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Eastern Turkey Stopover Tour Travel Specialist

EASTERN TURKEY STOPOVER TOUR - 4 nights/5 days, arrive any day from May 1-October 31, 2014
1 nt Diyarbakir
1 night Mardin
1 nt Sanliurfa
1 night in Kahta

Priced from $3,995
per person in a double room

Travel with your private guide through the deep and exotic history of eastern Anatolia.

This private Turkey tour is guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 passengers.


Upon arrival in Diyarbakir, you will be met by your Ya’lla Tours USA guide and transferred to your hotel to freshen up before your day of touring. Begin your tour with a visit of the old city of Diyarbakir, surrounded by triple walls made of black basalt originally dating to 394 A.D. It is a city based on a Roman plan with four gates. Visit the caravanserai (Deliller Han), the Ulu (Great) Mosque from the Seljuk period, and possibly the 3rd century Aramaic Church of the Virgin Mary. Then drive to Catakkopru (Malabadi Bridge), one of the 22 dams that are being constructed on the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, and their tributaries. It is called Ataturk Dam and is the world .s sixth largest Dam. Return to Diyarbakir for dinner and overnight.

After an early breakfast, depart to Hasankeyf. See the ruins of medieval city perched on cliffs above the Tigris. See the remains of the medieval bridge built in 1116. The city's great period of prosperity began with its seizure in 1102 by Sukman, son of Artuk. In 1232, the Artukids of Hisn Kayfa were dispossessed by a branch of the Ayyubids, the dynasty to which Saladin belonged. The most interesting mosque to be seen is Sultan Suleyman Camii (actually built by his father Ghazi in 1356). Continue to Midyat to see some churches in the Christian quarter and, then to Tur Abdin (Mountain of the Servant of God), which has been inhabited by the Syrian Orthodox Christians from about 5C, to visit Mor Gabriel or Qartmin Monastery. According to the ancient tradition, the monastery was founded in 396/7 by the aged Samuel of Eshtin who fled from the land of the Persians. The monastery continued to be a place of learning for many centuries, producing chronicles, commentaries, and lives of the saints. Today it still has a resident bishop and a small community of monks and lay assistants. Arrive in Mardin for dinner and overnight.

Start with a visit to Deir-Al- Zafaran (Saffron Monastery), the Syrian Orthodox patriarch. From the middle 15th century until 1924, it was the permanent official residence of the Patriarch of Antioch, the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Travel from Mardin to Harran, a small settlement on the edge of the desert that was once a major economic, religious, and cultural center. Occupied since at least 2,000 BC, it was an important trading post on the road which linked Amida (Diyarbakir) with the great cites in south and south western Syria. Its name means "crossroads." In 217 AD the dissolute and cruel emperor Caracalla was murdered here while on his way to the temple of Sin at Harran, where he intended to invoke the blessing of the gods on his forthcoming campaign against the Parthians. Julian the Apostate came to Harran in 363 AD. Today's Harran is noted for its curious beehiveshaped dwellings and its Biblical connections. Just as Abraham is supposed to have been born at Sanliurfa, this is believed to be his resting place and that of his family, based on the claim in Genesis: "and they came unto Harran and dwelt there." Drive to Sanliurfa for dinner and overnight.

In the morning, start your tour of Sanliurfa, a splendid robust city with Biblical and archaeological interest. Sanliurfa's name possibly goes back to the Hurri dynasty, which was replaced by Hittites around 1400 BC and renamed Edessa by Alexander's successors. As a Christian and scholastic center, Edessa was attacked by Arabs from the East in the 7th century and then recaptured by Byzantines. Edessa became a Crusader state in the 11th century under Baldwin of Flanders. View the castle with Roman columns and visit the Mevlid Halil Mosque, the Cave of Abraham, and the sacred fish pool. Then, you will have a chance to wander in the old Bazaar. Continue to Kahta. Upon arrival, visit the east and west terraces, fire altar, statues of Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, Tyche, and Antiochus Epiphanes I, tumulus, reliefs, and the world's first horoscope. Descend the mountain through small villages and beautiful scenery. In Arsemia, see the old castle and remains of a bridge built during the time of Alexander the Great. View the Cendere Roman Bridge, built by Septimus Severus in the 2nd century AD and still in use today. In Karakus, see the tumulus of the royal Commagene women. Dinner and overnight in Kahta.

DAY 5 -
Rise very early for the drive and the walk up to the summit of Mount Nemrut, the highest mountain (2150 m) in Northern Mesopotamia. View a fantastic sunrise from the East Terrace. Return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, take a ferry across the reservoir and continue to Diyarbakir airport for your flight to Istanbul.

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May 1-October 31, 2014


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