contains the fabulous mosaics from the archaeological site Zeugma, considered by many to be the second Pompeii, and a large ethnographic collection. Then we will make a very scenic drive to Antioch. Dinner and overnight and overnight in Antioch..

Day 5- We will visit the cave church of St. Peter which is located just outside Antioch. Both saints Peter and Paul are thought to have preached here. Next we will drive to the ancient site where St. Simon the Sylite ascended a column and spent the remainder of his life as an ascetic. Then we will trek through a tunnel built under the orders of the Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus. The tunnel is over one kilometre long and was built to divert the flow of a river… incredible feat of engineering. We will stop at a number of small villages during the day to experience village life. Then we will return to Antioch and visit silk weaving workshops. The day will end with the delights of the Turkish cuisine. Dinner and overnight in Antioch.

Day 6- We will drive to Adana and fly to Istanbul. Transfers will be made to your hotel.


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