Discover the civilizations of Mesopotamia. This is where it all began, and the region has been inhabited ever since. Visit the ancient home of the patriarch Abraham, the cave of Job, and Jacob's well. See UNESCO World Heritage sights of Gobekli Tepe, the Diyarbakir Fortress, Hevsel Gardens, and Mount Nemrut. Explore Roman Cities, roads, and cisterns and see palaces and mosques from the Ottoman Empire.
Day 1 Arrival in Diyarbakir
Arrive in Diyarbakir and meet your driver who will take you to the hotel. After you settle in, you'll meet your tour guide and hear the details of the trip. Before calling it a night, have dinner near the 10 Arches Bridge on the Tigris River.
Day 2 Diyarbakir
Hit the streets of Diyarbakir with your guide and see the Ulu Mosque, Caravan Saray, and the famous city walls. After a day of touring, you'll head for Mount Nemrut along the Euphrates River.
Day 3 Mount Nemrut
Get up early (optional) to catch a captivating sunrise on top of Mount Nemrut. Here you'll see tombs of the Commagene Kingdom and the Colossal Statues of Gods. This iconic sight is unforgettable! After descending from the mountain you'll stop by other sights in the area before heading to Gaziantep!
Day 4 Gaziantep
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll walk the winding streets of the old city center of Gaziantep with your guide, soaking in the sights and history of this fascinating city. You will visit the castle, museums and have some time for shopping in the bazaar. The stunning mosaic museum houses a priceless collection of 2nd-century mosaics from the now sunken city of Zeugma.
Day 5 Gaziantep
In the morning, visit the Gaziantep Museum of Archeology. Finish off your time in Gaziantep with a boat tour on the Euphrates and see the sunken city of Halfeti. From Halfeti, you're off to the next destination -- Sanliurfa!
Day 6 Sanliurfa
Buckle up and drink your coffee (or Turkish tea!) this morning, because Sanliurfa is full of ancient historical sights you do not want to miss! Today you'll see the Biblical city of Haran (500-year-old mud houses) where you'll have a chance to ride camels and visit Jacob's well! After a delicious local lunch, visit the Sanliurfa Archeology Museum. This is a new museum full of ancient artifacts collected from around the province. The museum will take you on a walk from the beginning of civilization through different periods of time ending with the Ottoman Empire-- there are even tablets housed here with writing that is what experts believe was the world's earliest writing system! Experience a picturesque sunset at the famous Pool of Abraham (Fish Lake). This pool is believed by Muslims to be where Nimrod threw Abraham into the fire. Abraham is an important patriarch in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Sanliurfa is, according to both the Bible and the Quran, the historic birthplace of Abraham and where he lived before his migration to Canaan.
Day 7 Sanliurfa
After breakfast at your hotel, see the Sanliurfa Mosaic Museum. These mosaics, some dating back as old as the 1st-Century, were uncovered on accident while the local municipality was preparing to create a parking lot! The mosaics were restored and kept in their original locations and the museum was built around them. Walk the glass pathways and look down over beautiful 2000-year-old mosaic pictures laying just as they always have. After lunch, head to "Potbelly Hill" or in Turkish, Gobekli Tepe. This is believed to be the world's oldest temple. Experts date these incredible ruins to 10,000 BC, predating Stonehenge by a whopping 6,000 years! After you're done exploring, head east to the city of Mardin.
Day 8 Mardin
In Mardin, spend the day exploring the streets of the old limestone city (no cars allowed!) and see mansions, stone houses, and museums. Every turn in this maze-like town brings a new sight to see or a shop to visit. Walk the courtyard of the 15th century Kasimiye Madrassa with your guide and hear about the intriguing story behind its fountain before heading back to your hotel for some well-earned rest!
Day 9 Mardin
Today, you will explore the sights around the city of Mardin. See important monasteries with incredible history. Deir-Al-Zafaran (Saffron Monastery) was once the center of the ancient Syriac Christian Patriarchy. The sight has been the center of religious worship for many centuries; the monstery itself is built over an ancient temple. This temple was built in 1000 BC and dedicated to the worship of the sun. When the people here converted to Christianity in the 1st-Century, they buried their temple and built a monastery on top of it! The temple has been recovered and you will visit both the monastery buildings and ancient temple. From there, visit Dara, a ruined Roman military city with an incredibly intact cistern as well as a necropolis.
Day 10 Head Home
Rest, reflect and get ready for your journey home. Say goodbye to your tour guide who is sure to have become a friend. Your driver will escort you to the airport. You have just experienced the trip of a lifetime!
"I saw my children see things that most people only dream of seeing. I'm so happy we had this opportunity to explore and experience these amazing places. Thank you SRM for this tour!