Treasures of Turkey - Where East Meets West

Tour Intro

Contract Strabo Tours for future tour dates/leaders, or a Group Tour for your photo companions and &/or family. Local guide versed in our photo tours.

The tour includes opportunities to photograph some of Turkey’s most visually exciting places. Turkey, and especially Istanbul, has been the classic East-meets-West location for centuries. It is where the treasures of the Silk and Spice routes met their markets. It is the site of Hagia Sophia (temple of wisdom), the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace of famous harems, and the fabulous Spice and Grand Bazaars.

If you have never been to Turkey, you will be amazed at the warmth of the Turkish people. In the countryside you will be welcomed in to their homes, served tea or baklava at any moment. Come; travel to the alluring city of Istanbul, with amazing architecture, the Roman ruins of Ephesus, and the less travelled valleys of the lunar-like Cappadocia. You will have time in small villages, visiting the artisans, their friends, and neighbors. Accommodations are in the heart of photographic locations, with an amazing view of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, from your terraced breakfast room.

Ephesus, the best preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean is the place to get a feel for what life was like in Roman times. Photograph at dusk and dawn with soft light on the iconic ruins. Visit artisan villages in the surrounding countryside, photographing them at work and their families.

Then there is Cappadocia, an area almost in the center of the country that is full of weird landscape, almost lunar in quality. It promises to be a highlight for photography of both landscape and people. If you can imagine the hoodoos in Southwest Utah and then place troglodyte churches and houses inside them, you have an idea of the culture in central Turkey. Whole cliff-sides are honeycombed with cave dwellings, some dating from pre-Hittite times. The reflective volcanic tufa seems to change color with the time of day, and is especially glorious at sunset.

The Black Sea Extension provides additional photographic opportunities of Ottoman towns off the beaten path and away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. Safranbolu is one of the most attractive little towns at the entrance to the Black Sea region. UNESCO placed it on the World Cultural Heritage list in appreciation for the very successful efforts undertaken towards preserving its heritage. Its houses are perfect examples of civil Ottoman architecture, reflecting the Turkish social life of the 18th and 19th centuries. We stroll through the cobbled streets and enjoy its traditional fountains, the historical mansions (Konaklar), mosques and baths and then pause for a moment to watch the craftsmen at work in the Arasta. We visit the 18th century Kaymakamlar Konağı (Mansion of officials) and drive up to the Citadel. A short drive brings us to the Yörük (“nomad”) Village, where many prosperous Muslim businessmen and farmers once had their konaks. We stop at the colorful market of Bartın, and then to Amasra, a picturesque port that crowns the coast with a perfect castle sitting on top of a tiny rock peninsula, the place was a Genoese colony until 1461. We take a private boat to explore the hidden beauty of the nature before we return to Safranbolu.

We invite you, the inquisitive traveler, to join your photography leader on this special tour of Turkey. We will have a cordial welcome in this country with its brilliant colors, compelling architecture, irresistible allure, and warm hospitality.

 

Tour Highlights

  • Transportation in Turkey provided by coach, and plane to maximize time at locations for photographic opportunities.
  • The focus is on capturing the quaint villages, artisans, feeling at home with the locals, and of course the overwhelming architecture of Istanbul.
  • Photographing amidst the ancient temples and palaces.
  • Ten days with local tour guide.
  • Ephesus, the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean.
  • The moonlike terrain of Cappadocia with its endless natural artwork is a photographer's delight.

 

Tour Itinerary

April 5: Home - Istanbul
Hagia Sophia Mosque

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Board your overnight flight to Istanbul, arriving the next day, October 6.

April 6: Istanbul
Istanbul

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Arrive this morning to Istanbul Airport, where there will be a group transfer (time to be announced) to your hotel. There will be an orientation tour on foot this afternoon and visit the underground Basilica Cistern, with its many reflections. Enjoy a welcome dinner, overlooking this amazing city. Overnight three nights Istanbul. (D)

April 7-8: Istanbul
Istanbul

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul provides us with wonderful warm people to photograph, exceptional cuisine to enjoy, and most importantly the most outstanding city photography in Turkey. We will have two full days to explore this vibrant city on foot and utilizing public transportation. The first day we begin early with warm light on the Byzantine architecture (sixth century) of the Hagia Sophia. Continue on with more highlights of Istanbul, such as, the sights and sounds of the Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar (be sure not to miss the back streets between the two), and the silhouette of the city from the Galata Bridge - breathtaking while the sun is setting. The photo subjects are endless. The guides will entice you with as much as possible, considering the interests of the entire group.

The second morning the tour will begin in the streets of the local neighborhoods, examples may include one of the oldest, Kadirga, with streets lined by old wooden houses, or Kumkapi by the Marmara Sea, known for its colorful seafood restaurants and vendors. Photograph the winding streets, shop owners, and children playing in the streets. This afternoon will be free for those who would like to take an optional tour of the Topkapi Palace and Harem, the impressive architecture of the Blue Mosque, or return to previous architectural highlights on your own. (B, L; B)

Please note the Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque although impressive, and very important in Turkish history can be overwhelmed with crowds making photography quite difficult ~ therefore late afternoon on your own or perhaps arriving a day early may provide the best opportunity to view.

April 9-10: Izmir - Ephesus
Library of Celsus

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Ephesus, Turkey

Depart after an early breakfast this morning Izmir. Upon arrival the group will visit a nomadic village, Nazarkoy (the Village of the Eye). For several generations many of the inhabitants have been specializing in the manufacture of beads bearing the protective sign of the evil eye. In the six workshops scattered throughout the village, seated around a communal furnace, the bead-makers melt down raw and recycled glass, adding necessary colors, which produces between 700 to 800 beads every day. You will also have time to visit the mountain village of Sirince, before traveling on to Ephesus, the best-preserved classical Roman city in the eastern Mediterranean. The ancient city located near the Aegean Sea in modern day Turkey, was one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor and home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today, the ruins of Ephesus are a major attraction. It is also a sacred site for Christians due to its association with several biblical figures, including St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and the Virgin Mary. Visit such places as St. John’s Basilica & Ayasuluk Hill, and the House of Mary, a simple stone house where it is believed she lived until her Assumption in to Heaven. There will be additional time to photograph Ephesus early tomorrow morning.

After Ephesus the second day will be filled with local villages, such as Tire and Birgi. Tire is just twenty miles northeast of Ephesus and is a very colorful village. There are felt and saddle maker shops, where we will wander the streets and photograph the artisans. SAINT JOHN HOTEL (B, L; B, L)
 

April 11-13: Cappadocia
Cappadocia

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Turkey

Fly this morning to Kayseri near the picturesque Cappadocia. Explore this afternoon and enjoy an additional two full days to visit the highlights of this region. A hot air balloon ride is optional for those that wish to take an hour ride, capturing this unique landscape in your photography.

Cappadocia is a land where nature and man have competed with each other to create the unusual and the most beautiful landscape. A hike takes us to tenth and eleventh century churches, monasteries, and houses carved into the rocks. The moonlike terrain of Cappadocia with its endless natural artwork is a photographer's delight, often seeming eerie, yet beautiful. Over thousands of years, the rain has eroded the land to give rise to strange rock formations known as "fairy chimneys." Grottos magnificently decorate the walls with colorful frescoes.

The highlights include Pasabag, Dervent, and Goreme Open Air Museum, which you will visit, however the less traveled surrounding valleys can provide the best photography. A stop in the village of Mustafapasa will provide you with local flare and a chance to see neighborhood homes and communities. Overnight Cappadocia three evenings. (B, L, D; B, L; B, L, Farewell D)

April 14: Istanbul

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Turkey

This morning the group will take a return flight to Istanbul, where the accommodations will be on the other side of the Galata Bridge. Today will be filled with the Asiatic side of Istanbul, markets, narrow streets, local vendors and families as they enjoy their day. Traveling by foot and local public transport the group will experience the impressive ferry system connecting the many sides of Istanbul. Late this afternoon will be spent at Ortakoy, photographing the magnificent Baroque Mecidiye mosque at dusk, as boats glide in and out of your view. The mosque is set on the Bosphorus Strait, just beneath the Bosporus Bridge. If renovations are complete at the Galata Mevlevihanesi, you will have a treat to a whirling dervish performance. Enjoy your last night together at a traditional Turkish restaurant. Overnight Istanbul (B, L, D)

April 15: Istanbul - Home
Istanbul

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Istanbul, Turkey

There will be a group transfer (time to be announced) provided to the airport for flights home. (B)

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 0 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Photo By: Frank Lavelle

Photo Location: Turkey

This was a really good trip. It offered a great balance of architecture, landscape and street shooting that met my needs as one who loves travel photography. I feel like I had a wonderful introduction to Turkey. In part, the credit also goes to your internal guides who clearly love their country and can communicate that love successfully. I strongly recommend this trip. Thank you.

 

Carl Volpe

Joel is a natural instructor and "cultural ambassador". My photography has improved tremendously due to his instruction and encouragement. Prior to his trips, I was hesitant to approach people for their photos, but he shows us how to study a scene, be friendly, and ask permission to work with people, with wonderful portraits as the result! Now I can approach just about anyone with my camera and a smile and have a great experience where everyone is comfortable. Joel is always available to work one-on-one with us to address any areas of interest, such as challenging lighting situations, or varying our depth of field for the desired effects. And his critiques are fun and so helpful, challenging us to take chances with awesome results. He's an exceptional photographic leader. 

K.Hornsby

Joel is a talented travel photographer and a natural at teaching and inspiring fellow shutterbugs to take their skills to the next level. His warm and caring demeanor, easy smile, laid back personality, and attention to detail make him an excellent photo leader. Joel was readily available for one-on-one instruction in addition to group lectures and informal critiques. I hope to travel with him again.

S. VanManen

Additional Notes

What to Expect

This tour is designed to be a photo tour, and, as such, we must be flexible in our scheduling. Much of what we do, and when we do it, will depend upon weather, light, and the permission of specific on-site locations. In the event that changes may occur, we will need to be flexible, which will also allow us to take advantage of new photographic opportunities.

Turkey has made great strides in tourist accommodations and services in recent years, but please remember that it is still a developing country, so we may experience occasional inconveniences. All of the accommodations will be clean and comfortable, with private baths. The hotels have been chosen for your comfort as well as their proximity to prime photographic locations.

Health and Fitness

Tour participants should be in good health and good physical condition to get the most out of the trip. Although we will not be running marathons, we will be taking long walks in order to reach the prime photographic locations. When outside of Istanbul the terrain may be uneven, trails dusty, therefore having proper and comfortable footwear is important.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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