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Eastern Turkey photo tour with Jim Zuckerman

August 29 - Sept. 11, 2013

  Jim Zuckerman Botswana Tour 2013

Visit the photo gallery

Turkey’s history is utterly fascinating, and this translates into photographic opportunities like nowhere else on earth.  On this photography tour we will see and photograph impressive ruins from several great civilizations.  From the awesome ruins of the megalithic heads on Mt. Nemrut built by the Commegene Civilization 2000 years ago to the ancient underground cistern constructed with rows of decorated columns by the Byzantines 500 years later, the photographic opportunities are incredible.  Even from our hotel room in Istanbul, we get spectacular views of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.  The photography at twilight of these architectural wonders is breathtaking.  The Turkish people love Americans, and they are extremely hospitable to us.  Our local guide, Mehmet, is one of the best guides I’ve had anywhere in the world.  If you have visited Western Turkey previously, this itinerary will make you feel like you’re seeing a completely different country.


DAY 1,  Aug. 29:  Depart U.S. for Istanbul.

DAY 2,  Aug. 30:  ISTANBUL: Arrival in Istanbul airport. Meet at the airport and then transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon, we will visit and photograph the underground cistern and the Blue Mosque. Our hotel in Istanbul is located in the center of the old city with a great view over the Blue Mosque, Haghia Sophia, Topkapi palace, and the Bosphorus. It has a unique angle for an overall view of these sites. 4 star – 1st class hotel with A/C rooms.

DAY 3,  Aug. 31:  ISTANBUL: Early departure for the other side of the Golden Horn to take pictures of the Suleymaniye Mosque with the early light with boats and the Golden Horn in the foreground. Return to the hotel for breakfast and then we will visit Haghia Sophia, masterpiece of Byzantine architecture and built in the 6th century. Mosaic panels in Haghia Sophia and the view from the upper gallery make incredible images. We will then photograph the mosaics and frescos of the Church of Chora. In the afternoon, we will have time to explore and photograph the Spice Bazar and a small but stunning mosque nearby. In the evening, we will photograph the Whirling Dervishes performing their whirling ritual (depending on the days they perform in 2013).

DAY 4, Sept. 1:  TRABZON: Transfer to the airport and fly to Trabzon which is a major town along the Black sea. We will drive to Macka and here we will photograph the Monastery of Holy Mary known as Sumela Monastery located at 1200 meters above the sea level. The monastery was built up in the Karadaglar Mountains in the 14th century. Drive back to Trabzon and photograph the church of Haghia Sophia, a 13th century Byzantine church with beautiful frescos. Our hotel is located in the center of Trabzon and it is a 4 star – 1st class hotel with A/C rooms.

DAY 5, Sept. 2:  KARS: Drive to Kars through scenic mountains and plains. Kars is an interesting and beautiful city full of old Russian houses and churches built at the end of the 19th century when the city was under Russian occupation. Kars is the city where the story in the novel by Orhan Pamuk’s (Nobel Prize winner Turkish author) book “Snow”. We will use a small boutique hotel which was once a Russian house.

DAY 6, Sept. 3:  KARS: In the morning, we will visit and photograph the ruins of the old Armenian city of Ani, which was once the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Baghradit, located right on the border between Turkey and Armenia. We will photograph the old Armenian churches and the ruins of this old settlement. As this is a very interesting site to photograph, it is possible to go back to Ani in the afternoon as well to photograph the same buildings in different light. Otherwise we will have time to photograph the old castle in Kars and wander in the old streets of Kars.

DAY 7, Sept. 4:  DOGUBEYAZIT: Drive to Dogubeyazit where the Mount Ararat is located. In Dogubeyazit and along the way, we will not only photograph the famous Mount Ararat but also the impressive 18th century Ishak Pasa Palace and the famous Noah’s Ark mark where it is believed that Noah’s Ark rested. 3 star – standard hotel with A/C rooms.

DAY 8, Sept. 5:  VAN: In Dogubeyazit, in the morning we will continue to photograph the Ishak Pasha Palace and Mount Ararat, then drive to Van with a stop at Muradiye to photograph the waterfalls. In Van, in the late afternoon, we will photograph the Van Castle which is an old Urartian settlement from 8th century BC.

DAY 9, Sept. 6:  VAN: In the morning, it is possible to see the famous Van cats with one eye blue one eye green. The cats are under protection in the farm of the university. We then visit the ruins of old Urartian settlement 7th century BC at Cavustepe. Lunch near the Lake Van and then boat ride to the Akdamar Island to photograph an Armenian Church which is unique for its beautiful reliefs. In the afternoon, we will have time to photograph the headstones in an old cemetery. 4 Star – 1st class hotel. A/C rooms.

DAY 10, Sept. 7:  MARDIN: Drive to Mardin, along the way, we will stop to take pictures in Hasankeyf with old cave dwellings and an impressive castle near the River Tigris. Unfortunately this beautiful site will be under the reservoir of a dam which will be built on the Tigris River in the near future. Arrival in Mardin and we will photograph the headstones in an old graveyard with a beautiful scene of the city in the background. Small boutique type of hotel with A/C rooms.

DAY 11, Sept. 8:  SANLIURFA: In the morning, in Mardin, we will visit and photograph the 4th century Syrian Orthodox Christian Monastery of Dayrulzefaran which is still in activity, and then the old bazar, which is an ideal place to photograph people and interesting medieval scenes. In the afternoon, drive to Sanliurfa, known as the city of prophets, as Abraham was born here. Job, Jethro, and Moses lived here. In Saliurfa, we will first photograph the old bazar with people playing chess and dominos, and there are copper craftsmen, saddle makers and other types of craftsmen. Then we will visit the cave where Abraham was born. This is a holy place and a great site to photograph people. We will also see Abraham’s pond. 4 star – 1st class hotel. A/C rooms.

DAY 12, Sept. 9:  MT. NEMRUT: Early departure to go to Harran to photograph the ruins of the oldest mosque in Anatolia at sunrise. We will then see the anthill-like mud brick domed houses of Harran. In the afternoon, we will drive to Mount Nemrut, past the River Euphrates, and then we will photograph the famous giant statue heads on top of Mount Nemrut at sunset. This is one of the incredible highlights of the trip. Overnight in Adiyaman. 4 star – 1st class hotel. A/C rooms.

DAY 13, Sept. 10:  ISTANBUL: Drive to Gaziantep, where we will visit the Mosaic Museum housing the exquisite, intact Roman mosaics that were very recently discovered at Zeugma, a Roman city on the River Euphrates. In the afternoon flight back to Istanbul and transfer to the hotel.

DAY 14, Sept. 11:  Transfer to the airport for the return flight home.


Tour cost: $5950

Single supplement:  $950

Price includes:

- Accommodation in double rooms
- All breakfasts.
- All dinners.
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- English speaking licensed local guide.
- Admission fees to the museums and historical sites.
- Admission fee to the whirling dervissh ceremony.
- Comfortable A/C vehicle, driver, gas, parking etc..
- 2 domestic flights: Istanbul to Trabzon; Gaziantep to Istanbul.

Price does not include: international flights, meals not indicated, all beverages in restaurants or lodges, additional activities, items of personal nature.