#73 best destination in the world




  • Occupied in 499 BC
  • Characterized by its fairy chimneys, a rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland


Van Fortress


  • Massive stone fortification built by the ancient Armenian kingdom of Urartu
  • Built in 750 BC
  • Used for regional control rather than against foreign armies
  • One of the oldest buildings in the world




  • Town located among fairy chimney rock formations in Cappadocia
  • Population 2,000 people
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Possibly settled during the Hittite era, 1800-1200 BC
  • Natives escaped political turmoil by using the tunnels in the rock




  • Capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site




  • Ancient city located on hot springs used as a spa since the 2nd century BC
  • Also contained a bath, library, and gymnasium
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site




  • Historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium
  • On the cusp of what separates Europe and Asia
  • Largest European city
  • Founded in 660 BC
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site


Süleymaniye Mosque


  • Ottoman imperial mosque in Istanbul
  • One of the best-known sites in Istanbul


Sultanahmet, Fatih


  • Neighborhood in Istanbul


Hagia Sophia


  • Was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica
  • Later, it was an imperial mosque
  • Now a museum in Istanbul
  • Constructed from 537-1453
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site


Sultan Ahmed Mosque


  • Mosque constructed from 1609-1616 during the rule of Ahmed I
  • Contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah, and a hospice
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site


Topkapı Palace


  • In the 15th century, served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans
  • Construction began in 1459, ordered by Mehmed the Conqueror, six years after the conquest of Constantinople
  • Major renovations were done after the 1509 earthquake and the 1665 fire
  • After the 17th century, Topkapı gradually lost its importance
  • The sultans of that period preferred to spend more time in their new palaces along the Bosphorus
  • Following the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Topkapı was transformed into a museum by a government decree
  • The museum collection includes Ottoman clothing, weapons, armor, miniatures, religious relics, and illuminated manuscripts like the Topkapi manuscript
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site


Basilica Cistern


  • Largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople)
  • The cistern, on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I




  • Was a geopolitical region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla
  • Known to history since the records of ancient Egypt and the Hittite Empire in the Late Bronze Age, it was populated by speakers of the Luwian language group
  • Written records began to be inscribed in stone in the Lycian language (a later form of Luwian) after Lycia’s involuntary incorporation into the Achaemenid Empire in the Iron Age
  • In the later stages of the Roman republic Lycia came to enjoy freedom as a Roman protectorate
  • After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century, Lycia was under the Ottoman Empire, and was inherited by the Turkish Republic on the fall of that empire
  • The Greek and Turkish population was exchanged when the border between Greece and Turkey was negotiated in 1923




  • Was a city known in late Classical antiquity as Asia Minor, now known as Anatolia in modern Turkey
  • It was the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle, in particular in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer
  • In 1865, English archaeologist Frank Calvert excavated trial trenches in a field he had bought from a local farmer at Hisarlik
  • These excavations revealed several cities built in succession
  • Schliemann, a wealthy German businessman and archaeologist, was at first skeptical about the identification of the site Hisarlik with Troy
  • Troy VII has been identified with the city called Wilusa by the Hittites and is generally identified with Homeric Troy
  • Today, the hill at Hisarlik has given its name to a small village near the ruins
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site


Göbekli Tepe


  • Archaeological site of a tell (artificial mound)
  • The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by the site discoverer and excavator, dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BC
  • Circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected, the world’s oldest known megaliths
  • More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known
  • Each pillar has a height of up to 20 ft and weighs up to 10 tons
  • They are fitted into sockets that were cut with a tool out of the bedrock
  • The site was abandoned and younger structures date to classical times
  • The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery and large parts still remain unexcavated
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site




all flights $1,600

food $5/day x 18 days = $94

hotel $16/day x 17 days = $272

tickets (all attractions) $243

TOTAL for whole itinerary $2,209