Istanbul, Adiyaman, Sanliurfa, Mardin, Van, Kars
Outdoor & Adventure, History & Culture, Off the Beaten
Eastern Turkey boasts of some of the world’s most important archaeological sites, a melting pot of cultures and fascinating stories from various bygone empires. This vast, less-explore region awaits the intrepid explorer looking to discover an incredible journey through ancient civilisations and biblical sites set among some incredible natural landscapes, without the crowds.
Encounter the hospitality of the locals, authentic Turkish culture, and sample the diverse cuisine, while in the company of our experienced local guide and travel concierge to elevate your experience of Eastern Turkey.
Twin Sharing: HKD 58,880
Single Supplement: HKD 6,960
Early Bird Offer
First two bookings with deposit (limit to two rooms) will get complimentary upgrade to Suite at Ramada by Wyndham Adiyaman and Hotel Cheltikov for 2 nights each.
20% deposit at booking
*Registration Closing Date
5 Feb 2024 or when tour is fully subscribed
Domestic Flight: Istanbul to Adiyaman
Upon arrival at Istanbul Airport, proceed to customs and immigrations for security clearance, after which you will continue to the domestic terminal to check-in for your flight to Adiyaman.
Transfer: Adiyaman Airport to Hotel
Upon arrival at Adiyaman Airport, you will be met by your English-speaking guide and taken to a local restaurant for lunch. Transfer to your hotel to rest after today’s long journey.
Sunrise at Mount Nemrut
The early start today is well worth it! You will be catching a sunrise at a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of the most fascinating archaeological sites of the Middle East – Mount Nemrut or Mountain of Gods. Enjoy a picnic breakfast with the spectacular view.
Yeni Kale and Pirin Medieval Ruins
Visit the medieval ruins of Yeni Kale, which means new castle, situated above the village of Kocahisar and built on a narrow mountain spur high above a Seljuk bridge spanning the Kahta Cayi gorge.
Next, a 1-hour drive brings us to the ancient city of Perre, today called Pirin. The city ruins and 208 caves in the rocks that are of historical importance. Synonymous for its burial caves and cities built into the hills, one of the largest cities of the Commagene Kingdom dating back to 162BC, the Pirin Caves is a stunning collection of rock tombs in striking resemblance to Cappadocia.
Halfeti and Rumkale
We will drive about 1.5 hours to the stunning village of Halfeti, on the banks of the Euphrates River in South-eastern Anatolia. Much of Halfeti is submerged due to the building of the Birecik Dam and the new village was moved to Karaotlak.
Enjoy a boat tour in “Old Halfeti” as you learn about its fate. Until the area was flooded in 1999, the people lived from fishing in the Euphrates and farming on the riverbank, especially growing peanuts and the area’s famous black roses. Admire the Rumkale from your boat, an ancient fortress first built by Assyrians, later occupied by various Byzantine and Armenian warlords during the Middle Ages.
Harran the Legendary Village
Travel towards west bank of the Balikh River to explore the ancient city of Harran, a major crossroad for primary trade routes from ancient Mesopotamia to the west. The most distinctive aspect of Harran is its mud beehive houses, and you can visit models of these at the Harran Cultural Centre. Harran also has a “kale” (fortress) dating from the 11th Century, an impressive city wall and ancient remains of abandoned caravanserais and mosques.
Thereafter, drive to Sanliurfa and check-in to your hotel.
Sanliurfa: The Birthplace of Abraham
Today, visit the Gobekli Tepe, pre-dating Stonehenge by more than 6,000 years, from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A period, and celebrated as the world’s first and oldest temple. Then, proceed to Karahan Tepe, which is later discovered to be possibly even older than Gobekli Tepe.
After lunch, visit Abraham’s Pool (Balikli Gol), the Great Mosque and Abraham’s Cave to discover the ancient city’s association of the great patriarch.
Journey to Mardin
Leave Sanliurfa and continue our eastern endeavour to the ancient city of Mardin, where it was under the rule of the Hittites, Surs, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Arabs and the Seljuk Turks. It is about 3 hours’ journey to this city of honey-colored, sandstone buildings perched on the southern slope of a hill. Explore the labyrinthine alleys of the old town and soak in the atmosphere and architecture on foot.
Mardin and Dara
Today, visit the ancient Roman ruins of Dara, where Mesopotamia’s first dam and irrigation canals were built. Discover the ancient stairways, underground aqueducts and cisterns of one of south-eastern Anatolia’s forgotten gems, which were only recently opened to public.
En-route back to Mardin, we visit the Deyrul Zafaran Monastery, once the seat of the Syrian Orthodox patriarchate, and built on the site of a temple dedicated to the sun. Church services are still held in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
Enjoy rest of the day at leisure in Mardin.
Journey from Mardin to Van
Depart Mardin for a full day long drive to Van. We will first drive about 2 hours to Hasankeyf for private boat tour of the village that is submerged with the completion of the new Ilisu Dam project.
After lunch continue approximately 5 hours drive to Van, and check into hotel.
Lake Van and its Surroundings
Devote the day to exploring the wonderful sights around scenic Lake Van. Visit Van Museum, an archaeology and ethonography museum which showcases ancient Urartian artifacts. Proceed to Van Castle that was part of the Urartu Kingdom, built on a rocky hill overlooking the waters of Lake Van.
Then, head to Gevas Cemetery, comprising of tombstones dating from the 14th to 17th centuries. Look out for the polygonal Halime Hatun Türbesi, built in 1358 for a female member of the Karakoyunlu dynasty.
The highlight of sodium-rich Lake Van would have to be the spectacular 10th century Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island accessed by a 20-minute ferry ride. Akdamar Church was built between 915 and 921. It has amazing reliefs on its’ walls which include lots of stories from The Old Testament and numerous creatures.
Muradiye Falls and Dogubeyazit
After breakfast, drive about 3 hours to Dogubeyazit, en-route stop at the elegant cascades of Muradiye Falls, and the historical Devil’s Bridge.
Arriving in Dogubeyazit, visit the beautiful 17th-century Ishak Pasha Palace semi-ruins, perched on a small hill overlooking the city. It is one of the most magnificent and lavish examples of Ottoman architecture. We then continue to the Noah’s Ark mound situated on a hillside and is one of a few possible ark sites around Mount Ararat.
Thereafter, continue approximately 3-hour drive to Kars.
Ani and Kars
This morning, we will drive about 1.5 hours to the stunning medieval ruins of Ani, the “City of 1,001 Churches”, a must-visit in this part of the country, surrounded by remote landscapes near the border with Armenia.
Return to Kars to explore this impressive city once colonized by Russians, filled with historic buildings including the Fethiye Mosque (formerly Alexander Nevsky Church), Russian Consulate, Revenue Office, and Governor’s mansion. We will also visit Armenian and Ottoman buildings of the old Armenian Church and Evliya Mosque.
Head to the historic Kars Castle that is sitting atop a hill for a panoramic view of the city, first built in the mid-12th Century during the Bagratuni Armenian period.
After lunch, transfer to Kars Airport for your domestic flight back to Istanbul for your connecting international flight.
Ramada by Wyndham Adiyaman • Doubletree by Hilton Sanliurfa • Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Mardin • DoubleTree by Hilton Van • Hotel Cheltikov
Situated in the historic city of Adiyaman, and conveniently located 25 kilometers from Adiyaman Airport (ADF). This Wyndham group property features contemporary furnishings with natural tones and wooden flooring, and has a fitness centre. (Opened: 2021; Rooms: 86)View More
A new international chain hotel ideally situated in south Sanliurfa, and a stone's throw from Urfa City Avm shopping mall. This modern hotel encompasses a fitness centre, spa, indoor pool and large event spaces. (Opened in 2023; Rooms: 190)View More
This international hotel offers bright rooms with contemporary furnishings, and excellent leisure facilities from indoor and outdoor pools, an extensive fitness centre and spa with lovely hammams.(Renovated: 2020; Rooms: 220)View More
Just steps away from the shores of Lake Van, this modern hotel offers lovely views over the water from its contemporary rooms. A short drive from the city of Van, it is well positioned for excursions to the region’s key attractions, with leisure facilities including an indoor pool, spa and fitness centre - perfect for relaxing after a full day of exploration. (Renovated: 2018; Rooms: 100)View More
Housed in a historic building that was built in 1874 as a private family mansion and later serving as an opera house, day care school, military pharmacy warehouse and maternity hospital, this boutique hotel has since been refurbished, with comfortable rooms and period furnishings that gives it plenty of character. (Opened: 2011; Rooms: 27)View More
04 May, Hong Kong – Istanbul (TK071), 23:00 – 05:25
16 May, Istanbul – Hong Kong (TK070), 01:35 – 17:05
Registration Closing Date: 5 Feb 2024 or when tour is fully subscribed
Kindly call us at (852) 2885 2181 if you require any immediate assistance.