Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

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Turkish Treasures

April 13 - April 27, 2012

It's a land fashioned from a sultan's dream, immortalized in myth and ennobled by antiquity. A crossroads of civilization…East and West…the ancient world and contemporary culture. From splendid Istanbul and stunning Mt. Nemrut to southeastern Turkey's Bible Lands and Cappadocia's surreal landscapes, this journey will give you an in-depth view of a fascinating nation.

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)


DAY 1: Wednesday, April 13, 2012 Depart U.S. for Istanbul Turkey

Early this evening you’ll depart the United States on your flight to Istanbul Turkey.

DAY 2: Thursday, April 14, 2012 - Arrive Istanbul

Today you will arrive in the cultural and spiritual heartland of Turkey. After settling in and appreciating the beauty of surrounding Istanbul, there will be a briefing on the trip, followed by an informal walking tour of the Taksim Square Neighborhood surrounding the hotel. Taksim Square is considered to be the heart of modern Istanbul, it remains both a current and historic district with the second oldest subway line in the world and reservoirs dating from the rein of Muhmad I. After a long day of traveling you will discover richness of Turkish cuisine at a local restaurant. Be sure to try the Turkish coffee served at the end of a meal; it comes either without sugar, a little sugar or sweet. But be warned never drink to the bottom of the cup as it will be full of ground coffee and tastes awful. Rest well, for tomorrow will be a bustling day. Meals: Dinner

DAY 3: Friday, April 15, 2012 - Istanbul

A full day exploring Istanbul’s most popular sites, beginning with an intoxicating jumble of Old Istanbul, including: the Blue Mosque, with its 20,000 blue Iznik tiles and six minarets; the ancient Hippodrome; and the magnificent Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Then we will visit Topkapi, the medieval palace of sultans that today houses one of the world’s richest museums. The palace was constructed by Mehmed II the conqueror of Constaniople. At the height of its existence as a royal residence, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people including mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint. For Dinner tonight you are free to explore, grab some corn on the cob from a local street vendor or dine in the Sultanahmet Neighborhood on traditional Ottoman entrees including ulu yemek (stew) and pilav (rice). Whatever option you choose grab some baklava afterwards and taste the sweet treat of Istanbul. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: Saturday, April 16, 2012 - Istanbul

Today’s discoveries include the fabled Grand Bazaar; and the aromatic Spice Market, with exotic spices from around the world. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and housing for 4,000 shops. Opened in 1461, it is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by the type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and the like. Next we visit the acclaimed Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art; the collection includes notable examples of Islamic calligraphy, tiles, and rugs as well as ethnographic displays on various cultures in Turkey, particularly nomad groups. Next we will enjoy a private cruise on the Bosphorus Strait, the waterway separating Europe from Asia. We stop in the village of Ortakoy, with time to explore and have lunch on our own before returning to the hotel mid-afternoon. Use the evening to relax or explore, for those who would like to visit a new local favorite consider visiting the Miniaturk museum, an outdoor park with miniature models of historic buildings. Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5 : Sunday, April 17, 2012 - Istanbul/Gaziantep

WAfter a morning at leisure, mid-day we fly to Gaziantep (“Antep”), the center of Turkey’s pistachio cultivation and baklava production. Gaziantep is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It has been controlled by Akkadians, Egyptians, Mitannis, Hittites, Neo-Hittites, Assyrians, Urartians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Armenians, Parthians, Commagene, Romans, Byzantines, Sassanids, and Ottomans. Upon arrival we tour Gaziantep’s Museum of Archaeology, featuring a stunning collection of well-preserved mosaics unearthed from the nearby Roman city site of Zeugma. Late afternoon we check in at our hotel, were we dine tonight. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6: Monday, April 18, 2012 - Gaziantep

This morning we visit the Gaziantep City Museum for an enlightening orientation to the city and eastern Turkey. After lunch in a local restaurant where we also enjoy a Turkish cooking lesson, we visit the semi-enclosed bazaar and several handcrafts workshops in this city known especially for its copper crafts, shoemaking, stonework, and embroidery. A renowned center of Turkish cuisine, Gaziantep boasts many acclaimed restaurants; we dine in one tonight. Some local specialties include; yuvarlama (rice and meat rolled into pea-sized balls), lahmacun (the Turkish pizza, a round dough with minced meat on top), and baklava. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: Tuesday, April 19, 2012 Gaziantep/Urfa

Leaving Gaziantep, we coach for 90 minutes to Halfeti for a cruise on the clear waters of the Euphrates, the 1,700-mile waterway that fed the development of ancient civilization. We pass Rumkale Castle, a strategically sited fortress dating to the Assyrians and visit the “sunken city” submerged by the recent construction of a dam. After disembarking we continue on to Urfa, notable in both the Old Testament and Islam as being the birthplace of Job. Late afternoon we reach our hotel in the city’s old town and dine there tonight. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: Wednesday, April 20, 2012 - Urfa/Harran

We drive this morning an hour to Harran, where Abraham is said to have lived on his way to the Promised Land. In antiquity a major Asyrian center of culture and commerce, Harran today is an important archaeological site and hardscrabble village. We visit the ruin of the cultish Moon Temple and also see the city’s adobe “beehive” houses which were inhabited as recently as the 1980s. Returning to Urfa, we visit the Halil-ul Rahman mosque, built on the site where Abraham was thrown into a fire that turned into a pool; and the atmospheric marketplace in the old city. Tonight we dine at a local restaurant overlooking Urfa’s ancient city walls. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: Thursday, April 21, 2012 - Urfa/Mt. Nemrut/Adiyaman

We depart early this morning for the three-hour drive to the UNESCO site of Mt. Nemrut, the presumed 1st century BCE mountaintop burial site of Antiochus I, with temples, altars, terraces, and decapitated statues of ancient gods – and their heads – scattered about. Having withstood both time (two millennia) and attempted destruction by iconoclasts, the colossal 26- to 33-foot high statues evoke a very distant and storied past. We walk to the summit, where we enjoy a picnic lunch in this spectacular setting, then spend the afternoon touring the archaeological site and museum here. Departing late afternoon, we travel the short distance to Adiyaman, reaching our hotel in time for dinner there. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: Friday, April 22, 2012 - Adiyaman/Cappadocia

Another early morning as we depart for the daylong journey to Cappadocia, where we will arrive late this afternoon. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: Saturday, April 23, 2012 - Cappadocia

Centuries of volcanic eruptions dumped mud, ash, and lava here that was later sculpted by rain and wind into whimsical cone, needle, and chimney formations in which early Christians built thousands of churches in the Goreme Valley. They also built the “rock city” of Uchisar, and the underground village of Kaymakli, all of which we explore on today’s tour. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: Sunday, April 24, 2012 - Cappadocia

Today’s touring features the vast Zelve Valley complex of caves laced with dwellings, churches, and public spaces where villagers lived until just 40 years ago. We will also visit the amazing fairy tale chimneys at Pasabag; the Urgup winery; and the medieval Ottoman town of Avanos, where we watch craftspeople as they fashion pottery and weave rugs. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: Monday, April 25, 2012 - Cappadocia/Hattusha/Ankara

Leaving Cappadocia this morning we travel to the Hittite site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite empire dating to the 2nd millennium BCE. Known for its thoughtful urban layout and vast religious iconography, we tour this UNESCO site; then continue on to Ankara the capital of Turkey, arriving late afternoon. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: Tuesday, April 26, 2012 - Ankara

This morning we visit the Ataturk Mausoleum, honoring the founder of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk; and the notable Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which chronicles the history of Asia Minor. Housing such artifacts as the Mother Goddess Kybele, wall paintings from Çatalhöyük, and the relief of the God of War taken from the King's Gate at Hattusas. The afternoon is yours, before tonight’s farewell dinner at our hotel. Enjoy your lasts fleeting moments in Turkey by visiting the Ankara Citadel, the Temple of Augustus and Rome, the Kocatepe Mosque, or by having a leisurely moment in the hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15: Wednesday, April 27, 2012 - Depart for U.S.

Early this morning we fly to Istanbul, where we board our return flight to the U.S. Meals: Breakfast

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Cost and Program Inclusions

  New York Washington, D.C. Land Only
Per person (Double Occupancy) $3,495 $3,795 $3,195
Single Supplement: $795
Business Class Upgrade: To be announced
Included Features:
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • Exclusive departure for the Bryn Mawr College Alumnae Association
  • Small group size limited to 24 guests
  • 13 nights’ accommodations
  • 33 meals: 13 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 11 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described in day-by-day itinerary, including all entrance fees
  • Services of a dedicated Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides (if applicable), dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
Not included:
  • Airline taxes and departure fees (listed as separate item on invoice)
  • Gratuities for Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director (left to individual discretion)
Optional Post-Tour Extension:

IZMIR: EPHESUS & PERGAMUM (4 days/ 3 nights) includes 3 nights’ accommodations in Izmir at Swissotel Grand Efes (Deluxe); 7 Meals (3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners); Private motorcoach transportation; Extensive included sightseeing of Ephesus and Pergamum; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers.

Extension Price: $895
Single Supplement: $195
Land Only Guests: $200 additional

Notes: Prices are per person based on double occupancy in an outside cabin.
Prices from all U.S. cities available upon request. Back to the top »

Host Lecturer

Pamela Webb

Pamela Webb is an alumna of Bryn Mawr College (M.A. '83; Ph.D. '89) and a past Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology (2004-2008). Dr. Webb specializes in Greek architecture and sculpture, with an emphasis on the Hellenistic period. She is the author of Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture (Volume I), which covers numerous sites in Turkey and the Aegean islands. Her current research for Volume II (supported by fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the American Philosophical Association) focuses on Hellenistic remains from sites in mainland Greece, Italy, North Africa, and the Middle East.

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