Journey to the Mystical Land of Turkey
Come with us to the unexplored and
time-forgotten Eastern-Southeastern Turkey!!!
The Dates: September 5-22,
The Fee: $2700, all inclusive land only
Dear Friends, many warm greetings;
From the times of the Old Testament, Eastern Turkey has been a fascinating destination so that even Alexander the Great made some trips there.
Due to their distance to the popular tourist spots in Western Turkey, most of these Eastern locations are not visited too much. Therefore literally you can find yourself traveling almost a hundred years before our times in some of these places.
Again, my personal emphasis in this tour will be on the traditional places and life styles of these regions. I am not interested in visiting places where you have to share the experience with literally thousands of others. I personally want to feel the sentiments of the ancient people who live in these places without being disturbed by too many visitors. This particular tour will provide us such an experience and I am sure you’ll also enjoy the remoteness from major tourist centers during this journey.
Please let me know if you wish to be a part of this wonderful journey. September is one of the best times to take such a trip and I hope you can come with us and experience the unspoiled beauties Eastern Anatolia offers for us.
The land-only fee for this tour is $2700. This all inclusive amount also covers the domestic flights in Turkey during the tour.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Best Wishes and warm winter days ahead!
Please send me an e-mail message at Lbolat@aol.com for the details and RESERVATIONS!
P.S: Please click here to see the photos and comments from past tours.
Sept 5: En Route from US to Istanbul. You'll take your overnight flight from the States and arrive in Istanbul around morning or noon on Sept. 7th.
September 6: ISTANBUL:
Upon arrival in Istanbul, you will be met by Latif and taken to check into your small but very warm hotel Pier Loti in the heart of the historic district of Sultanahmet. There will be time to relax and rest before dinner at a local restaurant.
September 7: TRABZON (Sumela): We'll take the morning flight to Trabzon which is the largest town on the Black Sea coast. This was the often forbidding coastline seen by Jason and the Argonauts, and the scene of many of their legendary adventures. The following day we will visit the Sümela Monastery and enjoy a lovely picnic nearby. This monastery is from the Byzantine Era of Turkey's history. One of the remarkable features of this site is that it is carved into a cliff face! With lush, green vegetation throughout the region, this area is a very unique part of Turkey. Trabzon is an ancient Black Sea port with its recorded history dating back to 746 B.C. and it was one of the Silk Road ports.
September 8: ERZURUM: From Trabzon we will drive five hours to Erzurum, with many stops. This is a very beautiful drive following various rivers and passes throughout. Erzurum rests at a base altitude of 6600 ft. Here, the Hittites had already occupied the site for a millennium when the Armenians arrived around the 6th century. It became a Byzantine city starting with the Emperor Thedosius. Mongols in 14th century and the Ottomans took it in 1515. Therefore in Erzurum we'll be able to taste all of these civilizations at Erzurum citadel, Double Minaret Medrese (university), many tombs, Ulu Cami (The Great Mosque). We’ll also visit 9-10th Century Georgian churches in magnificent mountains in this region.
September 9: KARS (Ani): An early morning departure from Erzurum will take us on a beautiful drive to Kars passing on the way Sarikamis, the coldest spot in Turkey!. We will arrive in Kars and visit Ani at the Turkish-Armenian border. We will take a 45-minute drive to the medieval Armenian City of Ani, which lies mostly in ruins. Impressive fortified walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques and caravansaries. Enjoy a walk around the ruins and see the beautiful view to the Armenian border imagining it as a city with one million people rivaling Bagdad in its time! This city has experienced the cultures of Urartians, Armenians, Georgians, Mongols, Russians and finally the Turks.
September 10: DOGUBAYAZIT (Mt. Ararat): This morning we will drive for 3 1/2 hours along the "Silk Road" to Dogubayazit. At the Iranian border we will see a site known as the Crater Hole. This is a beautiful, yet rugged area. We will have the opportunity to see Mt. Ararat from all sides. It is believed by some to be the resting-place of Noah's Ark; but to date no one has found anything that has been verified as the Ark - yet the search is still on. In the afternoon we will stop and see the Ishak Pasa Palace. This complex is a combination of a mosque, a fortress, and a palace which originally had a room for every day of the year! Below you can also see the remains of Eski Bayazit, and Urartian City which flourished in 1000 BC.
September 11: VAN: After visiting the Iranian border, we will depart for Van in the early morning, a drive of approximately three hours. This city has been established 13th century BC, when the Hurrites arrived. Then the Hittites, Urartians, Persian, Armenians, Macedonians, Romans and finally in 11th century the Turks came here. From here, we will visit the finest Armenian architectural wonder of the Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. We’ll also visit the wonderful Kurdish castle of Hosap very close to the Iranian border as well as the Urartian citadel.
September 12: TATVAN: After visiting the eerie 12the century Selcuk cemetery in Ahlat we'll visit , some Selcuk tombs and spend the afernoon in Bitlis, Alexander's town, a unique medieval town. We'll stay in Tatvan for the night.
September 13: HASANKEYF AND MARDIN: On the way we'll visit Hasankeyf , an ancient town which will be dispappearing under a new dam project soon. While in this region, we will also visit Mardin. Mardin is very unique with lovely old-Arabic style houses. It is a city that played an important role in the early development of Christianity. We will take the time to visit, walk in its busy streets and bazaars, and admire the stonework all around the town. We will also visit the Monastery of Deyr-az-Zaferan just outside of town, founded in 762 A.D. It was the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch for almost 800 years. This monastery is built on top of a 4000-year-old temple used by sun worshippers. We will visit the monks in this extraordinary place.
September 14: URFA AND MT.NEMRUT : We will drive three hours to Urfa, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. Urfa has been occupied since the Babylonians followed by the Hurrites, Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks.
We will also visit the holy sites at the Ainzelha, a lake with millions of domesticated fish. While in Urfa we will shop at the bustling covered bazaar as well. There are exceptional photo opportunities in this area.
From Urfa we will drive two hours to Adiyaman-Kahta. There we will hire small mini-buses to drive up the mountain. This extraordinary landmark rests at an elevation of 8000 ft. The mountain top complex is composed of two flattened areas strewn with statues and separated by a false peak of crushed rock. Antiouchus built the entire complex approximately 2000 years ago as a monument to his "divine ancestry."
September 15: GAZIANTEP: From Urfa to Gaziantep, we'll visit Birecik with their wonderfully medieval sites and scenes. Gaziantep is the true fusion of Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish cultures and you can see this variety especially in their cuisine. Almost all of the cooks in entire Turkey come from this city (in addition to Bolu). The best baklava makers also come out of Gaziantep. This ancient city also hosts one of the oldest and most spectacular mosaic museum.
September 16-17: KIZKALESI-MERSIN: After crossing the Cukurova plains and Adana, Tarsus, we'll arrive at Latif's family house for an early dinner and experience a very sweet Turkish small town family. Then we'll retire in Kizkalesi which hosts a crusader castle in the sea! Since we'll be staying on the beach for the night
you'll be able to swim to the island-castle.
September 18: KONYA: THE HOME OF RUMI AND YUNUS EMRE : Today we'll head for the city of Rumi , Konya . On top of Toros Mountains , we'll visit a 5 th Century Monastery, Alahan. Away from any tourist visits, this will be an impressive memory for you. Then, we'll visit the tomb of Rumi in downtown Konya . This is a great mosque and the Mevlevi Dervish lodge. Now it is a museum and you can feel the dervish spirit of 13 th century. In this museum, there are exhibits of Dervish costumes, instruments, illuminated manuscripts, and various ethnographic artifacts. We'll also visit old Islamic universities and Seljuk mosques from 12 th century.
September 19-20-21: CAPPADOCHIA: From the Mediterranean Coast, we’ll pass the magnificent Toros Mountains, just like Alexander the Great did 2300 years ago. We’ll stay in the mystical Cappadochia valley for the last 2 days of our tour. Here we’ll visit wonderful rock houses and churches of the early Christians from 5th century, go down into the underground towns, hike around the vineyards as the monks did 1500 years ago. We’ll also have a wonderful concert in a cave church in Goreme, under candle lights! In the morning we’ll drive 45 minutes to Kayseri and fly back to Istanbul. Upon arrival, you'll be mostly free in Istanbul to complete your final shopping and visits. If everyone aggrees for this free night, we sometimes have a lovely dinner at a tavern with gypsy musicians and lots of fun.
September 22: In the morning, we'll say goodbye to our fellow travelers and to Turkey and fly back to the States. Have a great trip!
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY:
Latif Bolat acts only as agent for the passengers in regard to transportation and/or all other related travel services as stated in the itinerary, and thus, assumes no liability for injury, delay, irregularity, loss or damage to person or property, or additional costs resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, weather, failure of any means of transportation to comply with schedules, quarantines, strikes, civil disturbances, theft, government regulations, discrepancies, and/or change in transit or hotel accommodations over which it has no control, whether it arises out of or is incidental to the tour or otherwise. Although it is very rare, some reasonable changes in the declared itinerary and prices may be made any time when deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the passengers. Latif Bolat cannot accept responsibility for the property of or personal illnesses or injuries to tour participants during the course of the tour. We reserve the right to refuse to accept or retain any person as a tour participant should that that person's health or mental condition or physical situation or general demeanor impede the operation of the your or the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of other passengers, and to refund only the unused land portion of the tour price. In case of a dispute about the trip, litigations will be settled in the courts of Albuquerque, NM.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THIS $2700 FEE?
* This is a land only tour and all arrangements start and end at the airport in Istanbul.
* Latif Bolat or in some cases a certified professional Turkish tour guide will escort you on your tour.
* Breakfast and dinner every day throughout the tour,
except for the dinner on the last day in Istanbul.
* All hotel accommodations.
* All scheduled lectures, shows, performances.
(traveler pays for extra shows etc)
* All scheduled entrance fees to museums, ancient sites etc, extra entrance fees not included.
* All baggage handling for check-ins, check-outs,
in hotels and at airports.
* All hotel and local taxes are included.
* Bottled water during the tours on the bus.
SINGLE ROOM/ROOMMATE POLICY:
Indicated tour fees are on Per Person/Double Occupancy base. Some single rooms per tour are available at $20 extra per night (at cost). The sooner you sign up for a tour, the better the chances are that we will be able to find a roommate for you. If you wish to share your room and we cannot find a roommate, the single supplement fee will be waived. Once the tour commences, if you degide you no longer want to share a room, you will have to pay double the original singgle supplement fee in order to compensate for your roommate's single room as well.
Tour cancellation/protection, as well as luggage and accident insurance is highly recommended. Latif Bolat Tours do NOT sell such insurance so please contact your travel agent to purchase these insurances. Please note: Latif Bolat is not liable for loss, damage or theft of luggage or personal belongings, for personal injury, accident or illness. If you need any medical service during the tour, Latif Bolat tours will happily help you get a doctor or take you to a clinic. However the passenger will need to pay the expenses to the doctor or clinic after or before the medical service provided.
We'll make every effort to carry out all tours as planned. However, itinerary contained in this brochure is subject to modifications and change in order to create a better and safer tour if it is considered by Latif Bolat Tours as necessary.
TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES CLAUSE:
The passage contract in use by airlines and other transportation companies whose services are used to arrive and depart from Turkey before and after the tour shall constitute the sole contract between the companies and the purchaser of a tour. Latif Bolat does not assume responsibility for cancellation fees of any special fares due to departure or itinerary changes.
Please realize that Turkey is not like the US in terms of smoking and other allergy related issues. Even though we try to provide the best alternatives for non-smoking hotels, restaurants and other public places, you might still encounter some smoking. Therefore if you are severely allergic to smoking, please consult with us. Also, even though there is no heavy hiking involved in this tour, certain level of walking on uneven terrain will be required since most of the historical sites are scattered in wide areas. Since this tour covers half of Turkey, there will be some bus traveling involved every day. Even though we try to make it as pleasant as possible, you should keep this in mind. as well.
TOUR BUS INFORMATION:
Transportation will be by private air-conditioned new Mercedes, Volkswagen or Isuzu deluxe buses. These buses are for either 15 or 30 passenger capacity depending on the number of the participants.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED: Add-on International flights. All Lunches. Last night's dinner in Istanbul. Alcoholic and other beverages during the dinners, other than water. Tips for the guides (industry standard is $5 per person/per day). Tips for the bus driver (industry standard is $2 per person/per day). Airline insurance. Cost of Turkish Visa at the Istanbul airport, $ 20 (as of 2007). Luggage, personal and tour cancellation insurance. Room service, valet, laundry, telephone calls. Items of personal nature and other items not specifically mentioned above. Courtesy tips at restaurants and hotels. Performances like concerts and shows. Items of personal nature and other items not specifically mentioned above.
FREE AIRPORT TRANSFERS: Tour participants are entitled to airport tranesfers on scheduled tour arrival and departure days in Turkey between 7AM and 11PM. However if you are arriving early or departing later than the scheduled days you will need to take a taxi to/from the airport. Please provide your flight itinerary as soon as you have the necessary information. Latif Bolat Tours can also send you a shuttle van if you don't wish to deal with the taxies. In that case please pay the shuttle fee upon your arrival to your destination.
Latif Bolat reserves the right to cancel any tours prior to departure for any reasons, including insufficient number of participants and safety issues. If there is such a cancellation, participants will receive a full refund.
* A deposit of $500 per person by check is required upon registration. Any deposit that is sent towards booking a tour constitutes full knowledge, acceptance and agreement of the cancellation policy.
* Full payment is due 6o days prior to departure, upon receipt of invoice.
* Application received less than 65 days prior to departure will require full payment at time of registration.
REFUND POLICY :
The below policy will be strictly adhered to regardless of the reason for cancellation. A written cancellation is required for all refunds for the following schedule:
* Up to 60 days prior to departure: Obligatory service charge of $100 per person
* 59-45 days prior to departure: Forfeiture of full deposit ($500 per person).
* 44-10 days prior: Forfeiture of full deposit, plus 50% of land costs.
* 9 days to 72 hours prior: Forfeiture of full deposit, plus 75% of land costs.
* Less than 72 hours or during the tour: No refunds!
Please send me an e-mail message at Lbolat@aol.com for the details and RESERVATIONS!