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Discover the Ancient Silk Road across Turkey
  Ancient Silk Road Tour summary
  The Silk Road Tour across Turkey
  Duration: 14 days
  Tour features: Istanbul, the Blue Mosque, Ankara, Cappadocia, Goreme & underground cities, Kayseri, Somuncu Baba, the mountain top monuments of Mt Nemrut, Diyarbakir, Ahlat, Hosap Castle, Van, Ishak Pasha Palace & Mt. Ararat.
  Prices from 1990 euros (group booking)
Based on 4/5 star accommodation
Click here for prices & tour schedule

Discover The Ancient Silk Road across Turkey

The Silk Road, or as the Turks referred to it, Uzun Yol (Long Road), is an ancient trade route connecting the occident and the orient; running between China and Europe it has been an important conduit of commerce and knowledge since Classical times. The expansion of the Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great probably provided the impetus that created the early Silk Road and it was further developed by the Roman and Byzantine Empires. The Byzantines in particular, treasured the luxuries that came from the east and improved the roads in the western reaches of the route. Under the Mongols, who unified most of the lands of central Asia traversed by the road and who developed a sophisticated mail service the road improved yet again. But it was under the Seljuk Turks that the Ancient Silk Road really came into its own and most of the Hans and Caravanserais to be found across Turkey date from Seljuk times. Nearly one hundred Seljuk caravanserais along the Silk Road still exist in lands once controlled by the Seljuks. Accommodation and provisions at the Seljuk caravanserais were provided free of charge to travellers for up to three days at a time; this practice was an integral part of the caravanserais charitable status as they were always connected  to a religious establishment funded by the state or local rulers. In fact, the Turkish language and its many regional variations can be heard all along the route from Western China, across central Asia and Anatolia, right into the Balkans even today. In effect, the Silk Road is also a Turkish Road and it only began to decline with the opening up of maritime trade routes by western European powers and the discovery of the New World in the later Ottoman period. However, in many respects, the Silk Road was an idea that has a romance, mystery and resonance today even for those who know little about it; as much as a road, it has a conceptual meaning and importance that is gripping imaginations today as Turkey, the new nations of Central Asia, and China reach out to each other using the shared experience of the great Uzun Yol.

The Silk Road had numerous spurs and branches but the route we shall follow is along the principal route from Constantinople, present day Istanbul, to Ankara, along Turkey’s Great Salt Lake to Cappadocia and then on to Kayseri, Malatya, Diyarbakir, Bitlis, Tatvan and Van before finishing at the great border fortress of Hosap near the Iranian frontier. Like the Ancient Silk Road, we will make small detours from time to time to see points of historical interest along the way.

The Bosphorus and Rumelihisar
Eastern Turkey Tours - Visiting Ankara
Anitkabir, the Tomb of Ataturk
goreme - part of our ancient silk road tour across Turkey
The Landscape around Goreme
Gaziemir - part of our ancient silk road tour across Turkey

Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul

Day 2

Sightseeing in Istanbul including cruise up the Bosphorus to the opening of the Black Sea

Day 3

Sightseeing in the old city of Istanbul including the main sights of Seraglio Point and the Hippodrome: Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofia, Yerebetan Saray, the Basilica Cistern (Yerebetan Saray) and the Blue Mosque.

Day 4

 In the morning we will visit Istanbul’s Kapili Carsi- Covered Bazaar- a massive complex of about 5000 shops and markets first built by Mehmet II in 1461. This is the most appropriate place to start our Silk Road tour- in a market selling goods from all over Turkey and the world.

Drive to Ankara and overnight in Ankara.

Day 5

The tour of Ankara starts with a visit to the Tomb of Ataturk- Anitkabir- on one of the hills overlooking Ankara. In the afternoon we will visit the ancient citadel and the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations. Housed in a beautifully renovated 15th century Bedesten (market) and Han, this museum is one of the finest museums in the world with fabulous collections of artefacts including exquisite gold jewellery from Hittite and Urartian Anatolia and earlier.




To Cappadocia via Tuzgolu, Turkey’s Great Salt Lake, stopping to visit the Agzikarahan and Tepesidelikhan caravanserais along the way, Overnight stay in Urgup.

Day 7

Morning in Cappadocia visiting the Goreme Open Air Museum with its many rock- cut churches and monasteries many of which still contain magnificent frescos of great age.

From Goreme we will visit some of the underground cities and towns at Derinkuyu and Gaziemir. Derinkuyu is one of the many subterranean cities of Cappadocia; going underground as deep as eight storeys the city was capable of hiding thousands of people for many months during times of conflict and invasion.

Just a few kilometres away, Gaziemir’s rock cut caravanserai continues this Cappadocian tradition of using the soft volcanic rock to carve out homes, churches and places of refuge; in this instance a traveller’s rest stop on the Silk Road.  To Kayseri; overnight in Kayseri.

Day 8

Morning tour of Kayseri, an important Silk Road destination and a centre of Islamic learning where there are a number of historically significant Medreses (Islamic schools), from the Seljuk period. At the centre of the city is the Hisar, or citadel, built by the Roman Emperor Justinian during the 6th century AD; it remains today a formidable reminder of the glory of ancient Rome and Byzantium.

Depart for Darende stopping to visit Karatay Caravanserai on the way. The Karatay is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Seljuk caravanserais on the Silk Road.

From the Karatay Han we continue to Darende- overnight in Darende with a chance to enjoy the fabulous fresh trout of the Tohma river canyon cooked in a tandir clay oven.

Day 9

Morning in Darende and a chance to explore the canyon on purpose built walkways. We will also visit the shrine of Somuncu Baba, a beautiful and simple mosque and tomb set on the edge of the Tohma canyon. Much frequented by Turkish travellers this lovely shrine is not on the tourist trail- it is our secret.
The mosque complex also houses a museum dedicated to Somuncu Baba and the community of Darende.

Afternoon: Diversion off the Silk Road route to visit the Mountain Top Tomb of Nemrut. We will travel to Mt Nemrut to watch the sunset. Lost for nearly 2000 years, the monument was only rediscovered in the 1890s by a government surveyor.

Day 10

Depart Nemrut for Diyarbakir. Diyarbakir is a predominantly Kurdish city and is located on the highest navigable point on the River Tigris. It is richly endowed with significant buildings and has more historic mosques, churches and other principal buildings than any city in Turkey except Istanbul; the city walls of Diyarbakir are more than five kilometres long, among the longest defensive walls in the world second only to the Great Wall of China.


Day 11

From Diyarbakir we continue to Tatvan through the flood plain of the Tigris, up the Bitlis Gorge and past Bitlis, an important gateway to the east and a vital junction on the Silk Road. We will overnight in Tatvan.

Day 12

Ahlat where there are significant Seljuk monuments and cemeteries that mark the first presence of the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia and then on along the southern shores of Lake Van to the Island of Akdamar with its 10th century Armenian church. This is one of the best know examples of Armenian religious architecture anywhere in the region. Overnight in Van.

Day 13

We travel along a tributary route of the Silk Road to visit Dogubeyazit and the beautiful Pleasure Palace of Ishak Pasha .We will also see the Biblical Mountain of Ararat where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the flood.

Return to Van via the Muradiye Falls. Overnight in Van

Day 14

(Optional depending on flight connections for Istanbul and home) From Van we travel south for the last leg of our journey along the Silk Road (Uzun Yol) in Turkey. We visit Hosap Castle. 

The main castle structure of Hosap was built straddling the Silk Road and served as both a means of protecting the road and as a point of charging tolls on travellers. Constructed in 1643 by a local Kurdish chieftain called Mahmudi Sari Suleyman (or Blond Suleyman) the castle is built on a rocky outcrop on the north bank of the Hosap River.

From Hosap we return to Van for our flights to Istanbul and home.

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karatay han - part of our tour of the silk road across Turkey
Karatay Han
Tohma Valley - part of our tour of the ancient silk road across Turkey
The Tohma river canyon
Mount nemrut statue
Mount Nemrut
Diyarbakir - part of tour of the ancient silk road across Turkey
The Defensive walls of Diyarbakir
The 3000 year old Citadel overlooking Van, Turkey
The 3000 year old Citadel overlooking Van
Ishak Pleasure palace - part of our tour along the ancient silk road across Turkey
Ishak pasha Pleasure palace
Ishak Pasha Saray
Hosap Castle, Turkey
Hosap Castle
The ancient Silk Road tour across Turkey
Silk Road Tour Brochure
Download pdf brochure

For a detailed itinerary, please download the brochure. For prices and timetables & conditions please contact us on:

Sabahattin (Turkish Office)

Nick (UK Office)

Sally (UK Office)

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