Day 1: Arrive Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul and be transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon you may like to experience a traditional Turkish bath and massage after your long flight. (D)
Day 2: Istanbul
This morning we are taken on a sightseeing tour of Istanbul’s most prized historical sights. We first visit Blue Mosque with its signature six minarets and stunning blue interior tiles, before continuing to the ruins of the Hippodrome of Constantinople, an ancient sporting arena. Afterwards visit the awe-inspiring Hagia Sofia church museum and explore the beautiful Basilica Cistern. Our exploration of Istanbul continues with a visit to Topkapi Palace, the first palace of the Ottomans built in Istanbul in the late 1400’s.
Time permitting you can explore the Arasta bazaar next to the Blue Mosque. Here there are some excellent examples of hand-woven textiles and traditional Turkish patterns. A must visit shop is “Jennifer’s Hamam”, specialising in traditional hand-woven, organic Haman (Turkish Bath) towels. (B, L)
Day 3: Istanbul
Today we will visit Chora Museum, one of the most beautiful surviving Byzantine churches in Istanbul. Afterwards enjoy a cruise on a private yacht on the Bosphorus river.
In the afternoon visit the medieval Galata Tower in the Pera district before continuing to the Spice Market, where our senses delight in the sights, smells and sounds of this bustling marketplace. Finally visit the winding alleys of the Grand Bazaar and explore the different textile designs . (B, L)
Day 4: Bursa and Inegol
Depart Istanbul and proceed to Bursa and Inegol. These spots are famous for silk cacoon and silk making. The city of Bursa, was one of the centers of silk manufacturing. It was one of the cities on the Silk Road, which brought the finest cloth in the world from the East to the West. There is a courtyard in Bursa where its presence is palpable, in the center of the Koza Han (literally, “cocoon exchange”). We might have a chance to visit Kazım Uzunöz, an educator and writer living in the western province of Bursa. Uzunöz exerts great efforts to breathe fresh life into local sericulture and determinedly continues his traditional silk production using the old machinery gathered from Bursa's villages, challenging the Chinese silk. The purpose behind Uzunöz making use of very old machines to produce their own products and patterns is that this is something which cannot be done with new machinery. All efforts are put to keep the Bursa's traditional art of silk production alive. (B, L)
Day 5: Beypazari
Proceed to Beypazari, a small town in a rural district with rich history, architectural heritage and living traditions with many women wearing their traditional dress day to day. The white cobbled streets and Ottoman period buildings are particularly attractive and are popular with Turkish film directors looking for authentic locations. (B, L)
Day 6: Beypazari
Today you will be split up into smaller groups and will rotate between a range of workshops where you will participate in making handicrafts famous to this region including: silver filigree jewellery, glass blowing, Kilim weaving and ebru (marbling). (B)
Day 7: Kastamonu
After breakfast we begin our journey to Kastamonu. En-route we will pass by Devrek, a small town famous for cane making. The cane masters in Devrek turn the branches of applewood, cornel tree, boxwood and walnut into artistic souvenirs laden with memories. The charming but pricey canes with their handles, shapes, patterns, and pearl or silver damasks are what makes the name Devrek known to the world. Continue to Kastamonu. Upon arrival we enjoy a city tour where we learn about Turkey’s recent history.
We will have the honour of doing a block printing workshop with master craftsman Cemil Kızılkaya who is one of the last remaining artisans still practicing this traditional form of block printing. After our workshop we will visit local female woodcarvers and Macramé lace makers. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Kastamonu
Today we visit Kastamonu’s ethnographic museum where we will get to see folk art and costumes from the region. We then continue our handicraft workshops with crochet, weaving and embroidery. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Samsun
Today we drive from Kastamonu along the Black Sea coastline to Samsun via Sinop located in the northern most point of Turkey. (B, L)
Day 10: Tokat
We continue our journey as we drive to Tokat. En-route we will visit the charming city of Amasya seemingly lost in time with its beautiful Ottoman era wooden houses perched above the Yeşilırmak River.
On arrival in Tokat we have a city tour before we move on to hotel. (B, L)
Day 11: Tokat
Today we will enjoy a variety of workshops including traditional doll making, folk dancing and weaving in a village that still practices the traditional weaving techniques of the region. (B, L)
Day 12: Cappadocia
We depart early this morning for Cappadocia, where nature and man have competed with each for over 2000 years to create the most unusual landscape. In the afternoon we visit the rock formations and cave houses at the Zelve Open Air Museum, Devrent Valley and Pasabagi with its famous ‘fairy chimneys’. We also visit the Goreme open air museum famous for its cave churches with their beautiful, well preserved painted frescoes. (B, L, D)
DAY 13: Cappadocia – Kaymakli – Cappadocia
Today we travel to the underground city of Kaymakli and Soganli Valley where we meet with locals who earn their living by making dolls. After enjoying lunch in the village we attend a half day carpet making class where will get a hands on experience in carpet weaving. We will be taught the basic techniques of carpet weaving by a master weaver and you will have time to really see your carpet progress. Finally we will see pottery and traditional ceramic tile making with the signature Turkish motifs in Avanos. (B, L,D)
DAY 14: Konya
Departure from Cappadocia in the morning and proceed to Konya, home of the Whirling Dervishes in the 13th Century. Today we visit Karatay Medrassah with the collection of tiles and Mevlana Museum which is one of the most important museums in Turkey for the ancient Turkish rugs. Tonight a possibility of seeing Whirling Dervishes. (B, L)
DAY 15: Konya - Istanbul
This morning we visit the atelier of one of the most important dyers of Turkey in Konya. See the art of natural dyeing and participate in the process. Also see performance of felt making from one of the last remaining masters in Konya, Mehmet Girgic who was awarded as one of the seven Turkish Living Treasures by UNESCO and the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2010. Lunch in a local restaurant to taste local Konya Kebap.
In the afternoon transfer to Konya Airport for our flight back to Istanbul. The afternoon is free at your leisure to explore the old town before we enjoy a farewell dinner and maybe sunset drinks at the rooftop bar at our hotel overlooking the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. (B,L,D)
Day 16: Depart Istanbul
A group transfer to the airport will be offered to meet your flights home. (B)