From the Anatolian Plateau to the Caucasus Mountains

The rugged sunburnt Anatolian Plateau of Eastern Turkey and the steep-sided green valleys of Georgia are brilliantly paired on this unusual back-road exploration. Browse the vivid bazaars of Urfa, discover Gaziantep’s Roman mosaics and Haran’s beehive houses, and watch the sun come up over the monumental stone heads of Nemrut Dağ. Then explore the unfamiliar little country of Georgia, where guests are welcomed at tables laden with some of the finest food and wine on earth.

 

19 Day Trip

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Why end mights on this Tour
  • See the sunrise over Nemrut Dağ
    Watch the rising sun illuminate the monumental stone heads of UNESCO-listed Nemrut Dağ...
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  • Savor an authentic “Georgian Table” meal
    Savor an authentic "Georgian Table," featuring an abundance of local specialties and an official Georgian toastmaster....
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  • Admire the medieval watchtowers of Svaneti
    Admire the stacked stone medieval watchtowers of the UNESCO-listed Svaneti Region, a remote and distinct mountainous region of Georgia...
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  • Visit a potter’s home
    Visit a potter’s home outside of Kutaisi and learn about Georgia’s signature pottery style....
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 25 years of South Caucasus travel experience
  • Travel programs such Harvard, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the American Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to the South Caucasus
  • MIR’s small group tours Eastern Turkey and Georgia: Legacy of Empire and Georgia & Armenia: Mountains & Monasteries were honored as “Tours of a Lifetime,” by National Geographic Traveler
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-6: Mardin, Urfa, Harran, Gaziantep, Kahta

Discover Mardin’s Syriac Christian Saffron Monastery, and browse the vivid bazaars of Urfa, the most colorful in all of Turkey. Admire the strange beehive-shaped houses of Harran and the intricate Roman mosaics in Gaziantep.

Highlights

  • Mardin’s Syriac Christian Saffron Monastery, founded in the 5th century
  • Bazaars in Urfa, among the most eye-catching and colorful in Turkey
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Day 7: Nemrut Dağ, Diyarbakir

Make an early morning pilgrimage to Mt. Nemrut to see the massive stone heads in the glow of sunrise. Visit the remains of Arsemia, capital of the Commagene Kingdom. Inspect the medieval black walls of Diyarbakir and visit the flourishing bazaar.

Highlights

  • Sunrise over the monumental stone heads of Nemrut Dağ
  • Arsemia, summer capital of the Commagene Kingdom, with the striking rock relief of King Mithridates and Hercules greeting each other
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Days 8-9: Van, Akhtamar Island

Pay a visit to medieval Hosap and explore Van, capital of the ancient Urartu Empire. Cross Lake Van to Akhtamar Island to admire its 10th century Armenian Church.

Highlights

  • Medieval Hosap Castle, with walls 12 feet thick
  • Boat trip across Lake Van, with a chance to swim in its clear waters
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Days 10-11: Dogubeyezit, Kars, Ani

Stop in Kurdish Dogubayazit, and visit beautiful Ishak Pasha Palace. Enter the medieval Armenian capital of Ani, and ascend to the old Citadel of Kars.

Highlights

  • Dogubayazit, a small Kurdish town set in the shadow of Mt. Ararat at 16,911 feet
  • Ishak Pasha Palace, built over a span of 99 years in the 17th and 18th centuries
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Days 12-15: Batumi, Mestia, Ushguli (Svaneti)

Cross the border into Batumi on the shores of the Black Sea. Venture up to the mountainous Svaneti region, known for its UNESCO-listed medieval watchtowers. Explore Ushguli, the highest continually inhabited village in Europe.

Highlights

  • Performance in Batumi of Ajaran vocal music, one of the oldest and most intriguing polyphonic vocal traditions in Europe
  • Stacked stone medieval watchtowers of Svaneti, family owned and passed on from generation to generation
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Days 16-17: Zugdidi, Kutaisi, Gori, Uplistsikhe

Tour the commanding UNESCO-listed Gelati Monastery and Bagrati Cathedral near Kutaisi and visit a master potter in his private workshop. Discover somber Gori, Stalin’s hometown and the cave town of Uplistsikhe.

Highlights

  • Kutaisi, fabled city of the Golden Fleece
  • Gelati Monastery, founded in 1106 by Georgia’s most famous king, David the Builder
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Days 18-19: Tbilisi

Stroll the city’s main street, admiring the churches, fortresses and carved wooden balconies of sophisticated Tbilisi. Savor an authentic “Georgian Table” and get a glimpse of how fully Georgians enjoy life.

Highlights

  • Sioni Cathedral, sheltering the Cross of St. Nino, the woman who brought Christianity to Georgia
  • The wonderful Museum of Fine Arts, home of the Georgian Treasury
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices

There are no departures available at this time.

Please contact us for more information and a MIR Destination Specialist will contact you shortly. Thank you!

Group Size

This itinerary is available on a custom, private basis. Contact us for more information.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in hotels well-located superior tourist-class hotels in the major cities and best available hotels elsewhere.
  • Meals per the itinerary – 18 breakfasts, 16 lunches, and 17 dinners.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Transportation throughout the itinerary by private coach or van (size of vehicle depends on group size).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.
  • Baggage handling where available.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.

Before Your Tour

  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (if applicable to your itinerary; please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in Istanbul or in the South Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan or Armenia; or Iran, Western Russia or Eastern Europe. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

This trip works beautifully when connected with our Ancient Persia – Modern Iran program. After finishing in Tbilisi add a post-tour to Baku or Yerevan, and from there fly to Tehran in time to meet the Ancient Persia – Modern Iran group on Day One.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

While the accommodations are chosen to be comfortable for travel in this region, they will vary from comfortable three to four star hotels. It is important to keep in mind that Eastern Turkey and Georgia may not be up to the standards North American travelers expect. Services are improving in the region; nevertheless you may encounter problems with plumbing, bureaucratic service, road conditions, unpaved sidewalks, uneven surfaces and steps and availability and quality of public restrooms. Some areas, relatively speaking, have seen few travelers, and the infrastructure is not yet fully developed.

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MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

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    MIR’s 12-day culinary journey to the Caucasus, A Taste of Georgia: Wine, Cuisine & Culture, is featured in the online version of Travel Agent Central, a leading publication focused on covering the latest travel news and tre... Read More

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