Private Tour Details
Explore South East Anatolia
Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights
Destinations: Istanbul, Gaziantep, Mount Nemrut, Gobeklitepe, Harran, Mardin, Diyarbakir
Places You’ll See
Zeugma Mosaic Museum
Day 1 - Arrive to Gaziantep Airport and explore Gaziantep City & Zeugma Mosaic Museum
We will pick you up from your hotel in Istanbul for a flight to Gaziantep. Upon arrival at Gaziantep airport, our guide and driver will pick you up for a comprehensive tour of the city. Gaziantep is a rapidly growing city that is considered the Paris of southeast Anatolia. Gaziantep has the world's second-biggest mosaic museum. The mosaics were unearthed from Zeugma, a prosperous Roman city built by the Euphrates River banks. Being a trading outpost, Zeugma became one of the richest Roman cities in Anatolia, which is evident from the mosaics that once embellished the houses of the officials and merchants of the city. After our journey from the 21st century back to the 2nd, we will drive to Gaziantep's old city to stroll in the old bazaars and listen to the craftsmen hammering their copperware. The cuisine of Gaziantep is famous across Turkey, especially the pistachio baklava. We will check in to our hotel in Gaziantep for overnight.
Day 2 - Drive to Adiyaman and visit Nemrut Mountain National Park in the afternoon
After breakfast at our hotel in Gaziantep, we will drive to Kahta Town near the Mount Nemrut National Park. After a three-hour drive and a lunch break in Kahta, we will be wandering in the land of King Nimrod, Antiochus I Theos. The Commagene Empire was established in the southeast region of Anatolia, and it is world-famous thanks to the statues and the grave of King Nimrod at the top of Mount Nemut National Park, 2250 meters above sea level. First, we visit the mound of Karaus, "blackbird" in Turkish, where the family of I Theos was buried. Our next stop will be the Severan Bridge, built in the 2nd Century and recently used for transportation by the local Turkish and Kurdish community. A tea break by the bridge is a must which is overlooking the valley. Afterward, we will start ascending to Mount Nemrut to visit Antiochus I Teos' burial sanctuary, locally known as King Nimrod. Man-made statues over 6 meters and the mound he is buried in offers magnificent photo opportunities of the Southeast and Mediterranean landscape. After a loop around the mound of King Nimrod, we will enjoy the sunset, which is listed among the "1000 things you should do before you die." When the sun finally sets over the mountains of Anatolia, we will walk down to the car park for a well-deserved hot cup of hot tea. We will meet with our driver and drive down to the Ataturk Dam banks for a fresh trout dinner. Overnight in Kahta or Adiyaman.
Day 3 - The World's Oldest Temple and the Beehive Houses of Harran
After breakfast, we will drive east and visit Gobeklitepe. This is an early Neolithic sanctuary that includes massive stones carved about 12,000 years ago by people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. This ancient temple is the first temple built on earth and rocking the history of archeology right now since it was built by the hunter and gatherer Neolithic people for religious practices. Excavations continue today, and the mystery over the ancient site is revealed very slowly every year. Our next stop is Sanliurfa City for a lunch break. Afterward, we will drive to Harran village to visit mud-brick houses, which will remind you of honeycombs. We will have our Arabian coffees overlooking the first university of Islam and then drive back to Sanliurfa to check in to our hotel. In the afternoon, we will walk around the holy pool of the prophet Abraham. It is called the 'Fish Lake' thanks to a special kind of carp, considered holy by the local people. After a big kebab dinner, we will get back to our hotel. Overnight near the Abrahams pool, Sanliurfa.
Day 4 - Mardin, a Museum City
Our destination today is Mardin City, the necklace of southeast Anatolia. We will drive through Mardin's old city and arrive at Deyrulzafaran, an active Syriac Orthodox monastery. The monastery is located in the area known as Tur Abdin, the motherland of the Assyrian/Syriacs. Founded in 493 AD, the monastery was formerly the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Church seat from 1160 until 1932 until it was relocated to Damascus. The monastery has 365 rooms: one for each day of the year. After our break in the beautiful gardens of this monastery, we will drive back to Mardin for lunch, visit the old Bazaar, and stroll in the city's narrow streets, which will take you back to the Middle Ages. This walk will worth every step once you arrive at the Grand Mosque of Mardin, with astonishing minarets and stonework. We will walk up to the Mardin's busy street and meet our driver to take us to Kasimiye madrassah, which has amazing views of the Mesopotamian plains. Close to sunset, we will check in our hotel in the old city of Mardin and overnight.
Day 5 - Midyat and its Environs
After our breakfast on the terraces of our hotel, we will drive 1.5 hours to get to Midyat, a smaller version of Mardin. Midyat City has always been significant for the Syriac Orthodox since it hosts the Assyrians' biggest monastery. We will first visit the Mor Gabriel Monastery, which is located on the outskirts of Midyat. It is the oldest surviving Syriac Orthodox monastery in the world. Founded in 397, Dayro d-Mor Gabriel is the most vital Syriac Orthodox monastery in Turkey, with around fifteen nuns and two monks occupying separate wings and a fluctuating number of local lay workers and guests from overseas. It is also the seat of the Metropolitan Bishop of Tur Abdin (Mardin). We will get back to the center of Midyat to stroll in the bazaars and see the world-famous silver craftsmen create their filigree. It is a delicate kind of jewelry metalwork, usually of gold and silver, made with tiny beads or twisted threads, or both in combination, soldered together or to the surface of an object of the same metal and arranged in artistic motifs. After our lunch in the town center of Midyat, we will get back to Mardin for overnight.
Day 6 - Diyarbakir, a sophisticated city
After breakfast, we will leave our hotel and drive to Diyarbakir City, one of the largest cities in southeastern Turkey situated on the Tigris River banks. We will first stop at Diyarbakir's city walls, the 2nd longest city walls on earth, after the Great Wall of China. The inner castle of Diyarbakir castle houses a museum of archaeology, ethnography, a medieval church, and a café with breathtaking views of the Tigris basin. After exploring in the inner castle, we will then browse the old city to visit the Grand Mosque of Diyarbakir, which was built in 1091. It is among the biggest grand mosques of Turkey and can accommodate 5000 worshippers at a time. You will also be able to visit one of the old Diyarbakir houses built with the basalt stone of Karacadag volcanic mountain nearby Diyarbakir city. The houses are built with a square plan with a garden in the middle and still hold their oriental splendor. We will stroll in Diyarbakir's narrow streets to reach a Caravanserai used as a social center in the middle of the old Diyarbakir. After lunch, we will see a very interesting minaret, standing in the middle of the street built on top of 4 columns. A short walk will take you to the Church of the Virgin Mary which belongs to the small Assyrian minority of Diyarbakir city. We then continue to the medieval stone bridge stretching over the Tigris River connecting Diyarbakir lowlands to the UNESCO heritage site Hevsel Gardens. After a cup of black tea, we will drive to Diyarbakir Airport for a flight to Istanbul
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