DAY 1- DRIVE TO KAHTA (Breakfast, Lunch)
You will be picked up either from your Cappadocia hotel or from one of the two airports that service Cappadocia and transferred to join your group for departure on your journey to Kahta.
The tour will be traveling along a portion of the ancient Silk Road. After about an hour and a half you will stop to see the 13th century Karatayhan Caravanserai, one of many built by the Selcuk Turks in this region that has seen centuries of trade upon this most famous of east-west routes. The journey will then continue through the Taurus Mountains affording you the opportunity to observe the countryside and the everyday life of rural Turkey, which will be very different from all that you have observed thus far. After lunch in the Tekir Forest, the tour continues towards Kahramanmaras, where you will stop in order to get a taste of the famous Maras ice cream.
By late afternoon you will arrive in Kahta/Adiyaman. Dinner will be served at a charming restaurant located on the banks of the reservoir that was created by the Ataturk Dam. Overnight in Kahta. (B,L,D)
DAY 2- KAHTA/MOUNT NEMRUT TO SANLIURFA AND HARRAN (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Today you will have an early start in order to catch the sunrise from Mount Nemrut.
*Please note that there is a walk to the ruins at Mount Nemrut. Depending on your pace, it consists of 20 to 40 minutes up a slight grade with steps along much of the way.
This 7000 ft. peak provides a spectacular backdrop for the stunning ruins of the temples and funerary mound erected in the mid-first century BC by Antiochus I of the Commagene Kingdom. The Romans defeated the Selucids in the early part of the second century BC. New kingdoms were then established on what had formerly been Selucid territory, by local authorities that were in alliance with Rome. The Commagene Kingdom sat upon vast lands encompassing different cultures between the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates River. It is apparent that Antiochus I had the notion to unite the disparate groups, perhaps with the goal of expanding his influence and thusly increasing his power. In any case, you will see what remains of his monumental legacy, including statuary of lions, eagles, various Greek, Armenian and Persian gods and members of King Antiochus’ family. There are several sites of Commagene ruins in the vicinity and you will see the capital of the Commagene Kingdom, Arsemia; a tumulus on Karakus Hill and the Cendere Bridge. After completing the Nemrut portion of your tour, you will continue to Sanliurfa.
You will arrive in Sanliurfa just in time for lunch; and, as Urfa is renowned for its cuisine, you will enjoy a delicious lunch of traditional local dishes before visiting Harran. The first record of Harran comes to us from the clay tablets that were discovered at Ebla, Syria dating from between ca. 2500 and 2250 BC. Harran is also mentioned in Genesis (11:31-32, 12:4-5) as being a place where Abraham lived. Located at the crossroads of major ancient trade routes, Harran was a city of great importance for a very long time. Its history is rich and complex. You will see the conically shaped mud bricks houses that warrant their beehive description. Also in Harran, you will visit the ruins of the world’s first Islamic University, which was a principal center for the translation of classical works from Greek to Syriac and Arabic.
After Harran, you will return to Sanliurfa, also a city with a very deep history and one that has been led by a succession of conquering civilizations and referenced in the Bible as a place where Abraham lived. You will visit a gardened complex that was built here to memorialize him. There is a mosque surrounding a large pool with a cave off to one side that represents his birthplace and that is a place of pilgrimage. You will also visit the local and very authentic traditional bazaar.
You will undoubtedly enjoy your dinner, which will be served at a local restaurant. Overnight in Sanliurfa. (B,L,D)
DAY 3- TO CAPPADOCIA (Breakfast, Lunch)
After breakfast in your hotel, you will depart for your drive to Cappadocia. The tour will take a different route for this return journey than that which you will have already been on. As you will be approaching Birecik, you will hopefully have the opportunity to see the rare Hermit Ibis, which is in danger of becoming extinct. Lunch will be served at an appropriate juncture along the way. Your route will pass through some mountainous territory where you will have a tea break before arrival in Urgup/Cappadocia. (B,L)
*Please note that you have the option to be transferred to stay this night in a Cappadocia Hotel. You may also choose to be transferred to either the airport or the bus terminal for departure.