Turkey: Cradle of Civilisations

Inspiring small group journeys.
22 days from $6530
  • Holiday type: History Tours
  • Countries: Turkey
  • Starts (city): Istanbul
  • Ends (city): Istanbul
  • Group size: 18 maximum
  • Trip style: Superior - 4 star
  • Tour code: 747

Escorted educational tour

This tour offers you some of the most spectacular, varied and historically important sites in Turkey - ranging from Istanbul, one of the world's oldest cities and a centre of civilisation for centuries, to the ancient and now legendary city of Troy. See the steepest of theatres in Pergamum, enjoy visiting Ephesus the largest Greco-Roman city of Turkey and discover the cultural centres of Ankara, capital city of Turkey. Languish in Antalya, the major city of the Anatolian Mediterranean, and in Konya learn about the mystic Whirling Dervishes. Travel to the extraordinary limestone formations of Pamukkale and explore the underground cities and cave churches in Cappadocia. You will have the opportunity to interact with the locals, and experience first-hand their culture, cuisine and traditions.

  • Explore Istanbul, one of the world’s oldest and most intriguing cities.
  • See the cascading, calcium-coated mineral baths of Pamukkale.
  • Visit the legendary city of Troy, famous from the Trojan War to the Illiad.
  • Experience the revered Gallipoli Peninsula.
  • Renowned for Angora wool, Ankara is also the seat of Turkish culture.
Tour Leader

Dr Rodna Siebels

Rodna was born in Sydney, but grew up in Wagga Wagga where she attended school and Teachers' College. A primary school teacher with the NSW Department of Education for many years, she became interested in Egyptology while attending Macquarie University, where she studied for a BA in Ancient History and German Language.

As part of her degree, she completed several courses on Ancient Egypt and in her final undergraduate year was invited to accompany the Macquarie University Archaeological team to Egypt for its 1988/9 season, under the directorship of Professor Naguib Kanawati. This involved 10 weeks of field work, excavating and recording the Old Kingdom tombs at el-Hawawaish, near Sohag in Middle Egypt.

After completing her BA in 1989, she continued her studies, graduating with an MA in Egyptology in 1992. On taking an early retirement from teaching, Rodna resumed her studies at Macquarie University after being awarded a scholarship to undertake a PhD. The topic for her thesis was "Agriculture in the Old Kingdom Tomb Decoration: An Analysis of Wall Paintings and Inscriptions" and was completed under the supervision of Professor Kanawati. She completed the PhD in 2000, graduating in April 2001.

Since leaving the teaching profession, Rodna has continued in her role as educator, providing courses in various aspects of Egyptology as part of Macquarie University's Continuing Education program, as well as delivering lectures at the Ancient History Teachers' Conference at both Sydney and Macquarie Universities. She has also been invited to lecture at the Australian Museum to coincide with exhibitions of Egyptian artefacts on loan from various International Museum Collections.

Rodna regularly offers 8-week courses on Egyptian History, Society and Culture, as well as lessons on Egyptian Hieroglyphics at the WEA Sydney. She was the guest speaker for the Rundle Foundation of Egyptology's Annual Dinner in 2006 on the invitation of the lecturing staff of the Egyptology department at Macquarie University.

In recent years Rodna has contributed chapters to several publications in Egyptology, including Egyptian Art: Principles & Themes in Wall Scenes [Prism Archaeological series 6, 2000] and Egypt: Land & Lives of the Pharaohs Revealed [ Global Publishing, 2005].

Rodna was the secretary of the Camden branch of ADFAS (Australian Decorative & Fine Art Society) for the first four years of its inauguration and continues to serve as a committee member. She is on the ADFAS Register of Australian Lecturers, and provides lectures on Egyptology for the society, the most recent on the Pharaoh Akhenaten in 2006.

In what little spare time is available, Rodna enjoys embroidery, classical music and cryptic crosswords. She is the devoted owner of a black miniature poodle. Rodna has led tours both within Australia and New Zealand and to various destinations in Europe.

Solo Traveller Comments

This is an educational tour designed primarily for fit mature people aged 50+, so you and your travelling companions are sure to share interests. The tour is led by a tour leader who will bring a unique insight into each facet of the destination, to broaden both the horizon and the mind.

If you are travelling on your own, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you.


Day 1 - Arrive Istanbul

Make your own way to the hotel. After checking in, we will have a welcome briefing and dinner. We stay four nights.

Accommodation: Dosso Dossi hotel.

Day 2 - Istanbul

Today we take a sightseeing tour to discover the Byzantine and Ottoman treasures of Istanbul. We visit the Blue Mosque, unique with its six minarets, the Roman Hippodrome Square and the Hagia St Sophia Church, considered to be one of the world’s greatest architectural marvels. We return to our hotel in time for dinner.

Accommodation: Dosso Dossi hotel.

Day 3 - Istanbul

After breakfast, we will visit Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Underground Cistern Basilica, before returning to our hotel.

Accommodation: Dosso Dossi hotel.

Day 4 - Bosphorus cruise

This morning we take a cruise along the Bosphorus, viewing both the European and Asian shores of Istanbul.

Accommodation: Dosso Dossi hotel.

Day 5 - Istanbul - Hattusas - Ankara

This morning we leave Istanbul and we head to the capital of Hattusas, where we visit the Lion’s Gate, the Tunnel King’s Gate, the Citadel and the Grand Temple. We drive on to Ankara reaching our hotel in time for dinner. We stay two nights.

Accommodation: Movenpick Hotel Ankara or similar

Day 6 - Ankara

Today we visit the Anatolian Civilisation Museum and the Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk. We then have the remainder of the day free to explore Ankara at our own leisure.

Accommodation: Movenpick Hotel Ankara or similar

Day 7 - Ankara to Cappadocia

This morning we depart for Cappadocia, where nature has scoured surreal moonscape landscapes, and where the persecuted Christians dug underground cities and churches during the 9th century. We arrive at our hotel in time for dinner.

Accommodation: Alfina Cave Hotel or similar

Day 8 - Cappadocia

For those who wish, there is an optional hot air balloon excursion early this morning. Today we visit Goreme Open Air Museum, Love Valley and the natural citadel of Uchisar.

Accommodation: Alfina Cave Hotel or similar

Day 9 - Cappadocia

After breakfast today, we visit the Kiliclar Valley and Pasabag. We then visit Pigeon Valley on our way back to our hotel.

Accommodation: Alfina Cave Hotel or similar

Day 10 - Cappadocia to Konya

We drive first to the Asikli Hoyuk Neolithic site for a visit. After lunch we head to Ilhara Gorge and then visit the Derinkuyu underground city on our way to Konya. We stay one night.

Accommodation: Hilton Garden Inn Hotel or similar

Day 11 - Konya to Antalya

We will visit the Mevlana Museum and the Karatay Museum, known for its Selcuk-period ceramics. We will drive via the Lake District and visit the Eflatunpinar Hittite temple. We drive to Antalya and arrive at our hotel in time for dinner. We stay three nights.

Accommodation: Alp Pasa Hotel or similar

Day 12 - Perge and Aspendos

Today we have a full-day tour to the ancient Pamphylian, Hellenistic and Roman cities of Perge and Aspendos. We return to our hotel for dinner.

Accommodation: Alp Pasa Hotel or similar

Day 13 - Antalya, cruise

Morning visit to the award-winning Antalya Archaeological Museum, then we will drive to Kemer Marina, from where we will take a leisurely half-day cruise around the local bays. There will be the opportunity for a swim in the Mediterranean. We return to our hotel for dinner.

Accommodation: Alp Pasa Hotel or similar

Day 14 - Antalya to Pamukkale

This morning we depart Antalya for Pamukkale. We first visit the antique city of Hierapolis, a spa centre during the Roman period. We then explore Pamukkale – the cotton castle. Thick white layers of travertine and limestone cascade down the hillside, the result of the mineral-laden underground hot water springs in the area. Calcium deposits from the springs’ water created this white Pamukkale hill over thousands of years. Even today, tourists still come to Pamukkale for its hot spring waters. We stay one night .

Accommodation: Pam Thermal hotel or similar

Day 15 - Pamukkale - Aphrodisias - Kusadasi

This morning we drive to Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite (or Venus), the goddess of love. The archaeologists named the city Aphrodisias because they found so many statues of her here. The New York University is leading and supporting local excavations financially.

We will view the Stadium, which seated 35,000 people and is the best-preserved of its period in the world. We will also see the Hadrian Baths, Theatre, Agora and Archaeological Museum, where many Aphrodite statues are on display. We arrive at our hotel in plenty of time for dinner. We stay two nights.

Accommodation: Efe Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 16 - Sirince village visit

Today we visit the small Turkish village of Sirince, located at the top of a mountain. We will visit some local houses to gain an understanding of life in a typical Turkish village. We will watch the local women cooking their traditional cheese pastry and stroll through the small open-air bazaar. We will return to Kusadasi in time for dinner.

Accommodation: Efe Boutique Hotel or similar

Day 17 - Kusadasi - Ephesus - Izmir

We head this morning for Ephesus, the cradle of early Christianity. There, we visit ancient Ephesus with its terrace houses, the Archaeological Museum and the Temple of Diana/Artemis Temple, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We also visit the Virgin Mary’s house and St John’s Basilica, one of the seven churches of the revelation. We continue on to our hotel in Izmir where we stay three nights.

Accommodation: Blanca Hotel or similar

Day 18 - Sardis

Today we drive to Sardis and the day starts with a visit to the Artemis Temple and the oldest synagogue of the ancient world, which was a gymnasium during the Roman era. In the afternoon we visit the local museum and the Agora. Dinner tonight is at your own arrangement, with many delightful restaurants within easy walking distance of our hotel.

Accommodation: Blanca Hotel or similar

Day 19 - At leisure in Izmir

Today we have a free day to explore at our leisure. Our hotel is located in the heart of Izmir, a lovely seaside area with many attractions along the coast all within walking distance.

Accommodation: Blanca Hotel or similar

Day 20 - Izmir - Pergamon - Troy - Canakkale

This morning we drive to Pergamon, a city built by one of the generals of Alexander the Great. We will view the Acropolis, the steepest theatre of the ancient world. We carry on to visit Asclepion, the ancient healing centre. Today, it is possible to see the ruins of the ancient healing centre and view the sites used for techniques such as sacred water, herbs and ointments, the Sun Bath, the Theatre for Music, and those used for social events.

We carry on to ancient Troy, where we will take in its legendary sights and view the replica of the wooden horse. We arrive at our Canakkale hotel in time for dinner. We stay one night.

Accommodation: Assos Dove Hotel or similar

Day 21 - Canakkale - Gallipoli - Istanbul

This morning we drive to Gallipoli through the European section of Turkey. We board a ferryboat to cross the Dardanelles Straits to the Gallipoli (Gelibolu) Peninsula and visit Gallipoli and ANZAC Cove. Following the shoreline of the Sea of Marmara, we arrive back at cosmopolitan Istanbul. Tonight we come together for our farewell dinner.

Accommodation: Dosso Dossi Hotel

Day 22 - Farewell

Depart Istanbul for your next city or home.

Currently there are no dates available for this tour. Please email us if you would like to be kept informed about new departures.


  • 21 nights hotel accommodation.
  • 21 breakfasts, 8 lunches & 17 dinners.
  • Touring by comfortable and modern coach.
  • All sightseeing and special lectures.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Services of a tour leader throughout.
  • English speaking tour guide throughout the tour.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.
  • Archaeological map of Turkey.
  • Certificate for participating in a visit to the ANZAC Cove and Gallipoli Lands.
  • Special lectures.
Click here for more information

 on this tour, or if you have more general questions about tours to this area or this style of tour, send us an email. Of course, you can also call our travel specialists on 02 9449 8598 to book a trip or ask a question.

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