a 14-day tour
through classical turkey
with Chris Downing

May 26-June 9, 2020



We will be exploring Turkey’s Aegean coast beginning and ending in Istanbul. From the bustling streets of this magnificent city to the southwest coast of Bodrum, we will explore the major sites associated with the Greeks, relax on beautiful beaches, sail the waters between Turkey and Greece, and enjoy Turkish culture and all it has to offer. Chris Downing will be offering early evening lectures on many of the days.

Tuesday, May 26    
Arrival in Istanbul. You will be met at the airport and taken to our hotel in the center of Old Istanbul. We will have a Welcome Gathering at our hotel in the late afternoon, during which we will meet each other and our tour guide. You will have an opportunity to briefly introduce yourselves. Chris will talk about Cultural Confluence: It All Began Here. This will be followed by a Welcome Dinner on the Terrace of our hotel, surrounded on one side by a view of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Princes Islands and on the other, by the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. We will stay at the Istanbul Armada Hotel.

Photo by Photosensia/iStock / Getty Images

Wednesday, May 27  
Today we will have a walking tour of Istanbul, visiting the 17th century Blue Mosque and the 6th century Cathedral Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace and the Archeological Museum. There will be time for lunch at a local restaurant and in the evening, you will be free to explore the streets and restaurants of Istanbul. Overnight at the Istanbul Armada Hotel.
Lecture~Homer: The Beginning of Greek Literature

Photo by Kozlik_Mozlik/iStock / Getty Images

Thursday, May 28 
We will take an early morning drive to Homeric Troy, with a lunch-stop on the way. Overnight at the Tusan Hotel in Canakkale, located among pine trees with views of the sea. We will have an opportunity to swim at the hotel’s private beach or in the pool. We will dine together at our hotel.
Lecture~Tragic Reverberations: Iphigenia at Aulis, Philoctetes, Oresteia

Photo by onfilm/iStock / Getty Images

Friday, May 29   
We will drive to Pergamum, one of the centers of Roman rule in Asia, to visit the Acropolis, with its Theatre and the Trajan Temple, and the Asclepion, the famous healing center. We will take a late afternoon drive to İzmir, the city where according to legend Homer was born. Overnight at the Izmir Key Hotel in the heart of the city. Evening free to explore the lively waterfront promenade with numerous restaurants.
Lecture~Healing Fictions: From Asklepios to Hippocrates

Photo by DmitryLityagin/iStock / Getty Images

Saturday, May 30
We will drive to Pamukkale and in the afternoon will visit nearby Hierapolis to see the Roman town, especially the theatre decorated with bas reliefs from the Sculpture School of Aphrodisias. In the afternoon we can enjoy the hot water springs at the hotel. Overnight and group dinner at the Pamukkale Doga Hotel.
Lecture~But I Say: Sappho and Lyric Poetry

Photo by Tolga_TEZCAN/iStock / Getty Images

Sunday, May 31  
We will drive to Aphrodisias, the site one of the most beautiful ongoing Roman excavations. Aphrodisias had a rare indigenous school of Roman sculpture, outstanding examples of which are on display at the museum. We’ll have dinner together at our hotel in Kusadasi at the Yedi Bilgeler (“Seven Sages”) Hotel and Vineyard.
Lecture~Cultic Migrations: The Anatolian Goddesses


Monday, June 1
We will explore the ruins of Ephesus, one of the leading metropolises of the Roman empire. Highlights will be the great theatre and the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We will also visit the Terrace Houses with their magnificent frescoes and mosaics and the Museum where statues of the Goddess are on display. We will have lunch together at Topkapı Carpet Village where those who wish can stay on after lunch to do some carpet shopping. We will have dinner together at our hotel, Yedi Bilgeler (“Seven Sages”) Hotel and Vineyard.
Lecture~The “Pre-Socratics”: From Myths to Logos?

Photo by pkazmierczak/iStock / Getty Images

Tuesday, June 2
We will take the ferry to Samos, the Greek island that was the birthplace of Pythagoras and Epicurus (Heraclitus came from Ephesus itself) and noted for its Hera Temple, one of the most important sanctuaries of ancient Greece. There will be free time to enjoy the beaches and have lunch. We will have dinner together at our hotel, Yedi Bilgeler (“Seven Sages”) Hotel and Vineyard.

Wednesday, June 3
We will drive to Priene, perched high above the sea, where the League of Ionian Cities held its congresses and festivals and then on to Miletus, home of Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. Further to the south we will come to Didyma, where you can have lunch at one of the local restaurants. After lunch we will visit the Temple to Apollo, associated with an oracle as important as the one at Delphi, and then drive on the port-city of Bodrum, where Herodotus was born. We will have dinner together at our hotel, the Marmara Bodrum.
Lecture~Herodotus: You Can’t Take the Story Out of History

Photo by aytugaskin/iStock / Getty Images

Thursday, June 4
We will take a day trip to Kos, a Greek island that was the birthplace of Hippocrates. After our visit to the Asclepion, a healing center second in importance only to Epidauros, we will have free time on the beach. We will have dinner together at our hotel, the Marmara Bodrum.

Photo by photooiasson/iStock / Getty Images

Friday, June 5
After a leisurely breakfast we will be taken with our luggage to the gulets, locally designed sail boats with wide bodies and spacious cabins. After we unload the bags, you will have free time in Bodrum. Those who wish can visit the Museum of Underwater Archaeology with its exhibits of the finds excavated from sunken Aegean trading ships. We will return to the gulets around lunchtime and spend the rest of the day and night on board the yacht. All meals are included while we are on the gulets.

Photo by CmErsoy/iStock / Getty Images

Saturday, June 6
We will spend the day and night on board the yachts.

Sunday, June 7
We will disembark the boats late morning and be transferred to the airport for our flight back to Istanbul. We will be met at the airport and taken to the Istanbul Armada Hotel.
Lecture~Reprise: The Mythic Imagination

Monday, June 8
After a free day in Istanbul, we will gather for our Closing Circle followed by a Celebratory Farewell Dinner on the Terrace of our hotel, the Istanbul Armada.


Tuesday, June 9
Depart for home or stay on to explore more of this fascinating country. You will be transported from our hotel to the airport.

Itinerary subject to change.
Photographs courtesy of Getty Images.