archaeological tours
homeabout usscholarstour calendartravel tipscontact us
middle east
North & Sub Sahara Africa
Asia
Europe
Central & South America
 

Europe


An Archaeological Study Tour
Hidden Treasures of
Eastern Turkey

June 11 - 29, 2014
19 Days

Led by Prof. Michael Rosenberg
University of Delaware

map of Turkey


Hidden Treasures of Eastern Turkey is scheduled for June, after the snows melt in the mountainous areas of Ararat and the Transcaucasia. The tour will touch the warm Mediterranean coast, visiting Adana and ancient Antioch. We will travel through the fertile Mesopotamian steppe around Diyarbakir, visit the mountaintop sanctuary of Nemrut Dag, continue to the rugged highlands north of Lake Van and drive through the dense forests and tea plantations of the Black Sea coast. After visiting the Hittite center at Bogazköy and a huge pre-Hellenistic city on the Anatolian Plateau, the tour ends in Ankara, with the wonderful Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Tour highlights will include a very exciting site newly opened to tourists, Göbekli Tepe, dated to 10,000 BCE and believed to be the oldest man-made place of worship discovered to date. Recalling ancient rulers - the Hittites, Assyrians, Urartians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Armenians - we will see a land little changed over the centuries.

Wednesday, Thursday, June 11 & 12: ISTANBUL Independent departures from our home cities on Wednesday. Transfers will be provided to the well-located Marmara Hotel where we will meet for dinner Thursday evening.
Meals: Dinner

Friday, June 13: ADANA: This morning we will meet for an orientation lecture with Professor Harl and visit the Archaeological Museum before flying to Adana. Hilton Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Saturday, June 14: ANTAKYA: We depart for Anavarza (ancient Anazarbus), an Eastern Roman colony. We then continue to Karatepe, the neo-Hittite capital of Azitawanda. Here we will see a number of monumental sculptures and reliefs that have been restored and are in situ. Our drive to Antakya takes us through the historic Plain of Issos, where Alexander the Great won a decisive victory over the forces of Asia. We will spend two nights at the Savon Hotel, well located for strolls in town.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Sunday, June 15: ANTAKYA: Our morning touring begins with a drive through the Plain of Amuk, dotted with hundreds of tells dating from the Neolithic to the Hellenistic periods. We visit the ancient site of Acana (Alalakh), then return to Antakya to visit St. Peter’s Church and the Archaeological Museum, which houses an outstanding collection of mosaics from the region.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Monday, June 16: KAHTA: Driving north, we stop at Yesemek, a neo-Hittite stone-carving workshop, where we will see dozens of partially completed sculptures and reliefs scattered on a hillside now situated in the middle of a tiny village. We continue to Gaziantep, where we will visit the new Zeugma Mosaic Museum. After completing our touring we drive to Kâhta, a small village in the mountain foothills. Our route to Kâhta is via cultivated fields made possible by the new dam. Hotel Zeus.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Tuesday, June 17: URFA: An early morning ascent of Mt. Nemrut brings us to the impressive funerary sanctuary of King Antiochus I of Commagene, erected 2,000 years ago. Here colossal headless statues of gods and kings tower above the site and their enormous heads are scattered over the terraces. We continue to Eskikale to visit the ruins of Arsameia and the burial mounds of the queens and princesses of Commagene. After lunch, we cross the Euphrates and continue to Urfa, ancient Edessa. This afternoon we drive across the plains of Mesopotamia to Harran, where Abraham stopped on his wat from Ur. We will explore the ruins of ancient Harran, known as Carrhae in the Roman period and the place of the decisive battle of 53 BCE. We will also visit Ulu Cami, thought to have been founded by the last Umayyad caliph, who made Harran capital of his empire, and the unusual "beehive" mud-brick houses of modern Harran. Hilton Garden Inn.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Wednesday, June 18: DIYARBAKIR: After completing our touring in Urfa, we continue to Göbekli Tepe, which has been dated to 10,000 BCE and considered to be the oldest man-made place of worship yet discovered. Here ongoing excavations have revealed seven stone circles precisely carved and erected with great care on top of a hill that is the highest point on the Urfa Plain. Many of the large T-shaped megaliths are covered with carved reliefs of animals. After exploring this fascinating site, we continue to Çayönü, another Early Neolithic village site occupied between 9400 and 8800 years ago that rounds out the picture of Neolithic life. The free standing buildings were built on stone foundations and include both residential and cultic structures We will spend the night in Diyarbakir. Green Park Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Thursday, June 19: VAN: This morning we will visit the recently restored Yckale Museum housed in the Citadel (provided it has reopened).We then depart on a scenic drive through the beautiful valley of Güzeldere to Van. Hotel Rescate.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Friday, June 20: VAN: A short cruise on Lake Van brings us to Akhtamar Island. In the 10th century the Armenian kinng Gagik founded the Church of the Holy Cross here. It has since becom famous for the reliefs on its outer walls. After lunch, we will visit the local museum (if it has reopened) and begin our exploration of the vanished civilizations of Urartu at Çavustepe. Excavations have revealed Çavustepe's Royal Palace, temple, altar, extensive storage areas and an extensive water system. There will also be time free for browsing in the local rug shops or wandering in the market.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Saturday, June 21: KARS: Our day begins at Van Kalesi, where, having reached the citadel, we will see the site of the Urartian temple and several tombs of Urartian kings. The view from these heights is magnificent and well worth the climb. We then drive along the foothills of Mt. Ararat, sacred to Armenians, where, according to tradition, Noah’s Ark came to rest after the Flood. After visiting the baroque Turkish palace of Ishak Pasha Sarayi in the tiny town of Dogubayazit, we continue through the heartland of ancient Armenia to Kars and the centrally located Grand Ani Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Sunday, June 22: ERZRUM: We begin our day touring Ani, located near the Georgian/Armenian border. Ani, once the capital of the Bagratid Princess, is now a site of romantic beauty. Strolling through the Lion Gate, we can almost visualize the city as it was before the terrible earthquake of 1319. We return to Kars for lunch and then continue to Erzurum, where we will visit as many of the Seljuk and Ottoman monuments as time permits. Xanadu Snow White Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Monday, Tuesday, June 23 & 24: TRABZON: Today begins with an ascent through the wild landscapes of Transcaucasia and the Pontus Range, the most unspoiled and spectacular scenery of Turkey. After lunch, we descend to the Black Sea coast with its lush vegetation and continue the Zorlu Grand Hotel in Trabzon. Tuesday touring begins at the Byzantine Monastery of the Virgin in Sumela. Returning to Trabzon we tour its major sites: the Yeni Cuma and Fatih Mosques and the well-preserved frescoes of Hagia Sophia.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch daily & 1 dinner

Wednesday, June 25: AMASYA: Our drive to Amasya is along the Black Sea coast through seaside villages and the port of Samson. We will stop for lunch, reaching the Apple Palace Hotel in time for a stroll in this award-winning town, renowned for its old wooden houses that overhang the Yesil River.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Thursday, June 26: BOGAZKALE: This morning we will tour the charming town of Amasya. After visiting the many Seljuk and Ottoman monuments and the museum, we depart for Bogazkale, stopping to visit the newly installed Archaeological Museum in Çorum and the fortified Hittite city of Alaca Hüyük, known for its Sphinx Gate and Royal Tombs. We will overnight at the small Hotel Asikoglu, overlooking the site of Hattusas.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Friday, June 27: ANKARA: This morning we will visit the most exciting Hittite site in Turkey, Hattusa, capital of the Hittite empire and its adjacent cult center, Yazílíkaya, where we will see a procession of deities and royalty carved from the living rock. The monumental architecture and sprawling temples and palaces add to our understanding of this great empire. After visiting this extensive complex, we continue to Ankara and the Ankara Hilton Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Saturday, June 28: ANKARA: Our last morning of touring will bring us to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, with its outstanding collection of artifacts from sites we have visited. The afternoon is at leisure, followed by our farewell dinner.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Sunday, June 29: ANKARA: We will transfer to the airport for our flights home.
Meals: Breakfast

Please Note: Tourist facilities in Eastern Turkey are not well developed. Hotels are simple and there are early morning departures with long drives on roads that may be in poor condition. Though the rewards are great...an unspoiled wilderness and a scarcity of tourists...this is a strenuous trip, and only those willing to accept some discomforts should consider taking it.

















Eastern Turkey

 

 

 

 

Eastern Turkey

 

 

 

 

Eastern Turkey

 

 

 

 

Sumela, Eastern Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amasya, Eastern Turkey