B.C. Archaeology

Study Tours of the Ancient World


The Palace of Ishak Pasha at Dogubayazit

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly--and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

And look--a thousand Roses with the Day
Woke--and a thousand scatter'd into Clay:
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobàd away.

But come with old Khayyàm, and leave the Lot
Of Kaikobàd and Kaikhosrú forgot:
Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
Or Hàtim Tai cry Supper--heed them not.

With me along some Strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultàn is scarce known,
And pity Sultàn Mahmúd on his Throne!

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Loaf of Bread,--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
And Wilderness is Paradise enow!

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


This three week study tour has an emphasis on the ancient sites and cultures of the east and south of Turkey. We start in Istanbul with a visit to the historic heart of the city - here we explore the famous Byzantine Chora Church and the Ottoman splendour of the Suleymania Mosque. We then fly to Kars in the far east of the country. We visit the fascinating ruins of Ani, the ancient capital of Armenia, which preserves many early churches. We also explore the historic centre of Kars including a Seljuk era castle.

We head south to see the ruins of the Ishak Pasha Seray, a magnificent 18th Century palace situated on a mountain pass with views of Mt Ararat. We spend a few days in Van where we explore the Urartian ruins of Tushpa (9th Century BC). We also see the ancient ruins of Cavustepe and the Kurdish castle of Hosap. We travel along the southern shore of Lake Van to visit the early medieaval church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. We then travel south to Diyarbakir, dramatically located on the Tigris River, where we explore the Great Mosque, the city walls and the local markets.

Our journey takes us west, stopping to see the fascinating reliefs scenes on the pre-Neolithic temple site of Gobekli Tepe. From here we travel to Sanliurfa, ancient Edessa, which has a splendid complex of shrines and monuments associated with the Prophet Abraham. We also visit the citadel and Great Mosque and explore the exotic bazaar.

We visit the Euphrates Dam and continue on to Nemrut Dagi where we see the superb mortuary complex of Antiochus I of Commagene - numerous statues of the gods and the king look out over the rugged landscape. We travel to Gaziantep where we see a stunning collection of mosaics – these were rescued from the Roman city of Zeugma when a dam was built across the Euphrates. We also explore the old quarter of Gaziantep.

We next travel to Kizkalesi on the Mediterranean Coast, stopping to see the Crusader era castle of Toprakkale and Yilankale. We head inland to see the ruins of the Roman town of Olba, and also explore the ruins of the famous Neolithic settlement of Catal Huyuk. We spend two nights in Konya, famous for its shrine to the Mevlana, founder of the Whirling Dirvish movement. We visit the Alaettin Mosque, and also see the archaeological museum.

Our tour then crosses the Taurus Mountains as we head to the ancient city of Side, located on the shore of the Mediterranean. Using Antalya as a base we explore the well preserved ruins of Termessos, Perge and Aspendos - the last site is famous for its intact Roman theatre. We also visit the Karain Cave, an important Palaeolithic site. We explore the Archaeological Museum of Antalya with its excellent collection of statues, and explore the old quarter of the city. The tour ends in Istanbul where we see the stunning Dolmabahce Palace and there is some free time to explore the city.

The theatre of Aspendos


Day 1: Depart Australia
We leave Australia on Singapore Airlines. There is a brief transit stop in Singapore.

Day 2: Arrive Istanbul – Chora – Suleymania
We arrive into Istanbul in the early morning. After freshening up we visit the Church of Saint Saviour in Chora. This preserves some of the best mosaics and frescoes from the Middle Ages. We also explore the Theodosian Walls of Istanbul. In the afternoon we visit the magnificent Suleymania Mosque. Constructed by the great architect Sinan, it is a one of the great Ottoman buildings. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 3: Fly to Kars – explore Kars
We head to the airport for our flight to Kars in the far east of Turkey. We check into our hotel where we will stay for 2 nights. In the afternoon we visit the Armenian church of the Holy Apostles and the Seljuk era Castle. Overnight Kars.

The churches of Ani
Ishak pasha Seray at Dogubayazit

Day 4: Ani ruins – Kars Church and castle
We visit the ruins of the city of Ani, once the capital of medieval Armenia. We explore the numerous churches, walls and towers of this ancient city set in a dramatic mountainous landscape. Overnight Kars.

Day 5: Mt Ararat - Dogubayazit – drive to Van
In the morning we head south, passing through dramatic mountainous territory. We travel close by Mt Ararat, purported resting place of the Ark. We visit the superb Ishak Pasha Palace at Dogubayazit which is located at the entrance to a mountain pass heading east. This magnificent 18th Century palace is a mixture of different architectural styles and is stunningly located with views of Mt Ararat. In the afternoon we continue south to Van. Overnight Van.

Day 6: Hosap – Cavustepe
In the morning we see the 17th Century Ottoman castle at Hosap, built to guard a major trade route through the mountains. The castle is located on a dramatic rock outcropping and preserves its palace rooms. After lunch we head to Cavustepe where we see the fortress palace of Sarduri-Hinili, home of the Urartian Kings in the 8th Century BC. Overnight Van.

Day 7: Akdamar Island - Van castle
We head west around the shore of Lake Van, stopping at Akdamar Island to see the 10th Century Church of the Holy Cross. Built in 921 it is decorated with frescoes and relief carvings of Biblical stories. We return to Van where we visit the citadel of Tushpa, the 9th Century BC capital of the Ancient Kingdom of Urartu. Overnight Van.

Day 8: Drive to Diyarbakir
We travel south through scenic mountain county, stopping to see an Ottoman caravanserai. In the afternoon we arrive into Diyarbakir, dramatically located overlooking the Tigris River. We explore some of the ancient walls and go for a walk in the historic quarter. Overnight Diyarbakir.

Day 9: Diyarbakir
Today we explore the ancient city of Diyarbakir, a major Kurdish centre surrounded by impressive black basalt walls. We explore the bastions and walls of the city, the Great Mosque built in 1091, the Hasan Pasha Han (markets), the ancient Caravanserai and a number of churches (including an ancient Syrian Orthodox church). Overnight Diyarbakir.

The walls of Diyarbakir
Gobekli Tepe ruins

Day 10: Gobekli Tepe Neolithic Temple – drive to Sanliurfa
In the morning we head west to see the excavations of the remarkable Neolithic temple at Gobekli Tepe. Constructed around 10,000 BC it is the earliest known man-made place of worship. There is a short drive to the mediaeval city of Sanliurfa. We check into our hotel and visit the Archaeological museum which houses artefacts from Gobekli Tepe. Overnight Sanliurfa.

Day 11: Sanliurfa
The day is set aside to explore the historical centre of Sanliurfa. We visit the famous fish pools and the Prophet Abraham’s cave. We also walk around the Abbasid and Crusader citadel, see the 12th Century Great Mosque and explore the wonderful bazaar with its ancient hans. Overnight Sanliurfa.

Day 12: Euphrates Dam - Nemrut Dagi
Our journey takes us north to the Euphrates Dam (Ataturk Dam) before we continue on to the Mt Nemrut National Park. We drive to the summit of Mt Nemrut to see the magnificent stone figures which decorate the tomb of Mithridates of Commagene, built around 80 BC. We also see the intact Cendere Roman Bridge built by the Emperor Septimius Severus. There is a short drive to Adiyaman where we check into our hotel. Overnight Adiyaman.

Day 13: Drive to Gaziantep – Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum
In the morning we drive to Gaziantep. After lunch we visit the Gaziantep Museum which is renowned for its superb collection of mosaics. These wonderful art works were rescued from the ancient Roman city of Zeugma which was partially flooded by the building of the Birecik Dam on the Euphrates River. Overnight Gaziantep.

The shrines of Sanliurfa
Colossal statues at Nemrut Dagi

Day 14: Gaziantep - drive to Kizkalesi via Toprakkale
In the morning we have a walking tour of the medieval quarter of Gaziantep located at the foot of the well preserved Selcuk citadel. We then drive to the Mediterranean port of Kizkalesi, stopping en route to explore the spectacular Crusader castle of Toprakkale and also view the 12th Century Aremnian Castle called Yilankale. Overnight Kizkalesi.

Day 15: Olba – Catal Huyuk
In the morning we head north of Kizkalesi towards Konya, stopping en route to see the spectacular Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Olba. We then continue our journey, stopping to see the ruins of the Neolithic city of Catal Huyuk. The site was occupied from 6800-5700 BC and preserves a rich array of artefacts and wall paintings. We can explore the remains of some of the houses which are protected by a special roof. Overnight Konya.

Day 16: Konya
In the morning we explore the old quarter of Konya including the Mevlana Museum of Rumi, founder of the Whirling Dervish movement, and the Seljuk era Alaettin Mosque. After lunch we explore a number of Selcuk monuments from the 11th and 12th Century. Overnight Konya.

Day 17: Drive to Side – ruins of Side
We head south through the dramatic Taurus Mountains until we reach the coast. After lunch we visit the impressive ruins of the Hellenistic and Roman city of Side, located on a promontory projecting into the Mediterranean. We visit the theatre, agora, Temples of Apollo and Athena and colonnaded streets. We also see the Side site Museum which has an impressive collection of sculpture. There is a short drive to Antalya where we check into our hotel. Overnight Antalya.

Stunning mosaics from Zeugma
The Temple of Athena at Side

Day 18: Perge - Aspendos
Today we explore two wonderful ancient sites located to the east of Antalya. Perge is an ancient Roman city which includes a magnificent theatre, stadium, walls, agora and bath complex. The colonnaded streets are particularly well preserved. In the afternoon we visit the theatre of Aspendos, one of the best preserved theatre from antiquity. Overnight Antalya.

Day 19: Karain Cave - Termessos
We head into the rugged mountains behind Antalya to visit the Karain Cave. Archaeologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of humans in Turkey. We then visit the stunning Hellenistic and Roman city of Termessos. This mountain top city has remains of many temples, gymnasium, council chambers and a spectacularly located theatre with views over the local valley. The necropolis contains numerous sarcophagi which emerge from a woodland setting. Overnight Antalya.

The theatre of Termessos
The Blue Mosque at night

Day 20: Antalya Museum – fly to Istanbul
In the morning we explore the stunning collection of ancient artefacts in the Antalya Museum. This includes an extensive collection of statues, mosaics and small finds from the local region. In the afternoon we fly to Istanbul where we check into our hotel. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 21: Dolmabahce palace - free time
In the morning we visit the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace on the shores of the Bosphorus. Constructed by Sultan Abdul Mecit in the mid-19th Century, it was lavishly decorated in a European style. Our visit includes the state rooms and harem. The afternoon is set aside as free time for rest or for exploring the many wonders of Istanbul - the opportunities are endless and include last minute shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 22: Depart Istanbul
There is some free time in the morning. We board our plane for the flight back to Australia, stopping at Singapore on the way.

Day 23: Arrive in Australia
We arrive back into Australia in the early evening.

* Please note that the Company reserves the right to make alterations to the itinerary in the period up to 60 days prior to a tour departure. The itinerary may also be subject to minor re-arrangement due to the scheduling of the operators and availability of access. If this occurs, the Company will endeavour to provide a comparable alternative.




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