Carpe Diem Cappadocia

Cultural Tour
About The Tour
Strabo, the well-known writer of antiquity, mentioned the Cappadocia region in his 17-volume book Geographika (Geography), written in Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Cappadocia's unique landscape was formed by the eruptions of three volcanoes, Mount Erciyes, Mount Hasan, and Mount Melendiz, which have created one of the most distinctive landscapes in the world. The interesting rock formations are known as "fairy chimneys" formed due to the erosion of the tufa layer, sculpted by wind and flood water running down the slopes of the valleys. Water found its way through the valleys, creating cracks and ruptures in the hard rock. The softer, easily eroded material underneath has been gradually swept away, creating conical formations protected by basalt caps. The fairy chimneys with caps, mainly found in the vicinity of Urgup, have a conical-shaped body and a boulder on top of each vent. The cone is constructed from tufa and volcanic ash, while the cap is made of more complex, more resistant rock such as lahar or ignimbrite. Various types of fairy chimneys are found in Cappadocia. Among these are chimneys with caps, cones, columns, pointed stones, and mushroom-like forms. Fairy chimneys are generally found in the valleys of the Uchisar-Urgup-Avanos triangle, between Urgup and Sahinefendi, around the town of Cat in Nevsehir, in the Sogani valley in Kayseri. Cappadocia cave-like rooms once sheltered Turkey's early Christians from invaders, and vast underground cities in the area housed up to 20,000 people. There are also more than 600 Christian churches carved into the soft rock, some dating to the third century AD. Another characteristic feature of the area is the sweeping curves of the sides of the valleys formed by rainwater. The array of colors seen in some valleys is due to the difference in the heat of the lava layers. Such patterns can be seen in Uchisar, Cavusin/ Gulludere, Goreme/ Meskendir, Ortahisar/Kizilcukur, and Pancarlik valleys.  
Visit three cities in 7 days (2 nights in Istanbul – 3 nights in Cappadocia – 1 night in Konya).  
With this 6-Night & 7-Day program, you'll have the chance to explore the historic city of Istanbul by visiting all its must-see locations, have the opportunity to witness the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia, and see the City of Whirling Dervishes.  
Day 1 Istanbul "Old Town Tour"
Arrive at Istanbul airport, meet your guide and transfer to the hotel. Have a short rest and set off to the Old Town of Istanbul. Visit Topkapı Palace, Sultan Ahmet Square, the German Fountain, the Hippodrome, the Million Stone, the magnificent Hagia Sophia, and Sultan Ahmet Mosque, known as Blue Mosque. Discover Grand Bazaar, one of the world's oldest and largest covered markets, and enjoy strolling in the Egyptian Market known as Spice Market. The daily tour finishes at Galata bridge. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight Istanbul.  
Day 2 Istanbul "Bosphorus Boat Tour" 
Breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide in the lobby and set off for an approximately 30-minute drive to Eminönü. Bosphorus Tour's boat departure time is at 10:20 am. You'll get a panoramic view of the Bosphorus, the waterway which separates Istanbul into two parts, the European continent and the Asian continent. During the Bosphorus cruise, you'll see Dolmabahçe Palace's ornate seaside entrance gate, which the sultans used. Maiden tower, Çırağan Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, the fortress of Rumelihisarı, and old wooden villas (called Yalıs) along the seaside are some of the pearl grains adorning the strait which joins Marmara and the Black Sea. The boat trip will take approximately 90 minutes. You will have two hours in a cozy fisherman village called Kavak to walk around and have lunch. Take the boat, and our trip will end at Eminönü. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight Istanbul.  
Day 3 Istanbul "Dolmabahce Palace and Taksim Square & Istiklal Street" → Flight to Cappadocia
Group visit to Dolmabahçe Palace is organized by reservation; according to our reservation hour, the morning program might switch to the afternoon program.
Breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide in the lobby, and set off for an approximately 30-minute drive to Dolmabahçe Palace, an ornate blend of European and Ottoman architecture that rests along the banks overlooking the Bosphorus Strait. The Armenian architect Balyan family built the palace in the 19th century. You will discover eye-popping rooms that once hosted sultans and their royal guests, stroll into pristine marble rooms, and gaze up at twinkling crystal chandeliers. All the clocks in the palace were set at 9:05 am, the exact time of the death of the first president of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who passed away on the 10th of November 1938 in this palace. Arrive at Taksim Square, the city's heart, and have lunch. In the afternoon, discover the Beyoğlu district where during the Ottoman period, Jews from Spain, Arabs, Greek, and Armenians settled in communities. The pedestrian street İstiklal Street, once known as Grande Rue de Pera, is lined by late 19th-century apartment blocks and European embassy buildings. It's an impressive variety of grandiose gates and façades with art deco and modern architectural styles. While getting around, you'll see many churches, mosques, the Fish Market, the Mevlevi Lodge, art galleries, cafés, bookstores, shops selling handicrafts, and jazz bars. An old-fashioned tram travels the length of Istiklal Street. The daily tour will end in front of the Tunnel, an underground funicular system.  Transfer to the Airport. Evening flight to Kayseri (one-hour flight). Dinner at Kayseri and set off to Urgüp (Cappadocia) (1-hour drive). Check-in to your hotel. Overnight Ürgüp.  
Day 4 Cappadocia
Please note that during your stay in Capadoccia, the daily morning program might switch to the afternoon program.
Have breakfast, leave the hotel, and set off to Göreme, the "open-air museum" of ancient rock-cut churches, chapels, and monasteries adorned with Byzantine frescoes dating from the tenth to the 13th centuries. Visit Uçhisar Castle and the Pigeon Valley to learn the importance of pigeons in Cappadocian culture. Have lunch and set off to the underground city Derinkuyu (1-hour drive). Only about ten percent of Derinkuyu's massive compound has been excavated so far, several levels including a cross-shaped church, large rooms with the barrel-vaulted ceiling, surrounded by a series of smaller rooms, storage, toilets, and baths that relate to tunnels fed by a great ventilation system. Their primary purpose was to keep Cappadocia's residents safe from enemies' attacks. set off to the Valley Kızılçukur to admire the sunset with a glass of local vine, then transfer to your hotel. Overnight Ürgüp.
Day 5 Cappadocia
Today early birds can join an optional hot-air balloon ride over Cappadocia's tufa formations, soaring over its amber terrain and fairy-tale chimneys in the soft, rosy light of dawn. You'll leave the hotel around 5 am and have a quick snack before embarking on an approximate hour-long balloon ride. You'll be back at the hotel between 7:30 am and 8 am, in time for breakfast.
Have breakfast and leave the hotel. set off to Devrent Valley, a walking tour through a lunar landscape with unusual rock formations. Visit Zelve Open-air Museum, one of the oldest settlements in Cappadocia and one of the UNESCO Sites in the park. This is a fantastic cave town with dwellings built into the sides of rock formations. Now a ghost town due to unsafe erosion, this place once housed Christians and Muslims in harmony with each other. Visit Paşabağları, where you'll see some more Fairy Chimneys. Visit a small cozy town called Avanos. It's a famous town for its pottery workshops which you may also join. Have lunch and set off to Ihlara Valley (a one-hour drive). Ihlara Valley is a 16 km long gorge cut into volcanic rock in the southern part of Cappadocia, following several eruptions of Mount Erciyes. The Melendiz river flows through the valley. There are 105 churches in stones in the valley, and 16 are open to visitors. Optional hiking activity is available in the canyon, or rest in lovely coffee shops along the river. Transfer to your hotel and rest before dinner. Overnight Ürgüp.  
Day 6 Cappadocia → Konya (City of Whirling Dervishes)
Have breakfast and leave the hotel. set off to Konya (a 3-hour drive), where you'll learn about the great Sufi mystic Mevlana Celaleddini Rumi while visiting this sacred city. Konya was the capital of the Seljuks which flourished in Central Anatolia from 1071 to 1275. The Seljuks built numerous caravanserais along the Silk Road between Cappadocia and Konya and beyond. One of the reasons to visit Konya is to see the Mevlana Museum, which shelters the tomb of Celaleddin Rumî (1207-1273), known to his followers as Mevlana (or Rumî), a Muslim poet and mystic and one of the great spiritual thinkers and teachers of all time. Have a traditional lunch and visit the Mevlana Museum, the dervish lodge better known as the whirling dervishes. The dervish lodge (Dergah) was converted into a museum in 1927. The building was decorated with Seljukian motifs as well as Ottoman calligraphy. During your visit to the museum, you'll learn about the legendary "Ritual of Sema," the traditional religious dance wherein dervishes (Muslim religious figures akin to monks) spin faster and faster to summon the divine. Visit the Tropical Butterfly Garden and Museum, a 30-minute drive. Transfer to your hotel and rest before joining the Sufi Ceremony in which the Mevlevi dervishes whirl for a quarter of an hour in their quest for mystical union with the Divine. Overnight Konya.  
Day 7 Konya (City of Whirling Dervishes) → Istanbul
Early breakfast in your hotel, transfer to the train station, and take the speed train to Istanbul (train departure time is 08:50 - arrival to Istanbul at 14:00). Have lunch and transfer to the Airport for your international flight.

Carpe Diem Cappadocia

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