Jewish Heritage 10 Days

Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel, check- in. Leisure afternoon. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 2 – Sultanahmet – Old Istanbul(B)
Visit The St. (Haghia) Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian. It was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years. See its intricate mosaics and huge central dome. Continue to the Topkapi palace, which was used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries. We will also see the impressive collection of priceless jewels, crystal, silver and porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and relics of the prophet Mohammed. (Entrance to the Harem is extra). After lunch we will see the Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I, which is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Visit the hidden Underground Cistern. See the Grand Covered Bazaar. 
*May be done as a walking tour if your hotel is centrally located. Overnight Istanbul

Day 3 – Jewish Heritage (Istanbul) – Galata and Balat (B)
Visit the Askenazi Synagogue, and then cross over the Golden horn to Balat, which has been the core of Jewish presence in Istanbul for over five centuries. We then continue to Neve Shalom Synagogue. Visit the old neighborhood and the Ahrida Synagogue. It is the oldest and most beautiful synagogue in Istanbul and was built in the 15th c. Later we will visit the Galata Tower and the old neighborhood of Galata and where you can get a nice view of Old Istanbul and the Zulfaris Museum, with historic and ethnographic sections, celebrating over 500 years of friendship between Turks and Jews. We will end the tour in Ortakoy, where the Sephardic Jews were welcomed to Turkey by the Ottoman Sultan (nice cafes and small restaurants). *Prior notice and copies of passports are needed for this tour.

Day 4 – Istanbul- Cappadocia (B)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Take the early morning flight from Ataturk Airport in Istanbul to Cappadocia. Arrival at the airport and meeting just outside the arrival’s gate with a sign bearing your name with your driver. Transfer to Cappadocia. Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Soğanlı Valley, an Open Air Museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style Rock-Cut churches and frescoes. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the “table top” mountains, are spectacular. Lunch and Visit to Sahinefendi newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & Archaeological excavation site. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides its frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which we can only see by torch light. Our tour finishes with a visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Overnight Cappadocia

Day 5 – Cappadocia (B)
In the morning, first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia: rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley; a journey in the past with its troglodyte houses, visit to Pasabag “fairy chimneys” where the voice of wind mixes with the “songs of fairies” near Zelve. Lunch in Avanos, centre of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century). Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Overnight Cappadocia

Day 6 – Cappadocia – Izmir (Smyrna) – (B)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Take the morning flight from Kayseri to Izmir (direct or via Istanbul).
Arrival and meeting at the airport with your name sign. Transfer to Izmir. Visit to Izmir’s Jewish heritage sites. Our first stop is to Izmir’s bazaar. The historical heart of Izmir’s Jewish life was in the synagogues of La Judiera, the area of the bazaar where the synagogues are located and where some Jewish merchants still work. We walk along Havra Sokak, the Street of Synagogues, named for its nine small, active synagogues which served the Jewish merchants and artisans who worked close by. We continue our tour with the panoramic drive through the Alsancak quarter. Continue to see Beth Israel Synagogue, a beautiful Ottoman Victorian-style building. Walk to the Asansor, a 19th century funicular which once took passengers from the shore road up the sheer rock cliffs to the desirable residential district above. Overnight Izmir

Day 7 – Ephesus (B)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:00am
Visit to the ancient city of Ephesus. We will spend several hours walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Cicero, Apostles Paul and John and many other familiar historical names. The recently opened Terrace Houses (entry extra) where the wealthiest Romans lived are an excellent example of sensitive excavation and presentation. The mosaics and frescos are spectacular. Tradition has it that Virgin Mary was brought here by St John after the Crucifixion and lived her final years near the city of Ephesus on an isolated mountaintop. A lovely chapel is constructed on the site tended by Franciscans and open to visitors. It has been designated a pilgrimage site by the Pope. Visit to temple of Artemis to see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Overnight Izmir.

Day 8 – Izmir – Sardis – Pamukkale (B.D)
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:30am
Drive to Sardis, capital of Ancient Lydia. Visit the famous Synagogue and Temple of Diana before heading on to Pamukkale. Continu to Pamukkale, on the way, visit to Aphrodisias (excluded on regular tours). Aphrodisias was primarily known as a center for the arts, specifically sculpture. The Aphrodisias School of Sculpture had a distinctive style and was very well circulated throughout the Greek and Roman world. Discovery of Travertine terraces and Hierapolis. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are one of the most spectacular natural wonders we ever have seen from various mineral springs in a vast white cliff side, about 200 m overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have dripped down over a series of terraced levels and created a fairyland of bizarre solidified cascades and shell-shaped basins. It looks like creations from snow or like balls from cotton, which gave the scenery the Turkish name Pamukkale (cotton castle): “pamuk” for cotton and “kale” for castle. Moreover the water in the basins is changing its color according to how the light enters. Overnight Pamukkale.

Day 9 – Pamukkale – Istanbul (B)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Denizli airport and take the Turkish Airlines morning flight from Denizli to Istanbul Ataturk airport. Arrival and transfer to Hotel. Free afternoon for a last chance to complete your visits ( Optional panoramic Bosphorus cruise). Overnight Istanbul.

Day 10 (B)
Pick-up from hotel 3 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Airport to connect to your international flight and leave Turkey

Abbreviations

B = Breakfast L= Lunch D = Dinner (Lunch excluded on private tours)

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