A chance to visit some of the biggest and best preserved classical cities in the world, travelling by traditional wooden gulet on the Aegean coast of Turkey.
Herodotus, a local, claimed that the climate of Ionia was the finest in the world. South-west Turkey’s autumn climate remains splendid indeed. We’ll cruise on a warm sea and under a balmy sun along a coast which developed a civilisation of quite exceptional brilliance.
In the centuries before Alexander the Great, the dynamic cities of Ionia helped lay the foundations of Greek literature, science, and philosophy.
Under Rome, these cities became ever more rich, prosperous, and beautiful – full of the finest temples, theatres and markets that money could buy. Combined with the elegance of sailing, beautiful swimming stops, and heavenly food, this archaeological cruise is the perfect way to explore this remarkable area.
Setting out from Bodrum, ancient Halicarnassus, you will cruise north upon the turquoise waters of the Aegean, mostly anchoring in coves and bays plus the occasional small port town. Every day you’ll explore the rich archaeological heritage that makes these shores a living museum, where prehistoric, Greek and Roman remains rub shoulders with Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman ones.
Well-known and monumental ancient super-cities are complemented by sites off the beaten track that have yet to see any excavation. The highlights are plentiful: from the small harbour of Myndos, where Cassius anchored after murdering Julius Caesar; to the marvellously preserved Hellenistic city of Priene, where the houses, streets and public buildings are laid out in a perfect grid across a hillside.
We’ll visit beautiful Herakleia, nestling under the mighty Latmus Mountains; Labraunda, a mountain sanctuary to Zeus; and of course, Ephesus, capital of Roman Asia. One of the very first cities to have street lighting, the site is magnificent – marble streets, agoras, villas, a theatre for 28,000 and an extraordinary library.
Your guide, Dr. Olivier Henry is a true enthusiast as well as a friendly and sociable travelling companion. He is intimately familiar with the whole region, and has conducted archaeological surveys and published widely on a number of sites you’ll visit on this tour. You’ll have the wonderful opportunity to explore some of Turkey’s most incredible and fascinating sites in his expert company, not least the sanctuary of Zeus at Labraunda where Olivier is the Director of excavations.
Pretty coastal landscapes, the pleasures of a gulet and expert guidance through one of the world’s finest archaeological landscapes – from Halicarnassus to Ephesus is the perfect way to explore this remarkable area.
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