Ottoman Imperial Cities

DAYS 1-2-3 Istanbul
After arrival day, we have two full days to enjoy sightseeing in exotic Istanbul - highlights include the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and 6th Century Byzantine Cistern, City Walls, Golden Horn, and the Kariye (Chora).
We set out to explore Istanbul: dazzling Topkapi Palace with its mysterious blue-tiled Harem, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, and Rustem Pasa Mosque.  At dusk, we take a ferry ride up the Bosphorus to the mouth of the Black Sea. 

DAY 4 Edirne
Drive thorough Thrace to Edirne to spend the day in the third Ottoman Capitol (from 1363 to 1453) located at the gate to Europe. Selimiye Mosque described by its architect Sinan as “his masterpiece” among his over 400 works dominates the skyline of Edirne.
Muradiye, Yildirim Mosque and Beyazit II Mosques are equally important as they display the transitional architectural changes from Ottoman State to Ottoman Empire. Caravansaries, Bedesten and Arastas are still centers of commercial and social life. 
Kirkpinar oil-wrestling has been attracting thousands early July for over 600 years. 

DAY 5 Gallipoli- Troy- Canakkale
We reverse the course Ottoman followed in the 14th C and drive to Gallipoli to take a deep look at the battlefields from 1915. Gallipoli battles turned out to be very significant for both Allied and Turkish forces.
Crossing the Dardanelles will be a good reminder of the importance of Turkish Straits that connect Mediteranean and the Black Sea.

DAY 6 Troy- Bursa
Located at the gate of Hellespont and controlling trade and shipping made Troy strategically and militarily a major city in the Bronze Age. Without the jib it was difficult to sail against the water currents and northerly winds in the Dardanelles, therefore seafaring merchants were forced to wait in Troy harbor for the southern winds that prevailed for only 2 months annually. 
Afternoon drive will bring us to Bursa at the foot of Uludag.   

DAY 7 Bursa
Bursa served as the first major Ottoman Capital during 1326-1362. Mosques, Bazaars, monumental tombs of early rulers are reminiscent of a culturally and politically diverse period.
Located at the westernmost end of the 8 thousand mile long Silk Road, Koza Han is a reminder of a vibrant commercial past that still attracts the crowds.
One of the major attractions in Bursa is to experience the Turkish baths that have been built over the ancient spas in Cekirge districts.

DAY 8 Iznik- Nicaea- Istanbul 
Driving thru olive grooves occupying most of the terrain along the Sea of Marmara and shoreline of Iznik Lake we reach ancient Nicea, well known with its Byzantine city walls, Ottoman tiles with the miraculously embossed red and still standing Hagia Sophia that served the First Ecumenical Council in 325 declaring the Nicaean Creed.
Ferry ride across Marmara Sea will bring us back to Istanbul in the afternoon.  



What to Bring

Imperial Ottoman
Caves and Castles
Turquoise Blue Waters
Gods Saints and Dervishes
Black Sea; Forsaken Paths
Emerald Hills and the East
Ararat and Nemrud
Magic Light


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