Anatolia’s colorful history has left a windfall of cultural riches—ancient ruins, ornate Byzantine churches, supremely elegant mosques, and splendid Ottoman palaces. In this illustrated seminar, Serif Yenen, a Turkish tour guide, guidebook author, and filmmaker, highlights the history and splendor of ancient Turkey by way of some of its hidden gems.
9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Neolithic and Bronze Ages: Gobeklitepe, Catalholyuk, Kultepe, and Hattusha
Kultepe was the center of ancient trade between Anatolia and Assyria. Hattusha, capital of the Hittites, was once the site of four large temples and elaborate decorated gateways. Catalhoyuk was a large Neolithic settlement where vivid murals and figurines have been found.
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Iron, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods: Urartu, Phrygian, and Lydian Civilizations
From ancient synagogue ruins found in Sardis to the gigantic temple of Apollo in Didyma to the recent excavations in Ephesus that uncovered the unusual Terrace Houses, the area is replete with the remnants and history of the Hellenistic era.
12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)
1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Christianity in Anatolia: Paul of Tarsus and His Missionary Journeys
Paul was born in Tarsus in Anatolia and took most of his missionary journeys there. It is possible to follow in his footsteps today. All of the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in the Revelation of John are located in Turkey’s Aegean region. Cappadocia is laced with vast underground cities and hundreds of rock-cut churches built by early Christians.
2:30 to 4 p.m. Turkish Period and Three Capitals: Bursa, Edirne, and Istanbul
Turks came to Anatolia beginning in the 11th century and established two empires: the Anatolian Seljuk Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Bursa, the westernmost city of the Silk Road trade route, was an early Ottoman capital and is the site of the spectacular 20-domed Ulu Camii (Great Mosque), as well as other beautiful structures including baths, mosques, and government buildings. Edirne, the second Ottoman capital, is filled with stunning mosques, bridges, and old Roman homes that reflect the Ottoman Empire’s innovative architecture and city planning. Istanbul, the the next capital, is the site of the Topkapi Palace, used for 400 years as the home of 25 Ottoman sultans.