B.C. Archaeology

Study Tours of the Ancient World


The Library of Celsus, Ephesus

"If one had but a single glance to give the world, One should gaze on Istanbul".
Alphonse de Lamartine, Histoire de la Turquie


This 3-week Study Tour has an emphasis on the archaeology and history of Turkey. The tour begins in Istanbul where we explore the monuments around the Hippodrome including the famous Basilica Cisterns of Justinian. We also visit the impressive Haghia Sophia church, (dating to the mid-6th Century AD) one of the grandest structures to survive from ancient times. The following day we explore the splendours of Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman court, and also walk through the extensive arcades of the Grand Bazaar, a shopper's paradise!

We then travel by bus to Gordion where we see the Tomb of Midas and the ruins of the ancient city. In Ankara where we visit the superb National Museum with its famous collection of ancient relief and sculpture. We also see the impressive Mausoleum of Ataturk, father of modern Turkey. A day is then spent visiting the dramatic ruins of Hattusas, the ancient capital of the Hittites during the Late Bronze Age. In Cappadocia we see the superb 'Fairy Chimneys' and explore the underground cities of the medieval period, including Goreme and Zelve. Free time is provided in Cappadocia for exploration of this picturesque area and you may wish to organise a balloon ride.

We then head to the Neolithic site of Catal Huyuk which dates back almost 9000 years. The excavations of the mudbrick houses is protected under a special roof and an on-site museum provides fascinating details of life at the site. We then head to Konya which was the medieval capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. We visit the Karatay Medersa, a beautiful school with tiles roof housing an excellent Museum of Ceramics and Tiles. We also see the Alaettin Mosque and royal tombs and the complex of the Mevlana rumi, founder of the order of the Whirling Dervishes.

We head to Pamukkale where we see the dramatic white travertine terraces and see the impressive theatre at Hierapolis. We then spend a day exploring the superb ruins of the city of Aphrodisias. This wonderful site is located in a peaceful valley and contains a magnificent stadium and theatre. The on-site museum of sculpture is very impressive.

Our hotel in Selcuk is our base for the next 4 nights. We explore the picturesque ruins of the Hellenistic site of Priene which is perched on a dramatic mountain. We also visit the recently restored Selcuk Archaeological Museum which contains a wide collection of artefacts from Ephesus. There is a free day to rest or relax in Selcuk. The following day we see the ancient Greek and Roman city of Ephesus with its superb theatre and famous Library of Celsus.

The following morning we head to the ruins of the ancient Lydian capital Sardis. The temple of Artemis is particularly impressive. We travel north to Bergama to walk around the remarkable ruins of Pergamum with its famous theatre and temples. We stop to see the dramatically located Temple of Athena at Assos before exploring the ruins of ancient Troy, a place where legend and history combine. We cross the Dardanelles to Gallipoli to see the ANZAC battle fields and moving memorials.

The tour ends in Istanbul. We take a cruise up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea, and spend a morning in the Blue Mosque. A day is set aside to explore the many treasures of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Free time is provided to explore the Grand Bazaar or the many other wonders that Istanbul has to offer.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul


Day 1: Depart Australia
We leave Australia on Singapore Airlines with a stop in Singapore.

Day 2: Basilica Cisterns - Haghia Sophia
We arrive into Istanbul in the early morning. After freshening up we see the antiquities of the Hippodrome and the awe inspiring Basilica Cisterns created by the Emperor Justinian. We have lunch in a nearby restaurant. The afternoon is spent in the magnificent Haghia Sophia church. Built by Justinian it was converted into a mosque after the Muslim conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Overnight Istanbul.

Shopping in the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
The Harem at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Day 3: Topkapi Palace - Grand Bazaar
The day is set aside to explore the remarkable Topkapi Palace, home to the medieval Sultans and the Ottoman royal court in Istanbul. The palace is justly famous for its marvelous harem rooms, lined with sumptuous Iznik tiles, and the treasures of the Ottoman Sultans. We explore this vast complex of courts, gardens, and state rooms. Lunch is à la carte at a restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus Straits. In the afternoon we visit the Grand Bazaar and explore its incredible maze of shops – there are countless shopping opportunities! Overnight Istanbul.

Day 4: Gordion
In the morning we leave Istanbul by bus, passing though scenic countryside along the Sea of Marmara. We head inland to explore the remains of the ancient site of Gordion, capital of the Phrygian Kingdom during the 9th and 8th Centuries BC. We see the Tomb of Midas, the on-site museum, and the excavations of the royal city. In the afternoon there is a short drive to Ankara. Overnight Ankara.

Day 5: Ankara Museum – Ataturk mausoleum
In the morning we visit the newly revamped Ankara Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, home to an impressive collection of artefacts representative of Turkish history from the Paleolithic Era down to the Roman period. Of particular interest are the neo-Hittite reliefs from Carcamesh and the Assyrian letters from Kanesh. After a break we see the mausoleum of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, founder of the modern nation of Turkey. Overnight Ankara.

Day 6: Hattusas
In the morning we drive to the ruins of Hattusas, the Late Bronze Age capital of the Hittites. We see the rock-cut shrine of Yazilikaya which preserves representations of the Hittite pantheon. After lunch we see the royal citadel, the Great Temple and city gates of Hattusas. Overnight Bogazkale.

The 'Kings Gate' at Hattusas
The Fairy Chimneys of Cappadicia

Day 7: Cappadocia - Uchisar Castle
We then travel south by bus to the fascinating region of Cappadocia, famous for its remarkable landscape of natural 'fairy chimneys' made from volcanic pumice. In the afternoon we visit the old city of Uchisar and climb to the top of the pumice castle for a superb view over the whole of Cappadocia. We check into our hotel in the town of Urgup. Overnight Urgup. Overnight Urgup.

Day 8: Zelve - Goreme
In the morning there is an optional balloon ride over Cappadocia to watch the sunrise. We then travel to Zelve, a medieval monastic community with houses and churches cut from the volcanic pumice. After lunch we see the famous medieval painted churches of Goreme which preserve spectacular frescoes. Overnight Urgup.

Day 9: Catal Huyuk
In the morning we head to 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 explore the remains of some of the houses which are protected by a special roof. In the afternoon we drive to the Konya, capital of the Selcuk Sultanate of Rum where we visit the beautiful Karatay Medersa and explore the Museum of Ceramics and Tiles. Overnight Konya.

Day 10: 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. A number of Sultan's are buried in the grounds of this mosque. After lunch we drive to Pamukkale where we see the famous travertine terraces. Overnight Pamukkale.

Day 11: Hierapolis - Aphrodisias
Today we see the well preserved theatre of the classical site of Hierapolis. We then head to the ancient site of Aphrodisias, cult centre of the famous goddess of love. We explore the Roman stadium, theatre and agora (marketplace). A highlight of the visit is the museum, with its magnificent collection of Roman sculpture. Overnight Selcuk.

Day 12: Priene - Selcuk Museum
In the morning we travel south by bus to see the ruins of the ancient Hellenistic city of Priene, located on a dramatic hill overlooking the Meander River valley. This superb site includes a picturesque agora or town square, town council hall, theatre, and magnificent Temple of Athena. After lunch we return to Selcuk where we visit the Archaeological Museum, home to a superb collection of Classical and Roman sculpture from Ephesus and surrounding sites. Overnight Selcuk.

Curetes Street at Ephesus
The theatre of Priene

Day 13: Free day
The day is free to relax, read a book, or go shopping in the markets of Selcuk. There are numerous archaeological sites which can be visited in the local area or you can arrange to see Sirince, the old Greek town in the hills which retains its old cottage industries. Overnight Selcuk.

Day 14: Ephesus
In the morning we head to Ephesus where we wander round the ancient Hellenistic and Roman city. We see the small theatre, the marble monuments of Curetes Street, the temple of Hadrian, the library of Celsus and the awe inspiring theatre. We also see the ruins of the wealthy Roman houses which preserve beautiful frescos and mosaics. In the afternoon we stop briefly to look at the remains of the Artemis Temple, once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Overnight Selcuk.

Day 15: Sardis - Bergama Museum
In the morning we head north to the ruins of Sardis, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Lydia. We see the Temple of Artemis and ancient gymnasium. After lunch we continue to Bergama where we check into our hotel. We explore the small Archaeological Museum of Bergama which preserves magnificent sculpture and other artefacts from the local excavations. We also visit the Temple of Serapis (the 'Red Basilica'). Overnight Bergama.

Day 16: Pergamon
The day is spent visiting the superb ruins of the ancient city of Pergamon. This ancient Hellenistic city was perched on the summit of a precipitous mountain and developed as a major centre of art and culture. Highlights of the day include the acropolis area with its royal palace, theatre, library and temple dedicated to the Roman Emperor Trajan. In the afternoon we visit the enclosure of Asclepius, god of Medicine. Overnight Bergama.

The agora at Aphrodisias
The theatre at Pergamum

Day 17: Assos - Troy
In the morning we travel north to the ruins of Assos where we see the superb Temple of Athena. Located on a rocky peninsula, there is a spectacular view over the Aegean towards Lesbos Island. We have lunch in a local cafe. We then head to Troy where we explore the remarkable ruins of this picturesque archaeological site which was famously excavated by the German entrepreneur Heinrich Schliemann in the late 19th Century. In the afternoon, we have a short bus ride to Çanakkale where we check into our hotel. Overnight Canakkale.

Day 18: Gallipoli
In the morning we cross the Straits of the Dardanelles by ferry to the Gallipoli Peninsula. We explore the WWI battle fields of Gallipoli including Anzac Cove, Lone Pine and the Nek. We have the chance to thoroughly explore these dramatic locations and appreciate the incredible hardships of the fighters on both sides. In the afternoon we head north by bus to Istanbul where we check into our hotel. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 19: Bosphorus Cruise
This day is dedicated to the scenic wonders of the region of Istanbul. In the morning we take a cruise boat from the Istanbul wharf up the Bosphorus Straits. We enjoy a magnificent view of the city and the suburbs along the way. We climb (or take a taxi) to Anadolu castle where there is a wonderful view of the Black Sea. We have a seafood lunch and then return to Istanbul. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 20: Istanbul Archaeological Museum - Blue Mosque - Grand Bazaar
In the morning we explore the highlights of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum which houses artefacts from Troy and other significant sites in Turkey. After lunch we visit the Blue Mosque, constructed in the early 17th Century by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I. Dominating the local area of the city, it is one of the great buildings of Islamic Istanbul. In the afternoon there is time to relax or do last minute shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 21: Depart Istanbul
We board our plane for the flight back to Australia.

Day 22: Arrive in Australia
We arrive back into Australia.

* 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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