Journey into Antiquity – Greece, the Greek Islands, Turkey & Cyprus
We are delighted to invite you to join two distinguished scholars, Karen Armstrong and John Prevas, on this remarkable journey that will begin in Istanbul, cruise the fabled Greek islands, coastal Turkey and Cyprus, and end in Athens. These are the lands where some of antiquity’s most powerful and magnificent cities thrived and made contributions that gave rise to our Western tradition.
- Pricing from
NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT (Limited Availability)
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
Sep 23, 2023 - Oct 5, 2023
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS: All cancellations are subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received 61-90 days prior to departure will be assessed a penalty equal to 50% of the total program cost per person. Cancellations received within 60 days of departure are subject to 100% cancellation penalties. Requests for cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be made for any part of this program in which you choose not to participate.
Depart USA to Istanbul, Turkey/Embark
Arrive in Istanbul and transfer to the port to embark on Diana. Overnight aboard docked in Istanbul. (D)
Founded by Greeks in the 7th-century BC and named Byzantion, in AD 324, Emperor Constantine made the city the capital of the Roman Empire, naming it after himself, Constantinople. For over 1,000 years, it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Renowned as the most resplendent city in Europe, in the 15th-century, it was taken over by the Ottoman Turks, making it the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Spend the day touring the city’s principle historic monuments, including the Byzantine Church of Hagia Irene; the Topkapi Palace, the sumptuous palace of the sultans for three centuries; the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque; the Hippodrome; the underground Basilica Cistern; and the colorful Spice Bazaar. Diana will sail in the evening. (B,L,D)
Located on the southern shore of the narrow channel of the Dardanelles, the port of Canakkale is our gateway to storied Troy where excavations began in the second half of the 19th-century and have revealed nine different layers of cities superimposed in rings on a massive mound rising above the “windswept Plain of Ilium.” As Homer recounts in the Iliad, one of these cities is where the Greeks fought the Trojans over a period of ten years before King Priam’s city finally fell to Odysseus’s ruse of the Trojan Horse. (B,L,D)
Chios, the legendary birthplace of Homer, is known for its beautiful landscapes, historic sites and old villages. Here we visit the Monastery of Nea Moni, built in the 11th-century in a wooded vale in the center of the island. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Nea Moni is decorated with exquisite mosaics and frescoes. In the afternoon, take an excursion to the traditional old villages of Mesta and Pyrgi, and also visit the interesting Mastic Museum. (B,L,D)
From Kusadasi, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, we drive to Priene, site of a well-preserved 4th-century BC city. Dominating the site is the imposing Temple of Athena, a superb example of Ionic architecture set against a backdrop of tree-covered hills. In the afternoon, explore Ephesus, one of the world’s most celebrated archaeological sites. Renowned in antiquity as a center of worship of the mother goddess Cybele, Ephesus was also one of the communities where St. Paul preached the gospel of Christianity. See the stunning façade of the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the Theater, and other large public monuments, as well as restored houses that give a glimpse into the daily lives of the ancient Ephesians. (B,L,D)
The rugged island of Patmos is where St. John the Evangelist was exiled during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian and is said to have received visions of the Apocalypse, which later became the Book of Revelation. Visit the 11th-century Monastery of St. John with its enormous towers, domed roofs, belfries and battlements. Admire the artistry of the icons, manuscripts and fine embroideries. Enjoy time at leisure in Chora, the island’s main town, one of the most beautiful in the Greek archipelago. (B,L,D)
Call in Rhodes, among Europe’s largest medieval towns, and once the site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Explore the Old Town including the Palace of the Grand Master and the Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, travel to the village of Lindos, where either by walking or taking a donkey ride, we will ascend to the top of the acropolis to visit its monuments, admire the incredible view, and walk the narrow alleyways of the village. (B,L,D)
From antiquity to the mid-20th century, Kastellorizo’s position in the maritime route between the Aegean Sea and the coast of the Middle East has given this Greek island an importance beyond its tiny size. Remote and undisturbed by mass tourism, Kastellorizo’s spacious horseshoe harbor lined with Neoclassical houses and mansions presents one of the loveliest and most harmonious sights in the entire Greek archipelago. Enjoy exploring the town’s narrow alleyways and the waterfront’s boutiques and cafes at a leisurely pace. Weather permitting, visit the captivating Blue Grotto, which is larger and as impressive as the more famous grotto in Capri. (B,L,D)
From Turkey’s Fethiye, visit nearby Xanthos, the most prominent city of ancient Lycia, built on a cliff overlooking a river. Xanthos boasts significant remains, including a theater, temples, an agora, unique tombs with rock-cut facades, and sarcophagi mounted on pillars. (B,L,D)
From Antalya, the largest seaside resort on the Turkish Riviera, travel inland to visit two of Turkey’s most famous ancient sites: Perge and Aspendos. The Greco-Roman ruins of Perge, once among the most prosperous cities of the Hellenistic world, include its great Stadium, a colonnaded and marble main street, and the Theater. At Aspendos, tour the grand 20,000-seat theater commissioned by Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd-century AD. It is one of the best preserved ancient theaters in the world, and serves as the site of an international opera and ballet festival every year. (B,L,D)
LIMASSOL, Cyprus/ATHENS, Greece
Disembark Diana in Cyprus’s Limassol and transfer to the airport for the flight to Athens. One of the world’s most venerable cities, Athens’s ancient monuments are testimonials to its glorious past that gave birth to democracy, among other ideas and concepts. In the afternoon, tour the ancient Agora, the civic and commercial center of Athens and the living heart of its democracy. Spend the next two nights at the Hotel Athens Capital (or similar). (B, L)
Spend the morning at leisure for independent activities. In the afternoon, tour the Acropolis and its fabled monuments, including the incomparable Parthenon. Built in the 5th-century BC, the Parthenon and the other monuments on the Acropolis represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. Visit the Acropolis Museum which houses a remarkable collection of sculpture. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening. (B,D)
Transfer to the airport for the return flight home. (B)
DELOS & PAROS
Spend the morning in the small island of Delos, one of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece. Delos was sacred to ancient Greeks because it was identified as the birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis. A walking tour of this large open-air museum leads to the remains of the main shrines and others structures. Over lunch aboard, sail to nearby Paros, famed in antiquity for its fine-quality white marble. Spend time at leisure in the island’s main town, which features the characteristic whitewash architecture of the Cycladic islands.
Disembark in the morning at Athens’s port, Piraeus, and transfer to the airport for the return flight home.
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