TROY TO TERMESSOS

Day 1 – Wednesday 27th March 2013
We fly Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, ancient Constantinople, and check in to the Boutique ‘Special Deluxe’ Eresin Crown Hotel for two nights. Tonight an open buffet is included. The hotel is in the Old Quarter, a few minutes’ walk from the Hippodrome, ‘Blue Mosque’ and Haghia Sophia. (D)

Day 2 – Istanbul
We begin with an exploration of the Hippodrome and the Sultan Ahmet Camii or ‘Blue Mosque’. The Hippodrome, site of sporting events and a notorious ancient massacre, retains its shape from antiquity and some interesting features such as the ‘Serpent Column’ and an obelisk of Thutmoses III. The often overlooked, yet spectacular 17th century ‘Blue Mosque’ is our next port of call with its beautiful interior. Lunch at the Panorama Restaurant which, as its name suggests, offers some of the best views in Istanbul. The afternoon is dedicated to the archaeological museum. Here, the history of Turkey is vividly portrayed for us in a beautifully presented way. From the Hittite Treaty to magnificent Roman funerary architecture this is one of the world’s finest collections. (BL)

Day 3 – The Marmara Sea
Our day starts in the vastness of Haghia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) dedicated in 360 AD, arguably the most iconic building in Asia Minor. Some superb mosaics survive as well as soaring columns and highly decorated loge – this is architecture from the height of the Byzantine era. Our next stop is the stunning Roman ‘Basilica’ Cistern, built by Justinian in the 6th century. The scale is overwhelming and the extraordinary lighting used to maximum effect. We enjoy a packed lunch from our hotel as we head across the Sea of Marmara by boat, leaving Europe, to enter Asia and our overnight stop at Canakkale. (BL)

Day 4 – The Iliad
Who can separate fact from fiction? Where are the heroes of the Iliad? Where are Achilles, Priam, Hector and Helen? The romance of a ruin such as Troy is heightened by the ancient literature and by that giant figure of the 19th century, Schliemann, many of whose claims were deeply suspect! We explore the entire site and spend time trying to find Homer’s city – now most often identified as Troy VII. A short drive away is the area known as Achilles’ Tomb from which we can obtain a good view of the plains to the Aegean where much of the action of the war transpired. Lunch will be a packed one today. Further south is the Doric hilltop temple of Athena at Assos which dates to around 530 BC. The temple is in a truly stunning setting, high on a hill overlooking the Aegean to the Greek islands. We check in to the Dove Hotel for overnight on dinner, bed and breakfast basis. (BLD)

Day 5 – Pergamon
If there is one reason to visit Turkey at this time of year then it is to be found at Pergamon. Brilliant bleached marble columns lie in a dazzling carpet of wild flowers making this one of the most spectacular sites in Turkey. Pergamon was at its height in the Attalid period of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC and many of its wonderful buildings are from this time. Much was carried off to Berlin but so much remains to make this a five star site. We pay a brief visit to the Red Hall, founded as a temple to Serapis. This later became one of the great ‘Seven Churches’ of the Book of Revelation. Lunch will be at a local restaurant and is followed by an exploration of the Askeplion – a Hellenistic and Roman Spa and healing centre. We continue south to the bustling town of Izmir and overnight in the Anemon Hotel. (BL)

Day 6 – The Road to Ephesus
Today, we visit the small Roman section of the archaeological museum in Izmir (ancient Smyrna) and the remains of the ancient Agora. Then we head further south to the village of Sirince, just outside Ephesus for a ‘home style’ lunch. Late afternoon, we head to the remains of St John’s basilica, burial place of St John the Divine himself with its ruins and views of the ancient castle and the temple of Diana of the Ephesians. We check in to the Korumar Hotel on the coast, for two nights, on room and breakfast basis. (BL)

Day 7 – In the Footsteps of Paul
An early start to Ephesus to see the main features of the city, the market places, baths, theatres and the famous Celsus Library. High points include the covered remains of the town-houses of the elite, where stunning mosaic floors and original wall paintings and plaster remain remarkably fresh. We also visit the theatre where St Paul railed against the errors of paganism. Lunch will be taken locally, either in Selcuk or in Sirince. Our final stop of the day is at the sad remains of the Temple of Artemis (Diana) with its large sacred lake and forlorn columns. Overnight: Korumar Hotel. (BL)

Day 8 – Priene, Miletus and Didyma
The coastal ‘city states’ of western Turkey were trading ports in their own right, forming powerful strategic trading alliances. We start with Priene with its commanding views of the floodplain of the River Maender. Here temples, private houses, the theatre and a remarkable church are the main features. We move on to Miletus. Here, the theatre and baths are the best preserved remains. After lunch, we visit the 6th century BC temple at Didyma once only surpassed as an Oracle of Apollo temple by Delphi. We explore the massive temple with its beautifully decorated column bases and fine carvings. Our hotel for the next two nights is the Karia Princess in Bodrum. (BL)

Day 9 – A Pause in Bodrum
This morning we view the Myndus Gate before heading to the remains of the Mausoleum – once one of the Seven Wonders and burial place of the eponymous King Mausolus. From here, we drive to the seaside village of Gümüslük, the ancient Dorian settlement of Myndus. The village is protected from development and it is here that we will take a seaside lunch at the excellent Karafaki restaurant. Later, we board a privately chartered boat for a relaxing sail back to the port of Bodrum and our hotel. (BL)

Day 10 – Bodrum to Fethiye
Today we head east to ancient Lycia, but not before we have visited the magnificent St Peter’s Castle at Bodrum. Sometime seat of the Hospitaller Knights of St John, this imposing structure is filled with elaborate detail from the coats of arms of various Grand Masters and Bailiffs. We visit the Underwater Archaeology Museum, where the cargoes of numerous Bronze Age shipwrecks can be seen. We have lunch and head to Fethiye and our overnight hotel, the Alesta Yacht Club. (BL)

Day 11 – To Lycia
Tlos is perched high on a hilltop and was the most prominent Lycian city of its day, with temples, markets, a mighty acropolis and fascinating tombs. On to Xanthos for our picnic lunch. Here we find the remains of a Basilica with spectacular mosaics as well as some other features including the ‘Harpy Monument’, the theatre and an astonishing stretch of original road. Our final stop of the day is the Lycian city of Patara. Once a port of enormous scale and prosperity, the city became deserted following a catastrophic siltation of the harbour. We see a part-submerged colonnaded street and theatre with magnificent views. We overnight at the Patara Prince Hotel with a candlelit dinner in the courtyard. (BLD)

Day 12 – Santa and the Arykandans!
Our day starts at the ancient basilica of St Nicholas, the original Father Christmas; in the town of Demre where beautiful wall paintings depicting biblical scenes still survive. From here we head to Myra with its colossal theatre and dramatic rock cut tombs. Lunch today will be at a coastal fish restaurant in Finike. We then drive to Arykanda – a spectacular Lycian city high up in the mountains. Tonight we arrive in Antalya and the boutique hotel, the Alp Pasa, where we have rooms booked in the ‘old building’. The hotel is in the the Old Quarter of the city and is surrounded by winding streets, restaurants and cafes. We are at this hotel for five nights. (BL)

Day 13 – Termessos
Today we leave Lycia and head north into the dramatic hills of ancient Pisidia and her most famous city, Termessos, partly famous because Alexander signally failed to conquer it. A long winding path takes us up into the city, still largely unexcavated, with vines and creepers covering parts of buildings conceived on an enormous scale. The Hellenistic theatre is one of the most dramatically situated in all Turkey. We press on through dense vegetation to the enormous necropolis with its hundreds of unusually shaped sarcophagi. A visit to Termessos can be damp as rain falls here frequently and the walk is hard work and really for the fit only. Sturdy shoes are required with good grips and a walking pole will be useful. The rest of the day is at leisure in Antalya. (B)

Day 14 – Pamphylia – Perge and Aspendos
Today we leave Lycia behind and head to ancient Pamphylia and her capital city, Perge, with its colossal Hellenistic gates, colonnaded streets with cooling running water channels and nymphaeum. As we leave we view the enormous theatre and then head on to Aspendos. The Roman theatre here is one of the finest and certainly the best preserved in the world, but there is plenty more including the basilica, baths, aqueducts and a great nymphaeum. This afternoon we visit Antalya museum with its superb collection of artefacts. (B)

Day 15 – A day at leisure
The entire day is free, with no alarm clocks! As we are in the heart of the Old Quarter there’s plenty to see and do and this is a great day for picking up presents or just resting by the pool. (B)

Day 16 – Selge
Selge is so far off the tourist trail that it’s impossible to imagine anyone else visiting it other than an AWT group! This is a hidden jewel of a site, high up in ancient Psidia with lovely views of the snow capped mountains. Here we find a theatre, remains of an agora, temples and a wonderful spot for our picnic. Selge is untouched and the very epitome of romantic ruins. This afternoon we descend to the coastal town of Side with its seaside temple, theatre and excellent museum. (BL)

Day 17 – Aphrodisias
Farewell to Antalya as we head north to the Carian city of Aphrodisias. We lunch at the Anatolian Restaurant before entering the city where we see fine marble columns and reliefs including the Tetrapylon – part of which is shown on the back of this brochure. The museum here houses some beautifully lit and presented reliefs from the Sebasteion. Plenty of time to explore this lovely city before we head to the tourist Colossae Hotel at Pamakkule for dinner and overnight. (BLD)

Day 18 – Hieropolis and Sardis
The snow white ‘travertines’ of Pamakkule are world famous and we spend some time idly paddling around in them before heading off to ancient Hieropolis. This city owes its location to the warm, mineral laden springs. Museum, theatre and necropolis await but most remarkable is the octagonal ‘Martyrium’ church in which the mortal remains of St Philip came to rest. After lunch at the Colossae Hotel, we head east towards Izmir and Sardis, capital city of the kingdom of Lydia. Sardis is best known for its Gymnasium and Synagogue but we will also visit the Temple of Artemis, nestling under a huge mountainous outcrop. A fittingly dramatic end to our spectacular tour of Turkey! Our overnight is in Izmir once again at the Anemon Hotel. Dinner is under own arrangements. (BL)

Day 19 – Sunday 14th April 2013
We leave for Izmir airport and our flight to London via Istanbul. (B)

Philippa Walton is a specialist in the material culture of the Roman world. She has taken part in archaeological excavations throughout the Mediterranean and spent two years working in south eastern Turkey. She works as a Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the Portable Antiquities Scheme and is based at the British Museum. Her book on coinage in Roman Britain is due to be published this year.

(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

 

TROY TO TERMESSOS

DEPARTURE DATE  Wednesday 27th March 2013 

TOUR CODE AWTT270313

 

BASIC HOLIDAY PRICE: £3,660

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: £470

LAND ONLY DISCOUNT: £460 (If you arrange your own flights)

 

AWT's 'Single Supplement Guarantee' means that we only charge you what we are charged ourselves - we do not 'mark up'!