Itinerary for our Spiritual Journey to Turkey« Back to Trip Overview
TURKEY BY LAND
Day 1 (-/-/d) Istanbul
Arrive at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, meet with your guide and drive down to the pier for the most memorable Bosphorus cruise. This afternoon we’ll cruise on a private boat between Asia and Europe sailing through the memories of the mystical journey of Jason and Argonauts through clashing rocks in search of the Golden Fleece. After disembarking the boat check in to your hotel. In the evening we settle in and have a lovely dinner at our hotel. After dinner we gather together as a group and get to know each other and share our intent for our week together. Overnight at the Armada Hotel, Istanbul
Day 2 (b/-/d) Istanbul
A full day İstanbul Tour of the Highlights; visit the Hippodrome area, the remnant of an arena built in the reign of Septimus Severus. Then walk in to the Blue Mosque, the main cathedral Mosque of the city for centuries; the 17th century Blue Mosque, so called due to its more than 20,000 blue İznik tiles that adorn the interior walls. Proceed to the Church of Haghia Sophia, the church of Divine Wisdom and a center of worship for feminine energies of life for centuries. Visit Topkapı Palace with Crown Jewels and the section of Holy Relics. The Holy Relic Room contains the Rod of Moses, the Turban of Abraham, the Sword of David, the bones of St. John the Baptist, and the Holy Mantle and Koran of Prophet Mohammed.
Visit the covered Bazaar with 4000 thousand shops around labyrinthine streets, a world of fairy tale with all kinds of souvenirs. Following an early dinner, visit Master Hasan Dede and the Whirling Dervishes to watch their whirling ritual. The group recently welcomed ladies whirling together with a man which is a very nice example of breaking away from limitations of tabu. Questions are often welcomed by the Master Hasan Dede.
Day 3 (b/-/d) Istanbul
Full day in Istanbul. Morning tour of the Church of Chora, to see the excellent quality of Early Renaissance mosaics and art. Drive to the church of Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. The Patriarchate church recently hosted Pope Benedict XVI of Vatican which was regarded as a first step to unite east and west churches. Afternoon drive to the Asiatic part of Istanbul to see an Alevite Ritual. religious, and cultural community. Alevis are classified as a branch of Shi’a Islam; however there are significant differences. Alevi worship takes place in assembly houses (cemevi) rather than mosques. The ceremony (âyîn-i cem, or simply cem), features music and dance (semah) where both women and men participate. Instead of Arabic, the respective native language is predominate during rituals and praying. After the ritual there might be a chance of meeting the Master Veli Dede. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 4 (b/-/d) Ankara–Cappadocia
Early morning flight to Ankara to visit the Anatolian Civilizations Museum. The museum includes the best imagery of the Mother Goddess of Anatolia from 9000 BC onward. The collection will clearly testify Anatolia’s importance as a source of Feminine Energy. The museum contains a representative collection of the many civilizations from Turkey including, Çatalhoyuk and Hacılar Civilizations, Hittites, Hattians, Assyrians and Phyrgians. Afternoon drive to Cappadocia an enjoy the beautiful scenery of the world famous Salt Lake and the countryside views of Turkey. Arrive at Cappadocia area, following an orientation drive check into the Argos Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 (b/-/d) Cappadocia
Optional early morning Hot Air Balloon ride; an amazing experience! Cappadocia provides us with a unique lunar landscape composed of volcanic conical formations which locals called Fairy Chimneys. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Full Day exploration of the Cappadocia Mystical Christian Heritage, by means of visiting the early churches with fresco paintings and the underground cities, carved to escape the Roman persecutors. Cappadocia was where Monastic Life in Christian Church has began, through 3 Capadocian Fathers, the two St. Gregorys and St. Basil. Visit Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag Valley, Pigeons valley, natural fortress of Uçhisar, one of the underground cities, also drive by Avanos village, famous for handmade pottery production since the times of Hittites.
During the day there will be an opportunity to visit a local carpet weaving factory where the local village women are still hand weaving thousands of years old images of abstract Mother Goddesses, male fertility symbols, ying/yang and wheel of fortune symbols on their traditional carpets. This is an experience of the loom of history endlessly weaving through time eternal. Dinner and overnight at Cappadocia.
Day 6 (b/-/d) Konya
Early morning meditation and contemplation at the Love Valley within the uniquely mystical landscape of Cappadocia. Then drive to visit Guzelyurt village, ancient Karballa where we you will see St. George’s Church. Then a 3 hours drive to Konya, the city of the great Turkish mystic Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes. En Route visit Sultanhan Caravansarai, a medieval inn for silk road merchants. Upon arrival at Konya visit the Mausoleum of Rumi and the collections of the museum. Overnight in Konya at the Bera Konya Hotel.
Day 7 (b/-/d) Konya-Pamukkale
Drive through the Taurus mountain range, on the route of Silk Road. Late afternoon arrival to Pamukkale. Pamukkale is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Turkey. Explore the white calcium-oxide cascades of Pamukkale and visit the ancient site of Hierapolis where St. Philippe was martyred. The area is also where St. Paul travelled through spreading the Good News, therefore there will be a mention of his work in the area. Overnight in Pamukkale where you may enjoy the hot spring thermal baths of the Colossae Thermal Hotel.
Day 8 (b/-/d) Pamukkale–Kusadasi
Drive to see Sardis, one of the wonderful excavation sites in Turkey. Sardis was the capital city of the Lydian Kingdom, and the seat of the richest man on earth, King Croesus. Sardis Excavation is a joint project of Harvard, Cornell and Berkeley Universities. Archaeologists uncovered one of the oldest synagogues of the world in Sardis. Sardis was also a main worship center for Mother Goddess Artemis therefore another feminine energy center of worship. Visit the magnificient Artemis Temple and allow time for meditation in this impressive pastoral landscape, by the temple. The temple is not far away from Pactolus river where King Midas divested himself of the golden touch by washing himself in the river. Overnight at the Movenpick Izmir Hotel.
Day 9 (b/-/d) Kusadasi
Full day tour of Ephesus. Ephesus was the capital city of Roman Province of Asia Minor and a major Pilgrimage center. One of the oldest centers of Mother Goddess worship, the temple of Artemis/Diana in Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the world. Pilgrims from as far as Palestine, Egypt, Greece and Rome would travel to Ephesus,once every year to visit her temple, during spring festival. We will visit her temple site and her extraordinary sculptural works of art in the local Archaeological Museum. A Goddess of such mystical depth, Ephesian Artemis generously exposes her many breasts to feed her children, as all the wild animals of nature sit on her skirt like pets. A Goddess of 9000 years of age, when St. Paul came to Ephesus, her memory lingered in Anatolia even long after the transition to monotheistic faiths.
It must have been St. John (the Gospel writer and the author of Revelations) who introduced the worship of Virgin Mary in Ephesus who might have replaced the memories of Mother Goddess in the Christian context. Tradition holds that St. John brought Virgin Mary to Ephesus. A church stands on the site of her house in the background mountains of Ephesus, which is a major pilgrimage center not only for Christians but also for Moslems. We will also visit the church of Virgin Mary.
Most amazing is the archaeological site of Ephesus, with the third richest library of the ancient world (Celcus Library), the Trajan Temple, Hadrian Temple, the Great Theatre, and the Odeon. As we explore Ephesus through the ancient mysteries of Ephesian Artemis, her transition into the Christian Mysteries of Virgin Mary, and to the journey of St. Paul and St. John to Ephesus as they spread the Good News in Anatolia. Ephesus’s outstanding importance in mankind’s Mystical Heritage will come alive in our hearts and minds. Dinner and overnight.
Day 10 (b/-/-) Kusadasi-Izmir
Transfer to İzmir airport for your departure flight back home or continue on to our Gulet along the Turquoise coast!
TURKEY BY SEA
Day 10 (b/-/d) Bodrum
Today we will embark after visiting the bohemian town of Bodrum. It’s frenetic night life goes on until the early hours. The harbor is dominated by the spectacular Castle of St Peter with tranquil gardens and well laid out Museum of Underwater Archaeology. It has good restaurants and bars and plenty of shopping opportunities. Then embark on your boat, leave the marina and anchor at Karaada for overnight.
Day 11 (b/l/d) Knidos
Knidos – the anchorage is what was the ancient harbor, ruins of temples and theaters are scattered about the slopes. In ancient times it was well known for its naked green statue of Aphrodite, said to bring good fortune to sailors. The ruins date from Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods and have been little excavated. Depending on timing, we may also stop at Palamut, a small harbor surrounded by bare rocky slopes with a green valley below. It is a relaxed place where foreign yachtsmen have been known to “go native”. The water is crystal clear and there is a sandy beach. Then continue to Datca, a lovely little town and anchor either at Datca or Aktur for overnight.
Day 12 (b/l/d) Selimiye
Today we do some exploring within a long inlet, on one side of the cape are the underwater remains of an ancient quay. Then we’ll continue towards Bozburun where we’ll anchor to spend the night.
Day 13 (b/l/d) Datca-Bozukkale
Depending on where we anchor will determine the day! We may pass Bencik, where the landscape here is red and rocky, covered in pine. This is the narrowest part of the peninsula and, threatened by the Persians the locals planned to dig a channel through the rock to make it into an island. They were dissuaded when the Oracle at Delphi advised that if it was meant to an island Zeus would have made it so. Datca is a small pretty harbor, sleepy during the day but some of the bars along the quay become very lively at night. In the large bay of Bozukkale, lay the ancient ruins of Loryma scattered all around with a citadel of Hellenistic origin. A walk along the walls of the acropolis affords beautiful views of the bay. The harbor was in use during Roman and Byzantine times and by the Knights of Rhodes. Afterwards we cruise to Serce bay, where one of the most important sunken boats from 11th century was discovered. And then onto Gebekilise, a wonderful little bay for overnight.
Day 14 (b/l/d) Gebekilise-Ekincik
We will start the day with a morning swimming cruise to Kadırga Bay, and then off to Ekincik bay for anchoring. After having lunch you may take an optional tour of Ekincik, a picturesque bay with red cliffs and steep wooded slopes. From here it is possible to take a small river boat to visit Dalyan and the ruins of Caunos. The shallow bottom river boats can cross the sand bar where the Dalyan river delta meets the sea. Here the long sandy beach is protected as a breeding ground for the Loggerhead turtle. The river delta winds through reed beds with the occasional rustic fish trap. A short walk from the shore are the ruins of ancient Caunos where the Medieval fort stands guard over the amphitheater and Roman baths which are both fairly intact. Upstream the spectacular 4th Century Lycian rock tombs come into view carved into the cliff face like temples. Further on the delta opens up into Koycegiz Lake where there are thermal pools and the opportunity to take a mud bath, supposed to cure many ills. After visiting this beautiful ancient city return to your boat for your last overnight.
Day 15 (b/-/-) Ekincik-Istanbul-Home
Today we disembark early in the morning at Ekincik Bay and drive to the Dalaman airport for our flight to Istanbul and home. We say our last goodbyes, hugs and kisses as we prepare to take our new dream of heaven back to our lives!