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Today your half-day Food & Culture tour gives you a unique and personal insight into traditional Cappadocian cuisine and village life. Starting with a visit to the remote village of Ayvali, you will be welcomed into a villager’s home to prepare a typical Anatolian meal, learn about Turkish culinary traditions, and feast on regional specialities such as delicate ‘borek’ pastries, traditional bulgur soup, yaprak sarmasi, manti and dolaz. Much of village life centres around the traditional coffee-house, where the village gentlemen gather to drink tea and coffee, and socialize. After a strong Turkish coffee bid goodbye to the friendly hosts and then stroll through Ayvali’s tiny streets at which the locals may invite you for tea or homemade desserts for their kitchens or visit the local market. As Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s largest wine producing regions, finish off your morning sampling organic fruit or visit one of the cool storage caves.
Begin the day with a spectacular balloon flight (optional extra) over the deep canyons and lush fertile valleys which provide the balloons with an ideal playground for the unique and memorable flight. Gentle winds carry you over places that could never be reached, except by balloon. Every flight is a fantastic adventure as you float intimately amongst the fairy chimneys and soar over the magnificent Cappadocian landscape with experienced operators whose passion, tempered with more than 20 years of experience flying balloons has made them the best ballooning operator in Turkey. This is truly “the experience of a lifetime!” Complete with a traditional celebration party with champagne and cakes.
Full day tour to the hauntingly beautiful Pergamon, once one of the richest and most powerful small kingdoms in the Middle East. Among the impressive structures of this city, dating from 399 B.C., you will see the Altar of Zeus, Temple of Trajan, Hellenistic Barracks, Temple of Athena, Temple of Dionysus and 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. The most spectacular site is the theatre; a remarkable feat of engineering built into an exceptionally steep hillside, the steepest one in the world. The Asclepieum of Pergamon was a famous health centre where methods of treatment included blood transfusions, music therapy and meditation. Pass by Red Courtyard, originally served as Temple of Serapis but later symbolized one of the Seven Churches of Anatolia.
Tour concludes and drive back to Izmir or Kusadasi.
This morning you will depart from Izmir to Aphrodisias, one of the most beautiful ancient sites in Turkey, famous throughout the ancient world for her Temple of Aphrodite, and which enjoyed great prosperity during the Roman period. It was an important centre of medicine and philosophy, sculpture and the arts. The Stadium, which could hold 30,000 spectators, is one of the finest Graeco-Roman structures in the world. Visit the Museum, the Temple of Aphrodite, the Theatre, the Stadium, the Agora, the Hadrian Baths, the Odeon and the Bishops’s Palace before driving back to Izmir.
Most of the day today will be dedicated to visiting Ephesus, which was undoubtedly one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. Impressive structures you will see include the Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian, the Theatre and the Odeon. Nearby is the House of the Virgin Mary where she is believed to have spent her last years. In 1961, Pope John XXII proclaimed the House of the Virgin Mary at Ephesus to be sacred.
Also included in today’s tour is a visit of the Basilica of St. John, who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel or the Selçuk Ephesus Museum, a beautiful museum with its attractively displayed statuary, mosaics and artefacts, and the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world.