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Turkey: World Nomad Games

TOUR IN

EUROPE

  • 28 Aug
  • -
  • 07 Sep 2022
  • |
  • 11 days

$3465

per person

Availability: 16 places

    Set against a backdrop of mythical landscapes we’ll journey into the Anatolian heartlands of Turkey, on an adventure that coincides with the 4th World Nomad Games. A unique cultural event held every two years, the Games provide a fitting climax to what promises to be an unforgettable odyssey into the golden lands of King Midas.

    Beginning amongst the magical creations of Cappadocia, we’ll travel through the UNESCO landscapes of Göreme and the Soganli Valley, before crossing the plains of Konya for the great caravanserai of Sultanhani. We’ll then visit the tombs of Mevlana and Atatürk and explore the stunning Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara. The spectacular Tomb of King Midas then provides the prelude to two full days spent enjoying the colour of the World Nomad Games in Iznik, where eagle hunting, archery and goat polo provide a sporting spectacle like no other. Finishing amongst the breath-taking cultural highlights of Istanbul, our journey ends in the city that was once the greatest on earth, laying at the heart of the great empires of Rome, Byzantine and the Ottomans.

    Please note the dates for the games are yet to be confirmed and may move. Please contact the office for more information.

    Day 1

    DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN CAPPADOCIA

    The tour starts this evening amongst the magical landscapes of Cappadocia. Erosion over millennia of the soft volcanic tufa has created not only a stunning natural scenic backdrop but also a region that has inspired human endeavour in the shape of underground cities as well as rock-cut churches and fortresses. This will be our base for the next 3 nights.
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    Day 2

    DAY 2: IN & AROUND CAPPADOCIA

    We will spend the whole day exploring some of the highlights of the region, beginning at the Göreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we will walk through the valley and explore the painted churches of this former Byzantine monastery. This afternoon we’ll visit Kaymakli underground city, originally carved out by the Hittites around 3000BC, and then Uchisar Fortress, built by the Romans, from where we’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views of the area. We’ll also take a walk to visit the fairy chimneys known as 'Love Valley' before returning to Avanos for the evening.
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    Day 3

    DAY 3: CAPPADOCIA - SOGANLI VALLEY - CAPPADOCIA

    A second day to enjoy this stunning area, we’ll head to the lesser known Soganli Valley today to enjoy a 2-hour walk and see several of the painted churches. We’ll also visit the unspoiled villages of Cemil, Taskinpasa and Sahin Efendi before returning to Avanos town, set on the banks of the Kizilirmak - the Red River. The red clay of the river provides the raw material for pottery, which has been produced in this area for centuries. There’ll be time to visit some of the family-run potteries for which the town is famous this afternoon.
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    Day 4

    DAY 4: CAPPADOCIA - KONYA - ANKARA

    Leaving Cappadocia this morning, we’ll drive across the plain of Konya stopping to visit Sultanhani, one of the largest caravanserais on the Silk Road, dating back to the 13th century. Continuing on to Konya, we will visit the Mevlana Museum, containing the tomb of the great dervish and poet Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi. We’ll also visit the Seljuk period Karatay Madrassa before taking a late afternoon bullet train to Ankara, Turkey’s modern-day capital.
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    Day 5

    DAY 5: IN & AROUND ANKARA

    Today we’ll visit two of the country’s most essential sights. The first is the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, one of the world’s most critically acclaimed museums (and deservedly so) displaying artefacts found within the borders of Turkey between 100,000 BC and 200 AD. The second is the Mausoleum of Ataturk, Turkey’s revered “father” who almost single-handedly is responsible for Turkey’s continued existence today following its defeat in World War I. This enormous monument is dedicated to Ataturk and the architecture of the mausoleum is based upon the caravanserai staging posts of the Silk Road. We will also have a chance to see Ankara Castle, with its great views over the city.
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    Day 6

    DAY 6: ANKARA - GORDION - IZNIK

    After a good breakfast we depart for the Art-deco Ankara Station and board the high speed train for Polatli, just 40 minutes from Ankara. A private bus will take us across the steppeland to the fabled site of Gordion, capital of the Phrygian Empire. Made famous by King Midas and his love of gold, and the 'Gordion Knot' that Alexander the Great came so much out of his way to cut, this compact site and museum's most spectacular exhibit is the 'Tomb of Midas' a huge tumulus tomb that was opened to the public with the help of the Turkish mining board, who burrowed into the Juniper-beam constructed burial chamber. The aromatic smell of the Juniper wood is still perceptible even after almost 3000 years underground. We continue to Bilecik on the high speed train and then journey to the attractive lakeside town of Iznik by bus. Iznik is the modern name for the ancient town of Nicaea, where Roman Emperor Constantine the Great called all the bishops of the early church together in AD325 to agree the basic tenets of the Christian Church that are still in force today, the Nicene creed being read in every mass. There are well preserved remains of the city walls a theatre and the Church of St Sophia. First conquered by the Selçuk Turks in 1081, the town changed hands many times during the crusades, until finally falling to the Ottoman Turks in 1331, after which Izmit became famous for the beautiful blue tiles produced here, most famously decorating the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
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    Day 7

    DAY 7: IZNIK - WORLD NOMAD GAMES

    Begun in 2014 and held every two years, the Nomad Games provide an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the rich traditions and cultures of the Central Asian nomads. A colourful gathering of Tajiks, Tatars, Uzbeks and Uyghurs, this spectacular festival brings together an array of food, entertainment and sporting prowess that epitomises the tribal peoples of Central Asia, Persia and the Siberian steppes. We will enjoy a full day at the games today.
    Please note that the exact line-up for the World Nomad Games has yet to be published and the descriptions given are based on the 2018 Games held in Kyrgzstan
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    Day 8

    DAY 8: IZNIK - WORLD NOMAD GAMES

    Another full day of entertainment and culture presents a chance to enjoy traditional wrestling, eagle hunting and the unique sport of kok-buru (headless goat polo!). Begun by the nomadic Turkic people who spread west from China and Mongolia, kok-buru is one of the most chaotic and celebrated of all the sports on offer and involves two teams of riders wrestling for possession of the headless carcass of a goat, which they attempt to deliver across the opposition’s goal line.
    Please note that the exact line-up for the World Nomad Games has yet to be published and the descriptions given are based on the 2018 Games held in Kyrgzstan
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    Day 9

    DAY 9: IZNIK - ISTANBUL

    Bidding a fond farewell to Iznik we head west toward Bursa, first stopping at the Ottoman 'model village' of Cumalikizik, aft the foot of Mt Uludag. Set up by a Ottoman 'Vakif', a charitable trust, to improve the lives of the villagers, this is an early version of a new town and is part of the UNESCO site of Bursa. We continue to Bursa and visit the Selçuk masterpiece of the Great Mosque full of quiet places for quiet reflection, so different to the grand open spaces of the Ottoman period mosques we will visit in Istanbul. We continue to the shores of the sea of Marmara at Mudanya and board a fast ferry to Istanbul, the most appropriate way to arrive at this great maritime city, where great sea routes and land routes intercept, creating what was the world's biggest city for a thousand years and centre of the world's three largest empires (Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman) for over 1500 years.
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    Day 10

    DAY 10: IN & AROUND ISTANBUL

    We’ll spend the morning exploring Sultanhamet, Istanbul’s historic centre. Here we’ll see the iconic Aya Sophia, which was built at the command of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. We’ll also visit the Blue Mosque, with its magnificent series of domes and semi-domes, and with its six slender minarets sprouting from the corners of the mosque. From here we discover the ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races and the centre of Byzantine civil life. In the afternoon you’ll be free to experience the extensive Grand Bazaar, one of the largest in the Middle East and a shopper's mecca since just after the mid-15th century as well as the underground Roman Cisterns. Tonight we’ll meet up for our final group dinner.
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    Day 11

    DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN ISTANBUL

    The tour officially ends after breakfast but those on the suggested group flight will have the whole morning and early afternoon free for further exploration.
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