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Priene, Miletus, Didyma Ancient Cities Tour

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Drive through green and rolling hills of the pastoral Aegean region to visit most significant ruins of three ancient cities, Priene, Miletus and Didyma.

Tour Details

You will be picked up from your hotel in Kusadasi or Selcuk at around 08:45 for your full day guided tour of three Greco-Roman cities. Priene, Miletus and Didyma.

Priene, an important trading port of the Ionian League of Greek settlements, was first established in the 11th century BC upon cliffs rising to almost 400 meters above the Aegean Sea. In those days the city overlooked the sea, which has since receded so that the ruins now sit somewhat inland. By the end of the 7th century BC, the Ionian cities were ruled by the Lydians, which lasted until the armies of the Persian King Cyrus defeated those of the Lydian King Croesus in the middle of the 6th century BC. At that time, most of what is today modern Turkey fell under the dominion of the Persians and remained so until conquest by Alexander the Great. It was he who ushered in a period of flourishing under the Hellenistic system and he who, in 334 BC, commissioned the construction of Priene’s Temple of Athena. Democracy thrived in Priene and, as evidenced by the ruins we see today, it was a wealthy city. What remains of this ancient city is quite extensive and in relatively good condition. The ruins are scattered among the local species of evergreen tree and set upon a hillside offering an expansive view of the plains below. The site is quite pleasant.

Miletus was also a wealthy and successful port city in classical antiquity and during later Roman times as well. It is considered to have been the most powerful of what were the twelve Ionian cities and is known to have greatly influenced the intellectual and philosophical development of the Aegean region. There is archaeological evidence at Miletus of human settlements that date as far back as the Neolithic Age and its recorded history begins with the Hittites around 1320 BC. It is believed that the apostle, Paul, visited Miletus on more than one occasion. In the Acts of the Apostles, Miletus is mentioned as the place where Paul met with the Ephesian elders in the year 57 (Acts 20:15-38). Much remains of the ancient city. Among what you will see is the quite large and well preserved theater, the baths, one of two marble lion statues that used to guard the Lpriene2ion Harbor, the Harbor gateway and the Delphinion, which was the main temple at Miletus and dedicated to Apollo Delphinios, protector of ships and harbors. The Delphinion leads onto to the processional Sacred Way, which was the pilgrim route traveled upon to reach the Temple of Apollo at Didyma.

The tour breaks for lunch, usually near the temple ruins at Didyma.

Didyma is most famous for its massive Temple of Apollo and its status as a place of pilgrimage. The oracle of Apollo, received at the temple, was highly credible to those who sought its counsel during the archaic period and greatly relied upon by distinguished kings such as Croesus and Alexander. This temple at Didyma had importance comparable to and certainly only second to that which is located at Delphi in Greece. Didyma was considered divine as far back as the 10th century BC, probably because of the existence there of a fresh water spring directly upon which the Temple of Apollo was constructed. The temple has been carefully rebuilt and what remains today is quite impressive.

After the tour, you will be returned to your hotel. (Lunch is included)

Departure & Return Location

John F.K. International Airport (Google Map)

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Air fares
  • 3 Nights Hotel Accomodation
  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • Driver Service Fee
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees

Complementaries

  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • T-Shirt
  • Entrance Fees
What to Expect

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland

We’ll meet at 4 p.m. at our hotel in Luzern (Lucerne) for a “Welcome to Switzerland” meeting. Then we’ll take a meandering evening walk through Switzerland’s most charming lakeside town, and get acquainted with one another over dinner together. Sleep in Luzern (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2Zürich–Biel/Bienne–Neuchâtel–Geneva

Enjoy an orientation walk of Zurich’s OLD TOWN, Switzerland’s center of banking and commerce. Then, leave Zurich and start your Swiss adventure. You’ll quickly discover that Switzerland isn’t just home to the Alps, but also to some of the most beautiful lakes. First, stop at the foot of the Jura Mountains in the picturesque town of Biel, known as Bienne by French-speaking Swiss, famous for watch-making, and explore the historical center. Next, enjoy a scenic drive to lakeside Neuchâtel, dominated by the medieval cathedral and castle. Time to stroll along the lake promenade before continuing to stunning Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland, with its fantastic lakeside location and breathtaking panoramas of the Alps.

Day 3Enchanting Engelberg

Our morning drive takes us from Swiss lakes to Swiss Army. At the once-secret Swiss army bunker at Fortress Fürigen, we’ll see part of the massive defense system designed to keep Switzerland strong and neutral. Afterward, a short drive into the countryside brings us to the charming Alpine village of Engelberg, our picturesque home for the next two days. We’ll settle into our lodge then head out for an orientation walk. Our stroll through the village will end at the Engelberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery with its own cheese-making operation. You’ll have free time to wander back before dinner together. Sleep in Engelberg (2 nights). Bus: 1 hr. Walking: light.

Day 4Interlaken Area. Excursion to The Jungfrau Massif

An unforgettable trip to the high Alpine wonderland of ice and snow is the true highlight of a visit to Switzerland. Globus Local Favorite At an amazing 11,332 feet, the JUNGFRAUJOCH is Europe’s highest railway station. Jungfrau’s 13,642-foot summit was first ascended in 1811 and in 1912 the rack railway was opened. There are lots of things to do here: enjoy the ALPINE SENSATION, THE PANORAMA 360° EXPERIENCE, and the ICE PALACE. Also receive your JUNGFRAU PASSPORT as a souvenir to take home with you. The round trip to the “Top of Europe” by MOUNTAIN TRAIN will take most of the day.

Day 5Lake Geneva and Château de Chillon

It’s market day in Lausanne! Enjoy browsing and packing a picnic lunch for our 11 a.m. boat cruise on Lake Geneva. A few miles down-shore we’ll dock at Château de Chillon, where we’ll have a guided tour of this delightfully medieval castle on the water. On our way back we’ll take time to peek into the vineyards surrounding Lutry before returning to Lausanne. Boat: 2 hrs. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.

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