ORNACAS (13 Nights/ 14 Days)
Istanbul, Troy, Pergamon, Izmir, Ephesus, Kusadasi, and the Aegean Cruise
Day 1 – Istanbul
Arrival to Istanbul. You will be met and transferred to your hotel by Orion staff or guide.
Day 2 – Istanbul (B,L)
Following breakfast, we drive to the ‘Old City’ where we visit the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, famous for its delicate blue ceramic tiles, and Haghia Sophia. This church – turned mosque – turned museum takes the breath away with the sheer architectural size of its
interior and magnificent dome. Next we visit the spectacular Topkapi Palace that was built on one of the seven hills of Istanbul. This huge complex commands views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It was the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire for many centuries (1453-1852). We see the extravagant Treasury, the priceless Chinese porcelain and more.
Day 3 – Istanbul (B,L)
Our morning starts with a visit to the aromatic Spice Bazaar where the smells of cinnamon, cloves and thyme, rise from hundreds of colorful muslin bags at every store front. We then board our ferry boat for a relaxing cruise along the shores of the legendary Bosphorus, the natural gateway that divides Asia and Europe. As you sit back and may enjoy Turkish coffee or well brewed tea from traditional small cups, numerous summer palaces and palatial homes will pass by on either side. Disembarking at the northern end of the Strait, we proceed to a restaurant for a tasty meal of local fish. Following lunch we will travel by coach to Kariye (Chora) museum to see the marvelous mosaics of the late Byzantine art. The last stop will be Grand Bazaar which is amongst attractive shopping centers and the biggest”souk” in the world with nearly 4000 shops of antiques, gold, jewelry, carpets and leatherwear.
Day 4 – Istanbul / Canakkale (B,D)
After an early breakfast we will begin our scenic drive down to Gallipoli, historically famous for being the site of many battles during WW1. Following a lunch break, we will visit Anzac Cove, Ceremonial Ground for Dawn Service, Lone Pine and some shelters and tunnels before we cross the second strategic waterway, the Dardanelles, and land in Asia and proceed to our hotel in Canakkale for the night.
Day 5 – Canakkale / Bergama / Kusadasi (B,D)
We drive to Troy, referred to in Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”, Troy has in fact nine cities superimposed one upon another. Troy Vl pertains to the famous Trojan War of Homer where the legendary heroes included Agamemnon, Achilles, Ulysses and Nestor on the Greek side; and, Priam, Hector and Paris on the Trojan side. Continuing on our journey we will stop by the hauntingly beautiful Pergamon. Among the impressive structures of this city, dating from 3rd BC, we will see the Altar of Zeus, Temples of Dionysus and Trajan and the 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. Leaving Pergamon behind us we settle at our hotel in Kusadasi.
Day 6 – Kusadasi (B,D)
Following breakfast we will proceed and arrive at the ancient city of Ephesus. Ephesus was undoubtedly one of the most important cultural and commercial centers of the ancient world. Impressive structures we will see include the Library of Celcius, Temple of Hadrian, Theater and Odeon. We will also stop by at the Temple of Artemis which was one of the Seven Wonders of the antiquity. Close by is the House of the Virgin Mary where she is believed to have spent her last years. On August 18, 1961, Pope John XXll proclaimed the House of Virgin Mary at Ephesus to be sacred. Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit and led a Mass at the church in December 2006. You will have a chance to take some of Holy Water from the Sacred Spring. You will also enjoy a fashion show on Turkish leather goods and garments. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 7 (Fri) – Kusadasi / Bodrum (Halicarnassus) (we should board the yacht on Friday afternoon) (B,D)
We may have two options before we board our Gullet this afternoon.
01- Optional tour of Priene, Miletus and Didyma
We may leave after breakfast for our optional tour and journey to Priene, which is an example of a truly ancient city, whose history dates back to the 10th century BC. Highlights include the Temple of Athena Polias, the Ecclesiasterium, Gymnasium and the Agora. We next visit Miletus where the Philosopher Thales was born. He coined the phrase “Know Thyself”. We will inspect the theater, Delphinion, Baths of Faustina and the Council Chamber. Our last visit is to Didyma which served as a religious sanctuary to the god Apollo. The oracular inscriptions date as far back as 600 BC. Among the highlights are the Temple of Apollo and the Stadium. We further drive southward to Halicarnassus. We board our yacht at Bodrum and spend the evening relaxing on board. (Please refer to the Sailing section for details on the boat you have just boarded.
02- Drive to Bodrum and board yacht
We drive to Bodrum. As you cannot board the yacht before late afternoon you will have time to explore the city on your own. According to Herodotus, the city was founded by the Dorians in the 4th century BC and contains one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the magnificent Mausoleum. A second highlight of Halicarnassus is the Crusader Castle built by the Knights of St. John that houses superb finds of underwater archaeology today. Welcome Cocktail after boarding. Overnight on board the yacht in Bodrum, one of the leading resorts of Turkey, undisputed “hot – spot” of the Aegean Coast. (Please refer to the Sailing section for details on the boat you have just boarded
Day 8 (Sat) Cokertme (B,L,D)
Visit Cokertme and Kisebuk (Church) bays.
Day 9 (Sun) Akbuk – Sogut (B,L,D)
Akbuk after breakfast, lunch. Afternoon cruise to Sogut. Overnight
Day 10 (Mon) Cleopatra Island – English Harbour (B,L,D)
Cruise to Cleopatra Island famous for its fine sand. Overnight in English Harbour.
Day 11 (Tue) Longoz – Ballisu – Balikasiran (B,L,D)
Cruise to English Harbour, Ballisu and Longoz bays. These are quite picturesque bays suitable for swimming. Day 12 (Wed) Orakli Island (B,L,D) Cruising to Orak Island. Overnight
Day 13 (Thu) Bodrum (B,L,D)
Return to Bodrum, via Karaada. Overnight in Bodrum.
Day 14 (Fri) Bodrum (B)
Disembarkation after breakfast, transfer to Bodrum Airport for flight to home.
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