North East Turkey Tour
Trabzon- Sumela Monastry Ataturk Pavillion, Hagia Sofia of Trabzon
Black Sea Region- Tea farms, Coastal Views, Mountains and Lakes
Culture- Unique local culture of etnic locals
Savsat- Karagol Black Lake Natinal Park
Kars- On the footprints of Orhan Pamuk's Snow
TOUR OF NORTH EAST TURKEY
Day 1 - Arrive Trabzon
Today we meet at Trabzon airport and transfer to our hotel. Time permitting, we will go on a walk in the town center. Overnight at standard hotel.
Day 2 - In Trabzon
Trabzon or Trapesus as it was in the ancient times is renowned as little Istanbul due to the vastness of its well preserved historical architecture. We will visit Trabzon. The Greek General Xenophon reached here in 401 BC with 10,000 troops following his retreat from Mesopotamia, as recorded in his Anabasis. We view the outside of the 13th century Church of Hagia Sophia, with its impressive late-Byzantine frescoes, relief carvings, and the impressive citadel built on a spur of land sloping down towards the Black Sea. If there is time, we will visit a couple of Byzantine churches turned into mosques following the Ottoman conquest. We then travel up into the lower reaches of the Pontic Alps to visit as much as possible of the Sumela Monastery. Spectacularly built into a sheer cliff it dates from the 6th century and it boasts some fine frescoes. The monastery was hastily abandoned in 1923 following the population exchange between Greece and the newly founded Republic of Turkey. We then drive back to hotel to Trabzon. Sumela Monastery, Hagia Sophia Museum (Mosque), historical streets and arcades, Copper-smiths’ district, Ataturk’s Mansion, Boztepe viewpoint. Overnight at standard hotel. B
Day 3 - Drive to Arhavi
We will have an early start today for our long but very scenic drive. We drive to Mencuna Waterfall and visit Cifte kopru and Black sea local life museum. We overnight in Blacksea style guesthouse in Village. We explore tea farms and hazelnut gardens.
Day 4: Drive to Savsat visit Borçka Karagöl
We will drive along the Black Sea coast onto Hopa, a little border town of Turkey and then head south up and over the extremely lash mountains with incredible views and Turkish tea plantation. En-route, we will witness one of the most majestic construction works of Turkish Republican History, Artvin Deriner Dam. We will often stop for picture breaks and stretching our legs. We will end our journey in a very small town situated at the green picturesque town of Savsat. Overnight at standard hotel. B
Day 5 - Savsat Karagol Kars
Savsat (pronounced “shavshat”) is a small town situated amidst the green mountains. This region is one of the most intact areas of Turkey. Having visited the town center, we will drive around in the region to see Karagol Lake, Tibeti Georgian Church, local architecture and village life in Meydancık Village. We will also pay a visit to the wooden Duzkoy Mosque from the 13th century in Borcka .Today we will drive overland to Kars via Cildir and Ardahan. Our first stop will be at Camlibel Pass (2640 m), one of the highest points on a road in Turkey. Here, we will witness the change in the landscape and the climate so dramatically. As we head towards Ardahan, we will get to witness an amazing diversity of wild birds of pray perched atop almost every single post. The vast meadow of Ardahan is a peerless grazing land for animal husbandry and horses with their riders. The life here is still very conventional. Just before we make it to Cildir town, we will take a break for a short walk to admire the famous Seytan (Devil’s) Castle from afar. Then, we will continue to Lake Aktas. This is an interesting lake with lots of wet lands birds and the village on the shore of lake has very hospitable people. The incredible fact is that, the opposite half of the lake is within Georgian borders. After lunch, we will drive on along the Cildir Lake. Eventually, we will find our Hotel in Kars and settle for 2 nights.
Overnight at standard hotel in Kars
Day 6 : Kars – Ani – Kars:
In the morning we visit one of the tour’s definite highlights - the ruined ancient city of Ani, which was the Armenian capital in the 9th century. The ruins are only 45 km away, right on the border with modern day Armenia, sitting above the Arpa river and controlling the crossing that was, at one time, an essential strategic point on an off-shoot of the Silk Route. The city became fabulously wealthy before, in the 11th century, when it was captured in quick succession by the Byzantine and the Turkish armies. This is an intriguing and memorable place and was, for many years, completely off- limits as it lay within the no-go area that surrounded the USSR. After lunch we arrive back to Kars and discover the city and builidings which was builg during 40 years Russian ocupacy in 1877. Hotel (B, L, D)
Overnight in Kars
Day 7: Kars – Dogubeyazıt- Mount Ararat
Today we drive to Dogubeyazıt to visit Ishak Pasa palace with a view over the splendid Mt Ararat (we hope to get fine views of Ararat as we walk). This town with its combination of fortress, palace and pleasure-dome dates mostly from the 17th century. This morning we drive to Dogubeyazıt. Our main focus here is the romantic 17th century Ishak Pasha Palace, a wonderfully ornate and architecturally intricate palace dramatically situated on a limestone ridge with superb views over the Ararat Plain below. There is a Urartian rock-cut chamber high in the cliff-face behind the palace, flanked by relief-carved figures, and a lovely domed Ottoman mosque beneath it. Weather permitting, the views to Mount Ararat from Dogubeyazit are superb.
Overnight in Dogubeyazıt
Day 8 - Dogubayazit - Tatvan
We drive over the near 10,000 feet high Tendurek Pass , past frozen lava flows, and get our first tantalizing glimpses of LAke Van a startlingly blue high-altitude soda lake seven times larger than Lake Geneva. Navigating the northern shore of the lake, we pass beneath towering Mount Suphan to the medieval city of Ahlat famed for its monumental tombs and elaborately carved gravestones. We visit Nemrut Dag (Mt Nemrut), located on the southwest shores of Lake Van. This dormant volcano, over 9,500ft in height, has three lakes within its massive crater, and was an obsidian source in Neolithic times. We drive south to the former caravan town of Bitlis, then continue to Por where we visit a Kurdish village once inhabited by Armenian Christiansvisit a small 7th century church, used as a barn by a village family, and the best collection of khachtkars (Armenian stelae) left in Turkey. We shall continue on to Tatvan and our journey will pass the high pastures used by the nomad tribes that live along the Iranian border. We drive over the near 10,000 feet high Tendurek Pass, past frozen lava flows, and get our first tantalizing glimpses of Lake Van, a startlingly blue high-altitude soda lake seven times larger than Lake Geneva. Navigating the northern shore of the lake, we pass beneath towering Mount Suphan to the medieval city of Ahlat, famed for its monumental tombs and elaborately carved gravestones. Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 9 Tatvan Akdamar Island Van
We depart Tatvan for Van, following the beautiful southern shores of Lake Van. A twenty-minute boat ride off shore is the spectacular island of Akdamar, home to the small but delightful tenth-century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross. The exterior is liberally adorned with relief carvings of biblical and other scenes, the interior with a wealth of well-restored frescos. We continue to the city of Van on the eastern shores of the lake and visit the impressive Van Archaeological Museum, home to a fabulous collection of Urartian artifacts.
Overnight in Van
Day 10 Van Hosap Van
T oday we explore the mighty Rock of Van, a natural limestone outcrop topped by Urartian and later-era fortifications and other structures. For those with a head for heights, we view the burial chambers of the Urartian King Argishti, set high in the sheer south face of the citadel rock. We descend to explore the atmospheric remains of the walled city that once stood at the foot of the ‘rock’, completely destroyed bar a couple of well-restored Ottoman mosques, and several ruined buildings including an Armenian church. We look up to see a massive cuneiform inscription carved into the sheer cliff-face of the Rock of Van, carved at the behest of the Persian king Xerxes. In the afternoon we head north to the Urartian fortress of Ayanis, perched on the shore of the lake, which contains an impressive temple dedicated to the chief god of the Urartian pantheon, Haldi. The site is still under excavation.
In the afternoon we drive south into the heart of the mountains to visit the fairy tale fortress of Hosap, which was built by a Kurdish chieftan in the 17th century. Our final visit today will be to the fortified-palace of Cavustepe, built on a mountain spur snaking out into a wide valley. Constructed relatively late in the Urartian period the site is notable for its beautifully-carved basalt masonry, blind windows, cisterns and twin temples.
Day 11 Van airport Transfer
Tour ends. We have group transfer to Van Airport (20 minutes)
- English Speaking Guiding & Driving Service
- A.c comfortable vehicle, petrol
- All accomodation
- All brekafasts
- Entrance fees to sites in itinerary
- Taxes, insurance
- Personal expenses
- Lunch and Dinners
This is private tour avalilable in 12 months.
Minimum number of group is 2 person, maximum is 14 person.
Please contact us to extend or customise this tour acording to your wishlists