Anatolia is the heart of the country and has been home to many well known civilizations through the history.From Hittites to Hatties and Phyrgians, such a dream land to examine the cultures in a time machine.
Suggested Itinerary WEST&CENTRAL ANATOLIA Duration 6–10 days
Best Season From April to June
From August to October
*Recommend after Bursa tour, for those who are into Anatolian Trip*
After an eary departure from Bursa, drive up to Eskisehir, the city of university.Have a short refreshment and perhaps try nargile-water pipe on one of the places off the Porsuk river and also try the pastry “Cig borek” which is heritage from Crimean Tatar Cuisine.
Continue with the ruins of the famous site, Gordion near the Ankara-Eskisehir highway.This settlement goes back to the early bronze age (3000 B.C) The famous knot tied by King Gordion was cut by Alexander the Great in Gordion, where he stayed during the winter of 333 B.C.The Hellenistic Period started in Gordion after the conquest of the city by Alexander the Great .Continue with Gordion local Museum and visit
The Galatian tomb, which was found in an unlicensed excavation in 1954, was named by the Gordian Excavation Group as the “O” Monumental Tomb. The monument was exposed to destruction by humans and nature at the end of the half-century. After numbering the stone blocks, drawings of which have been made by museum experts, they were transferred to the new garden of the Gordion Museum. Before we head up to Ankara, our last visit will be Gavurkale.Gavurkale has drawn the attention of many. On the southern exposure of the steep cliffs is a relief of two gods walking, one behind the other, and across from them sits a goddess. There is a wall made of gigantic stone blocks surrounding this rocky outcrop. The stone reliefs here is just one example of these uniquely Hittite monuments found scattered throughout the country. Researchers have determined that this was an important walled city. At first it was thought to have been a Hittite worship centre, but later it was realised that the Phrygians settled here as well. After this exhausting day, drive to Ankara and check in your hotel to stay overnight. [lunch, Dinner]
(2) Ankara “The Capital”
Have a juicy breakfast and explore Ankara before head up to Konya. History of Ankara goes back to Hatti Civilisation, Bronze Age. Thousand years ago , before the time of Jesus, the Hittites become the dominant power of the region, and it followed by the Phyrgians, Lydians and Persians. In the 3rd Century BC, a Celtic race known as the Galatians made Ankara their capital city. The name Ankara comes from the word 'Ancyra', which means 'anchor.' Your first visit will be Anatolian Civilisations Museum located around Ankara Castle.Ataturk always desired to establish a Hittite museum.The building opened topublic in 1968 and named Ankara Archeological Museum.Exhibits in the museum, starts with Paleolithic era and continue through chronological order.Particularly the coin collection of the museum is one of the rarest cultural treasures in Turkey. Continue with The Temple of Augustus , which was built in the 2nd century BC in honour of the Phyrgian Goddess Men , but the remains of the temple we see day are the additions from Roman era and during Byzantine period times, some other additions were made and it was converted into church.A copy of Emperor Augustus's last will and testament, the original of which is found in the Temple in Rome, enumerates his accomplishments and is located on the temple wall adjacent to the tomb.Have a delicious lunch in one of the best Kebab Houses in Ankara and taste “Turkish pide” with some traditional fillings which are spinach,zucchini, ground or sliced beef and Bulgarian cheese.After few hours drive, you will arrive in Konya and check in your Hotel.Enjoy your dinner and stay overnight. [Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner]
(3) Konya-Ihlara Canyon-Guzelyurt
After an early breakfast at the Hotel-early departure is recommended- enjoy a city sight tour Konya, the city contains of beatiful samples from Seljuk and Ottoman eras.First, visit Sinan Pasha Tomb, which is a classic Ottoman tomb on the south side of the courtyard. According to the inscription it was built in 1574. It contains the sarcophagus of the Karaman Governor General Sinan Pasha and Fatma Hatum Tombs.Next , explore The most famous building in Konya which is the Green Mausoleum of Mevlana Celaleddin (Jalaluddin) Rumi. Mevlana's successor Husamettin Celebi decided to build a mausoleum (Kubbe-i-Hadra) over his grave of his master. The Seljuk construction was finished in 1274. Gurcu Hatun, the wife of the Seljuk Emir Suleyman Pervane, and Emir Alameddin Kayser funded the construction. Passing through Aksaray , you will enter Ihlara Canyon Road, which will take you into a enourmous gorge within 15 minutes.Unlike Upper Cappadocia region which you will explore next day, Ihlara Canyon was created by the cracking and collapsing as result Mt. Hasan’s erruption.Whole canyon is 14 kilometres long, and 100-150 metres high valley begins at Ihlara museum entrance and ends at Selime village.At least, first half of the trekking route is highly recommended where you will also see numerous dwellings,churches and graves.During the invasions and the Roman percecutions in history, this canyon proved to be an ideal shelter for people.
Churches of the canyon are dated to various times starting from 6th to the 13th century and classified into two groups.Particularly the chapels near Ihlara entrance display wall paintings under oriental influnce.Belisirma part, mostly contains of chapels in Byzantime type and decorations.
Even though, all these original masterpieces are faded everyday, few Byzantine inscriptions in this area still can be read. Above a 13th century painting in the church of St. George (Kirkdamalti), the names of Seljuk Sultan Mesud II (1282 - 1305) and the Byzantine Emperor Andronicos II are inscribed. This is proof of the tolerance of the Seljuk rulers. The best preserved frescos are to be found in the churches of Agacalti, Purenliseki, Kokar, Yilanli and Kirkdamatli.After this exhausting day, drive to Guzelyurt to check in your hotel and stay overnight.Karballa Hotel is a 19th century monastery built by the Grek community for the monks of the village and established as a religous school.The monastery now classified as a national monument , and was restored as a unique Boutique Hotel in 1985. [Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner]
(4) Guzelyurt-Derinkuyu -Urgup “From Gorge to Underground”
After a proper sleep and an organic breakfast, depart for Upper Cappadocia. Before leaving the village, pay a quick visit to the church which was built in 1891.Güzelyurt, is very important centre for religious people and also for nature &architecture followers.Gregory of Nazianzus, who worked hard to spread Christianity in the area, turned Guzelyurt into an important christian centre and established a disipline of monasticism. On your way to Urgup, visit Derinkuyu Underground City which was discovered in 1960’s.Within its eight floors, the city has all usual and useful amenities ,such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels. First built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region by the Phrygians in the 8th–7th centuries B.C according to the Turkish Department of Culture, the underground city at Derinkuyu was enlarged in the Byzantine era. The complex has a total 11 floors, though many floors have not been excavated. The city could accommodate between 3,000 and 50,000 people. The underground city of Derinkuyu was the hiding place for the first Christians who were escaping from the persecution of the Roman empire. Everything discovered in these underground settlements belongs to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. After a long but joyful day, check in your Hotel in Urgup and stay overnight. [Breakfast, Lunch]
(5) Cappadocia Triangle“Through the Ages”
Well known history of Cappadocia is limited to touristic sites to be visited in the region.Unlike the “holy triangle” tours based around Goreme ,Uchisar and Urgup, Cappadocia is much more than that and offers amazing sightseeing even in the middle of nowhere.Another disrict , Gulsehir and Surroundings, will be our tour destination today.Starting from Acigol northern west of Central Cappadocia, A giant monument Topada will welcome you: About 50 meter west of the monument one line of strange inscriptions were found on a 1.10 meter length rock. Researchers believe it does not belong to Hittite times, but the script was not deciphered. Monument is dated back to Late Hittite (Luwi) periods, 1200 BC.Same with Topada , Sivasa is also the evidence of an active life and the existance of the intense culture of 3500 years ago.It is rarely known that Anatolia had its mini ice age period for almost 500 years. Even though this is another hypothetical thought related to how underground settlements appeared in history, all these settlements go back ages in history not appeared without a reason.Tatlarin is an extensive semi-troglodytic complex; all though only few cave sections available to visit today, one amazes at his exciments upon seing ‘well-planned’ two ancient touilets. Site also attached to a beatiful but small chapel and wheel-shaped rock stones can also be seen here as it very typical to all underground cities in Cappadocia.Unlike the other “touristic” underground cities , Tatlarin is rather off the beaten path and seem to be avoid the all crowded touristic groups.Karaburna Village will be quite interesting spot during our tour: Beside its ancient attractions, it’s very traditional village and produce their own local wine which is rather unusual in the area. [Breakfast, Lunch]
(6) Christianizing Roman Basilica: “Hike and History”
Red Valley is probably the most amazing route among the other valleys in Cappadocia.Walking along the labyrenth-like formations you spot monk cells every corner and come across a lovely smile from a local who Works in the fields.The colour of the valley comes from İronoxide and provides amazing sunsets.This enjoble trek will take us to Cavusin Village where will we will visit St. John The Baptist Church .‘Byzantine art begins with emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD ; we call Byzantine christian art as the expressionist way of Roman art.St. John the Baptist church is the oldest and the biggest church in Cappadocia triangle so have a chance to study it in terms of Early christian art. For beginning ; its very obvious here that the way how they christianized the Roman ‘basilica form’ : In the 4th century , christians were prepared to build larger edifices for worship .Architectural formulas of pagan temples simply associated with pagan belief so they didnt want to use the same system.But as emperor Constantine the great wanted to memorialize his imperial piety , they already had useful model at hand ; Basilica : Basilica orginally very classic model of Roman meeting halls with high platform and columned large halls.Especially higy platform part gave an idea for Priests sections ,altar , as whole apsis.After having lunch in Sinasos Village , we will continue our journey in history.Early Christians escaping Roman persecution nearly 2000 years ago and sheltered in Central Anatolia.Even though model of Monasticism appeared on Grek based cultures in 700 BC, Early Christianity brough totally different aspect.From monk cells to monasteries , Cappadocia witnessed amazing history through the ages.Gomeda Valley is quiet and unique place for asceticism : For this reason the valley is fully decorated with Chapels and cells.St. Basil Church is one of them and located on the skirts of a tufa heap and observes total silence.From Asceticism to Common life , St. Basil is known as the founder of Monasticism and lured people work for mankind beside worshipping God.A unique example to Common Life- Monastery in Cappadocia ,Kesli Monastery will be next stop.Hided among the woods and beatiful flowers, a huge complex welcomes you with dignity of the centuries.Numerious chapels carved into the rocks and known as the biggest refectory in the region. [Breakfast, Lunch]
(7) Byzantine Art “Reading Wall PAintings”
Nothing in history came out without any influence from earlier civilisations and beliefs: Cappadocia churches provide a unique experience from Grek Sources to Byzantine additions.Briefly speaking, there is a definate Greek Influence on Early Byzantine Art’ :
I - Scene from Anastasis : Hades take Judas down the hell ; Here Hades depicted in chains and Jesus Christ asks him “What happened to your glory ?”
Anastasis scene shows a highly influence of Greek mythology in Iconography. Early Christians adapted Roman motifs and gave new meanings to what had been pagan symbols. Among the motifs adopted were the peacock, grapevines, and the good shepherd. Early Christians used the same artistic media as the surrounding pagan culture. After a fantastic tour in Goreme Open Air Museum, we will head up to Gulsehir and visit Open Palace Ruins.Even though the complex is dated back to later era in history, its well worth to visit in the area.Gulsehir has been the centre of the christianity for centuries. As it is stated in the bible the apostle St. Paul has mignated with his supporters to the Cappadocia after fighting with the Jews in Tarsus. First, they have settled Petrus, Philipus, Mathaus and Jacobus is the evidence how the Open Palace is an important setting place. The apostles had begun their mission journeys from here to Europe and Asia.Continue with Opposite Church in Gulsehir to explore and understand more about the wall paintings.Early Christian art not only used Roman forms, it also used Roman styles. Late classical style included a proportional portrayal of the human body and impressionistic presentation of space.The other important issue in history is image-breaking", the deliberate destruction within a culture of the culture's own religious icons and other symbols or monuments : The two Byzantine outbreaks during the 8th and 9th centuries were unusual in that the use of images was the main issue in the dispute, rather than a by-product of wider concerns .For iconoclasts, the only real religious image must be an exact likeness of the prototype -of the same substance- which they considered impossible, seeing wood and paint as empty of spirit and life. Thus for iconoclasts the only true (and permitted) "icon" of Jesus was the Eucharist, which was believed to be his actual body and blood. For this reason, churches got back to basics and used only early figures to indicate their beliefs in geometrical forms.On our way back to hotel, we will have a wine break viewing beautifully colored valleys. [Breakfast, Lunch]
(8) Seljuk Turks: “Conquering Anatolia”
On your final day in Cappadocia , we will visit city Kayseri , which is heart of Anatolia.Kayseri has been a continuous settlement since 3000 BC. The city has always been a vital trade center since it is located on major trade routes, particularly along what was called the Great Silk Road. One of the oldest cities founded in Anatolia, Kultepe, lies nearby.On of the city attractions , The castle almost 1500 years old that built itinially by the Romans and enlarged by Seljuks is still standing in good shape at the centre square of the city.The short-lived Seljuk rule left large number of historical landmarks; historical buildings such as the Hunad Hatun complex,and Kilij Arslan Mosque, The Grand Mosque and The Grand Bazaar dates from the latter part of the 1800s, but the adjacent Caravanserai (where merchant traders gathered before forming a caravan) dates from around 1500 A.D. Your final visit will be Archeological Museum which will summarize us the remains of the Anatolian Civilizations. Before you will be transfered to Kayseri Airport to catch Istanbul flight, you will have a chance to taste famous “Manti”. [Breakfast, Lunch]
Please ask for connections from KAYSERI to ISTANBUL
BLACK SEA COAST
ANKARA HOTEL ICKALE www.hotelickale.com
KONYA SELCUK HOTEL www.otelselcuk.com.tr
GUZELYURT KARBALA www.hotelkarballa.com
UCHISAR ARGOS HOTEL www.argosincappadocia.com