Marvels of the Southeast - 4 days

In this customized Turkey tour explore the less visited southeast which is home to stone cities, beautiful Syriac monasteries, ancient Roman cities, impressive mosques, historical churches and mouth-watering delicacies. Meanwhile get stunned by visiting the earliest known religious spot on earth; Gobeklitepe and meeting the 2000 year old head stones on top of mountain of gods.

Itinerary

Southeast of Turkey oozes history and culture, and all these lands along the River Tigris have been the crossroads of civilizations since the beginning of civilization itself. Your customized Turkey tour to explore this extraordinary lands will start with an early morning flight to the stone city of Mardin. You will have a whole day to see the city next day since today is reserved for the attractions around the city.

You will start the day by visiting the Syriac Monastery of Deyr’ul Zafaran which was built in the 9th century. Historical relics around, rose & olive gardens, and peaceful courtyards fill the space. It’s also called the “Saffron Monastery” due to the colors of the stone used to build it. The monks living in the monastery will show you around and tell the history behind the monastery.
An important note; the church in the monastery is one of the very few places in the world that still uses Aramaic, the mother tongue of Jesus, as its liturgical tongue. 

Leaving the monastery, you will be driving south to the border of Syria to visit the Mesopotamian ruins of Dara. This ancient city, also known as the Ephesus of Mesopotamia, was an important settlement along the Silk Road and dates back 2300 years. The city had a strategic importance during the Roman era and was one of the most populated areas in ancient Mesopotamia. It was also the focal point of Persian-Roman conflicts including the well-known Battle of Dara in 530 A.D.

You will have a delicious lunch full of kebabs next to Beyazsu river just before heading to another important Syriac Monastery; Mor Gabriel, a spectacular 4th century monastery. Currently Mor Gabriel the oldest surviving Syriac Orthodox monastery on earth. It is still practicing today.

You will get back to Mardin and check-in to your hotel after visiting the stone houses of Midyat but a day in Turkey never ends without a nice dinner and Mardin dishes are not only delicious but also beautifully presented. Get ready for a feast.

Overlooking the Mesopotamia plateau, Mardin is one of the very few cities on earth where the entire city, which is essentially an open-air museum, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has been culturally influenced by various dynasties throughout the history of the country. The historical buildings such as mosques, temples, shrines, churches, monasteries and travellers’ inns reflect various religious beliefs and have high artistic value in terms of architecture.

You will have a full day of walking in the bustling streets and bazaars of Mardin and admiring the stonework all around the town. There are a lot of places to see such as the Grand Mosque, Forty Martyrs Church, Zinciriye and Kasımiye Madrasahs, the city museum and other historical buildings. For sure; there will be great food stops within the day and in the evening as well.

After an early breakfast, you will drive to the city of Sanliurfa in order to meet with one of the most important discoveries in the history of archaeology; Gobeklitepe. It is known as the earliest known religious spot, temple complex and pilgrimage site on earth – that means before the Greek gods, Stonehedge megaliths, ancient Egypt and all the great monotheistic religions, all the way back 12,000 years ago. In other words 100 centuries before Jesus lived, pilgrims from all over Mesopotamia were flocking to visit this temple complex at Gobeklitepe.

Gobeklitepe is located 12 kilometeres northeast of Sanliurfa and archaeologists have been busy excavating it since its discovery in 1994. After walking at the site of the excavation, you will drive back to the city of Sanliurfa and visit the Archeological and Mosaic Museum. It is known as the biggest museum complex in Turkey and it is full of mosaics dating back to different historical periods.

Next stop after having lunch at a traditional restaurant where you can taste the delicious flavors of southeast Turkey, will be the Pools of Abraham known in Jewish and Islamic legends as the place where Prophet Abraham was thrown into a fire. The legend says the flames turned into water and the logs into fish.

You will spend the final night in your customized Turkey tour in Adıyaman after a 2 hours drive. We suggest to go to bed early tonight since next day will start very early for a spectacular sunrise on the mountain of gods.

Mount Nemrut is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Turkey’s most glorious ancient sites; a mountaintop mausoleum scattered with mysterious stone heads which are oriented to catch the light at sunrise and sunset located on two different terraces. The statues were built by the son of the founder of the Commagene kingdom in the first century B.C. The statues represent king’s son himself, some wild animals such as lions & eagles and various gods from different religions influencing the area.

After visiting the statues in the national park during the sunrise at the mountaintop you will return to your hotel for a late breakfast. Depending on your flight time, you will then be transferred to airport for your flight back to Istanbul to end your customized Turkey tour. Please note if your flight is later in the day; it is also possible to arrange extra activities until departure time.

If you require any assistance with onwards travel within Turkey, accommodation bookings, queries, please let us know and we will be happy to assist.

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This tour can be customized in detail according to your preference. You can request a different itinerary, adjust the number of nights, select different hotels and experiences, include or exclude the meals.

Please contact us in order to submit an inquiry for this tour.