Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Arrive in Trabzon. Visit the 14th century Byzantine church of Hagia Sofia overlooking the Black Sea. Then visit historical bazaars in the city center.
Explore the cliffside monastery at Sumela in the Altindere National Park. Drive through Gumushane and Bayburt and stop for lunch. Trek to Keci Kale (Castle) and explore the landscape. Sightseeing in Erzurum.
Overnight in Erzurum.
Sightseeing in Erzurum before departing for Kars via the Aras River valley and the First World War battlefield site of Sarakimis. After arriving at Kars we will continue to visit the ancient Armenian city of Ani on the Arpacay River.
Overnight in Kars.
On to Doğubayazıt and pass the Biblical mountain of Ararat to visit the Ishak Pasha Saray (palace). Overnight in Doğubayazıt.
Sightseeing in the Van region including a stop at the Muradiye Waterfall and a visit to the 17th century fortress of Hoşap, sitting astride the ancient Silk Road into Persia and the Orient. In the afternoon we will visit the island of Akdamar in Lake Van to visit the 10th century Church of the Holy Cross. We will also see the largest museum of the Urartu civilization in the World.
Overnight in Van.
Depart Van along the southern shore of Lake Van for Tatvan and then visit the great Volcano Crater of Nemrut and the Seljuk monuments of Ahlat.
Overnight in Tatvan.
We continue down the Bitlis Gorge, via the city of Batman, to the tower Hasankeyf for lunch. In Hasankeyf (soon to be submerged under the lake of a new dam on the Tigris) we will visit some of the many caves and the ruins of the medieval Byzantine city. On our way west to Mardin we will stop in Midyat to see the Silver bazaar. Visit Kasimiye Medrese.
Overnight in Mardin.
After breakfast visit Deir-Al-Zafaran (Saffron Monastery). The Saffron Monastery was once the ancient centre of the Syriac Christian Patriarchy. This site has been the centre of religious worship for many centuries, the monastery itself is built over an ancient temple, built in 1000 BC and dedicated to the worship of the sun and which now provides the foundations to the main part of the monastery buildings – it is a fascinating structure as the roof of the temple to the sun is, essentially, a flat arch! From Mardin we will travel northwest to Diyarbakir to see the 10 Arches Bridge on the Tigris River.