Via Bitlis we continue down the Bitlis Gorge, via the city of Batman,
to the town Hasankeyf for lunch. In Hasankeyf (soon to be submerged under the lake of a new dam on the Tigris) we will visit
some of the many caves and the ruins of the medieval Byzantine city.
On our way west to Mardin we will stop in Midyat to see the Silver
bazaar. Arrive to Mardin visit Kasimiye Medrese.
Dinner and overnight in Mardin.
Overnight in Mardin.
After breakfast visit Deir-Al-Zafaran (Saffron Monastery).
The Saffron Monastery was once the ancient centre of the Syriac
Christian Patriarchy. This site has been the centre of religious
worship for many centuries, the monastery itself is built over an
ancient temple, built in 1000BC and dedicated to the worship of the
sun and which now provides the foundations to the main part of the
monastery buildings - it is a fascinating structure as the roof of the temple to the sun is, essentially, a flat arch!
From Mardin we will travel northwest to Diyarbakir to see the 10
Arches Bridge on the Tigris River.
Sightseeing in Diyarbakir: the Ulu Cami (Mar Thoma)(Mosque and Church), then visit the Great wall. Leave for Nemrut via the ferry over the Euiphratesry arriving in Narlice Village in Nemrut National Park. We will travel to the top of Mount Nemrut Tombs of Commagene Kingdom and the Colossal Statues of Gods. Climbing up to Tumulus of Antiochos, the capital of Kommagene we will watch the sun set from the summit of Nemrut. This ancient funerary monument at the peak of Mt Nemrut was forgotten and lost to memory for nearly 2000 years.
Overnight near Nemrut.
After breakfast you will see Karakus Tumulus, a burial sanctuary and the Cendere Bridge, erected by the XVI Legion in the honour of
Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, before proceeding to for Urfa.
Via Urfa we will visit Ataturk dam a part of the giant South East
Anatolia Project. Arriving in Urfa we will visit the Holy Pools of
Abraham andthe cave where, tradition tells us, the Prophet Abraham was born. Visit the Bazaar.
Dinner and Overnight Urfa.
After breakfast we will visit the on-going archaeological
dig at Gobekli Tepe. Although this site is not widely known it is one
of the most important archaeological digs currently being
undertaken anywhere - this site represents a major shift in our
understanding of man's early history. Here lie the remains of the
earliest religious structures built by man yet to be discovered. At
about 11000-13000 years old and pre-dating pottery, writing,
Stonehenge and the Pyramids!
We then depart for Gaziantep where we will visit the stunning mosaic museum which houses a priceless collection of mosaics from the now sunken city of Zeugma. We will visit the citadel and the Old Town of Gaziantep.
Overnight in Gaziantep.
Depart from Gaziantep for Istanbul.