Cruising to Istanbul Asia side

Another early morning rise to catch a flight back to Istanbul. Then heading to the Asia side of Istanbul with the ferry.

Istanbul old town

sailing over the Bosphorus

sailing over the Bosphorus

Göreme Valley and Underground City

Early morning rise for a sunrise balloon ride over the moonscape Göreme Valley. For the rest of the day, first a visit to the underground city. Then walking around the fairy chimneys. Spending the rest of the afternoon walking around Göreme Valley Open Air Museum. And early evening in Ürgüp village.

Silk road to Cappadocia

Travel along the ancient Silk Road to Cappadocia, first stopping in Konya to visit the Mevlana museum in honour of Rumi. Then driving on, making a pitstop at Sultanhani Caravansary before the final destination for the day at the lovely Elevres Stone House Hotel.

Travertines and Hierapolis

After visiting a leather shop, heading to Pamukkale to explore the white calcium terraces, known as Travertines. Unfortunately this was a bit of a let down. Comparing to brochure photos I've seen of this area, it has changed and become dead. This is due to the government allowing the mineral rich water going to the hotels close by. There is one pool for visitors and the rest is all dried up and gone grey.

Ephesus and Şirince

Starting the day, by visting a rug retailer. Followed by a guided tour through Ephesus. It was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here.

The afternoon was spent in the Greek influenced village of Şirince. Situted in a valley of mountains, where amazing lunch and wine tasting were enjoyed.

 

Troy and Pergamum Ruins

In the morning, step back in time to visit Troy, home of the famed Trojan Horse. After lunch, tour the magnificent acropolis of Perganum. The impressive temples and library made Perganum a renowed cultural and political centre in its time.

To Çanakkale

Visiting various memorial places around the area of Gallipoli. Fot eight long months, New Zealand troops, alongside those from Australia, Great Britain and Ireland, France, India, and Newfoundland battled harsh conditions and Ottoman forces desperately fighting to protect their homeland. In the afternoon taking the ferry over to Çanakkale.

Istanbul Old Town

First visit was to the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. The Hippodrome today, with the Walled Obelisk in the foreground and the Obelisk of Thutmose III on the right.

Next visit to the Sultanahmet Camii. Also called the Blue Mosque, because of blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design.

This was followed by a visit to Hagia Sophia. First it was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum.

From here walking over to Topkapi Palace, browsing through the courtyards and buildings. This large building was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years of their 624-year reign.

Bosphorous

Bosphorus is a natural strait connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Bosphorus is a very busy waterway with many ships and oil tankers going through it, as well as local fishing and ferries. There are three suspension bridges on the Bosphorus connecting the continents of Europe on the one side to Asia on the other (or vice versa).

 

The tunnel between Uskudar and Yenikapi neighborhoods was put into service in October 2013. It’s a big project constructed by Japanese companies, which is delayed for 4 years due to technical reasons and archaeological findings. This tunnel connects only railways / subway between Europe and Asia, but not motor vehicles.

After the cruise visiting the Dolmabahçe Palace on the European coast of the Bosphorus, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1887 and 1909 to 1922.