Welcome on arrival and transfer to the hotel. After check in to the hotel a welcome cocktail will be held covering the information on tour route and the days ahead. Overnight in Istanbul
Morning visit to the Hippodrome Square where ancient chariot races were held, the Blue Mosque, unique with its 6 minarets and famous for its over 20.000 pieces of blue Iznik tiles on interior walls, and the St. Sophia Church, built in the 6th century by Justinian, this masterpiece once was the largest Christian church in the world. Afternoon visit to the Topkapi Palace, Imperial Home of Ottoman Sultans, with displays of priceless worldclass collections of artifacts, jewelry and rare porcelain that were brought to Turkey through the Silk Road. We will also visit its Treasury Section. Then visit the famous Grand Bazaar complex including 4,000 tiny shops followed by a visit to the famous Egyptian (Spice) Market . Overnight in Istanbul (B)
Visit the Turkish Islamic Art Museum that includes notable examples of Islamic calligraphy, tiles and rugs as well as ethnographic displays, particularly of nomad groups. See Turkish rugs from all over the country, hence we will invite a famous expert on rug history to share and narrate his precious knowledge with us and during our visit to this museum. Then we will make our way to Cafer Aga Madrasah built in 1559 by Sinan on the order of one of the eunuchs to the harem, this madrasah hardly ever makes the guidebooks. It is actually one of those rare ‘’living historical places,ʺ offering art and music exhibitions, as well as workshops and courses on a variety of traditional Ottoman art forms. There we will have opportunity to join either Ebru or Calligraphy workshop for 1, 5 hours. Overnight in Istanbul (B)
The Art of Ebru / Marbling:
Through Silk Road this art came first to Iran. Where it was called EBRU (cloud, cloudy) or ABRU (Water face) subsequently this art moved towards Anatolia and named after EBRU in Turkish language. About the end of XVI. Century tradesmen, diplomats, and travelers coming to Turkey brought this art to Europe and called it ‘’TURKISH PAPER”. It was broadly used in Italy, Germany, France and England.
This morning we will leave Istanbul behind and head towards the Southeast to Iznik (Nicea) this is where worldwide famous Iznik Tile reached its zenith in the 16th17th centuries by the Ottoman period, but due to some unfortunate reasons, the production and the related knowhow totally disappeared in the 18th century. Throughout many years of research and experiments, Iznik Foundation rediscovered the process of production as well as the recipe for materials and started to produce, using the traditional way of producing some extraordinary tiles. In the religious buildings of Istanbul and Iznik we will see some of the most beautiful examples of Iznik tiles like; ” Tulips – Tulips in a windy field, 16th century design , Dates Tree, Cintemani Style (contemporary design of old paterns) Next drive to Bursa, once the capital of the Ottoman Empire. A visit to include the Silk Bazaar, Green Mosque and the Green Mausoleum is also on our program. Overnight in Bursa (B, D)
Today we will first drive to Eskisehir which is one of the oldest settlements (3500 B.C.) in this region. It was founded in the 1 st millennium B.C. by the Phrygians. This small town was also an important settlement during the Ottoman Empire Time. There we will visit the Ottoman House Museum which is a very fine example of the 19 th century domestic architecture that also has the local ethnographical items on display. The unique stone internationally called Meerschaum (German) rarely found but mainly in Eskişehir in the whole world is a soft white mineral sometimes found floating on the Black Sea, and rather suggestive of seafoam also the French name for the same substance, écume de mer. Visit the Meerschaum Museum and one of the Meerschaum production centers to see the amazing sculptures, pipes carved out of Meerschaum. Finally we will set out for our final destination Ankara. Overnight in Ankara (B, D)
Depart from the hotel to the Galatian’s Ancyra to visit the museum of Anatolian civilizations. This visit will take you to the mysteries as far back as Paleolithic age. Their exhibit includes miraculously preserved wooden furniture from the tomb of Phrygian kind Midas and many other items from the prehistoric times of world. Next walk to the Bakircilar Carsisi (Quarter of the Coppersmiths) with its narrow alleys and old styled shops where artisans are still performing thousands of years old copper art passed from generation to generation. Watch the artisans hammering their copper plates to give them the most beautiful form with intricate motifs ever seen on earth. Overnight in Cappadocia (B, D)
Today we will discovery Cappadocia with Goreme’s “Caves of God”, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Monasteries and churches hewn into volcanic tufa rock reached their peak between 7th and 13th centuries. Natural formations from the landscape of Avcilar and Red valley of Dervent will offer you a large palette of colors through the hours of the day. You will see the ongoing erosion on the fairy chimneys of Pasabagi and natural fortress of Uchisar. Late afternoon we will have a Turkish rug weaving workshop in a renowned rug production center of Cappadocia. First a seminar from an expert on the history, tradition and importance of the rug weaving for the Cappadocian and next weave rugs for yourself for 20 minutes accompanied by one of the professional weavers of the rug production center. Overnight in Cappadocia (B, D)
The international popularity of Turkish rugs began in the 13th century, when Marco Polo recorded the beauty and quality of the Seljuk Rugs he saw in Anatolia. It is believed that certain weaving techniques were brought to Anatolia via the Seljuk Empire in the 12th century. Turkish Rugs began appearing in western paintings in the 15th and 16th centuries, and were often depicted either beneath the feet of the Virgin Mary or as table coverings. Traditionally, hand mate rugs reflect both ancient patterns and the weaver’s personal style or wishes. Once the traditional motifs are memorized, the weaver can combine them in a way that tells a story to one who understands the symbols used. Cappadocia is one of those few places that this tradition of weaving rugs with old techniques and motifs are still being practiced. In other commercialized areas and shops unfortunately many are woven into redesigned patterns, and are no longer a direct expression of the weaver’s creativity.
A half day visit to Cappadocia‘s underground city , moonlike land surface and photographic breaks at the most spectacular points of the area. We will have chance of learning about one of the oldest arts of the world that mankind practiced: Pottery and tile making workshop will be given in one of cave production centers of the lovely town of Avanos.The history of pottery in Turkey is a long one which began during the Stone Age. Excavations at Catalhoyuk have provided us with examples of glazed ceramic vases and plates which contain amazing Hittite art work which reflects insight into their ancient culture. The Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Selcuk Turks and Ottoman Turks continued the production of ceramic pottery, benefiting from the raw materials kaolin, clay and calcite that are plentiful throughout much of Anatolia, especially Cappadocia. Visit a long time family owned tile production center where we will have a seminar given by of the experts and see all phases of tile production from picking up the clay from the banks of Kizilirmak River to the designing, glazing and finally baking the tiles in the furnace. An opportunity of trying producing a pottery or a plate through 4000 years old methods will be given to those who would be interested in doing so. Overnight in Cappadocia (B, D)
Transfer to Kayseri Airport and fly back home and our services end here.