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History of Byzantium Tour with Robin Pierson & Serif Yenen (March)

History of Byzantium Tour with Robin Pierson & Serif Yenen (March 22 – April 1, 2020)

Istanbul, Cappadocia & Ephesus (11 Days)

Tour Date: March 22 – April 1, 2020

Robin Pierson is the author of ‘The History of Byzantium Podcast.’ He tells the story of the Roman Empire from 476 to 1453 AD. He says that “Byzantine history is fascinating, world changing and largely forgotten. Listen and discover who they were.” Robin is from London in the UK. His web site is the History of Byzantium.

It has been Robin and Serif’s great idea to put this tour together, and they have made this tour twice with great success. Now new ones are coming up.

While the Roman capital Rome was shrinking to a cow town, Constantinople was on the rise with a population of half a million. After seeing resplendent metropolis with its harbor full of vessels, with its markets filled with silks, spices, furs, precious stones, perfumed woods, carved ivory, gold and silver and enameled jewelry, the Crusader Villehardouin was in shock and said: “One could not believe there was so rich a city in all the world.”

Byzantium was a buffer shielding medieval Europe from the empire-building Persians, Arabs, and Turks. It was a bridge between East and West. Byzantines were law makers, developed religious, political, and social practices vibrant to this day. They were masters of mosaics. They pictured Christ enthroned as the Pantocrator, Creator of Universe in the domes of many of their churches.

While Charlemagne, King of the Franks, could barely write his name, many Byzantine emperors were scholars. While men in the West for centuries tested guilt or innocence by subjecting the accused to severe pain, Justinian set scholars to compiling his famous Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law), the foundation of Roman Law in continental Europe today. Via the Code Napoléon, Byzantine precepts were transmitted to Latin America, Québec Province, and Louisiana, where they still hold sway.

Today, as we go back and investigate more, and in the course of recent construction projects, new discoveries are being made constantly, and long-lost traces of previous occupants of the city are being uncovered. History is being re-written.

In the company of Robin Pierson and Serif Yenen, you can discover many Byzantine monuments and artefacts, which have been standing in Istanbul for thousands of years.

Come join us to discover the Roman and Byzantine monuments in the Old City of Istanbul (Constantinople), which is now called as the Historic Peninsula. Then we continue with the Ottoman Culture. We extend the tour to Cappadocia and Ephesus as well.

Cappadocia is the name of a large region covering many big cities in Central Anatolia. It is such a unique place with very interesting natural formations, underground cities, rock-cut churches. It does not look like a place on earth. Definitely, Cappadocia is a must-see place in the world.

Ephesus, one of the most important ancient cities in the world, is located on the Aegean coast. Excavations in Ephesus have been continuing for more than 100 years. The hightlights in the Ephesus area are the Celsus Library, Great Theater of Ephesus, Hadrian’s Temple, Virgin Mary’s House, Basilica of St. John, Artemis Temple and Ephesus Museum.

Rather than driving long-distances, we fly between Istanbul-Cappadocia, Cappadocia-Ephesus and Ephesus-Istanbul.

Program

March 22, Sunday

  • Arrivals & Airport pick-ups
  • Private hotel transfers

 

March 23, Monday (Walking Tour)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • An orientation briefing by Serif Yenen
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Hippodrome
  • Church of St Sergius and Bacchus
  • Nakkas Cistern with the exhibition on Hippodrome
  • Free time to rest
  • Welcome dinner

March 24, Tuesday (Tour with Transportation)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Kalenderhane Mosque (Church of St. Savior Akataleptos / Theotokos Kiriotissa Church)
  • Aqueduct of Valens
  • Saint Polyeuktos Church
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Chora Church
  • Walk along the Tekfur Palace-Golden Horn Walls

March 25, Wednesday (Tour with Transportation)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • We meet David Hendix, and he accompanies the tour on this day
  • Molla Zeyrek Mosque (Monastery of Christ Pantokrator)
  • Patriarchal Church of St George
  • St Mary of the Mongols
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Walk along the Land Walls from Silivrikapı to Porte Aurea and the Marmara Sea

March 26, Thursday (Walking Tour of Underground Istanbul)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Magnaura Palace
  • Eresin Hotel
  • Forum of Constantine & Column of Constantine
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Antik Hotel Ruins
  • Forum of Theodosius (Forum Tauri)
  • Bodrum Mosque (Myraleion Church)
  • Rotunda
  • Back to the hotel by public tram

March 27, Friday (Walking Tour with David Hendrix)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • The Archaeological Musuems of Istanbul
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Hagia Eirene
  • Great Palace Mosaic Museum
  • Boukoleon Palace

March 28, Saturday (Tour with transportation & Flight to Cappadocia)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check-out from hotel
  • Load bags on the bus
  • Topkapi Palace with the Harem
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Bosphorus tour on a private yacht
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • Drive to the airport
  • Evening or late afternoon flight to Cappadocia
  • Overnight in Cappadocia

March 29, Sunday (Tour with transportation)

  • Hot-air Balloon flight (optional)
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Full-day sightseeing in Cappadocia (Valleys, underground cities, churches, museums with lunch at a local restaurant)
  • Whirling Dervish Ritual in the late afternoon or evening
  • Overnight in Cappadocia

March 30, Monday (Tour with transportation)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Continue sightseeing in Cappadocia (Valleys, underground cities, churches, museums with lunch at a local restaurant)
  • Drive to the airport
  • Evening or late afternoon flight to Izmir
  • Drive to Kusadasi (one hour)
  • Overnight in Kusadasi/Ephesus

March 31, Tuesday (Tour with transportation)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Sightseeing in the ancient city of Ephesus with the Terrace Houses
  • Basilica of St. John
  • Ephesus Museum in Selçuk
  • Virgin Mary’s House
  • Artemis Temple (One of the Seven Wonders of the World)
  • Farewell Dinner in Kusadasi
  • Overnight in Kusadasi/Ephesus

April 1, Wednesday (Departures)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Drive to the Izmir Airport
  • Flight to Istanbul to catch your international flights from Istanbul

 

Prices

  • The price will be $2850.00 USD per person (accommodation in double room)
  • The price will be $3300.00 USD per person (accommodation in single room)

 

NOTE: For those participants, who pay the 25% deposit and bring the balance in cash, we have discounts like below:

  • The price will be $2500.00 USD per person (accommodation in double room)
  • The price will be $2900.00 USD per person (accommodation in single room

 

What is included in this price:

  • Private airport transfers from and to the airports in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Izmir.
  • Accommodation at the Recital Hotel in Istanbul for 6 nights
  • Accommodation at the Kapadokya Lodge Hotel or a similar hotel in Cappadocia for 2 nights
  • Accommodation at the Charisma Hotel or a similar hotel in Kusadasi for 2 nights
  • All breakfasts at the hotels
  • All lunches in Istanbul (at local casual restaurants with good traditional food)
  • Guiding services by Serif Yenen as an official guide
  • All public transportation costs in Istanbul
  • Private transportation in a private van/bus for two days in Istanbul, and all other days in Cappadocia and Ephesus
  • All museum entrance fees and costs as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Complimentary copies of Serif Yenen’s maps and books
  • Headsets (Whispers) will be provided to hear your guide at each site
  • Welcome dinner in Istanbul with drinks included
  • Whirling Dervish Ritual
  • Dinners at hotels in Cappadocia and Kusadasi
  • Farewell dinner at a fish restaurant in Kusadasi with drinks included
  • Three domestic flights (Istanbul-Cappadocia, Cappadocia-Izmir and Izmir-Istanbul flights)

 

What is NOT included in this price:

  • International flights
  • Four dinners in Istanbul
  • Lunches in Cappadocia and Ephesus area
  • Hot-air balloon flights in Cappadocia
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities

 

Capacity

  • Minimum 12, maximum 22 guests.

 

Physical requirements

  • Not appropriate for travelers using wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility aids.
  • This tour involves a lot of walking! Obviously the Theodosian Land walls and the landscape of Cappadocia demand long walks. But even in Istanbul we will often be without transport and climbing both up (walls and restaurant staircases) and down (into cisterns and other substructures). Please bring sensible footwear that are supportive and comfortable.

 

Terms & Conditions and Cancellation Policy

This tour is operated by A-group Travel Agency “Serif Yenen Travel” licensed by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism (Licence number: 8860)