Grand Mesopotamia Tour
This minimum 9-day tour will lead you to discover Mesopotamia’s history, culture, nature, and gastronomy.
The tour starts at the historical inns, Turkish baths, bazaars, and narrow stone streets of ancient Antep. It continues with the Zeugma Archaeological Museum, which is the largest mosaic museum in the world. From here, you can visit the river banks of the Euphrates and the excavation site of Zeugma (Belkıs) which is where the mosaics currently in the museum were unearthed. Passing through the east part of the Euphrates, you will arrive at Birecik that is famous for its eggplants, kebabs, and künefe dessert. You can see the last 205 of Hermit Ibises, which became extinct around the world, in Hermit Ibis Reproduction Station in Birecik. The district of Halfeti, a large part of which was submerged under the waters of the Birecik Dam Lake in 1998, is our latest station. You can visit the fortress of Rumkale by ferry, observe birds on the coast of Halfeti, and enjoy a lovely dinner. Şanlıurfa (commonly known as Urfa) is one of the most genuine destinations in Turkey with the country’s largest museum, Haleplibahçe Mosaic Museum; Göbekli Tepe, the oldest monumental temple structure; the excavation site of Harran; Tek Tek National Park; Balıklıgöl; and the old bazaars and streets. Leaving Urfa behind, you can visit Adıyaman that is the center of the Commagene civilization. The Euphrates River will flow before you, unhindered by dams. At Atatürk Dam, it is highly recommended to stop for a cup of tea at the observation terrace. The “Throne of the Gods,” Mount Nemrut presents a beauty that everyone should experience at least once in their life. On the peak of Mount Nemrut, at an elevation of 2,150 meters, the sunrise and sunset are unforgettable. At the Mount Nemrut National Park, the Karakuş Tumulus, Cendere Bridge (Severan Bridge), Yeni Kale Fortress, and the ancient city of Arsameia will tell you a lot about the Kingdom of Commagene, where the East and West were brought together. The modern Nissibi Euphrates Bridge in Nemrut was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1987 and reach the Diyarbakır City Walls and Hevsel Gardens that were included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015. You can easily spend at least two days discovering Diyarbakır city center - make sure to start your day with breakfast at Hasan Paşa Inn. After Diyarbakır, you can reach Mardin - a realife Mesopotamian fairy tale! Its multicultural atmosphere, its famous filigree, and wines will enchant you alongisde its magnificent ancient city center, mosques, churches, monasteries, the ancient city of Dara, and the nearby town of Savur. Hasankeyf that is expected to remain under waters of Ilısu Dam within a short time, was once the capital city of the Artuqids and is an important point on this route. You should also visit the museum of Batman, a new city in ancient lands, to see the world’s oldest stone games.
This great and long tour ends in Siirt that is famous for its delicious food; Tillo, the centre of Islam, astronomy, and education; and Botan Valley.
On the Track of Wheat
The route takes approximately 5 days and takes you to some of the most significant points in the history of civilization.
The route follows the tracks of wheat in this fertile soil. It starts in Göbekli Tepe that is the oldest monumental temple structure in the world. Göbekli Tepe is near Şanlıurfa and dates back 12,000 years. The route then continues across Harran that catches the eye with its conic, domed houses, the artifacts from the Middle Ages and its Arabic culture. From here the Bazda Caves, Han el Ba’rur, the city of Şuayib, and Soğmatar, where temples of the Sabii who believed in the moon god Sin can be visited. When you head towards Diyarbakır, you’ll reach the foothills of Karacadağ Mountain where siyez wheat (Einkorn wheat), the ancestor of wild wheat, is still found. The Neolithic site of Çayönü is the next stop in Diyarbakır. In the district of Ergani, Çayönü hill was first settled in c. 7500 BC, and was continuously inhabited until 5000 BC – it is an archaeological site that reflects the transition to sedentary settlement. Lake Hazar, the deepest lake of Turkey and Turkey’s “secret sea,” is near the road to Malatya. The route ends at the site of the Aslantepe Tumulus in Malatya, which was a Hittite settlement and where the first minimum wage was paid in return for a bowl of wheat.
Mystery of Huge Stones
This route comprises the provinces of Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman. It starts at Göbekli Tepe, the oldest monumental temple structure in the world, and ends at Mount Nemrut, the “Throne of the Gods.” On this route, you can visit Şanlıurfa Museum that is Turkey’s largest museum; Balıklıgöl (Pool of Abraham); Urfa Castle; old Urfa bazaars, inns, and streets; Harran; the Bazda Caves; the Han-el Ba'rür caravanserai; the city of Şuayp that was an old Roman settlement; and Soğmatar which was a cult center of the moon god Sin. This route offers you many opportunities of shopping and tasting Mesopotamian flavors. After passing the Euphrates River, the route continues to Adıyaman. Along this part of the trip you can watch the Euphrates River, blue and clear, flowing on its own riverbed, with no dams in sight. You can submerge your feet into the Euphrates, Mesopotamia’s main life-giving artery. You can witness the victory of human engineering over nature from the observation terrace of Atatürk Dam: Atatürk Dam Lake is on one side and the Euphrates River is on the other. The necropolis of the ancient city of Perrhe is the first stop of the Adıyaman part of the route. Do not forget to wash your hands and face in the Roman fountain that is situated in the ancient city and which is still used in the village. Then, the route continues with Nemrut Mountain National Park. From here you will encounter the Karakuş Tumulus; Cendere Bridge (Severan Bridge) that was built in honor of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (AD 193-211); the 13th-century Yeni Kale Fortress in Eski Tahta; and the ancient city of Arsameia which was a royal seat of the Kingdom of Commagene. The route ends on the peak of Mount Nemrut, at an elevation of 2,150 meters. The sunrise and sunset here are unforgettable. Standing among the huge sculptures of dieties of bygone times is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This is a breathtaking route of at least 5 days which will present you with the most beautiful mosaics of the ancient world. The route starts at Adana Museum. Here the mosaics found in the districts of Misis and Yumurtalık are displayed – make sure not to miss the mosaic of Eros. The route continues towards Antakya, which bears the name of Antiochus, one of the commanders of Alexander the Great. The Antakya Museum takes hours to explore with its rich display of mosaics - just looking at Oceanus & Tethys, and the hunting Artemis can take hours. With the opening of the Daphne Hall, the countless artifacts found in Daphne will also be displayed. The next stop along the route is Kahramanmaraş, whose ancient name is Germanicia Caesarea. Numerous brilliant mosaics were unearthed here, and they are displayed in situ at the Kahramanmaraş Archaeology Museum. The mosaic of a woman's mask is the most famous of the Kahramanmaraş mosaics. The skill required to create these exquisite Late Roman mosaics sets them apart. Opened in 2010, the Zeugma Mosaic Museum contains countless artifacts from Roman villas found during rescue excavations undertaken due to the construction of the Birecik Dam in the ancient city of Zeugma near the Euphrates. The Zeugma Mosaic Museum is a must-see for anyone who appreciates the art of mosaics. The museum is primarily associated with the "Gypsy Girl" mosaic. The female figure depicted is a Maenad, one of the female followers of Dionysos, the god of wine. Named by the excavation workers, the "Gypsy Girl" has become a cultural icon. Next stop is the archaeological site of Zeugma (Belkıs), established beside the Euphrates, where the mosaics now in the museum were unearthed. After seeing the Roman houses set in between pistachio trees, the route proceeds to the opposite shore of the Euphrates, Birecik that is famous for its eggplant, kebab, künefe, and the northern bald ibis. The last stop of the route is the Haleplibahçe Mosaic Museum, included in the Şanlıurfa Museum Complex. The floor mosaic of Amazon queens here is unique – it is the only known mosaic to depict Amazon warriors, who are frequently mentioned in mythology but whose appearance was unknown until now.
Tour of Clemency
It is a tour that takes approximately 5 days and follows the tracks of the three main religions in the region. It is a route full of tolerance and belief that extends to the oldest temples, tombs, madrasas, mosques, and churches. The route starts in Antakya that is known to be the city that brings religions close to each other, and continues towards the museum city of Şanlıurfa. Gaziantep hosting the tomb of Ökkeşi His Holiness in Antep, who was informed by Prophet Muhammad that he will go to heaven, is the place where Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) was born and where Prophet Job (Ayyub) lived. The place that was blessed by Jesus Christ, and it also includes the oldest monumental temple structure of the world. The route then reaches Mardin where various languages and religions come together. Here Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Ezidis, Armenians, and Assyrians live together under the sounds of azan (Islamic call to prayer) and church bells.
From the Hittites to Komagene
Beginning with Ancient Antep city tour; continues with Yesemek Stone Workshop, the first known open air sculpture workshop in history; heads for Rumkale, a wonder of nature and mankind surrounded by a emerald green lake and steep hills; passes onto the boat trip to Halfeti, the land of black roses with stones houses hidden under the water; leading to Nemrut National Park; the home of numerous civilizations… Our route traces the ruins of two grand empires in the region… We start our trip with two major residential areas of the magnificent Hittite Empire; the first open air sculpture workshop in history, Yesemek, and a significant city of kingdom, Tilmen; and we continue with bazaars of Gaziantep. We cannot take our eyes from "yemenis" in the bazaars, which look like coming straight out of Hittite reliefs. Leaving the ancient city for Zeugma Mosaic Museum in search of another civilization, Komagene. We visit the magnificent Ancient City of Zeugma, the end city of of Komagene, with 80 thousand population, and mansions embellished with mosaics; stop by quiet, peaceful monasteries of Rumkale and turn our route to Nemrut. We visit the Mount of Nemrut where giant sculptures of gods built by the order of Antiochos -who unites genes of the East (Persian) and the West (Greek)- Cendere Bridge and Komagene Civilizaton in Greger. We once and again witness merging of Eastern and West cultures while watching the famous handshake scene (dexiosis) thousands of years later.
In pursuit of Art and Science: Artuqids
Artuqids; silent and proud guests of the Middle Age. Silence to endure centuries after the Mongolian occupation following a matchless era of Art and Science. Our route invites you to witness this splendid tale. We begin our journey with Ulu Camii with a bent minaret in Harput, Elazığ and keep on with Diyarbakır. The Palace of Artuqids in Diyarbakır Suriçi, Castle Walls (Ulubeden and Yedikardeşler Bastions), Zinciriye and Mesudiye Madrasahs, On Gözlü Bridge, Silvan Ulu Mosque, Mardin and Kızıltepe Ulu Mosques, Eminüddin Külliye which is the first külliye (islamic-ottoman social complex) in Anatolia, Mardin Kasımıye Madrasah, Hasankeyf, Malabadi Bridge, human figures and animal-plant reliefs made of plastic on castle walls and bridges, the automats made by El Cezeri in the Palace of Artuqids allow us to rediscover this extraordinary civilization.