April 23th-29th, 2007
1- We will fly to Sivas from Istanbul
and take a short drive to Tokat. Here we will
visit old hans and backstreets filled with Ottoman
homes and buildings. Tokat is famous for its yazma,
textile block printing, and we will tour a workshop
creating wonderful examples. The Vakiflar museum
in Tokat will open a special exhbition of unknown
carpets and kilims for our group. This is an event
not to be missed. Dinner and overnight in Tokat.
Day 2- We will drive east to
Sivas and start our tour of the wonderful Seljuk
buildings. Sivas has four important medreses all
built in the 13th century. The Buruciye Medrese
shows some exquisite tilework. The Sifaiye Medrese
was built in the early 13th century and is decorated
with stylized sun/lion and moon/bull motifs, and
beautiful blue tilework. Opposite the Sifaiye
Medrese is the grand portal of the Cifte Minare
Medrese. This medrese was the Seminary of the
Twin Minarets and its gateway is colossal. The
Gok Medrese has extraordinary blue tilework, brick
designs and is heavily carved throughout. We will
visit the 12th century Ulu Camii with its interior
lined with 50 wooden columns. After the extensive
sightseeing, we will journey through the Sivas
bazaars. Dinner and overnight in Sivas.
Day 3- We will depart early for
the drive to the World Heritage Site of Divrigi.
Divrigi is a mountain village that possesses a
beautifully restored complex of 13th century Seljuk
buildings. The complex is made-up of the Ulu Camii
and Darussifa (hospital). The northern entrance
to the Ulu Camii is one of the spectacular architectural
sites in Anatolia. This entrance is covered in
geometric patterns, stone foliage and extraordinary
Arabic calligraphy. Shamanism, Islam, Persian,
Armenian and Georgian influence are all present.
The Darussifa also has an elaborate entrance.
Its interior is especially interesting with its
asymmetrical floor plan, four different columns
and octagonal pool.
Driving eastwards we will stop in Kemal and see
life in a small Anatolian village. Then it is
on to Erzincan for dinner and overnight.
Day 4- While in Erzincan we will
visit the city museum and see its fine collection
of embroideries and ethnographic artefacts. In
route to Erzurum we will see the 12th century
Hatun kumbet that is the only Seljuk tomb in Anatolia
which was constructed in a rosette shape. The
tomb belongs to a Seljuk princess who helped Saladin.
In Erzurum we will visit the 12th century Ulu
Camii built in a simple and elegant style. The
mosque has a stalactite ceiling that is very impressive.
Next to the Ulu Camii is the Cifte Minareli Medrese.
This Seljuk building has a wonderful façade
and interior main courtyard. The Yakutiye Medrese
is our next stop. This is a 13th century Mongolian
seminary that now serves as Erzurum’s Turkish
and Islamic art museum. It has extensive collections
which include textiles. Dinner and overnight in
Day 5- We will make the drive
on to Dogubeyazit and visit Ishak Pasa Palace.
Built in the late 18th century the palace is a
small replica of Topkapi Saray. The day’s
adventure will be a walk along the footpaths surrounding
Mount Ararat. This mountain is the stuff of legends
and conveys a strong sense of majesty. Then we
will drive on to Van for dinner and overnight.
Day 6- A short drive outside
Van are the sites of Hosap castle and Cavustepe.
Hosap is a 17th century fortress with stunning
views of the surrounding valleys. Cavustepe is
an 8th century BCE palace that was home to Urartu
kings. The afternoon will be spent meandering
through the streets of Van’s markets. Dinner
and overnight in Van.
Transfer to Van airport and fly back to Istanbul.
Transfer to your hotel.