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CAPPADOCIA

Stunning fairy-chimneys formations, underground cities, oldest monasteries of the world and an amazing hot-air balloon ride.

EPHESUS

Best excavated antique city, capital of Asia Minor. Remnants of Artemis Temple and Virgin Mary house, where she spent her last years.

PAMUKKALE

Cotton Castle terrace formations where You can walk bare-feet. Hierapolis antique city, the biggest spa center of antiquity.

Classic Cappadocia Tour

 

The astonishing rock formations of Cappadocia will accompany us throughout the day, each and every valley having its peculiarity.  In DEVRENT VALLEY (also called IMAGINATION VALLEY) as well as ESENTEPE PANORAMIC VIEW POINT, everything is up to ones imagination. The unique panorama of cave houses, rock formations and fairy chimneys are more or less similar to other objects one comes across in daily life, leaving space for individual interpretation.

 

MONKS VALLEY (PAŞABAĞ) and ZELVE are famous with their monasteries where monks lived and prayed. Some of the highest fairychimneys with multiple caps are here.

 

AVANOS has become a centre for terra-cotta production since the beginning of settlement in Cappadocia around 3000BC.  An interactive presentation of pottery art is one of the interesting things that you can participate in.

 

The famous GÖREME OPEN AIR MUSEUM is a highlight exposing churches ,dormitories, dining rooms, chapels and several other features typical for a monastery, that were very suitable for monks to live their secluded lives. At this stage in Cappadocia, Christian ideology intermingled with cleric practices, to become a centre for religious education, spreading from here to all over the world. Today, Byzantine art, frescoes and paintings that are well preserved are to be seen here.

 

UÇHISAR CASTLE (Cave Rock City) is the highest elevation of Göreme, a big rock with caves and tunnels that served as a fortification and watchtower. From here the village of Göreme and surroundings can easily be discerned.

 

UNDERGROUND CITY: There are plenty of underground cities, which are even connected to each other by tunnels. Air ventilation and underground rivers supplying water, would enable inhabitants to flee from attackers or the cold in winter into these cities, to pass difficult times. These underground cities could provide shelter for as much as 20.000 people, amongst which Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı Underground Cities are the most visited.

 

*Claustrophobics should not enter.

Ephesus Tour:

Refugees from the Aegean Islands settled here in 1040 BC. to provide the basis of a greek trade colony, which eventually rose to become a member of the twelve cities of the Ionian League in Greek Era. In Roman era the port city became capital of Asia Minor, with a population of 250.000, an important commercial and political center. Ephesus is the last place that Virgin Mary traveled to with Saint John The Evangelist. Also Saint Paul visited the city, arrested for his highly emotional speeches, that attracted attention but also arose the pagan society. Highlights to be seen in the antique city are the Celsus Library and theater. Other than these, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan, the Odeon, Virgin Priestesses Vestalin Temple. Agora, the baths and latrines, several churches are major sights.

 

Though the first temple building dates to 8th century BC., the sanctuary is much older. Destroyed three times and rebuilt in 550 BC with the contributions of the famous King Croesus, the Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Abandoned after Christianity established itself in this area, today very little is left from the temple since majority of marble columns were reused in other buildings, amongst others the Hagia Sophia.

 

Located at the skirt of Bulbul Mountain, Virgin Mary’s House is a shrine where Lazarist priests still practice daily mass. Discovered after a Catholic nun in Germany described the place in her visions, to be the house where Mother Mary lived and died. It has become an important pilgrim place.

 

Not far from Ephesus is Şirince, a village that has become very popular with its idyllic character, meanwhile a touristic hotspot famous for its wines. You can make degustation here in the several wineries.

PAMUKKALE (Cotton Castle) is famous for its amazingly white travertines and the ancient city of Hierapolis. Around twenty hot water springs have formed in time, white cascading terraces here. Somewhere deep in the earth beneath Pamukkale and the ancient Roman city of Hierapolis lies a vast source of water heated by volcanic lava. Under heat and pressure, the water dissolves pure white calcium, becomes saturated with it, and carries it to the earth’s surface, where it bursts forth and runs down a steep hillside. When these hot spring waters rise to surface, loosing heat and pressure, carbonmonoxide and carbondioxide is given off. Calciumcarbonate subsides naturally shape these amazing white cascades. Today, one can walk through Pamukkale barefeet and even find a chance to bathe in the hot water of the ancient pool, also called Cleopatra Bath.

 

Built just above the hot spring waters of Pamukkale, HIERAPOLIS is a mighty ancient city, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Founded in 2nd Century BC by the King of Pergamon, it later was taken over by the Roman Empire, to become a commercial center. The city with its hot spring waters was also the biggest Spa center of the ancient world. Especially elder people came here from all corners of the empire, to find relief for their pains. Some stayed longer and passed away here, hence the biggest necropolis that has survived to our day.

 

Hierapolis Ancient city also hosts a wonderful and well preserved theatre situated on the hillside. Other attractions are the Roman Baths, Domitian Gate, Latrina, Oil Factory, Frontinus Street, Agora, Triton Fountain, Byzantium Gate, Cathedral, Apollon Temple, Plutonium and the Antique Pool (also called Cleopatra Bath). You will find a chance to take photos of the best spots in Pamukkale while walking the travertines barefeet down.

 

*Cleopatra Antique Bath entrance fee must be paid extra.

TERMESSOS

The Machu Pichu of Turkey. A steep climbing of 40 minutes will reveal a complete city, the only that Alexander the Great attacked and could not conquer.

GÖBEKLİTEPE

In comparison with Stonehenge this is 7000 years older. Several circular formations with animal figures exhibit the oldest temple of mankind, right in the heart of Mesopotamia.

NEMRUT

Kommagene kings are still buried with their treasure here, and old deity figureheads watch over the mouseleum of kings, 45 min. steep climbing.

Termessos was a Pisidian city 1600 metres high in the Taurus Mountains, 30 kilometres north of Antalya. The mythical founder of the city is Bellerophon, who killed the Chimaera, but in fact, it was founded by the Solims who are mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. Concealed by pine forests and with a peaceful and untouched appearance, the site has a more distinct and impressive atmosphere than many other ancient cities. Because of its natural and historical riches, it is included today in the Termessos National Park.

 

History: Alexander the Great surrounded the city in 333 BC, comparing it to an eagle’s nest. Because of the insurmountable natural barriers around the city, even a small force could easily defend it, thus making it the only city Alexander failed to conquer. Termessos became an important ally of Rome in 71 BC., but was abandoned (year unknown) after an earthquake destroyed the aquaduct system and the water supply.

 

From the main road, a steep road leads up to the city, called “King Street”, until the Hellenistic period fortification walls, behind which the old city lies on a flat area. The agora, other official buildings, the theatre, five cisterns are some of the features here. The gymnasium from the 1st century AD. is overgrown by trees today, whereas monumental tombs are carved into the rock, with a necropolis in the lower city.

“Göbeklitepe changes everything” as the oldest temple of the world, dating back to 10.000 BC. It is an archaeological site in Southeastern Turkey, 12 km from the city of Şanlıurfa, first noted in 1963, excavated since 1996. Though 200 pillars in about 20 circles of massive ‘T’-shaped stone pillars (each 6m high, 10 tons) were detected to be the world’s oldest known megaliths, large parts still remain unexcavated.

 

The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery, but it is believed to have been of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt. The site was abandoned after it was used for about 1000 years, and was designated 2018 a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

At present Göbeklitepe appears to raise more questions for archaeology and prehistory than it answers. It remains unknown how a population large enough existed to construct, augment, and maintain such a substantial complex. The variety of fauna depicted in reliefs – from lions and boars to birds and insects – makes any single explanation problematic. As there is little or no evidence of habitation, and many of the animals pictured are predators, the stones may have been intended to stave of evils through some form of magic representation. Alternatively, they could have served as totems.

After Alexander the Great, smaller Macedonian kingdoms controlled this territory, which hosts the temple-tomb built by the King Antiochos I.of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) for himself. This funerary mound of stone chips is surrounded by terraces with giant limestone statues.

 

Inscriptions and relief sculptures record the genealogical links of the dual cultural origin of the Commagene Kingdom. Antiochos, as a descendant of the persian king Darius by his father Mithridates, and a descendant of Alexander by his mother Laodice, probably sought with his semi-legendary ancestry this syncretism of Greek-Persian pantheon. The assimilation of Zeus with Oromasdes (the Iranian god Ahuramazda), and Heracles with Artagnes (the Iranian god Verathragna) finds its artistic equivalent in an intimate mixture of Greek, Persian and Anatolian aesthetics. In terms of form, materials and design, Mount Nemrut is one of the unique and authentic artistic achievements of the Hellenistic period, with its fascinating monumental sculptures in a spectacular setting.

 

Today, seasonal and daily temperature variations, freezing and thawing cycles, wind, snow accumulation and sun exposure are the greatest threat for Mount Nemrut. The height of the tumulus is now reduced from its estimated original 60 m due to weathering, previous uncontrolled research investigations and climbing by visitors. Within a first degree earthquake zone on the seismically active East Anatolian Fault, the tumulus, statues and stelae are very vulnerable.