Trip Number: 13585A
Price: $4,445 (12-15)
$5,095 (or fewer)
Staff: Martha Greason
- Explore Istanbul’s magnificent setting and history
- Walk ancient paths in Ephesus, Troy, Aphrodisias, and Pergamum
- See Cappadocia’s lunar landscape and cave dwellings of early Christians
- Expert bilingual guides throughout
- Airport transfers, two internal flights, comfortable bus, Bosphorus
- All entrance fees and lodging, and most meals
- All tips for hotels, meals, guides, and drivers
Photo: Martha Greason
Our trip begins in fabled Istanbul and continues into Anatolia (classical Asia
Minor). We will admire artifacts and architecture from the many civilizations
that have flourished here. These include extensive Greek and Roman archeological
sites, impressive mosques, and underground cities where early Christians eluded
persecution. History comes alive as we wonder at the remains of the Greek, Roman
Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires and appreciate the emergence of a modern republic
under their great hero, Ataturk.
We will see breathtaking scenery -- mountains, valleys, plains, and seas --
take pleasant walks among the wildflowers, and enjoy delicious Turkish food.
We'll enjoy long days and pleasant temperatures. We'll travel chiefly by private
bus, but also by foot and on two internal flights. Along the way we'll meet
and be welcomed by the friendly Turkish people and stay in unique, charming
Day 1: Magnificent Istanbul! You will be met upon arrival
and transferred to our hotel in the old part of the city and within easy walking
distance of most of the must-see places. The hotel's style reflects both Ottoman
and Byzantine elegance with modern touches throughout. The welcome dinner will
be the first meal of the trip.
Day 2: We'll enjoy a morning visit to one of Istanbul's smaller
mosques, the Rustem Pasa Mosque, famous for its exceptionally fine tiles. Later,
we'll cruise up the Bosphorus on a private boat gliding past opulent palaces,
exquisite mosques, imposing fortresses, and traditional wooden Ottoman mansions.
After our luncheon overlooking the harbor, we'll explore the Spice Market with
the enticing displays of Turkish delight, barrels of spices and herbs, pistachios
soaked in honey (one of many Turkish aphrodisiacs), fine linens, and hundreds
of other exotic items. Then we'll continue on to the Topkapi Palace, built in
1453, which was the lavish home to the sultans for many centuries. In the treasury
section we can see the jewel-encrusted thrones, the world's largest emerald,
and the famous Topkapi dagger. Dinner will be in a small, typical restaurant
in the old city.
Photo: Martha Greason
Day 3: Another full day of sightseeing will include the Roman
Hippodrome, the Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum and the cool, serene Underground
Cistern, built in A.D. 375 to provide water storage for the ancient city. We
will then visit the monumental Hagia Sophia Basilica, jewel of the Byzantine
Empire, which was opened by Emperor Justinian in A.D. 537. It was used as a
Christian church for 916 years, as a mosque for 481 years, and by order of the
founder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk, was made into a museum in 1934. After
a luncheon in the garden of a restored Ottoman mansion, we'll explore the Grand
Bazaar. There are 18 entrances and over 4,000 shops in this, the world's largest
covered market. We'll make an evening visit to the Blue Mosque to appreciate
its intricate, delightful interior. Dinner will be at a restaurant frequented
Day 4: Today we leave Istanbul, traveling southwest along
the shore of the Sea of Marmara to cross the Dardanelles into Asia at Canakkale.
We continue to the legendary city of Troy, where Greek and Trojan heroes fought
the Trojan War (13th century B.C.) for the honor of the beautiful Helen. We
will spend the night in Guzelyah, a seaside village that is surrounded by deep
green woods with a pleasant pine smell in the east. To the west, we will be
on the Canakkale Strait (the Dardanelles) with its completely deep blue sea
in the west. The population of this town is about 500 in the winter and about
5,000 in the spring and summer seasons. We will be there at the end of the winter
season. Optional activity: body massage.
Day 5: Our visit to the hilltop ruins of Pergamum brings us
to one of the most dramatic sites in the ancient world. It boasted the largest
library with 200,000 scrolls, most of which were given to Cleopatra by Mark
Anthony. The theater, which held 10,000 people, is still fairly intact. Nearby
Asklepion was one of the leading medical institutions of the Roman age. We'll
go on to Kusadasi for the next four nights. Dinner will be at one of the waterfront
Day 6: Today we'll visit three smaller, but exquisite, archeological
treasures. Priene is one of the most intact Hellenistic settlements to be seen,
with the superb Temple of Athena a highlight. It is the earliest example of
urban planning. Militius is impressive for its gigantic theater and Didyma for
its Temple of Apollo, built to honor the god of prophecy and oracles. Dinner
will be at one of the waterfront restaurants.
Day 7: Perhaps you've heard the words, "a reading from
St. Paul to the Ephesians." Today you can sit in the same theater where
St. Paul preached. Ephesus is overwhelming, yet still the best-preserved Roman
city (and perhaps the best place in the world) to get the feeling for what life
was like in Roman times. Here we will also see luxurious terrace houses decorated
with mosaics and frescoes rivaling those of Pompeii. After lunch in the pastoral
village of Sirince, we'll visit the house where the Virgin Mary spent the last
years of her life, and also the Sel Cuk Museum. Dinner will be on your own tonight.
Photo: Martha Greason
Day 8: Today we'll drive to the delightful "frozen waterfalls"
and healing hot mineral springs of Pamukkale and the nearby ruins of Hierapolis.
We'll explore lovely Aphrodisias, the city and temple dedicated to the goddess
of love and one of the finest ancient stadiums ever built. Dinner will be in
Days 9-12: From the Izmir airport, we'll fly to Kayseri in
the land of bewitching geological wonders that is Cappadocia. Early traders
called these formations, "Fairy Chimneys." Here Byzantine Christians
formed communities and carved churches in the rock. Some are beautifully painted
and now ours to appreciate. We'll visit Zelve Valley with elaborate cave shelters
carved into the rocks centuries ago, the amazing underground city of Kaymakli,
and the dwellings and early churches in the Goreme open-air museum. Cappadocia
is perfect for getting out and walking. On our three- to four-mile hikes we
can better appreciate this magical countryside. This is the center of carpet-
and pottery-making, so we'll learn how these traditional arts are still alive.
We'll visit a Caravansary and imagine the camel caravans of old stopping for
rest here during their trek across the "Silk Road." For those interested,
there is an optional balloon ride. (Not included in the trip cost.) Our hotel
for these nights is one of the "cave hotels" as most rooms have been
carved out of the surrounding rock. Dinner will be on your own one night.
Day 13: From the airport in Kayseri, we will fly to Istanbul.
There will be time for some last-minute shopping before our farewell dinner.
Day 14: After breakfast you will be transferred to the Istanbul
airport for your flight home.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Martha Greason
Our accommodations are very comfortable and modern. Every room has private
bath facilities. The trip price is based on double-occupancy. Singles are very
welcome and will be assigned a roommate of the same gender. For anyone preferring
a single room, the leader will make that request. If it is possible to provide
the single room, there will be an additional cost.
Turkish food is very tasty and healthy, with an emphasis on fresh fruits and
vegetables. Vegetarians are easily accommodated. For any special dietary requirements,
inquire to the leader.
All breakfasts and lunches are included except for two lunches. Most dinners
are included except for three dinners. Lunches are formal meals.
This trip is designed for anyone in above average condition. No special athletic
ability is required, but you must be able to walk a mile or two without difficulty.
The hikes are optional, do not entail climbing, and are not more than four miles
in length. Everywhere elevations are below 5,000 feet.
You'll need stamina for museum and historic-sight touring. The ground at the
archeological sites is uneven and rocky. Temperatures in mid-spring should be
very pleasant. The daytime highs range around 70 F on the Aegean and inland.
But in Cappadocia the nighttime lows could be around 50 degrees.
Here are a few to get you started. The leader will provide participants
with a more complete list of her favorites.
- Armstrong, Karen, Islam: A Short History.
- Atl, Esin, Turkish Art.
- Bilgen-Reinart, Porcelain Moon and Pomegranates: A Woman's Trek
- Kinzer, Stephen, Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds.
- Lewis, Bernard, The Emergence of Modern Turkey.
- Pope, N & H, Turkey Unveiled.
- Eyewitness Travel Guides, Turkey.
- Lonely Planet: Turkey.
Photo: Martha Greason
Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about conservation
and sustainability of resources, both locally and globally. Our work is accomplished
by volunteers, aided by a salaried staff, encouraging grassroots involvement.
Our outings seek to empower participants toward environmentally understanding
parallel concerns at home and abroad.
Ancient archaeological sites are a natural attraction to tourists whose spending
supports the economy of nearby residents. However, the settlements become vulnerable
to population growth as everyone wants a share of this growing economy. It is
difficult to achieve a balance between protection of the sites and the development
of the economy.
Air pollution is a real blight, especially in winter because of burning of
lignite for heating. A special problem for Turkey, again related to energy,
is the use of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits as a tanker route to transport
Caspian oil from Russian ports to Western Europe. There have been several major
accidents over the past few years in these narrow channels.
Turkey is far ahead of the United States in the use of solar power. We'll learn
how almost every home in Turkey heats its water, and the other uses of solar
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Marti Greason began leading Sierra trips in Florida a dozen years ago. Since that time she has led folks to different areas of the world such as the Grand Canyon, US Virgin Islands, Austria, Czech Republic, and Turkey. She enjoys presenting new lands and different cultures to travelers. Most of all she likes to encourage participants to touch the ground and marvel at Mother Nature, especially in one of the most photographed place of all, Pamukkale, where the delightful frozen waterfalls remain ever so still. Her mode of travel ranges from backpacking to business travel. Her love of the outdoors started when she joined the Girl Scouts. Marti resides in Arizona. She looks forward to accompanying you to springtime in Turkey!
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips