GETAWAYS: Ancient Constantinople & Ephesus

Tour Code :PER047GAW
City :ISTANBUL
Tour Name :Ancient Constantinople & Ephesus
Tour Dates :ARRIVE ISTANBUL ANY DAY
Duration :3 Nights | 4 Days
Available Languages :EN

STORIES OF BYGONE YEARS

This program gives you a good opportunity to visit two destinations of unparalleled significance in the human history, ancient Constantinople & ancient Ephesus. One of them is modern Istanbul, a country inside the country, that draws millions of visitors every year offering inexhaustible treasures of history & architecture, while Ephesus is included into the UNESCO World Heritage list and comprises successive Hellenistic and Roman settlements of different periods in history.

Day 1 ... | ISTANBUL | 2 Nights

ARRIVAL

Arrive in Istanbul and make your own way to the hotel for overnight

Meal (s): no meals
Hotel (s): ST, FC, SF* (see hotel class key below) 

Day 2 | ISTANBUL

HIPPODROME, HAGIA SOPHIA, BLUE MOSQUE, GRAND BAZAAR, TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM, LITTLE HAGIA SOPHIA MOSQUE

After breakfast join a full day tour of the City Old Quarters and first, visit Hagia Sophia Cathedral Museum (closed on Mon between end of Oct & beginning of Apr). The church of Holy Wisdom built by the Emperor Justinian circa AD 535, is undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural creations in the world. Nowhere is Istanbul's exceptional status as former capital of both the Christian and Islamic empires more evident than in this monumental basilica crowned with four minarets.

Then, stroll through the former Imperial Hippodrome and see the impressive granite Obelisk of Theodosius carved in Egypt around 1450 BC; so-called Serpentine Column, brought from the Temple of Apollo Delphi Greece; the Colossus or the column of Constantine Porphyrgenitus; the German Fountain or Fountain of Kaiser Wilhelm II that commemorates the alliance of German Empire and Ottoman Empire against the allied powers of Russia, Great Britain, France and Japan before the World War I.

Directly facing Hagia Sophia, raises another architectural masterpiece, the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet or better known as Blue Mosque (closed on Fridays morning & will be visited afternoon), perhaps the most instantly recognizable - and unforgettable - silhouette on Istanbul's skyline. It was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 1600s to rival the grand old lady of Christianity. Peek inside to see the wall-to-wall over 20,000 glazed blue porcelain Iznik tiles, predominantly in shades of blue, that have given the mosque its popular name.

Spend some time on the Istanbul’s legendary Grand Covered Bazaar (closed on Sundays); a labyrinth of over 4,000 little shops, occupying 30.7 hectares. It is everything one dreams an oriental market could be and indeed one of the most fascinating and irresistible attractions of Istanbul. Established by Mehmet the Conqueror in mid-15th century, it is a small city in itself. Its shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons, and leather goods.

Have lunch at one of the local restaurants and continue to the Topkapi Palace (closed on Tuesdays) built between 1459 and 1465 as the seat of government of the newly installed Ottoman regime. The Great Palace of the Ottoman Sultans is the most extensive and fascinating monument of Ottoman civil architecture in existence. In addition to its architectural and historical interest, it contains as a museum, superb and unrivalled collections of porcelains, armor, fabrics, jewels, illuminated manuscripts, calligraphy and many objects of art formerly belonging to the Sultans. See the Pavilion of the Sacred Relics, the highlight of the museum - the Imperial Treasury, the newly renovated pavilion of palace Kitchens that houses an outstanding porcelain collection from all over the world, and tens of the other pavilions and exhibits.

Later, see Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, formerly the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus, a former Eastern Orthodox Church dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Constantinople, converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. Return to the hotel for overnight

Meal (s):  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3 | ISTANBUL | IZMIR | 1 Night

BOSPHORUS CRUISE, GOLDEN HORN PANORAMIC RIDE, FLIGHT TO IZMIR

After breakfast at the hotel be picked-up from the lobby and drive to the pier to take a regular touristic ferryboat that will take you for 1h30m enjoyable trip on the Bosphorus Strait. From your cruise boat, you will view the dramatic sights lining the Bosphorus’ wooded shores: mosques, the Bosphorus Bridge that for a time was the world longest, and the massive Rumeli Hisari, a fortress built by Fatih the Conqueror in just three months as he did preparations to conquer Istanbul. The 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultan’s fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges; most famous of them is Dolmabahçe Palace, yet another residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Pass by the Ortaköy area with its restaurants, bars and cafes. It was also an area were, through centuries three religions have peacefully coexisted: there are still active church, mosque & synagogue at the same area.

After disembarkation drive along the coast line of the Golden Horn, the arm of the Bosphorus and a natural harbour of the historical peninsula separating the old and the new parts of İstanbul where the first colonies settled during the Byzantines. The residential area for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders and other non-Muslim minorities. Drive along the traces of history at Balat viewing Metal Church of St. Stephen the Bulgarian, Jewish Hospital (Or-Ahayim), Fener Orthodox Patriarchate and 22 km Long Byzantine City Walls, strongest fortification of the middle age. Then, take a Cable car (funicular) to Pierre Loti. 

After the tour be transferred to the domestic airport for a short flight to Izmir. TK2328 departs IST 1600/arrives ADB 1705. Upon arrival meet and greet and be transferred to the hotel for overnight  

Meal (s): Breakfast
Hotel (s): ST, FC, SF * (see hotel class key below) 

Day 4 | IZMIR | ISTANBUL | DEPARTURE

EPHESUS OPEN AIR MUSEUM, TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS, ISA BEY MOSQUE, HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY

Have breakfast, check-out the hotel and join a tour of one of the most significant historical sites, the open air museum of the ancient Ephesus that recently has been included into the UNESCO World Heritage list. Ephesus is home to one of the oldest known human settlements, and even after 148 years of digs and discovery done by archeologists, only 20 percent of the ancient city has been recovered.
The continues excavations that started in the mid-19th century have revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsius, the Great Theatre, the legendary marble streets, Hadrian’s temple,  the Agora, the Temple of Domitian and the Tomb and Fountain of Polli, Roman baths, Grotto of St Paul, Prytanion, the Curates Street. 
Ancient City of Ephesus is an outstanding example of a Roman port city, with sea channel and harbour basin, one of important sites of the Mediterranean region, a city which was continuously inhabited from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages, mostly as the leading community in the region.

Later, make a short stop at the remains of the famous Temple of Artemis (Diana), one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean.

Lunch will be provided at one of the local restaurants during the tour.
After the lunch we will see Isa bey Mosque in Seljuk, a beautiful example of Seljuk architecture, which is the oldest known example of the Turkish Mosque.

Next visit will be to the House of Virgin Mary. Since the 5th century, the House of the Virgin Mary, a domed cruciform chapel near Ephesus, became a major place of Christian pilgrimage. According to predominant Christian tradition, Mary was brought to Ephesus by the Apostle John after the Resurrection of Christ and lived out her days there. Archeologists identified that the building dates from the 6th or 7th century but its foundations are much older and can be well dated from the 1st century AD when Mary lived. This site had long been a place of pilgrimage for local Orthodox Christians.
The House of the Virgin is a sacred site for both Christians and Muslims (Muslims also believe in the virgin birth and honor Mary as the mother of the Prophet Jesus – Isa)
After the tour be transferred to Izmir airport for a flight to Istanbul. TK2329, departs ADB 1800/ arrives IST1905

Upon arrival in Istanbul either make your own arrangements or choose extension of our services (i.e. hotel booking, transfer, extension tour packages, etc.)

Meal (s): Breakfast, Lunch

INCLUDES

- Professional English speaking guide on the tours
- Entrance fees to the museums featured on the itinerary
- 3 nights of accommodation at the featured hotels or similar with an open buffet breakfast daily
- 2 lunches at the local Turkish restaurants during the tours (all drinks are excluded)
- Airport transfers for domestic flights in Istanbul & Izmir

EXCLUDES

- Any personal expenses
- Meals unless specified above and any kind of drinks except for tea/coffee/juice during breakfast
- Airport transfers on the first day of the trip
- Airfare Istanbul - Izmir - Istanbul
- Tips and gratuities
- Optional activities cost
- Turkish visa fee
- Travel and Health insurance

NOTES

Airport Transfers
Pera-Kaktüs Travel pleased to offer complimentary airport transfers at any time either on the first or last day of the holiday or on other days in conjunction with pre- and post-trip accommodation booked through Pera-Kaktüs Travel. Note that flight times must be provided to Pera-Kaktüs Travel no fewer than 21 days before flight departure.

Air
All featured flights are indicative; the airline and flight number can change on the time of the actual booking but the flight times will be similar or very close to those featured on the itinerary.  

Disclaimer
- These prices are LAND-ONLY. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however prices and itineraries are subject to change, please confirm all details and final cost at time of booking.
- For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Term & Conditions page. Conditions can be found in the footer under Information.
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- This is a scheduled MINI group
- Group might consist maximum of 16 people
- Group might include the people of different nationalities, cultures, ages and interests
- The regular tour is of a good value, but may not be the best choice for those who have special interests and/or concerns about keeping up with, or being held back by, a group.
- Touring is paced to allow the average traveler reasonable time to enjoy each site

Please note: 
- On Mondays, when Hagia Sophia is closed, we visit the Yerebatan Museum (the Underground Roman Cisterns), built by Emperor Justinian in 532, possibly as an enlargement of an earlier cistern of Constantine. The vast awesome columned cavern was the water source for both the Grand Palace of the Byzantine and for the Ottoman’s Topkapi Palace. It is 140 meters long by 70 meters wide with 336 columns. 
- In winter the Dolmabahçe (Bezm-i Alem Valide) Mosque is visited instead of the Yildiz Royal Gardens
 
- Harem Section of the Topkapi Palace is not included into the program. Should you wish to visit it, you may do so during the free time your guide will give you 
- While visiting mosques, please cover your shoulders, knees & women, additionally, heads 
- Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, during Ramadan Festivities (5-6-7 July 2016), Kurban Festivities (12-13-14-15 September 2016), National Republic Day (29 October 2016), and will be replaced by other authentic shops. 
- Spice (Egyptian) Bazaar is closed during Ramadan Festivities (5-6-7 July 2016) & Kurban Festivities (12-13-14-15 September 2016) 
- Other languages are available with an extra fee upon request

*Hotel Class Key
ST = Superior Tourist (3*), MF = Moderate First Class (classic boutique, ranked as 4*), FC = First Class (4*), SF= Superior First Class (5* classic or boutique ranked as 5*), MD = Moderate Deluxe (5* Deluxe), and D = Deluxe (5* Boutique or Luxury)
- Hotels are subject to availability upon definite booking and might be changed to the similar ones 
- Twin-share option is not available for trips unless you travel with your own partner or travel companion.

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Kaktüs Tourism Travel Agency - Pera Air and Tourism
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