Arrival and transfer to the hotel. After a short tour briefing, the rest of the day is free to rest, relax or walk around to explore the city. Dinner and overnight at Istanbul hotel. (D)
Full day city tour of Istanbul visiting ancient Hippodrome where chariot and horse races were held in the Roman city of Constantinople. We walk to the nearby İbrahim Pasha Palace which houses the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. Then we proceed to the Blue Mosque, famous for its blue tiles and impressive architecture. Nearby is Hagia Sophia Museum, considered as the masterpiece of the early Byzantine architecture. After lunch we will visit the Topkapı Palace residence and administrative center of the Ottoman Sultans. We will take a separate tour of the Harem where the ladies of the Sultans were kept. Dinner and overnight at Istanbul (B, L, D)
Today, we will be visiting the major Jewish sites and monuments of the city. First in the morning, we will visit the old Jewish quarter of Balat area, where we will take a walk to see one of the oldest Synagogues in Turkey named Ohrida built by the Jewish settlers from the town Ohri which is in the present day Macedonia. As we walk down the streets, we will see the stars of David on the old buildings. Our walk will bring us to more Jewish buildings and Synagogues. On the Golden Horn is a beautiful house painted in white with fine decorative carvings that belongs to a Jewish family. Not far away from here is the Balat Jewish Hospital that had served the Jewish Community of Istanbul. We proceed to another interesting area of Istanbul which was populated by the Jewish people, Galata, famous for its Galata Tower which is an impressive monument that stands out in the Istanbul skyline as one looks from a distance. We will have a panoramic view of the city from the top of Galata Tower. Later, in the same street, we will visit the largest Synagogue in the city, Neve Shalom which is still an active Synagogue that serves the Jews of Istanbul. We will be able to see some more Jewish buildings in this area. Next, we will drive out to the suburbs of the city to see an old Jewish Cemetery that overlooks the Bosphorus. Driving down from the cemetery, we will get to a charming town at Ortaköy, built on the banks of Bosphorus and having in its narrow streets, the cafes, souvenir shops and an active Jewish Synagogue. Dinner and overnight at Istanbul hotel. (B, L, D)
After breakfast drive to Bursa the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, situated at the foot of mount Olympos in the history. Bursa was another city back in Ottoman times that was densely populated by the Turkish Jews. We will visit one of the Synagogues which were built by the Jewish community of Bursa. After lunch in a special ‘Kebab’ Restaurant, visit the Green Mosque, Green Mausoleum, Grand Mosque and the Old Bazaar. Dinner and overnight at Bursa hotel. (B, L, D)
Early drive to Pergamum, once one of the small kingdoms in the Middle East. Visit the Acropolis where you will see the great amphitheater, the library which once held 200,000 volumes (that later Marcus Antonius gave to Cleopatra), the sanctuary of Athena, and the monumental altar of Zeus. After lunch at local restaurant, visit Asclepium, the world’s oldest medical center, built in the name of the god of healing, Asclepius. Arrive in Izmir, and we will take a walk in the colorful bazaar of Kemeraltı and visit the Beth Israel Synagogue. We drive to the ancient fortress at Kadifekale for a panoramic view of the city. Dinner and overnight at Izmir hotel. (B, L, D)
Full day sightseeing of well preserved sites of Ephesus. We begin with Ephesus the great city and metropolitan center of the ancient world. Then we drive up to the Virgin Mary's House claimed to be the true place where Mother Mary spent her last years before she had died in this area. Up on the hill above the town Seljuk, we will visit the Basilica of St. John built for the apostle author of the book of revelations. Then, we will see the artifacts from Ephesus area in the Ephesus Museum which is a pretty local museum. Return to Izmir. Dinner and overnight at Izmir hotel. (B, L, D)
Drive to Pamukkale. Depart for the ancient city of Sardis which was the capital of the Lydian Kingdom under the king Croesus. Here, at Sardis, the Lydians invented the first money in the world. We will take a walk around the site to see its ancient monuments such as, the Artemis Temple in grandeur size, Gymnasium, shops (Solomon's paint shop and others) and workshops and the ancient Synagogue which is one of the oldest surviving synagogues in the world. Continue to Alaşehir, the site of the ancient Philadelphia, one of the seven churches of Revelations. Visit the 6th C. church of St. John. Drive to Pamukkale for its calcified rock formations and ancient city of Hierapolis. Hierapolis is a well preserved ancient site with its many ancient monuments that stand in almost original shape. Dinner and overnight at Pamukkale hotel. (B, L, D)
After breakfast drive through lake district on to Konya, stopping along the way for visits and photo shots. Sightseeing of Konya famous for its monastery of "Whirling Dervishes" and Early Seljuk-Islamic architecture. Visit Mevlana Museum which is believed to be the holiest place of Turkey and house the memorial of Mevlana, the famous Turkish philosopher and the founder of the center of Whirling Dervishes. Proceed to Karatay Medrese, the Islamic theological college from Turkish-Seljuk period (13th cent.), now it houses a nice tile collection. Stop at Sultanhanı Caravanserai, an impressive Seljuk monument that served as hotel and market place for travelers of the past. Dinner and overnight at Cappadocia hotel. (B, L, D)
Full day visit of Cappadocia, known for its bizarre land formations and settlements. Dominated by Mt. Argeus, inhabited by Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, it offers magnificent rock carved monasteries and churches ornate with Christians frescoes from the 7th-13th centuries. After lunch in the area visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum with its fairy chimneys and dozens of cave churches decorated with unique frescoes depicting various scenes from the Bible. Before returning to the hotel, visit the Zelve Valley. Dinner and overnight at Cappadocia hotel. (B, L, D)
Drive to Ankara. Ankara is the capital of Modern Turkey and second largest city today. Visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations where we will see artifacts created over thousands of year by ancient Anatolian peoples. The Museum was converted from an old Ottoman Caravanserai and awarded as the museum of the year in 1982. We will take a walk in the old quarters and citadel of the city. We will also visit an old Synagogue which points to a major Jewish population of the city in the past. Then we will visit the Atatürk's Memorial built for the founder of modern Republic of Turkey. Dinner and overnight at Ankara hotel. (B, L, D)
Morning flight to Istanbul. We will have time in the Spice Bazaar before we get on the boat for our Cruise on the Bosphorus. Spice Bazaar is a very colorful old market place built in Ottoman times, and still visited by locals and tourists for the shopping of herbs, nuts and spices. Cruise on the Bosphorus with boat. You will enjoy the impressive palaces of the sultans, mosques, the water-front wooden houses built in Ottoman style. Lunch in a nice fish restaurant on the Bosphorus. In the afternoon visit the Asian side of the city, Beylerbeyi Palace built for the Sultans in the 18th C. After a short drive on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, we will visit a small nice town at Kuzguncuk, which was a popular place for the Jewish community of Istanbul. A Synagogue that still stands there proves this fact. Dinner and overnight at Istanbul hotel. (B, L, D)
Day at leisure. Return to the Grand Bazaar or Spice Bazaar for last minute shopping. Or wander the streets to meet people, take photos. Dinner and overnight at Istanbul hotel. (B, L, D)
Transfer to the airport for departure flight. (B)
Included services for this itinerary:
  • Arrival-departure transfers.
  • 12 nights half board accommodation at 4 or 5 star hotels.
  • All tours, airport and hotel transfers conducted by private A/C comfortable vehicles.
  • Sightseeings and visits as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Lunches on the way.
  • English speaking professional tour guide (or your chosen language).
  • Entrance fees to the touristic sites mentioned.
  • All necessary taxes.
  • For our current rates, please contact us about this tour.