Turkey: Europe & Asia All at Once.
In Turkey, east meets west, Europe meets Asia, Islam meets Christianity, and the world’s oldest city was discovered. From incredible Istanbul, we make our way to Pergamum, Ephesus, Sultankoy, and otherworldly Cappadocia. If you'd like more, consider an extension to Anatolian Turkey—Perge, Aspendos, and Antalya.
Through history, Turkey frequently changed hands. The Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans all left their marks. Alexander the Great was the first to meld eastern and western cultures; others followed suit. It is here that whirling dervishes spin themselves into trances in a spiritual union with God. Today, Turkey is a fascinating mosaic, a thriving democracy rich in Oriental history, European splendor, and marvelous mystery.
This is a nine-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Turkey journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Turkey.
Overnight in flight
Day 2-4: Istanbul, Turkey
• Land in Istanbul.
• City tour including Aya Sofya, Hippodrome Square, Blue Mosque, Yerebatan Saray, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, Grand Bazaar or Spice (Egyptian) Market and Rustem Pasha Mosque, Archaeological Museum.
Overnights in Istanbul
Day 5: Izmir, Pergamum
• Fly to Izmir.
• Ancient Pergamum site.
• Return to Izmir.
Overnight in Izmir
Day 6: Ephesus, Selcuk, Izmir
• Day-trip to Ephesus including option to Meryemana (en route), Ephesus Roman site, Ephesus Museum, Basilica of St. John the Apostle, Temple of Diana.
• Carpet-making demonstration.
• Return to Izmir.
Overnight in Izmir
Day 7-8: Cappadocia
• Fly to Cappadocia, Kaymakli or Ozkonak, Guvercinlik Valley.
• Option for hot-air ballooning.
• Goreme Open Air Museum, Avanos ceramics workshop, Zelve "fairy chimneys."
• Whirling dervish semazen ceremony.
Overnights in Cappadocia
Day 9: Istanbul; United States or Antalya
• Fly to Istanbul and home, or continue on in Turkey with R. Crusoe & Son.
Per person sharing room from $6,980 for this nine-day sample itinerary.
Internal air per person (estimate) $690
Pre-Tour & Post-Tour Option
If you can spare a bit more time in Turkey, consider extending your visit with R. Crusoe & Son. It's easy.
Anatolian Turkey Extension. 4 Days.
Join us for a visit to Anatolian Turkey. Revisit the Romans and Hittites at Perge and Aspendos. Examine prehistory in Antalya’s great museum, and poke around the old town.
We suggest you fly from Istanbul to Antalya on the Mediterranean. In the picturesque old quarter of Kaleici, narrow winding streets and old wooden houses abut ancient city walls. Since its founding in the second century B.C. by Attalus II, king of Pergamon, Antalya has been continuously inhabited. Romans, Byzantines, and Seljuks occupied the city before it came under Ottoman rule.
Visit Perge and Aspendos to see incredible remnants of history. Perge was an important city on the Mediterranean settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. Aside from its status as an important trading post, it is also well known for St. Paul’s visit in A.D. 46, when he preached his first sermons. Aspendos was founded in the fifth century B.C. An important trading port, it was taken by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. and became an ally of Rome and a part of the empire in 190 B.C. The Roman ruins here are excellent.
Then focus on Antalya. The old Kaleici district bursts with Roman ruins, Ottoman houses, and pretty mosques.
The Antalya Archaeology Museum houses a wide-ranging collection of exhibits, from fossils dating back to the Stone and Bronze ages to articles from the Hellenistic-Roman-Byzantine periods. It also houses relics of St. Nicholas’ (he was the bishop of nearby Myra).
Sample Pricing: Per person sharing room from $1,790 for this four-day extension; internal air per person (estimate) $420.
Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create Turkey pre-tour and post-tour itineraries of any length to meet your exact specifications.
What is a Whirling Dervish?
On a visit to Turkey, it is possible to witness whirling dervishes practicing an ancient ritual tied to their religion. This is an incredible experience, but one for which you'll need a bit of background to understand.
The Order of the Whirling Dervish is one branch of Sufism, itself a part of Islam that focuses on tolerance, love, worship, community development, and personal development.
The Sema ritual following by whirling dervishes was inspired by Rumi (1207-1273), a Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic. Rumi believed in using music, poetry, and dance as paths to God. Music, he said, helped devotees to focus on the divine and to do this so intensely that the soul was both destroyed and resurrected. It was from these ideas that the practice of whirling dervishes developed into a ritual form.
According to an organization of Whirling Dervishes, “It is scientifically recognized that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no being or object which does not revolve, because all beings are comprised of revolving electrons, protons, and neutrons in atoms. Everything revolves, and the human being lives by means of the revolution of these particles, by the revolution of the blood in his body, and by the revolution of the stages of his life, by his coming from the earth and his returning to it.
“However, all of these revolutions are natural and unconscious. But the human being possesses a mind and an intelligence which distinguishes him from other beings. Thus the whirling dervish, or semazen, intentionally and consciously participates in the shared revolution of other beings.”
Contrary to popular belief, the dervish’s goal is not to lose consciousness or to fall into a state of ecstasy. Instead, the revolving allows him to put himself in harmony with all other living things.
As you watch the ritual, keep in mind the meaning behind of the semazen’s movements, as explained by the organization: “In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen's camel's-hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak, he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God's unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God's beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love.”
After the Sema, the dervishes retire for silent meditation.
A final note: The Sema is a spiritual act. It is not appropriate to applaud while watching, though you may do so after the dervishes have left the stage.
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