Western Turkey and Turquoise Coast 9N/10D

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ORION TOUR has designed this tour for the visitor who enjoys history as well as nature: introducing majestic Istanbul, followed by a southward journey that touches antique cities along the Aegean and finally to the Turkish Riviera in Antalya on the Mediterranean coast.

ORNWTTC (9 Nights - 10 Days)

Istanbul, Troy, Pergamon, Izmir, Ephesus, Kusadasi, Aphrodisias, Hierapolis, Antalya, Perge, Aspendos

Day 1 – Sat - Istanbul
Arrival to Istanbul. You will be met and transferred to your hotel by Orion staff or guide.
Day 2 – Sun - 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 – Mon -  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 enjoy lunch at a local fish restaurant and proceed 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 – Tue - 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. Then we will visit Anzac Cove, Ceremonial Ground for Dawn Service, Lone Pine and some trenches 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 – Wed - 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. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Thu - Kusadasi (B,D)
Following an early breakfast we will proceed and arrive at the ancient city of Ephesus. Ephesus was undoubtedly one of themost 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 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. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 7 – Fri - Kusadasi / Pamukkale (B,D)
Leaving our hotel early after breakfast, we will journey to Pamukkale but on the way we include the tour of Aphrodisias. This city was famous throughout the ancient world for her temple of Aphrodite and enjoyed great prosperity during the Roman period. Some of the highlights will include the Stadium, the Baths of Hadrian, the Temple and the Theater. We continue on to Pamukkale where the thermal water flows from natural pools in white terraces. The ancient city of Hierapolis was named after Hiera, wife of the founder of Pergamon. Highlights include calcified terraces, the Roman Baths, the Temple of Apollo, the Nymphaeum and the famous Necropolis. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 8 –Sat -  Pamukkale / Antalya (B,D)
We leave our hotel straight after breakfast and begin a long and scenic journey towards the sparkling Turquoise Coast over the magnificent Taurus mountains. A leisurely visit to two ancient cities situated close to the hotel.  With its architectural and archaeological wealth, Perge is one of the most interesting remains. Even though there is not much left to see on the Acropolis, there are wide porticoed streets, lined with many fine buildings, market places and a gymnasium and a beautiful Roman bath. Next on our itinerary is Aspendus whose theater is the best preserved in the ancient world with marvelous acoustics. Two of the other highlights will be the stadium and the aqueducts. Check into our hotel in Antalya,
Day 9 – Sun - Antalya (B,D)
Free at leisure. Dinner and overnight.
Optional Tour – Half Day
Our optional tour for half day will be the magnificent archaeological museum for the finds from Perge and other ancient cities and a walking tour in the Old Town in Antalya.
Day 10 – Mon - Antalya (B)
Free until your transfer time to the airport.

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