April 28 to May 6, 2013
This WolfTreks uniquely designed
itinerary provides exceptional opportunities to experience the history
and culture of Istanbul. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of the historic areas of
Istanbul, such as Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque,and Hagia Sophia. Marvel at the beauty of the Hürrem Sultan Turkish Bath, a historic
hamam that has been restored to its former grandeur. Visit the town of Iznik to learn about the making of the beautiful tiles
that are featured in many Turkish mosques and palaces. Learn about Ebru paper marbling at Caferaga Medresesi, a renowned
center that teaches locals and visitors about Turkish art forms and their
In Transit to Istanbul, Turkey
Arrive at the Istanbul Airport. After passing through immigration and customs, AHI Group Air Program passengers will be met by an AHI Travel representative in the arrivals hall. AHI Independent Air Program passengers who are able to join the group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased an AHI transfer should proceed to the group flight arrivals hall to meet the AHI representative. Transfer to the Palazzo Donizetti Hotel. Join your fellow travelers for a festive welcome reception and dinner at the hotel this evening.
Explore Hippodrome Square, once the center of secular life in Byzantium, then visit the Blue Mosque. Meet with the Imam for an in-depth look at the mosque and its importance to the Muslim faith. Continue to Hagia Sophia, a former church and mosque that is now a museum, and the Underground Cistern, a former water reservoir that is now used for concerts. Conclude at the Grand Bazaar to meet some of the locals and to explore on your own. B, L
Begin your day at Topkapi Palace, the seat of the Ottoman Empire for more than four centuries. See the relics of the Prophet Mohammed and marvel at the stunning collection of jewels, gold and porcelain. Afterwards, journey to Hagia Eirene (St. Irene Church), one of the oldest and largest Byzantine churches in Istanbul and home to the first museum in Turkey. B, L
Located across from Hagia Sophia, this historic bath house was constructed in the 16th century for Hürrem Sultan Roxelana. Although it fell into disrepair, it has since been painstakingly restored and is now a fully functioning hamam. Admire its lavish interior, elegantly adorned with white marble. [Optional Excursion: Turkish Bath. If you wish, experience this important part of Turkish culture for yourself.] This afternoon, uncover the secrets of the Spice Bazaar during a guided tour.
Turkey’s multicultural heritage means the traditional foods of the many civilizations who have settled here have influenced modern Turkish cuisine. Tonight, venture to one of Istanbul’s excellent restaurants for an overview of Turkish gastronomy. Enjoy a tasting of Turkish olive oils and spices before sitting down to a gourmet meals paired with Turkish wines. B, D
Journey to Iznik, the setting for two ecumenical councils that were important to the Christian faith and renowned for its faience pottery. Visit the porcelain workshops to learn how the famous tiles and other ceramics are produced using traditional methods. Marvel at the frescoes and mosaic floor at St. Sophia Church, site of the Second Council of Nicea before concluding at the Iznik Archaeological Museum to view its treasures. B, L
Discover the vast array of works housed at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. With carved and inlaid wood, illustrated Korans, porcelain, glasswork and calligraphy, these are some of the many types of art on display. Continue your exploration of Turkish art at Caferaga Medresesi, a fine arts college where students from around the world can study local artistic traditions. Learn about Ebru paper marbling, and enjoy a painting lesson in one of the college workshops. B, L
Board a private, chartered boat and explore this storied waterway, which separates Turkey’s Asian and European sides. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Istanbul. Tonight, attend a Farewell Reception, Graduation Ceremony and Farewell Dinner. B, D
After breakfast, begin the journey home. B
Rixos Pera Istanbul Hotel
Located in the historic Beyoglu (Pera)
neighborhood, which is considered to be Turkey’s center of contemporary
arts and culture, the luxurious Rixos Pera Istanbul is close to the
city’s museums, theaters and key landmarks. In keeping with its
tradition of elegance and warm hospitality, the hotel provides a wide
range of modern amenities designed for the discerning traveler. The spa
offers a serene oasis with relaxing beauty and massage treatments, a
Turkish bath, a jacuzzi and a sauna. The fitness center has a selection
of cardiovascular and strength-training equipment, while the hotel’s
five restaurants serve a tempting mix of delicious international
cuisine. Each guest room is sumptuously decorated with high-quality
fabrics and furnishings, and has a direct-dial telephone, satellite TV
and wireless Internet access.
To ask questions or make a reservation on the phone with a credit card, call WolfTreks Travel Coordinator Kathy Hart at 800.627.2586 or 919.515.3375.