Islam During The Selcuk, Ottoman and Turkish Republic Period
- DAY 1: HOME - ISTANBUL
- Flight to Istanbul. Arrive at the airport of Istanbul. Welcome and assist by our English speaking tour guide. All of the ladies will have fresh flowers and the gentlemen will have souvenir as a present by Lilium Tours & Incentives. Transfer to the hotel and check-in. During the key distribution “a welcome cocktail” will be served. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner will be served at hotel. Overnight.
- DAY 2: ISTANBUL
- Tour visits to Hippodrome the former center of sportive and political activities of Constantinople, Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), which is famous with its blue Iznik tiles and unique six minarets, St. Sophia Museum the magnificent Byzantine Church between 532-1453, main mosque of the Ottoman Sultans between 1453-1934 and since 1934 one of the most important highlights of the city. Then it goes to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, where we can see tiles, calligraphy, wood, metal and textile works from the Islamic World. After lunch visit Topkapi Palace the former imperial residence from where the Ottoman Empire was ruled. The Holy Mantle and Sacred Relics Section is housing one of the most important relics of the Religion Islam. We can see: The Sword, The Letter, The Seal, The Beard, The Footprint of the Muhammad and many other belongings from the Caliphs and other prophets. Then visit to the Mosque of Sultan Süleymaniye the Magnificent built in the 16.century and second biggest mosque of the city after the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Sinan called this mosque as his “journeyman work”. Dinner will be served at hotel. Overnight.
- DAY 3: ISTANBUL
- In the morning visit to the Rustem Pasha Mosque. The important feature of the little interior with two galleries is its magnificent and very colorful tiles, starting in the porch. They are from Iznik Pottery, then at the peak of its fame. After the Rustem Pasha Mosque embark on a Cruise along the Bosporus. Disembark at Sariyer and have lunch than drive to the Asian Part of Istanbul. Visit to Camlica Hill for a panoramic view of the city. Then drive to the city part Eyup and visit to the Eyyub-ul Ensari Mosque. This was the first mosque built after the Turks took Istanbul. One of the first Muslims, Ebu Eyyub-ul Ensari was killed in the Arab Army’s 668-669 Siege of Istanbul. Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s religious teacher, Aksemseddin found what he said to be Eyub’s Tomb and Fatih build a large tomb, a mosque and a soup kitchen here. Later, in the are around these were built many charities, monumental tombs and cemeteries. Late afternoon drive to the Sehzadebasi Mosque and visit it. Sultan Suleyman’s beloved son Prince Mehmet died in 1543. The tomb and large complex surrounding were built on the exact centre of Istanbul, Sehzadebasi, which Sinan geometrically computed as Sultan Suleyman requested. Wits its elegant calligraphy, minarets, mosque, the smaller buildings and the trees, it is among the most balanced group of buildings in Istanbul. This mosque is after the Sultan Suleyman Mosque, the second important work of Sinan. He called this mosque his "apprentice work". Dinner will be served at hotel. Overnight.
- DAY 4: ISTANBUL - EDIRNE - ISTANBUL
- Drive approximately 2,5 hours via highway to Edirne (The Bulgarian Border is just 20 km away from Edirne !). It was the second capital city of the Ottoman Empire after Bursa and before Istanbul. After lunch the tour visits to the Selimiye Mosque, (1569-1575) the "masterpiece of Sinan". He completed this mosque when he was at the age of 85. It is set on a hill above the town and dominating it from afar, was the peak of the Sinan’s life’s work, and stands as the pinnacle and point of perfection of Ottoman Architecture. Then visit to the Old Mosque (Eski Camii). The oldest mosque in Edirne, built 1043-1414 as the first Ottoman building in the town, early Ottoman in style, with piered hall with 9 domes in three rows on 4 piers. The building follows the design of the Ulu Mosque in Bursa and shows both the consistency of early mosque design and the architectural continuity maintained when transferring a residence. Thereafter visit to the Ucserefeli Mosque (Mosque with three galleries). It is built 1437-1447 under Murat II, with central dome and rectangular ground plan with inset hexagon as basic support for the dome. The awkward area at which the central and side rooms meet show the difficulties found at the high point of the early Ottoman Mosque, of which this is one, of creating a totally coherent space. This was not achieved until the mosques of Istanbul were built, after coming to terms with St. Sophia. Before departure to Istanbul, shopping will be done in city center of Edirne. Drive back to Istanbul. Dinner will be served at hotel. Overnight.
- DAY 5: ISTANBUL - BURSA
- Drive approximately 3 hours via Yalova to Bursa. Arrive and visit to the Green Mosque (1415-1419). This mosque was completed by Sultan Celebi Mehmet I. And is the finest example of the so-called Bursa or double-domed mosque: 2 linked domed spaces on either side. Another typical feature is the domed spaces in front of the mosque, with entrance hall and school rooms at the side, and here in the Green Mosque there is also access to the upper galleries for the sultan and his wife. The transition from the square walls to the circular dome is achieved with a "Turkish Triangle". As well as in the dome, stalactites are also used for decoration and as a part of the arch in the magnificent entrance portal. Then continue to the Green Mausoleum, located just opposite of the mosque. It is build from Sultan Celebi Mehmet I. And it is an octagonal building. In the interior the sultan’s sarcophagus and the mihrab are both magnificently decorated with enamel faience. After lunch visit to the Great Mosque 1396-144 (Ulu Camii). The large rectangular building, the largest of the Ottoman pried mosques has 20 domes set over 5 x 4 bays on twelve piers, hence the term multi-domed mosque, which was followed by the open Arab courtyard mosque. Because of the harsher climate of Anatolia the originally open courtyard was covered with a flat roof, and then vaulted in the subsequent building period, with its tendency to large domes. Then time for shopping at the next located Silk Bazaar of Bursa. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel in Bursa.
- DAY 6: BURSA - IZMIR - KUSADASI
- Drive to Kusadasi. On the way, we stop in Bergama. After lunch visit to the Acropolis and Asclepion, which is the antic city Pergamon. Then drive to Kusadasi. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel.
- DAY 7: KUSADASI - PAMUKKALE
- In the morning visit to the House of Virgin Mary. The building was found through the stigmatized Augustinian nun Anna Katharina Emmerich, who died in 1884, described her vision of the House of Virgin Mary to the German writer Clemens Brentano, who subsequently published it (1852). In 1891, M. Paulus Superior of the Lazarits, read the vision and found it in Aladag 7 km from Ephesus. In 1892 the Archbishop of Izmir gave permission for mass to be said here. It has remained a lovingly cared-for place of pilgrimage (Pope Paul VI prayed her on 26 July 1967. No tomb has been found. The building will be visited by Christians but also from the Muslims. Then visit to antic city “Ephesus”, which is famous in the world. After lunch visit to the Isa Bey Mosque. It as an Arabian Courtyard Mosque built in 1375 by the Selcuk Sultan Isa Bey. It is located at the foot of Ephesus Acropolis and it is consisted a tripartite mosque chamber with a double dome over the central section. The building has been restored and its polychrome marble and stalactites are good examples of Selcuk ornamentation. Then continue drive to Pamukkale (Cotton Castle). Arrive and visit to the natural calcified terraces, which is famous in the world. Dinner and overnight will be at a spa hotel.
- DAY 8: PAMUKKALE - KONYA
- Early in the morning drive to Konya. Arrive and visit to the Karatay Medrese, constructed in 1251, stands to the north of this hill, and now is a museum which holds the best examples of Seljuk tiles and ceramics and also the Ince Minareli Medrese with its fascinating monumental portal. In the medrese collections of Selcuk stone carving and ornamental stucco, and also wood carvings: reading desks, door panels, banisters, columns, capitals, window frames and consoles in walnut, apple, pear, cedar, ebony and rosewood.
After our lunch in Konya, the 13 C Capital of the Seljuk’s, we will visit the Mevlana Museum. The museum was the cloister of Mevlana, the great mystical philosopher of the 13 C and Mevlevi, the whirling dervishes. Besides the tombs of Mevlana his family and outstanding characters of the Mevlevi order, the ceremonial musical instruments and materials, hand-written books and carpets of the time can be seen.
The Mevlevi order of whirling dervishes is a mystic group whose members are followers of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a great Turkish poet and mystic. The brotherhood is based in Konya, where its founder is buried. Mevlana was never the head of an order, and the brotherhood was not established by himself but by his followers and devoted companions. The order derived its essence, rites, moral code and discipline from the mystical path first shown by Mevlana. It was a synthesis of spiritual love attained by a combination of music and dance which was considered to be the basic requirement for the spiritual ecstasy and devotion.
Mevlana was not a man of reason; he was on the contrary a man of love and affection. His aim was unification with God. According to him God could not fit into the universe but fit into the heart. Therefore we have to tend to the heart and not to reason.
"Come, come again, whoever, whatever you may be, come:
Heathen, fire-worshipper, sinful of idolatry, come.
Come even if you have broken your penitence a hundred times,
Ours is not the portal of despair and misery, come."
Instead of dealing with scholars of the time, Mevlana tended towards simple people like Husameddin Celebi who was regarded as ignorant by others. According to Mevlana, a scholar was like a person carrying a big sack of bread on his shoulder. But, he asked, what was the maximum number of loaves they could eat? Dinner and overnight will be at hotel in Konya.
- DAY 9: KONYA - CAPPADOCIA
- On the way to Cappadocia stop and visit to the Sultanhan Caravanserai. It was built by Sultan Alaattin Keykubat I during the Seljuk period, in 1229. It has two sections, one open with a courtyard and another covered. It is the largest of all Seljuk Caravanserais in Anatolia with an area of 4,800sqm. Sultanhan is a monumental caravansary which looks like a fortress. Today we will explore the troglodyte environment among the Fairy chimneys and valleys of Cappadocia which was formed by the eruption of the two volcanoes, Mt. Argeus and Mt Hasan some 60 Million years ago. Our first stop will be Underground City. It is one of the largest underground cities in Cappadocia. Visitors can see only about 10% of the city by going down a maximum of five floors. It probably is connected to nearby other underground cities and houses. You can go through the secret tunnels to each of the house in the near located villages. Then visit to the different parts of Cappadocia with different views. Late afternoon shopping will be done in one of the biggest carpet weaving school of the area, where you can see all steps of this Turkish Traditional Art. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel.
- DAY 10: CAPPADOCIA
- Today we visit Göreme Open Air Museum, which was one of the earliest settlements in the area. The monastic complex with many churches and living quarters bear good examples of 11-13 C Byzantine mural paintings. Zelve, another valley settlement was known to be the fist place where the monastic seminars were held. After visiting this site, we drive to Uchisar to visit Natural Citadel of Uchisar which will enable you to get a panoramic view of the region. Then continue to Underground City of Kaymaklı or Ozkonak which was used by Christians of the 7 th century as places of retreat in order to escape persecution. Late afternoon shopping will be done in the area. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel.
- DAY 11: CAPPADOCIA - ANKARA
- Today we drive to Ankara. On the way we stop in Kirsehir-Hacibektas and visit to the Mausoleum of Haci Bektasi Veli. He founded the notorious Bektasi Dervish Order in 1357. The tekke (monastery) and mausoleum can be visited. This faith, which embraces Shiite and Sunni views, reached its peak when the Janissaries were also members of it. Then continue drive to Ankara. Arrive and visit to the Mosque of Haci Bayram-i Veli. He is the founder of the Bayrami sect, a Sufi poet and composer of hymns. Upon completing his education in Ankara and Bursa, he started to teach at the theological school called Karamedrese in Ankara, which was built by a philanthropic lady called Mehlike Hatun. Originally built in 1427/28, the mosque as it stands today shows the characteristics of late 17th century and 18th century mosques. Then visit to the Ankara Kocatepe Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Ankara, located in the Kocatepe Quarter. The mosque was built between 1976 and 1987 in the Ottoman architectural style. It is in its kind the most modern and biggest in Turkey. Today our last visit will be the Mausoleum of Ataturk. Unlike many famous leaders, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk never requested a monumental tomb for himself. But the adoration and respect shown to him by Turkish people would never have seen him buried in an ordinary place. An international project competition was held for the architecture of a monumental mausoleum for Atatürk. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel in Ankara.
- DAY 12: ANKARA - ISTANBUL
- Drive via highway to Istanbul. After lunch, time at leisure in the city. Dinner will be served at hotel. Overnight.
- DAY 13: ISTANBUL - HOME
- Breakfast at hotel and transfer to Istanbul Atatürk Airport and flight back home.
END OF TOUR WITH THE SWEET MEMORIES OF TURKEY!!!