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Meet at the crossroads of East and West—the effervescent capital of Istanbul launches your journey of discovery through centuries of turmoil and triumph. Complimentary transfers will be available for guests who have provided Grand European with their flight details. Spend the day exploring after being transferred to your hotel. Later, you'll meet your Travel Director and travel companions for a memorable Welcome Reception.
Delve into the treasures of the Ottoman Empire, strolling through the exquisite Topkapi Palace with its spellbinding views of the Bosphorus. We explore the Basilica of Hagia Sophia, once one of the greatest churches in all of Christendom, before following in the footsteps of the faithful for a visit to the Blue Mosque—its six minarets and beautiful blue Iznik tiles are a sight to behold. Later, we visit the Byzantine Hippodrome to see where thundering chariots once raced to victory. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city. Consider an optional cruise along the Bosphorus, whose waters separate the European and Asian sides of the city.
We remember the heroism of the many thousands of men who fought bravely at Gallipoli. We'll see Lone Pine Cemetery and the battlefields that today still hold special significance for the Turkish, Australian and New Zealand nations. Spend a quiet moment commemorating the lives lost at Anzac Cove and Chunuk Bair, where some of the fiercest fighting took place during World War I. This evening we stay in Çanakkale where tonight we'll dine in our hotel.
Visit a land of Trojan legends, an ancient city immortalized by Homer in the stories of King Priamus, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. We admire the archaeological excavations at Troy revealing nine separate periods of settlement and the symbolic replica wooden Trojan horse commemorating the epic war machine constructed by the Greeks to end a lengthy siege. We continue to the ancient kingdom of Pergamon to visit the Asclepion Medical Center whose staff of entwined snakes remains a symbol of modern medicine today. This afternoon, we connect with locals in the village of Demircidere over a Be My Guest lunch. We travel to the broad boulevards of seaside Izmir later, and dine in our hotel this evening.
Journey into antiquity and explore the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus admiring the well-preserved façade of the Library of Celsus and its famous Temple of Artemis. We visit the House of the Virgin Mary, the Temple of Hadrian guarded by Medusa's head, and the Great Theater, built by the Romans in the 2nd century and still in use today. Relax and enjoy the blissful thermal pools at your hotel in Pamukkale. Later, consider joining an Optional Experience to watch the dizzying twirling of the mystical Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi sect.
This morning we enjoy a leisurely visit to the ancient ruins of the Holy City of Hierapolis, imagining ancient patrons seeking revival and rest within their limestone-laden thermal springs. Our last stop today is in the lush silk center of Bursa where tonight we dine in our hotel.
Caress soft silky textures and admire the riot of colors as you amble through the old silk market of Bursa. We visit its exquisite Grand Mosque before returning to Istanbul for an afternoon spent haggling for the best deals at the Grand Bazaar. We'll dive into culture and navigate the veritable sprawl of enchanting shops and bold merchants plying pottery, leather, lamps and spice. Our final evening together sees us enjoy a Farewell dinner with our fellow travelers to reminisce over shared memories.
We say a fond farewell to Turkey and newfound friends as we prepare to depart to the airport for our flight home.
14 meals: 7 buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
No stay would be complete without this unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the winding strait separating Europe and Asia. Along the shores you’ll see a beautiful mixture of modern hotels, ancient wooden villas, marble palaces, fortresses and small fishing villages, as you relax on board.
Adult Price: $40
You’ll enjoy a short drive through the illuminated streets of Istanbul before arriving at the famous Kervansaray Night Club. You’ll taste Turkish specialties while being entertained by musicians, belly and folk dancers, performing dances from different regions of Turkey. You’ll also get the chance to join in.
Adult Price: $75
The 'dance' of the Whirling Dervishes is called Sema. It is part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture and represents a man's spiritual journey, and will be a highlight of your trip to Turkey.
Adult Price: $25
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