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The Splendours of Ancient Anatolia and Turkey - May 2022

Join Ancient Origins' exclusive tour of Turkey’s sacred past in May 2022, visiting some of the country’s most important ancient sites including:
Göbekli Tepe – twice!— Çatal Höyük, Mount Nimrod, the Hittite centers of Hattusa and Alaca Höyük, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, Ankara's archaeological museum, Şanlıurfa’s Pools of Abraham, the mysterious landscape of Cappadocia including the underground city of Derinkuyu, and many more sites besides.

Day 1 - Sunday, May 15, 2022
Arrival at Istanbul International Airport. Transfer to hotel. Evening lecture and orientation with Ancient Origins and special guests.
Overnight in Novotel Bosphorus Hotel, Istanbul
Day 2 - Monday, May 16, 2022
Istanbul – Ankara
After breakfast, visit the Sultan Ahmet district, called the “historical peninsula”. See the Blue Mosque, the most important mosque in Istanbul with its more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles and 200 stained glass windows. Visit the 1000-year-old Hagia Sophia mosque (prayer times permitting). See also the Basilica Cistern, which was the main water provider for the ancient city of Constantinople, and the Byzantine Hippodrome where we will view beautiful obelisks and columns from the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman periods. Transfer to the airport for a flight to Ankara. Transfer to the airport for a flight to Ankara.
Meals: B L
Overnight in Hotel Tunali, Ankara
Day 3 - Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Ankara Anatolian Civilization Museum - Gordion – Hattusa
After breakfast visit the Anatolian Civilization Museum of Ankara, and see artifacts and reconstructions from Neolithic sites such as Çatalhöyük as well as the incredible bronzes from the Bronze Age sites of Alaca Höyük. Lunch in Ankara. After lunch drive to Gordion (the tumulus of King Midas), one of the most important archaeological sites in Turkey. The metropolis enjoyed its golden age in the first millennium when it was the royal capital of the Iron Age Kingdom known as ‘Phrygia’ to the Greeks and ‘Mushki’ to the neighboring Assyrian Empire. Excavated in 1957, the mound of Midas is 300 meters in diameter and is 43 meters high. In the wooden chamber, the corpse of a man was found along with the remains of his last dinner. It still contains funerary furniture, possibly from Midas’ palace. Return to Ankara.
Meals: B L
Overnight in Tunali Hotel, Ankara
Day 4 - Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Hattusa - Alaca Höyük – Cappadocia
Visit the ruins of the Hittite capital of Hattusa. See its green nephrite omphalos stone and sphinx gates. Lunch in Hattusa. After lunch journey on to the magnificent ruins of Alaca Höyük, a Hittite city with origins dating back to the Chalcolithic or Copper Age. Visit the museum, and see the site's extraordinary polygonal walls, similar to those in Peru, Easter Island, and ancient Egypt, as well as its own iconic Sphinx Gate. Drive on to Cappadocia and arrive at your hotel for a late dinner. Time permitting, evening presentation.
Meals: B L D
Overnight in Dinler Urgup, Urgup
Day 5 - Thursday, May 19, 2022
After breakfast take a walk through the Red Valley with its varying types of rock formations and color, and rock-cut cave churches with beautiful frescoes and paintings. Stop for photo opportunities in this scenic lunar landscape of unique rock formations called “fairy chimneys” Lunch. Climb the Uchisar natural castle with its labyrinth of rock-cut rooms, and later visit the Goreme open-air museum. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is the capital of Turkey’s eastern province of Cappadocia. See its many rock-cut churches and beautiful art, some of which is very likely shamanic in nature, harking back to a prehistoric age.
Meals: B L D
Overnight in Dinler Urgup, Urgup
Day 6: Friday, May 20, 2022
Urgup - Derinkiyu - Ihlara Valley
Visit the enigmatic underground city of Derinkiyu, constructed in part at the end of the last Ice Age, and the tranquil Ihlara Valley, within which can be found various rock-cut churches containing well preserved religious art. Stop briefly at the 10,000-year-old archaeological site of Aşıklı Höyük, an important urban centre where beautiful obsidian items were manufactured during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic age.
Meals: B L D
Overnight in Dinler Urgup, Urgup
Day 7: Saturday, May 21, 2022
Catalhöyük - Konya
After an early breakfast set out for the ancient city of Konya in the south of the country for a tour around its archaeological museum, which includes spectacular treasures from Çatalhöyük and beautiful art from the Greek and Roman ages. On the way, stop for pictures at the Sultan Han, a large 13th-century Seljuk caravanserai located in the town of Sultanhanı, Aksaray Province. Lunchbox on the coach. Later, visit the famous prehistoric city complex of Çatalhöyük, over 9,000 years old. In the evening, experience the breathtaking Mevlana Whirling Dervishes show at the nearby Mevlana Cultural Center.
Meals: B L D
Overnight in Hilton Garden Inn, Konya
Day 8 - Sunday, May 22, 2022
Konya – Şanlıurfa
Travel throughout the day from Konya east into southeast Anatolia. Enjoy talks, discussions, and DVDs on the coach. There will also be regular convenience stops. Arrive at Şanlıurfa by mid-evening. Evening dinner at hotel.
Meals: B D
Overnight in Hilton Garden Inn, Şanlıurfa
Day 9 – Monday, May 23, 2022
Şanlıurfa - Göbekli Tepe – Harran
Visit Göbekli Tepe, the world’s oldest stone temple complex, constructed nearly 12,000 years ago. See its extraordinary rings of T-shaped standing stones with carved reliefs of birds, animals, and other abstract forms. Learn its history and place in the origins of civilization. After lunch, visit the ancient city of Harran, home of the ancient Sabaeans and Chaldeans, as well as the point of origin of the hermetic tradition. See Harran’s ancient city mound, its Seljuk period castle, and also its compelling “astronomical tower,” the possible inspiration behind the imagery of The Tower card in the Tarot pack. Dinner at the hotel.
Meals: B D
Overnight in Hilton Garden Inn, Şanlıurfa
Day 10 - Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Şanlıurfa - Göbekli Tepe - Şanlıurfa Museum
Visit Şanlıurfa’s Archaeological Museum in the morning to see the extraordinary display of artifacts from Gobekli Tepe. See also a full-size model of the site’s fabulous Enclosure D, as well as the reconstructed stone temple of Nevalı Çori, which is 10,500 years old. Packed lunch. Afterward, visit the Pools of Abraham and birthplace of Abraham in the heart of the old city of Şanlıurfa. Later, make our second visit to Göbekli Tepe to get a real taste of this incredible site, this time for meditation and contemplation of the unfathomable motivations behind its construction at the end of the last ice age. Dinner at the hotel.
Meals: B D
Overnight in Hilton Garden Inn, Şanlıurfa
Day 11 - Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Cendere Bridge - Mount Nemrut - Arsemia – Adiyaman
After breakfast in Şanlıurfa, depart north for Adiyaman province, one of the most sacred regions of southeast Turkey. Visit Karakus Tumulus, and also Cendere Bridge, one of the world’s oldest surviving bridges, constructed during the reign of Roman emperor Septimus Severus (193-211). See also the ancient site of Arsemia, the summer capital of the Commagene kingdom and burial place of King Mithridates. See the largest rock inscription found in Anatolia, which describes the political and religious beliefs of the inhabitants, and view a stone stela showing King Antiochus I of Commagene shaking hands with the god Hercules. At sunset, we visit Nemrut Dagi (Nimrod’s Mountain), one of East Turkey’s most spellbinding attractions. At its peak sits enigmatic statues of King Antiochus I of Commagene, as well as representations of various deities believed to be his ancestors. The views from the summit are sublime. (NOTE: it is a 20-30 minute walk up steps to reach the summit). Drive to Adiyaman and Farewell Dinner.
Meals: B D
Overnight in Hilton Garden Inn, Adiyaman
Day 12 – Thursday, May 26, 2022
Free morning in Adiyaman. Leave the hotel at about 12:15 to go to the airport to catch your flight back to Istanbul for completion of the tour. Flight arrives back into Istanbul airport at 15:45.
Photos © Andrew Collins

Travel The Unknown

Thank you for choosing to book with us.

Ancient Origins is partnered with award-winning tour operator Travel The Unknown to provide comprehensive escorted travel tours to some of the most ancient and most mysterious monuments and sacred places around the globe.

Register your details to hold your place on this exclusive tour. To secure your place a deposit payment of US$900 per person is required within 48 hours of completing the form. Payment details are noted at the end of the form.

Experience the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, Saqqara, and more

Ancient Origins is partnering with award-winning tour operator Travel the Unknown to provide its readers with comprehensive escorted travel tours to some of the most ancient and most mysterious monuments and sacred places around the globe.

We will visit classic destinations as well as more obscure locations where the magic of the past remains as strong today as it did thousands of years ago. 

Day 1 - February 4th
Cairo - Giza
Arrive in Cairo. Meet and greet upon arrival at the airport. Assistance with immigration, passport control, baggage claim, and customs. Transfer to hotel. Lecture and orientation hosted by Andrew Collins and Ancient Origins' Alicia McDermott. We advise arriving Day 1 by 2pm to be able to comfortably participate in the evening talk.
Meals: D
Overnight in Le Meridian Pyramids, Giza
Day 2 - February 5th
Giza Plateau — Great Pyramid – Sphinx
Early morning start with a private tour of the Sphinx enclosure and Great Pyramid, forming part of the extraordinary pyramid complex built for the kings of the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egyptian history. Explore the Giza plateau and enjoy a panoramic view of its iconic scenery with the three great pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure as a constant backdrop. Visit the Solar Boat Museum housing a 4,500-year-old wooden ship of the dead constructed following the death of the Pharaoh Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid. See the extraordinary workmanship of the Valley Temple of Khafre close to the Sphinx monument.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight in Le Meridian Pyramids, Giza
Day 3 - February 6th
Meidum — Hawara: Labyrinth
Visit the enigmatic pyramid of Meidum, built by the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Snoferu around 4,600 years ago, and at Hawara see the enigmatic ruins of Egypt’s fabled Labyrinth, built nearly 4,000 years ago by King Amenemhet III and his mysterious daughter, the female king, Sobek-nofru. See the nearby pyramid of Hawara, which dates to the same age as the Labyrinth.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight in Le Meridian Pyramids, Giza
Day 4 - February 7th
Saqqara – Dahshur – Abu Ghorub sun temple
Visit the Old Kingdom necropolis and Hebsed court at Saqqara. View the step pyramid of Djoser, and also the pyramids of Dahshur, built by King Snoferu around 4,600 years ago. Later, experience a private visit to the sun temple of King Niuserre at Abu Ghurab, considered one of the most powerful energy spots in Egypt.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight in Le Meridian Pyramids, Giza
Day 5 - February 8th
Cairo - Egyptian Museum day tour – Luxor
Checkout of hotel and visit the world-famous Egyptian Museum, Cairo, which includes thousands of breathtaking exhibits, including the treasures of Tutankhamun. Fly to Luxor and overnight in hotel.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight in the Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor
Day 6 - February 9th
Abydos – Denderah
Visit Abydos and see the temple of King Seti, as well as the enigmatic megalithic structure known as the Osireion. Journey on to the celebrated temple of Hathor at Denderah, built in Ptolemaic times. Experience its tranquility and examine its famous wall reliefs in the crypts, which show themes favored by theorists of ancient lost technologies.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight in the Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor
Day 7 - February 10th
Valley of the Kings – Ramesseum – Memnon Colossi - Luxor
Check out of the hotel, then visit Valley of the Kings. Explore royal tombs of various New Kingdom pharaohs. See also the Ramesseum temple, which includes a gigantic statue of King Rameses II and a well-preserved astronomical ceiling. Visit the Colossi of Memnon, two enormous seated statues of King Amenhotep III, once said to sing at dawn before being fractured by an earthquake. Check in to Nile Cruise and enjoy lunch. In the evening enjoy the atmospheric Luxor temple, lit up for visitors for a truly unique experience.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight on Steigenberger Legacy Nile cruise
Day 8 - February 11th
Karnak – Edfu
Visit the temple of Karnak, with its towering obelisks and sacred lake, and sail to the town of Edfu, seat of the god Horus.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight on Steigenberger Legacy Nile cruise
Day 9 – February 12th
Nile Cruise - Edfu – Kom Ombo
Visit the magnificent Edfu temple, dedicated to the god Horus. See its star boat of heaven in the holy of holies, as well as its unique building texts revealing how mythical beings created the first temples of Egypt even before the coming of the neteru-gods. Later visit Kom Ombo temple, home of the crocodile god Sobek.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight on Steigenberger Legacy Nile cruise
Day 10 - February 13th
Nile Cruise – Philae – Aswan – Elephantine Island
Visit the island of Philae with its beautiful temple dedicated to the goddess Isis, and walk around Aswan’s Nubian Museum with its reconstruction of the Nabta Playa calendar circle. In the afternoon visit Elephantine Island, the source of Egypt's famous red granite and home of the Nile god Hapi. Later enjoy a felucca ride.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight on Steigenberger Legacy Nile cruise
Day 11 - February 14th
Nile Cruise - Nubian Desert – Nabta Playa – Abu Simbel
Checkout of Nile Cruise and drive to Abu Simbel. En-route, visit the Nubian Desert and see the original 7,000-year-old Neolithic calendar circle of Nabta Playa. Check in to the Lake Nasser cruise and have Lunch. In the afternoon visit the monumental Abu Simbel temples.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight on Steigenberger Omar El Khayam Nile Cruise
Day 12 - February 15th
Nile Cruise – Kasr Ibrim – Amada – Wadi el-Seboua
Sail to Kasr Ibrim, once an ancient city perched above the Nile, now an island of scenic ruins. Take photos from the Sundeck. Sail to Amada and visit Amada, Derr, and tombs of Pennut. Sail to Wadi el-Seboua, the Valley of the Lions, named because of the sphinx-lined approach to its temple of Amun.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight on Steigenberger Omar El Khayam Nile Cruise
Day 13 - February 16th
Nile cruise Wadi el-Seboua - Aswan
Visit the Wadi el-Seboua temple and sail to Aswan.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight on Steigenberger Omar El Khayam Nile Cruise
Day 14 - February 17th
Nile Cruise - Kalabsha - Aswan – Cairo
Visit Kalabsha temple, dedicated to Mandulis (Merul), a Lower Nubian sun god, and checkout of Nile Cruise. Fly to Cairo in the afternoon. Overnight in a hotel near the airport.
Meals: B, L, D
Overnight in Le Meridian Heliopolis
Day 15 - February 18th
Departure to Cairo Airport for return journey.
Photos © Andrew Collins