Western Turkey Extension: May 29—Jun 02, 2012

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Kusadasi, Turkey
Ends: Istanbul, Turkey
Tour Limit: 22
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (127.4 KB)

Tour Leaders


Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 69 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have t...


Paul Woodruff

Paul Woodruff is an experienced guide to the intellectual landscape of ancient Greece. He ha...

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Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Blue Mosque, Istanbul— Photo: Myriam Boudan

An optional cruise extension visits Ephesus, Turkey's premier archaeological site, and Istanbul, a cosmopolitan city of profound historical, cultural, and architectural importance.

Home to breathtaking archaeological sites and ancient cultural centers, western Turkey rivals Greece on the world stage for historical significance and architectural diversity. As a geographical doorway between Europe and Asia, the region has for millennia served as a great highway for the march of empires. From the Stone Age through the First World War, covering thousands of years of human history, the land has hosted many of history's dominant civilizations including the Assyrians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.

On this short extension, we will spend two days delving into the complex and interwoven history of Turkey's Greco-Roman past before finishing with a grand finale visit to Istanbul.

We will spend a full day at Ephesus, Turkey's finest archaeological site, exploring the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean region. We will tour the ruins complex, visiting top attractions such as the Library of Celsus, Basilica of St. John, the Odeon, the Temple of Hadrian, the outdoor Theater, the tomb of Pollio, and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

We'll spend another day at the ruins of Miletus and Priene, two Ancient Greek settlements dating from the Archaic and Hellenistic periods.

The tour will conclude with a day-and-a-half in Istanbul, where we'll experience that city's extravagant architectural displays, historical wonders, and cultural heritage. We will take a guided tour and visit a number of the top destinations, all of which reflect the wealth and prowess of civilizations that occupied the area in turns long ago. Among the places we'll see are the resplendent Blue Mosque, the incomparable Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace of the Ottoman era, the Hippodrome of Constantinople, and the Grand Bazaar.

While the emphasis of this tour is on the region's rich human history, May is one of the best times of year to observe birds in Turkey. This trip is timed to catch the end of spring migration, when a fine variety of birds are still on the move and resident species are on territory. During our time in the field, we may encounter several species of hawks, flycatchers, warblers, and more. Such attractive species as Short-toed Eagle, Syrian Woodpecker, Blue Rock-Thrush, and Rock Nuthatch are among the possibilities.

Good accommodations and cuisine; program offers a mix of birding, sightseeing, and historical interpretation; easy walking conditions; one internal flight; mild weather with cool mornings, warm to hot days, and little or no precipitation.