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Eastern Turkey and Black Sea Adventure

May 26 To June 11, 2000

Escorted by Professor Emeritus Richard L. Chambers


MERHABA! Greetings from "the HOCA" (the Teacher)!

I am writing to you from Virginia Beach where the World of Oz-Magister team and I are making the final plans for a very special tour. It is an itinerary I have long hoped to see in a tour brochure, but never have. I think you will find it as exciting as I do.

Two areas of Turkey are seldom visited by tourists: Eastern Anatolia and the Black Sea coast. Not only is the scenery spectacular, but everywhere are to be seen the remains of Urartian, Armenian, Georgian, Pontic, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman civilizations.

Tourist accommodations are not as luxurious as those one finds along Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, but they are certainly acceptable and we will, in every case, utilize the very best available facilities. As always, we will enjoy the comfort of a large, modern, air-conditioned coach with an expert driver and his assistant.

Many of you will be delighted to know that our favorite Turkish guide, Aydin Kudu, will accompany us. Since he is a native of the Black Sea region of Trabzon, Aydin is especially pleased to be able to introduce his American friends to his own "homeland." And, if nothing unforeseen intervenes, we will also be joined by our gracious "hostess" Wynne Oz. I am looking forward to being a member of this team and to having good friends travel with us again. Let me assure you that we will do our best to make this a tour experience you will remember with pleasure and satisfaction.

Do consider joining us.

With good wishes,

Richard L. Chambers
"The Hoca"

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Friday May 26: USA/Istanbul Departure from Chicago or New York on Turkish Airlines direct flight to Istanbul. (Meals in flight)

Saturday May 27: Istanbul Morning arrival in Istanbul, meeting and assistance at the airport and transfer to the Istanbul Hilton Hotel. Balance of the day at leisure. Meet your fellow tour members at a Welcome Dinner at a fine local restaurant. (Meals in flight/D)

Sunday May 28: Van After an early breakfast transfer to the airport for the Turkish Airline flight to Van. Arrive in Van and transfer to Buyuk Urartu Hotel. Van was the ancient Urartian capital of Tuspa, which thrived some 3000 years ago. It is located at the foot of a rocky peak at an altitude of 1727 meters. An imposing citadel from the 9th century BC overlooks both the old section of the city, destroyed in World War I, and the newly built city nearby. Lunch at a local restaurant before the excursion to Hosap where a 17th century castle rises atop a small hill. Continue to Cavustepe, an important Urartian Citadel excavated in 1970. Late afternoon return to the hotel for dinner. (B/L/D)

Monday May 29: Van Excursion to Lake Van. Enjoy a boat ride to Akdamar Island to see the 10th century Church of the Holy Cross, now a museum, whose outer stone walls are richly carved with Old Testament scenes and figures. Picnic lunch, then afternoon sightseeing in Van. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B/L/D)

Tuesday May 30: Dogubeyazit Depart this morning for Dogubeyazit, situated adjacent to Mt. Ararat. On the way you will stop to visit the Ishak Pasha Palace, constructed in the 17th century by the Ottoman Governor of the Province in a mixture of architectural styles. Nearby you can see the bas-relief of a Urartian King as well as a rock tomb from the 9th century. From Dogubeyazit, the snow capped peak of Mt. Ararat dominates the horizon. Dinner and overnight at Sim-er Hotel. (B/L/D)

Wednesday May 31: Kars Depart this morning for Kars, a pawn in the Russia-Ottoman power struggles ending in Russian occupation of the city from 1876 to 1920. Stop first to visit the ruins of the medieval city of Ani located 42 km from Kars on the ancient Silk Route. Impressive fortified walls still encircle the ruins of numerous churches, mosques, and caravanserais. Dinner and overnight in Kars at the best available hotel. (B/L/D)

Thursday June 1: Artvin Visit the Havariler Museum (the 10th century Church of the Apostles) before driving along a wonderfully scenic mountain route to Artvin. Nearby are fine Georgian churches (now mosques). Medieval castles guard the steep mountain passes on the approach to Artvin. Visit the 16th century castle and some typical old Ottoman houses. Dinner and overnight at the Karahan Hotel. (B/L/D)

Friday June 2: Trabzon Travel this morning over the beautiful Pontic mountains to the Black Sea at Hopa, the last port before the Georgian border, then west along the coast to Trabzon. Stop to visit a tea plantation nearby and the remains of a Genoese castle. Dinner and overnight at the new Zorlu Grand Hotel. (B/L/D)

Saturday June 3: Trabzon Morning visit to the 14th century Sumela Monastery, the most important Byzantine monument of the region. It clings to a sheer rock cliff 1000 feet above the valley floor. Outstanding frescoes include the Last Judgement and the Virgin and Child seated on a golden throne. Return to Trabzon for lunch and a visit to the 13th century Church of Hagia Sophia (later a mosque and now a museum), the old town, and the bazaar. Dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)

Sunday June 4: Amasya Drive this morning along the coast fringed with hazelnut plantations and dense forests past the town of Giresun, from which the Romans brought the first cherry trees to Europe, and the quaint port of Ordu. Turn south at Unye to Amasya, birthplace of the geographer Strabo and capital of the Pontic Kingdom. Set in the narrow gorge of the Yesilirmak River and surrounded by high mountains, Amasya's setting and splendid architectural legacy have combined to make this one of the most beautiful small cities in Turkey. Dinner and overnight at Buyuk Amasya Hotel. (B/L/D)

Monday June 5: Amasya Day of sightseeing in this lovely town. Once a Hittite city, it was conquered by Alexander the Great. Visit the ruins of the citadel inside of which an Ottoman Palace and a secret passageway remain. Visit the 13th century Seljuk Mosque, the 14th century Hospital, the Beyazit Mosque complex, and attractively restored Ottoman houses. Hewn into the rock above the city, impressive Roman rock tombs are illuminated at night. (B/L/D)

Tuesday June 6: Safranbolu Depart this morning for Safranbolu, an open air museum of traditional Ottoman residential architecture. Sightseeing enroute. Dinner and overnight at Havuzlu Konak, a lovely small restored hotel. (B/L/D)

Wednesday June 7: Safranbolu Day of sightseeing visiting some of the beautiful houses that have been restored under the supervision of specialists from the nearby university. Visit the Cinci Han and Hamam, Izzet Pasha Mosque and library, and the bazaar where local craftsmen are at work. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B/L/D)

Thursday June 8: Istanbul Depart for Istanbul with lunch enroute. Arrive mid-afternoon at the Istanbul Hilton Hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant. (B/L/D)

Friday June 9: Istanbul Day trip by private boat to the Prince's Islands, an archipelago of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara. In Byzantine times these islands were used as places of exile for the royal princes. Land at Buyukada, the largest of the islands. As automobiles are not allowed, explore the island by horse and carriage. Lunch at a lovely restaurant, then return to Istanbul for an evening of leisure to explore the city on your own. (B/L)

Saturday June 10: Istanbul Morning visit to the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Covered Bazaar. Afternoon at leisure. Farewell Dinner in a private room at the Hilton. (B/D)

Sunday June 11: Istanbul/USA Transfer to airport for Turkish Airlines direct flight to Chicago or New York. (B/Meals in flight)

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About your Lecturer

Richard L. Chambers, a noted historian of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, will accompany the departure. He is a former President of the American Research Institute in Turkey and former Director of the University of Chicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University and is Professor Emeritus of Turkish Studies at the University of Chicago. He has accompanied numerous tour and study programs to Turkey. Dr. Richard Chambers is an engaging and articulate speaker who, together with the Turkish guide, will provide fascinating descriptions of the sites as well as sharing his enthusiastic appreciation of the Turkey of yesterday and today.

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Tour Costs

17 Day Land and Air/Per Person, Double Occupancy
From Chicago: $4050
From New York: $3999
Single Supplement: $580
Tax-deductible contribution to the University of Chicago: $400
Land Only: $3150
Istanbul Hilton Hotel upgrade to Bosphorus View Room (4 nights): $130, single supplement: $229
Upgrade to Business Class and fares from other gateways available on request

This exciting and unique seventeen day program is for the dedicated traveler who wants to experience more of Turkey's history and cultural riches in areas seldom visited by tourists.
Eastern Turkey and Black Sea Adventure takes you to Van, Mt. Ararat, Kars, Artvin, Trabzon, Amasya, Sanfranbolu, and Istanbul. With your fellow travelers you will be introduced to the Urartian, Armenian, Pontic Greek, Byzantine, and Ottoman cultural heritage of modern-day Turkey. You will visit ancient Armenian churches in Van and Ani, an Urartian citadel near Van, the imposing fortress of Ishak Pasha at Dogubeyazit, medieval Georgian churches near Artvin, the Sumela Monastery and Church of St. Sophia in Trabzon, the Ottoman palace and Seljuk mosque in Amasya, and the beautifully restored Ottoman houses in Safranbolu. The tour finishes in that magnificent city, Istanbul, with a special tour of the Prince's Islands in the Sea of Marmara, including a horse and carriage ride around Buyukada.

Your Land and Air package includes:
* 5 star hotel in Istanbul, 4 star new hotel in Trabzon, and a very small restored pension hotel in Safranbolu. In the Eastern part of Turkey hotels are very simple and we offer the best available.
* In Istanbul you dine at some of the finest restaurants and will taste the sophisticated flavors of Ottoman cooking, while in the countryside you will enjoy the savory flavors and specialties of the local kitchens.
* 15 full breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners. Meals include all non-alcoholic beverages. Welcome and Farewell Dinners also include local drinks.
* One of our experienced Turkish guides, knowledgeable in the history and the culture of the regions will accompany the trip. Our guides hold advanced degrees, are government licensed, proficient in English, have several years guiding experience, and excel in the fields of Turkish History, Art, Archaeology, and Culture.
* An experienced driver pilots you through Turkey on one of our newest model air-conditioned coaches. All entrance fees are included.
* All government taxes, service charges, and tips at hotels and restaurants, porterage at hotels, and all necessary group transfers.
* Free travel kit complete with flight bag, baggage tags, document holder, itinerary, destination information, hotel list, Turkish vocabulary, and tips for packing.

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Terms and Conditions

To Book: Please fill out registration form and return with $400 contribution to The Oriental Institute/Eastern Turkey and Black Sea Adventure Tour/1155 East 58th Street/Chicago, IL 60637.
Final Payment: Final payment for travel arrangements is due at World of Oz 45 days prior to departure.
Cancellation Penalties: Cancellations must be made in writing and are subject to the following charges regardless of cause: $100 per person handling fee plus the following penalties: 45 to 30 days prior, 30% of tour cost; 29 to 8 days prior, 50% of tour cost; 7 days or less, 100% of tour cost.
Insurance: World of Oz-Magister and the University of Chicago do not assume responsibility for damage or loss of any personal effects or for any personal injury or loss. Baggage, personal effects, accident and health insurance, cancellation and interruption insurance is strongly recommended. This insurance should be purchased from World of Oz-Magister or your travel agent.
Refund of Unused Arrangements: No refund can be made for any tour accommodation, tour feature, tour service, or any portion of air ticket purchased from us, not taken.
Air Transportation: Please consult your travel agent or World of Oz-Magister at time of booking for applicable fare, restrictions, and cancellation policy.
Visas: All passengers must be in possession of a valid passport. For US and Canadian citizens, a visa is required to enter Turkey. We can help you obtain these visas at an additional charge. For other nationalities, please check with the respective embassy.
Consumer Disclosure Notice: World of Oz-Magister Corp. and The University of Chicago, and/or their agents, act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel, whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, or airplane and assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or changes in air or other services, sickness, strike, war, quarantine, or other causes. All such losses or expense will have to be borne by the passenger. The right is reserved to substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary where deemed necessary or caused by air schedules. The prices on the tours are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at time of printing and are subject to adjustment in the event any change therein. The issuance and acceptance of voucher or ticket shall be deemed to be consent to the above conditions. All arrangements for land accommodations and transportation are made by World of Oz-Magister Corp. Any dispute arising out of these tours will be settled in the courts of the City of Virginia Beach.
Airlines Clause: The airlines concerned and their agents and affiliates are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or event during the time passengers are not on board their aircraft. The passenger ticket in use by said airlines, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the airlines and the purchaser of these tickets and/or passenger.

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To be added to the free Oriental Institute Mailing List, or for more information on how to register for Eastern Turkey and Black Sea Adventure, please call (773) 702-9513 or send an email to



Revised: March 3, 2009

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