ORIENTAL TURKEY - DANCE AND CULTURE TOUR - September 13-26
Price indication: will follow
Wednesday September 13 - Arrival day in Kasyseri – transfer to Avanos
Our tour starts with a flight to Kayseri. For participants of the Scenic Holland tour this is a direct flight departing from Rotterdam. It is about an hour drive to our first destination, the city of Avanos in the heart of Capadocia. Settle in and visit one of the many little restaurants to have your lunch and have a relaxed start of our tour. We hope to meet everybody at dinner (included) around 19.00 to get acquainted with each other.
Thursday September 14 - Capadocia – visit to the caves and rock formations
Cappadocia is a beautiful region full of fairy-tale cave houses, quirky peaks and underground cities. The special tuff landscape is formed by eruptions of volcanoes. Today we take a tour to nearby Peri Bacaları with its geological formations. We can see how inhabitants used the landscape to carve houses and even churches and monasteries in the rock formations of nearby Urgüp and around Göreme. Our local guide will provide us with interesting information on our walking tour and we will have lunch (incl) together. Dinner around 19.00 (incuded).
Friday September 15 - Dance class - Hacı Bektas veli complex – Derwish performance
Dance class from 10.00-12.00. Turkish culture is very diverse. After lunch (not provided) we will visit the centre of Bektashism, a religious order of Alevism, one of the very rare order complexes that maintained most of its features.
There are many special ceremonies still performed in the 21th century. For example “Semah”, religious dances and the ritual meetings called “Cem”. Among the Alevites and Bektasis, it is not uncommon for women and men to dance during the Sememhs, while in the Sufis only men perform the Sememhs. These religious dances symbolize the bond with Allah and the Universe. It is often suggested that Derwishjen – Islamic clerics - will be closer to Allah by the rotations of the Sememh that causes a certain hypnosis in them.
Figures in Semah were inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
Dinner (included) around 19.00 hrs.
Saturday September 16 - Dance class – underground cities of Özkanak
Dance class from 10.00-12.00 with a local teacher. You have free time to have lunch (not included) before we depart at 14.00 hrs to to explore the underground world, which is just as amazing as landscape. Not far from Avanos we visit Özkanak. Although the exact date is not known, the underground city of Özkonak is thought to have been built in the 400s BC. In terms of location, tuff is very suitable for carving and shaping and formed an excellent opportunity to settle in the old times. After our exploration we will have dinner (included) around 19.00 hrs
Sunday September 17- Travel to Gaziantep – walk in Ihlara valley
Check out and departure at 9.30 hrs to Gaziantep. After about an hour drive we will have a stop for a brief hiking tour of about 5 km. along a river in the lush and beautiful valley of Ihlara. We can enjoy a coffee and a small lunch (not included) before we continue to Gaziantep. This is a long drive and we expect to arrive late afternoon in hotel Şirahan. After check in we will have dinner at the hotel (included).
Monday September 18 - Dance class & free afternoon
Dance class from 10.00-12.00 with a local teacher. You have free time to have lunch (not included) and at 14.00 we will explore the city together on foot and there will be free time until dinner at 19.00 hrs (included).
Tuesday September 19- Dance class – performance – free time
Dance class from 10.00-12.00 followed by a performance of the local folk dance group. Time to browse around in Gaziantep. We can give you some suggestions, because there is enough to explore on your own or just enjoy the excellent food. No dinner provided.
Wednesday September 20 - Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum & Hamam Museum – Gastronomic program
Departure at 10.00. This is your chance to see the Mona Lisa of Turkey in Zeugma Mosaic Museum. The craftmanship reflected in sometimes huge mosaics is stunning and not to miss. You will have the opportunity to have lunch (not incl) before we visit the Haman museum which gives us ‘insight information’ on the important role of certain Hamam rituals in daily life.
Gaziantep is well known as gastronomic city and famous for its cuisine. The rest of the afternoon program will shed light on this aspect of the city and we can enjoy the culinary result at dinner (included).
Thursday September 21 - Travel to Sanliurfa/Urfa – city walk – free afternoon
Check out at 11.00 hrs. It will be about 2 hrs drive before we reach our final destination of the tour, Sanliurfa, also called Urfa, is an old city in southeastern Anatolia. Urfa offers a great journey full of history, religion and architecture because of its connections with Christianity and Islamic tradition and has a very open ambiance. The name of this city can be found in many biblical stories. It is also the place where Prophet Abraham was born, raised and died.
We will have lunch (included) together and enjoy a city walk to the ‘sacred carps’ at lake Gölbaşı. Evil ruler, Nimrod killed anyone who stood in his path. Abraham challenged his method of rule so Nimrod ordered him burned at the stake. The fire was lit but God turned the flames to water and the wood to fish, hence the pool is now a sacred religious site for Muslims.
You will have the opportunity to explore the city some more on your own, but don’t forget to take a rest and enjoy a drink because Urfa is known for extremely warm weather!
No dinner provided.
Friday September 22 - Dance class – village visit
Dance class 10.00-12.00 with local teacher. Urfa has its own specific dances as any region in Turkey. The feeling is more Arabic due to its geographical location.
You have free time for lunch (not provided) and we will depart at 14.00 hrs to visit a village and meet with the local dance group. Maybe our dance classes can help to participate in the local dances. Home-cooked dinner at the village.
Saturday September 23 - Old city of Harran – ruins of Göbekli Tepe
Full day tour to Harran and Göbekli Tepe. Harran is famous for his cocoon-shaped houses that were originally made to keep the inside of these houses cold. These houses have been standing for more than 3000 years. This place is very important for Muslims, because Harran has built the oldest mosque in Anatolia and it is an important window of Islamic architecture. The Great Mosque of Harran was built between 744-750 and continues to exist to this day!
Göbeklitepe is a massive stone temple ruine that was built by prehistoric people, who had not yet developed metal tools or pottery. It is known that Göbeklitpe is 7000 years older than Stonehenge, and 7500 years older than the Egyptian pyramids. This archaeological site has characteristic T-shaped columns with images of wild animals, depicting wildlife about 11,500 years ago.
Dinner in Urfa (included)
Sunday September 24 - Mardin – Diyarbakır
We will leave Urfa and to get even a broader idea of the southern Anatolian culture we have arranged a visit to Mardin, a city located near the Syrian border and the center of Mardin province. The old city is built mostly on the southern slope of a long hill. It is known for its specific architecture, although historically, Mardin produced sesame. The town is also famous for the high quality of its filigree jewelry. Free time to have lunch.
After lunch our journey continues to Diyarbakır, where we will arrive late afternoon. The town lies in the heart of Kurdish culture and is one of Turkey’s most beautiful cities with a very rich history. It is also modern, dynamic, and full of life, but still free of mass tourism. Its main draws are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the impressive city walls, lavish green fields, and an old bridge. Several old houses, churches, and mosques complete the feast. Dinner will be included. In the evening we will plan a nice program.
Monday September 25 - Dance class – free afternoon - farewell dinner
Dance class10.00-12.00 with a local teacher. As you might expect Diyarbakır has a large selection of nice cafeterias and restaurants to have lunch (not provided). It is almost the last day of our tour and you can spend your free afternoon as you like. Relax on a nice terrace to process all travel impressions or you might want to do some last shopping or choose your own cultural experience. We will have a farewell dinner together (included).
Tuesday September 26 - Departure from Diyarbakır airport
Our tour has come to an end. We will arrange transfers to the airport and wish you a good trip to your home country.