Archaeological and Culinary Treasures of South East Turkey
Göbeklitepe is a unique archaeological site which has been preserving its existence with an untouched natural environment for 12,000 years while displaying unique archaeological findings. These features make Göbeklitepe incomparable and preferential.
Human beings realized the transition from the hunter gatherer lifestyle to agriculture for the first time in world history in the Upper Mesopotamia, around 10th and 9th millennia B.C. Unique temples' mountain Göbeklitepe can be defined as the meeting center of last hunters.
Göbeklitepe is a unique sacred space and sacred meeting center of Neolithic Period in terms of its location, dimensions, dating and monumentality of architectural ruins and sculptural pieces.
Gaziantep is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Its is situated on the Silk Road which connected routes from Europe to the East and Middle East. On this road there used to be caravans carrying travelers, loads of spices and foodstuffs and other precious articles. The inns along the way served such a variety of people. This coming and going over the centuries has given dynamism to Gaziantep, its cuisine and the traditional ways of life.
According to one source, Gaziantep cuisine is a story of yogurt, lamb and sheep meat, kavurma (fried chopped meat) which is prepared by the family members in the winter, emerald green pistachio nuts; wheat and its derivatives; legumes, especially mung beans; green olives; seasonal fruit and vegetables, especially green almonds and green plums, natural seasonings such as sumac and pomegranate molasses; milk and its by-products, especially clarified butter…that is almost everything.
Day 1 CAPPADOCIA
We fly to Cappadocia in the evening and c/in your hotel. A light dinner will be served.
Overnight in Cappadocia (D)
Day 2 CAPPADOCIA
In Cappadocia we will focus on the very particular culture and foods of Anatolia. Today you will be cooking lunch in a village home with a local family. They will show us how to make stuffed vine leaves and manti, traditional dishes stretching back in to the Central Asian origins of modern Turkey. You will taste what you have cooked for lunch.
After lunch we will introduce you to the lunar landscape of Cappadocia at Dervent Valley, and then head to the Zelve Open Air Museum, which is one of the earliest inhabited and latest abandoned monastic settlements of Cappadocia. Seeing the best examples of the fairy chimneys at Pasabag Fairy Chimneys Valley, we drive further to Avanos. At Avanos, a centre of terracotta art since 2,000 BC, you will see a demonstration of pottery making in a traditional workshop, where the family has been making pottery for many generations. Then you will try our hands at it under the supervision of a master potter. This is also a great spot to shop for pottery.
Before dinner you will stop at a winery. This is the biggest and oldest winery (since 1943) in Cappadocia. We will tour the winery while tasting their local wines. The Okuzgozu-Bogazkere combinations (grapes native to Turkey) are quite promising. The family-operated winery is located underground, carved in natural rock. This natural cellar also provides excellent storage conditions for the wine.
Dinner will be at a reknown restaurant . Overnight in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
Day 3 CAPPADOCIA
Early morning optional balloon ride - Transfer to the balloon launching site to meet the balloon crew. The gentle and stable wind conditions are ideal during the first few hours of the day in Cappadocia. It is also the ideal time for photography, with splendid colours and contrasts. The deep canyons and gentle winds carry you over places that could never be reached except by balloon. After flying over Cappadocia for about one hour, you will land to a champagne celebration!
After breakfast you will continue your day with a hike in the picturesque Red Valley. Then make your way back to the famous Goreme Open Air Museum to see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia. These are found in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings dating from as early as the 10th century. After lunch in a local restaurant you will then explore the underground city of Kaymakli, one of the largest and deepest of Cappadocia’s many such settlements. After wine tasting with a wine expert in Uçhisar dinner will be served at your hotel.
Overnight in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
Day 4 CAPPADOCIA- GAZIANTEP
After breakfast we leave Cappadocia and drive to Gaziantep. The drive takes 6 hours and you will taste Adana Kebab for lunch in Adana. After lunch we will continue to Gaziantep.
Gaziantep has been home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world. Owing to this heritage and the wide variety of food stuffs available due to its geographical position, the region has developed a unique cuisine with lts own distinctive flavours and becoming a top destination for foodies.
The city of Gaziantep is best known for its highly developed industrial areas and pistachio nuts as well as baklava.
The cuisine of Gaziantep is acknowledged to be the richest in Turkey, and visitors, will savour its fusion of Anatolian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tastes. The strength of Gaziantep's cooking tradition comes from the land. Local crops, ripened under a strong sun, are further infused with flavour as they cook over the fire's embers, adding delicious depth to the taste. Whether slow-cooked on the range or flame-grilled, Gaziantep's food keeps the taste of the sun and the fire.
Upon arrival we will visit a traditional baklava producer and learn more about Baklava.
We will then stop at Tahmis Kahve Coffee shop to taste Menengiç (wild pistachio) coffee.
Dinner at a local restaurant to taste homestyle specialties of Gaziantep.
Overnight Anadolu Evleri Hotel, or similar (B, L, D )
Day 5 GAZİANTEP
Breakfast at a pastry shop, tasting and observing a production of “katmer”, a local desert with clotted cream and pistachio. We will visit the Archaeology Museum with its artifacts from Neolithic Hittite and Roman times.There are the most important mosaics from the ancient site Zeugma (Belkis).
Then we will proceed to prepare lunch with locals in a Gaziantep home and taste what we have cooked.
After lunch you will walk through the local bazaar to explore artisan workshops such as coppersmiths, spice shops and other tradesmen making furniture with inlaid mother of pearl.
At the end of the day we will visit the Emine Gogus Cuisine Museum a historical stone house built in 1904, and has been restored into a museum.
Dinner will be served at the famous Imam Cagdas Restaurant.
Overnight Anadolu Evleri Hotel ( B,L,D )
Day 6 GAZİANTEP - GÖBEKLİTEPE
After breakfast we will drive to Sanliurfa to visit the archaeological site, known as Gobeklitepe.
It is currently the oldest known archaeological site with evidence of significant and prolonged construction activity by humans. Evidence suggests that it was some sort of religious/gathering place for people. The site was built about 12,000 years ago, was active for over 3,000 years and then methodically covered up in the 8th millennia BC. Gobeklitepe is a series of mainly circular and oval shaped structures set on the top of a hill and has been interpreted as the oldest human-made place of worship yet discovered.
After visiting Gobeklitepe, we drive to the city centre of Urfa. Home to the world’s earliest civilizations, Sanliurfa’s cuisine also features fantastic origin tales. Cig kofte (raw meatballs, according to legend was invented by Abraham himself from what he had available in the cave where he hid from Nemrut. The dish is also said by some to have been created for Hittite royalty.
Sanliurfa is also known throughout Turkey for its spice, and in particular urfa biber or isot pepper, a dried dark red pepper with a smoky, raisin-like taste.
In addition to being used in Sanliurfa’s diverse range of kebabs and lahmacun, the pepper features in sac kavurma, a dish that consists of ground lamb and vegetables fried on a thin iron skillet.
After lunch we will drive to the airport for our flight to Istanbul. (B, L)