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EPHESUS
A visit to Ephesus - once the commercial center of the ancient world - is an highlight of any visit to Turkey. The city, whose wealth and patronage supported its splendid architectural program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Her enormous temple, once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world and rebuilt several times, dates in its latest form from the third century B.C. Ephesus is one of those ancient sites, which keeps in visitors' mind as an unforgetable impression. Under the Romans the town was at the zenith known as one of the highest development towns of Anatoia, leading in art and culture, nearly 300.000 inhabitants and was one of the richest portmetropols with magnificient buildings. The ruins also include a theatre, gymnasium, agora and baths as well as the famous Library of Celsus.
It is recorded that St.John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Christ. And She spent her last days in a small house built for her on Mt.Koressos. Now a popular place of pilgrimage for Christians and Muslims.The house was received the official sanction of the Vatikan, and Cristians observe a commemoration ceramony every year on August 15 th. A half day tour to Ephesus consists of visiting the ancient city ruins, Artemis Temple. A full day tour (with lunch) in addition to above a visit of Isa Bey Mosque and the home of Virgin Mary.

A visit to Efes (Ephesus), once the commercial center of the ancient world, is a highlight of any visit to Turkey. The city, whose wealth and patronage supported its splendid architectural program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Her enormous temple, once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and rebuilt several times, in its latest form dates from the third century B.C. The ruins also include a theater, gymnasium, agora and baths, as well as the Library of Celsus.

The nearby town of Seljuk is dominated by a Byzantine citadel which stands close to the 6th-century basilica of St. John, supposedly built on the site of the apostle's tomb. The 14th-century Isa Bey Mosque, next to the basilica is accessed through its typical Seljuk portal. The Archaeological Museum houses an impressive collection of statues and other finds recovered during the excavations at Ephesus. The nearby Turkish Bath Museum, in a 16th century building, shows Turkish life at the hamam (bath). The Ephesus International Festival of Culture and Tourism is held annually in May.

Tradition has it that, after the death of Christ, John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus where she is said to have spent her last days in a small house (Meryemana Evi) built for her on Bulbuldagi (Mt. Koressos). Now a place of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics and a popular attraction for everyone, the house has received the official sanction of the Vatican, and a commemoration ceremony is held every year on August 15th. Near Seljuk is a TCDD Open-air Steam Locomotives Museum displaying historic train cars in Camlik. Sirince is 9 km east of Seljuk, known for its traditional 19th-century homes, some of which have been converted into guest houses. Wine is produced in this small hillside Turkish village, which itself resembles an open-air museum. Eighteen km from Seljuk are wine houses, for tasting the wines.

CAPPADOCIA - KAPADOKYA

Nevsehir a provincial capital, is the gateway to Cappadocia. In the town itself are the hilltop Seljuk castle, perched on the highest point in the city, and the Kursunlu Mosque, built for the Grand Vizier Damat Ibrahim Pasha. The mosque is part of a complex of buildings which includes a medrese (theological college), hospice and library. An ablution fountain in the courtyard still bears its original inscription. The Nevsehir Museum displays local artifacts. Violent eruptions of the volcanoes Mt. Erciyes (3,916 meters) and Mt. Hasan (3,268 meters) long ago covered the plateau surrounding Nevsehir with tufa, a soft stone comprised of lava, ash and mud. The wind and rain have eroded this brittle rock and created a spectacular surrealistic landscape of rock cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines, in colors that range from warm reds and golds to cool greens and greys. Locals call these fascinating capped pinnacles "peri bacalari" or "fairy chimneys." Goreme National Park, known in Roman times as Cappadocia, is one of those rare regions in the world where the works of man blend unobtrusively into the natural surroundings. Dwellings have been hewn from the rocks as far back as 4,000 B.C. During Byzantine times, chapels and monasteries were hollowed out of the rock, their ochre-toned frescoes reflecting the hues of the surrounding landscape. Even today, cave dwellings in rock cones and village houses of volcanic tufa merge harmoniously into the landscape.

Urgup, a lively tourist center at the foot of a rock ridge riddled with old dwellings, serves as an excellent base from which to tour the sights of Cappadocia. In Urgup itself you can still see how people once lived in homes cut into the rock. If you wish to buy carpets and kilims, there is a wide selection available from the town's many carpet dealers, who are as colorful as their hares, offering tea, coffee or a glass of wine to their customers and engaging in friendly conversation. If sightseeing and shopping haven't exhausted you, the disco welcomes you to another kind of entertainment. At the center of a successful wine-producing region, Urgup hosts an annual International Wine Festival in October.

Leaving Urgup and heading south, you reach the lovely isolated Pancarlik Valley where you can stop to see the 12th century church with its splendid frescoes, and the Kepez church, which dates from the 10th century. Continue on to the typical village of Mustafapasa (Sinasos), where traditional stone houses with carved and decorated facades evoke a former age. Travel on in a southerly direction, just past the village of Cemil, where a footpath on the west side of the road leads to Keslik Valley where you will find a monastery complex and the Kara and Meyvali Kiliseler (churches), both decorated with frescoes. Back on the main road you find the village of Taskinpasa where the 14th century Karamanid Mosque and Mausoleum Complex, and the remains of a medrese portal on the edge of town make for a pleasant diversion. The next village is Sahinefendi where the 12th-century Kirksehitler church, adorned with beautiful frescoes, stands at the end of a footpath 500 meters east of the village.

Soganli Valley, 50 km south of Urgup, is picturesque with its innumerable chapels, churches, halls, houses and tombs. The frescoes, from the 8th to the 13th centuries, trace the development of Byzantine painting. Four km north of Urgup is the wonderful Devrent Valley, where the weather has eroded the stone into peaks, cones and obelisks called fairy chimneys.

Two km west, in the Catalkaya Valley, the fairy chimneys have a peculiar mushroom-like shape, which has been adopted as a symbol of the town.

The Goreme Open-Air Museum, a monastic complex of rock churches and chapels covered with frescoes, is one of the best-known sites in central Turkey. Most of the chapels date from the 10th to the 13th centuries (the Byzantine and Seljuk periods) and many of them are built on an inscribed cross-plan with a central cupola supported by four columns. In the north annexes of several churches are cut-rock tombs. Among the most famous of the Goreme churches are the Elmali Church, the smallest and most recent of the group; the Yilanli Church with fascinating frescoes of the damned entwined in serpent coils; the Barbara Church; and the Carikli Church. A short way from the main group, the Tokali Kilise, or Buckle Church, has beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the New Testament. The town of Goreme is set right in the middle of a valley of cones and fairy chimneys. Some of the cafes, restaurants and guest-houses are carved into the rock. For shoppers, rugs and kilims are plentiful. Continuing on the road out of Goreme you enter one of the most beautiful valleys in the area. Rock formations rise up before you at every turn and entice you to stop and wonder at their creation. For those who climb the steps to the top of the Uchisar fortress the whole region unfolds below. Rugs, kilims, and popular souvenirs can easily be purchased from the shops which line Uchisar's narrow streets.

At Cavusin, on the road leading north out of Goreme you will find a triple-apse church and the monastery of St. John the Baptist. In the town are chapels and churches, and some of the rock houses are still inhabited. From Cavusin to Zelve, fairy chimneys line the road. Unfortunately, it is dangerous to visit the churches in the Zelve valley because erosion has undermined the floors. The charming town of Avanos, on the banks of the Kizilirmak River, boasts attractive local architecture and is known for its handicrafts. Every August the town hosts an Art and Tourism Festival where a creative, friendly atmosphere pervades. Pottery is the most popular handicraft and it is usually possible to try your hand at making a pot in one of the many studios. Rug weaving and knotting is also making a come-back. Leaving Avanos in a southerly direction you come to an interesting Seljuk caravanserai, Sarihan.

On the Nevsehir - Urgup road you can't miss Ortahisar and its carved-rock fortress. The churches in the Balkan Valley are some of the oldest in the Goreme region. In the neighboring Hallac Valley, the Hallac Monastery displays decorations from the 10th and the 11th centuries. North of Ortahisar, the Kizilcukur Valley is breathtakingly beautiful, especially at sunset. in the valley is the 9th-century Uzumlu church.

The underground cities of Kaymakli, Mazi, Derinkuyu, Tatlarin, and Ozkonak were all used by Christians of the seventh century, who were fleeing from persecution. They sheltered from the iconoclastic strife of Byzantium as well as other invasions in these safe and well-hidden complexes. These cities were a complete and self-sufficient environment, areas for grain storage, stables, sleeping chambers, kitchens and air shafts. Today they are well-lit and an essential and fascinating part of a Cappadocian tour.

PAMUKKALE HIERAPOLIS
A spectacular natural wonder of the world are the calcified waterfalls of Pamukkale, which means "Cotton Castle". Thermal springs waters, laden with calcium carbonate running off the plateaus edge, have formed this sparkling white petrified cascade of basins ringed bystalagtites. The thermal waters have been used since Roman times for their therapeutic powers. 190 B.C. the ancient city hierapolis was founded and in the 2 nd and 3 rd centuries it reached the hight of it's development as a Roman thermal bath center. City walls, the octagonal Martyrium of St.Philip, theatre, Apollo temple, these all are witnesses of a very splendid past.

This full day tour (with lunch) includes the visit of the basins and the ancient city Hierapolis. After lunch possibility to swim in the thermal water
PRIENE
Priene was one of the most active ports of the Ionian Federation. In the fourth century B.C. it was new founded by the Architect Hippodomes of Miletos.(also the architect of Hagia Sophia) His gridlike system of the streets is a superb and early example of town planning.

MILETOS
Miletos like Priene, was a great Ionian port and the birtplace of many philosophers and the sages. The population was 80.000 at the zenith. The theatre justifies a visit and be sure to see the well preserved ruins of the Faustina therms. DIDYMA, is the gratest temple site of Turkey. The oracle of the Apollo Temple was after them of Delphi the most important of Asia Minor. The temple district was under the administration of Miletos, with it was connected by a 16 km long parad street. A Superb, full day excursion with lunch, taking in 3 impessive cities of Ionian era. In the morning a short visit to the weekly market in Söke. The golden sands and warm seea at Didyma offers an excellent oportunity for refreshment and enjoyment when you stop for a relaxing lunch.

CANAKKALE (GALLIPOLI & TROY & ANZACS)

The city of Canakkale lies at the narrow, 1,200 meter entrance to the Canakkale Strait (the Dardanelles) that connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean. Passenger and car ferries run daily between Canakkale on the Asian side and Eceabat and Kilitbahir on the European side. Yachts navigating the straits stop at the well-equipped Canakkale Marina to allow tourists more time in the area. Hotels, restaurants-and cafes along the promenade, offer a place to enjoy the traffic in the harbor, as well as a view of the Kilitbahir Fortress and the Canakkale Archeological Museum.

In 1451, Sultan Mehmet 11, later the conqueror of Istanbul, built one fortress on the European side of the Canakkale Strait at Kilitbahir and one on the opposite shore at Cimenlik to control the passage of ships through the strait. Today the Cimenlik fortress serves as a military museum dedicated to the World War I Battle of Canakkale.

Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park was established to honor the 500,000 soldiers who gave their lives on Gelibolu, also known as Gallipoli. In 1915, MustafaKemal, commander of the Turkish army, led a successful campaign to drive out allied powers from the area. The park includes memorials, monuments, cemeteries, amid the natural beauty of the Ariburnu Cliffs and Tuz Golu (Salt Lake). The beauty of the green hills, sandy beaches and blue waters provides an honorable resting place for the soldiers who bravely fought and died in this historic battle. You cannot help but sense the heart of the Turkish nation in the patriotic spirit of the place.

The largest of the Turkish islands, Gokceada is ringed with pristine bays. Its hills, covered with pine and olive trees, are dotted with sacred springs and monasteries. Regularly scheduled ferries make the trip from Canakkale and Kabatepe. In August, islanders and tourists gather for colorful local fairs.

As you approach Bozcaada Island, the Venetian castle commands your attention. Then your eyes are drawn to the glistening white houses and the restaurants and cafes which line the promenade. Wine seems as plentiful as water on this island and the consequence of numerous vineyards and wine cellars. There are good sandy beaches at Ayazma, Poyraz and Igdelik.

TROY (TRUVA)

The Fact and Fiction Surrounding the 4000 Year Old Ancient City

Troy existed more than 4000 years as the center of ancient civilization. For many years, it was commonly believed that Troy was a myth, the product of fertile imaginations such as Homer’s, who made Hector, Helen, Achilles, Paris, Agamemnon and Priam so famous. That changed in 1822, when the city’s remains were discovered by Charles Mclaren. Still many wondered if the Trojan War really happened. Did Helen of Troy exist? Was there a real wooden horse?

Once known as Ilium or New Ilium, Troy (Truva) is located in Hisarlik at Canakkale, in the west of Turkey on the Dardanelles, the strait that divides Europe and Asia as it connects the Agean and Marmara Seas. Here at a place that changed the history of the world during World War I with the Gelibolu Campaign, the remains of Troy can be visited today.

The legend of Troy began with Greek and Latin literature. Homer first mentioned it in the Iliad and Odyssey. Later it became a most popular subject in Greek drama, the city’s tale told to generation after generation.

During the Bronze Age, Troy has a great power because of its strategic location between Europe and Asia. In the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC, it was a major cultural center. However, after the fabled Trojan War, Troy was apparently abandoned from 1100 to 700 BC, when Greek settlers began to occupy the region. Troy was resettled and renamed Ilion. Alexander the Great ruled over the area around the 4th century BC. After the Roman capture of Troy in 85 BC, the city was partially restored by General Sulla. However, once the Romans occupied Constantinople(Istanbul), Troy lost its importance.

Troy was destroyed many times and rebuilt. So far, archaeologists have found nine levels; perhaps others are still hidden. However, efforts to uncover more of Troy’s secrets were severely hampered by the destruction wreaked on the site by German archaeologist Heinrich Schlieman, who excavated the city from 1870 to 1890. His theft of treasure from Troy and his damage to its remains will always be remembered in Turkish archaeological history.

BODRUM

Bodrum, known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, was the birthplace of Heredotus and the site of the Tomb of King Mausolus (4th century B.C.), one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

An impressive medieval castle built by the Knights of Rhodes guards the entrance to Bodrum's dazzling blue bay, where the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas meet. This Bodrum Castle, or Castle of St. Peter overlooking the harbor is a fine example of 15th-century crusader architecture. It has been converted into the Museum of Underwater Archeology, displaying artifacts dating as far back as the Bronze Age. Vases from the 8th and 9th centuries B.C. are also part of the collection. The stunning panoramic view from nearby Goktepe is often photographed by visitors to the Museum's 2nd century theater. There is also a hamam (Turkish bath) museum in Bodrum dating from the early 1900's.

The town's charm is well-known, attracting a wide variety of international vacationers who stroll along its long, palm-lined waterfront, while elegant yachts crowd the marina.

Not far from town, you can swim in absolutely clear, tideless, warm seas. Divers will want to explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations. The waters offer up multicolored sponges of all shapes and sizes, along with octopi and an immense variety of other aquatic life.

Although the reputation of Bodrum's boat yards dates back to ancient times, today craftsmen still build the traditional yachts: the tirhandil with a pointed bow and stern, and the broad beamed, rounded stern gulette. The latter are frequently used for excursions and pleasure trips, as well as in the annual October Bodrum Cup Race.

The yearly throng of visitors has encouraged small entrepreneurs to make shopping in Bodrum a delight. Leather goods of all kinds, natural sponges and the local blue glass beads are among the bargains to be found in the friendly little shops along the narrow, white- walled streets. Charming boutiques offer kilims, carpets, sandals and embroidery as well as original fashions in soft cotton.

Bodrum has gained the reputation of being a center of the Turkish art community with its lively, friendly and Bohemian atmosphere and many small galleries. This community has encouraged an informal daytime lifestyle and an exciting nightlife. Early evenings in Bodrum are for savoring fresh seafood and other Aegean specialties of the many restaurants.

Afterwards, night clubs (some with cabaret) and superb discos keep you going until dawn. The beautiful Bodrum Peninsula suits holiday makers interested in a subdued and relaxing atmosphere. Enchanting villages, with guest houses and small hotels on quiet bays, dot the peninsula. On the southern coast, Bardakci, Gumbet, Bitez, Aktur, Ortakent Yalisi, Karaincir, Bagla and Akyarlar have fine, sandy beaches (Bitez, Ortakent and Aktur are blue-flag beaches). Campers and windsurfers enjoy Gumbet, and at Bitez colorful sailboards weave skillfully among the yachts in the bay. On shore you can enjoy quiet walks through the orange and tangerine groves bordering the beach. Ortakent has one of the longest stretches of sandy beach in the area and offers an ideal place for relaxing in solitude. One of the most beautiful beaches on the Bodrum peninsula is Karaincir, ideal for active days by the sea and relaxed, leisurely evenings with local villagers. Finally, Akyarlar enjoys a well-deserved reputation for the fine, powdery sands of its beach.

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