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For the Intrepid Traveler: Eastern Turkey           [Back to Tours]

Post Conference Tour
April 23th-29th, 2007

Day 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 Erzurum.

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.

Day 7- Transfer to Van airport and fly back to Istanbul. Transfer to your hotel.

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