At the intersection of Europe and Asia lies a country appropriately known for its blended history, a synthesis of modern marvel and old-world origins.
This history of Turkey is as old as mankind itself. Previously known as Anatolia, or even more previously as Asia Minor, this Mediterranean country has witnessed the rise and fall of empires and conquerors alike, from the early Hittites to the Greek, Roman, and Ottoman Regimes. And yet each of these cultures have left their own unique mark on this land, opening wide the door for the later exploration and discovery of their bygone legacies.
Ker & Downey’s Tales of Turkey celebrates the two-fold nature of this unique location in its five stops throughout the country. Sites along the way include a trip to Istanbul, where you can experience the rhythm of a modern Mediterranean culture without missing the excitement of exploring ancient ruins. Witness the history at the Hagia Sophia, where there is a unique coexistence of Christian and Muslim influence. “It is absolutely inspiring to see those golden mosaics and frescoes depicting Christ, Mary, and the Apostles, released free from the plasters by archeologists who have done a great job,” says Turkish partner Abdullah Gur.
At Cappadocia, Ker & Downey guests will get an inside look at the famous rock-cut churches, full of frescoes and paintings dating from the tenth through thirteenth centuries. These marvelous formations tower over the Cappadocian hills in clusters, making for an almost lunar-like landscape. Photography lovers will enjoy a climb atop Uchisar Rock Castle, where stunning panoramic views of the Cappadocian valleys await for breathtaking captures. If that just won’t do it, Ker & Downey guests can even arrange a private hot air balloon adventure, overlooking the sweeping hillsides and valleys of this region.
Ephesus, Pammukale, and Laodicea are other city sites on Ker & Downey’s Tales of Turkey, where guests can visit House of the Virgin Mary, a popular pilgrimage site that is believed to have been the last home of Mary, mother of Jesus, or choose to soak up the sun and Mediterranean culture at Pammukale in the cool waters of natural springs.
One day of the journey has been set aside for a relaxing gulet cruise out into the Bodrum peninsula. Bodrum is host to a real treasure chest of coves, inlets, cities by the bay, and sun-soaked beaches, adding to the Mediterranean lifestyle that has become so prevalent over the years. Ker & Downey guests can enjoy utter privacy among the warm, turquoise waters, visiting ancient sites and stopping for water adventures along the way. A relaxing morning swim, a spot of snorkeling beside rocky shores, an adventurous turn windsurfing or a short kayak expedition to a hidden inlet are only a few of the sublime activities available. As Abdullah puts it, “One of the defining characteristics of a gulet trip is the ‘back to nature’ appreciation of the simple things: the fresh salty air, the canopy of the stars at night…its one long list of heavenly pleasures.”