The eastern parts of Turkey are less explored than the rest of Turkey, while historically and culturally it has more to offer than any other region. The hot lowlands of ancient Mesepotamia has been a crossroad for thousands of years which has made the area into a fascinating melting pot where Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Muslims, Christians, Jews and Yezidi have co-exited for centuries. Join us for a tour of this wonderful picturesque region and learn some fascinating facts about the ancient Mesopotamia. Experience the mixture of different religions and diversity of cultures in Mardin and visit the city walls of Diyarbakir.Watch the unforgettable sunset
from the top of Mount Nemrut surrounded by colossal stone heads and visit a 12.000 year old Neolithic site that is the first human built holy site. Dine in local restaurants and taste some of the best food in Turkey from the Gaziantep kitchen which is on the UNESCO Creative Cities list.
Arrival to Diyarbakir with flight or bus where we will meet you and transfer to our hotel which is situated in the center of old Diyarbakir. We will have lunch in one of the most famous restaurants in the city. Diyarbakir is famous for its Ciger, a grilled liver dish and for kaburga dolma, filled ribs.The food is spicy and tasty if you like meat you will love this speciality dishes.
After lunch we take you around the old city where we visit the old walls of Diyarbakir, some of the longest ancient walls in the world, the mosques, the churches and the old shopping quarters, which are called Han in Turkish. We take a break in one of these old Hans which is now a cultural cafe serving Assyrian home made wine as well as local coffee.
We leave Diyarbakir after a traditional Diyarbakir breakfast which will keep you full for hours! Driving southwards first to Hasankeyf, an ancient city that will be under water after few months. We make a break here and look at the remains of the ruins as the Turkish
government is moving some of them these days to the new village that has been made for the local people. We continue to Midyat, one of the small towns in the Mardin area. Midyat is famous for the architecture in the old town and is used in many Turkish films. Here we will take you around beautiful old traditional houses with both churches and mosques scattered all over the
town.The town is also made famous for the local produced Assyrian wine which is made by the Christian population.We have lunch in a small local restaurant before continuing to Mardin where we will check in our hotel where will we stay for two nights. Mardin is well renowned for its oriental architecture left over from several past civilizations making the city literally into an open air museum. In the evening it is free time to explore the fascinating streets of Mardin with local silver shops, small wineries and coffee shops.
After breakfast we take a walk in Mardin showing you the more important sights. We will visit the old Medreses, churches, markets and other points of interest. We drive southwards for the next stop which is a visit to Deyrulzafaran Monastary, here we will be guided and informed about the Assyrian Christians living in this area. After this visit we continue to Dara Ancient City which is regarded as one of the most impressive ancient cities in Turkey. Dara was an important fortress in early Byzantine times located in northern Mesopotamia near the border to the Persian Sassanid Empire.The most impressive parts are the old necropolis with three level tombs and the remains of huge water cisterns. For lunch we will go for a local meal in the village. On the way back to Mardin we will visit Kasimiye Medrese before we stop for some drinks at the spectacular view point to enjoy the sunset and blue hour with a full view to the old city. In the evening we will have dinner in one of the best restaurants in Mardin.
We leave Mardin after breakfast and continue towards Urfa. Before arriving to Urfa we visit the famous ancient site of Göbekli Tepe. Göbekli Tepe is one of the most interesting archaeological findings in Turkey and even in the world to date. Here you will see the very, very large carved stones which is dated around 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery.The ruins predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years and this ist he first human built holy place. Continuing on the road to the small town of Harran, close to the border of Syria.The ruins of the ancient city dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. Haran was once one of the most important cities in the Northern Mesopotamia and is mostly famous for its mud houses, called kümbet in Turkish, with the shape of beehives.This traditional way of making houses dates back thousands of years.They are perfect for the climate in Haran, cool in the summer and hot in the winter. We will visit one of these old houses and the old ruins of the town. After Harran we drive to the center of Urfa. Our hotel is centrally located close to all the sights in the city and here we visit the Balikli Göl Area which is regarded as a holy place with small lakes filled with fishes. Urfa is known as the city of prophets and Abraham is said to have been born in this city.We will take a visit to the castle and the bazaars and stroll in the beautiful parks. In the evening you may participate in the traditional “Sira Gece”a combination of a big meal with local kebabs and traditional music from the area.
After breakfast we leave Urfa and drive towards Adiyaman where wevisit the sites at Perre Ancient City before lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch we continue our drive through the beautiful national park on route to the very famous Mount Nemrut. On the way we visit several historical places such as the Cendere Bridge and Karakus Tumulus. Mount Nemrut is one of the most fascinating places in Turkey where the Hierotheseion, temple-tomb and house of the gods, that was built by king Antiochos of Commagene, 69-34 BC. He built this place as a monument to himself and it is 2134 meters over Sea Level. It is a must to stay here until the sun goes down to witness the most amazing sunset. We spend the evening and stay overnight in Adiyaman.
We leave Adiyaman and drive towards Gaziantep. Our first visit is to Halfetti, a small town where most of the old town was submerged into the water when the Biricik dam was constructed in the area. Still, Halfetti is a very beautiful place to visit, it is a Citta Slow member and we will explore the town from a small boat where we will see the remains of the old historical cities. After lunch we continue to Gaziantep, a big city with both modern parts and traditional areas where we will stay in a small traditional hotel in the old center. Gaziantep is famous for food.Turkish people travel to Gaziantep just to eat. We will spend the afternoon strolling in the bazaars where they sell all kinds of spices, nuts, dried fruits and much more. Gaziantep is also famous for the pistachio nut and the hometown for the Turkish baklava, there are produces of pistachio everywhere in the region and you can sample the most delicious baklava in Turkey. We will spend the evening in one of the best restaurants in town. After lunch we continue to Gaziantep, a big city with both modern parts and traditional areas where we will stay in a small traditional hotel in the old center. Gaziantep is famous for food.Turkish people travel to Gaziantep just to eat. We will spend the afternoon strolling in the bazaars where they sell all kinds of spices, nuts, dried fruits and much more. Gaziantep is also famous for the pistachio nut and the hometown for the Turkish baklava, there are produces of pistachio everywhere in the region and you can sample the most delicious baklava in Turkey. We will spend the evening in one of the best restaurants in town.
After breakfast we visit the Zeugma Museum, one of the best museums in Turkey. Here you will see the wonderful mosaics from the ancient city of Zeugma. After this visit depending on your flight time you may spend time exploring the streets of Gaziantep, do some shopping or relax in one of the many nice cafes before your transfer to the airport.
From 500 to 650 euro per person (depending on season and number of people)
Minimum number of people : 4 (can be arranged privately for less than 4 people – please ask for price)
Maximum number of people: 1 INCLUDES: Hotels with breakfast (3 or 4 stars), transportation, entrances, guiding and boattour in Halfetti
NOT INCLUDED: Flights to Diyarbakir and back from Gaziantep, lunches , dinners and drinks.
Single room supplement:15 euro per night
TRANSPORT: We will drive with a private car or minibus
NOTES: Bring good shoes, clothes suitable for more conservative areas (not too short skirts or dresses), sun protection and warm clothes for the evening in Mount Nemrut. Be aware that some places on the road only have the traditional turkish toilets (a whole in the ground). You can fly to Gaziantep and Diyarbakir from most bigger cities in Turkey.