Armenian Heritage, Anatolia

8 Days Tour

The eastern part of the current territory of Türkiye is part of the ancestral homeland of the Armenians
Erzurum is a city in eastern Anatolia situated 1757 meters above sea level. During Roman times, it was named Theodosiopolis. It got its present name after its conquest by the Seldjouks following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The local Armenian leaders preferred the city be under the control of powerless Muslim Emirs, rather than powerful Byzantine emperors. In 1071, after the decisive battle at Manzikert, the Seldjouk Turks took possession of Theodosiopolis. The Seldjouk were rulers of an Anatolian Beylik centered in Erzurum, who ruled from 1007 to 1202. Erzurum fell to the Mongol siege in 1242. The Ottoman Sultan Selim I in 1514 conquered Erzurum through the Battle of Chaldiran, during the Ottoman Empire reign.

Day 1
Transfer to İstanbul Airport for flight to Erzurum. Meet at Erzurum Airport and transfer to hotel. Start the city tour of Erzurum after hotel check-in. Visit the most notably Seldjouk architecture the Çifte Minareli Medresah, resplendent in its exquisite stone carvings. It is the largest theology school in Anatolia. Other striking Seldjouk creations are the typical 12th century Ulu Cami and the 13th century Hatuniye Türbesi. The legendary Turkish Court architect Sinan's work of art, definitely merits a visit as does the 13th century Yakutiye Medrese & the Yakutiye Theology School, construct- ed in 1310 BC. Right at the Center of the city is the Owshank Church.
The Üç Kümbetler translated as "Three Peaks”.
The Erzurum Castle, The Citadel and Bell Tower.
The Watch Tower is actually a minaret of the small mosque housed within the Erzurum Castle. Sansarian High School was the pride of Armenian community in Erzurum. Church of the Redeemer, was completed shortly after the year 1035. It had a unique design: 19-sided externally. Nine kilometers to the west of Erzurum, in the village of Gezköy, stands the ruined Monastery of Saint Minas of Kes. Specialties of Erzurum's cuisine are Çağ Kebab, sour stuffed vegetables, nomads soup and stuffed turnip. Dinner at hotel in Erzurum and overnight.

Day 2
Departure after breakfast for Kars which is located in the north-east Anatolia and is on the Silk Road. The background extends to 9000 BC. with the city's well known historical and archaeological richness, natural beauties and colorful folkloric culture. Çoban Dede Bridge, Sarıkamış Martyrdom, Katherina Kiosk on the way. Evening arrival at Kars. Hotel check-in. Dinner at hotel and overnight.

Day 3
After breakfast visit Kars Castle built in 1153 sitting at the top of a rock hill overlooking the city. Holy Apostles Church (Surp Arkelots) an Armenian Church built in 930s., Stone Bridge, Hotel Katerina, behind Kars Castle Bastion. A visit to Eastern Anatolia is not complete without a visit to the ruins of the Ancient Armenian City of Ani, 45 km to Kars. Gagik Church, St. Krikor Chapel, St. Patrick Church and the Virgins Monastery, Menucehr Mosque are to be seen in Ani Ruins. 

Day 4
Drive to Boğaztepe Village and taste the famous sheep cheese and gruyere at the Cheese Museum. Çıldır Lake at 2000m. Yellow Fish lunch at the banks of the lake. Evening return to Kars and dinner of local speciality; “rice stuffed goose". Dinner and overnight.

Day 5
Departure after breakfast. Visit the Salt Caves at Tuzluca. Many Christians believe Mount Ararat in Ağrı as the final resting place of Noah's Ark, which the Bible says protected Noah, his family and pairs of every animal species on earth during the “divine flood” that wiped out most of humanity to punish for its wickedness.

İshak Pasha Palace, semi-ruined, built in 1685 on a hill in the mountain side by an Ottoman general which is the largest. The Palace is just like an “eagle nest” as a check point window on the Silk Road.
Muradiye Waterfall on the way to Van. Evening arrival at Van. Hotel check-in. Dinner at hotel and overnight.

Day 6
Departure after breakfast to Varagavank. One of the richest and best known monastery in the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan, once was the seat of the archbishop of the Armenian Apostholic Church in Its ruins are still visible in the Village of Bakraçlı. 
The ruins of the Urartian Fortress, remains of a royal palace and a temple the Warrior God Khaldi, built by Hayk, the legendary founder of the Armenian nation at Çavuştepe, 25 kms southeast of Van. Drive to Gevaş and visit the Holy Cross of Aghtamar. It was ordered to be built by King Gagik I (915-921). Well decorated with Old Testament Relieves on a small island. Between 1116 and 1895 Aght'amar Island was the location of the Armenian Catholicosate of Aghtamar. The church has been re-opened in 2005 after an extensive restoration. Back to Van and lunch of regional cuisine. Tushba Fortress, Urartian Silver Atelier, Van Cats House, Urartian Museum. Transfer to the airport for İstanbul flight