“No man can cross the same river twice, because neither the man nor the river are the same.”

by herakleitos from ephesus

10 Hot Springs in Anatolia:
Route of Health, History and Culture

Since ancient times the restorative and recreational value of natural springs has been recognised. The Spartan king Agamemon, for instance, is said to have sent his injured soldiers to waters near Izmir (modern Balcova) for healing at the time of the Trojan War. Today, increasing numbers of people are turning to this natural resource, some for specific ailments, many others for the relaxation and simple enjoyment immersion in the waters provides.

For this tour we have chosen 10 springs in the Aegean region of western Turkey. Beginning with the Agamenon baths in Izmir, we meander through this extraordinarily rich historical landscape, taking in along the way such important ancient cities as Ephesus, Sardis, Pergamun and Hierapolis. We believe this blend of natural and cultural sites offers a unique experience that will appeal both to travelers who have visited the country before and to those who would like to get a taste of this fascinating land.

Shane Brennan is an ancient historian and has been travelling in Anatolia for over 20 years. Since his first visit in 2000, he has had an enduring love of hot springs. Similarly, Cengiz Cakmak, a lecturer in Turkish language at Istanbul University, has decades of experience travelling in the country. Together they have visited more than 100 springs and for this tour they have selected some of the finest ones in the Aegean region.

An Odyssey to Mount Ararat and Noah's Ark

Eastern Anatolia is rarely visited and has some of the country’s most outstanding scenery, with its impressive snow-capped mountains, massive lakes, gushing rivers and immense fields of wildflowers.

It is bordered by Iran, Nakhcıvan, Armenia and Georgia. The largest lake (Lake Van) and highest mountain (Mt.Ararat) of Turkey are located there. The average altitude is around 2500 mt.

I spent 4 days at the different altitude of Mt.Ararat (Ağrı Dağı) to reach the summit. It was a breathtaking experience to keep going on at my slow pace to the peak without my friends.

I started the journey with my dear friends, Cihan, Shane and Cengiz from the Iğdır Airport. We camped at two camps at the altitudes of 3200mt and 4200mt together. We started off the last phase of our trek for the summit at 1:00 AM, after a while I decided to stop because my harmony was not like the others, preferred to be left behind. While they were at the peak for the sunrise, I was still on way to the summit. At the end I accomplished the peak. What a wonderful achievement !. A great affection clenched between me and Mt.Ararat.

It is traditionally considered the resting place of Noah’s Ark, and, thus considered a biblical mountain. A Persian Legend refers to the Ararat as the cradle of the human race.

It is a snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone, Turkey’s highest peak. It has two peaks, Greater Ararat with an elevation of 5,137mt (16,854 ft) and Lesser Ararat with an elevation of 3,896mt ((12,782ft).

Do hope someday you will be interested in visiting Eastern Anatolia.

Heart of the Past Beats Here - The Fertile Crescent and Upper Mesopotami

The region where Şanlıurfa is located acts as a bridge connecting the Middle East to Asia Minor (The Fertile Crescent).

It is a city with a history of approximately 12.000 years that hosted many civilizations because of its geopolitical location, historical & cultural background, and religious importance.

Its steppes host ancestors of grains and many endemic plants.

I was on the trails of the hunter-gatherers of Göbeklitepe and Karahan Tepe in May, 2022. I am ready to put together an unique itinerary for you for the spring and autumn of 2023. Let’s explore and discover together !

Off-the Beaten Path - KARS

During the pandemic period we have been busy travelling to many unspoiled destinations in Turkey. We spent a fascinating time in Kars and its environs enabling us to now introduce to you new and unique experiences. Kars is located between Eastern and Northeastern Anatolia and is very close to the Armenian and Georgian borders. Kars’ altitude is 1650m and is surrounded by highlands of between 2500m and 2800m. The nearby wetlands, marshes, summer plateaus and meadows are a paradise for nature lovers and attract many birdwatchers and botanists.

We have designed an 8 night itinerary suitable for all four seasons and can also offer customized itineraries according to your interest.

This absorbing itinerary consists of activities and visits which include hiking, birdwatching, visits to beekeeping farms, carpet weaving ateliers and individual weaver visits, wildflower sites (many endemic geophytes), experiences of local rural life specific to this unique area and a full day strolling through the streets of Kars and of course a visit to the ancient city of Ani and more…

Please ask for the detailed suggestions at petenturizm@petentour.com.

In the Steps of Ten Thousand based on the book Anabasis by Xenophon

I hiked on the Anabasis trail from Sardis which was the capital city of the Lydian Kingdom, to the hinterlands of the Phrygian Kingdom. History and nature led my feet as I crossed the Meander, Kaystros and Lycus Valleys in the Aegean region of Turkey. This ancient route offered breathtaking scenery, taking me through villages, orchards and ancient cities, settled in lyrical landscapes and spectacular geological formations. I hope you will enjoy this new travel project that I created during the pandemic. Please ask for a detailed itinerary – petenturizm@petentour.com.

Unique Skiing Experiences at Palandöken

Another of our pandemic travel projects is to introduce you to the highest ski trails in Turkey, Palandöken mountain and ski resort. It is infrequently visited by people from outside of Turkey and so is a relatively undiscovered gem. Palandoken is located in the coldest region of Turkey where the winter snow quality is always good. Crisp powder snow skiing is available in glorious clean air sunshine. The snow depth at the resort is on average 2-3 meters with temperatures often falling to -40 °C (-40 F) at night.

There are 22 tracks available with a total length of 28 km the longest track length is 12 km. there are blue, red, and black tracks in the facilities.

Tracks starting from about 2,200 meters go up to a height of 3,176 meters. Palandöken Ski Resort season starts usually in late October and you are able to ski its higher tracks until the first weeks of May.

There are direct flights between Istanbul and Erzurum. The Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, is a unique destination with its natural beauty and history, with its soaring mountains and sweeping plains and ancient medresses, mosques, churches and castles. The Orient Express stops at Erzurum before its final destination of Kars. I can design unbeatable individual itineraries for you to this destination. Please contact – petenturizm@petentour.com for further information.

The Leleg Trail

Why the Leleg Trail? The Lelegs were the natives of the Bodrum peninsula many centuries ago and founded the eight cities. The Leleg Trail can be explored throughout the seasons.

I took this route as one of my pandemic projects and covered a good distance in March. The wild flowers were blooming, the birds were singing, the azure Aegean Sea in distance was twinkling. I felt the healing power of nature in my bones after having been locked down in Istanbul for so long.

The Leleg Trail is a hike through the engagingly pastoral and rural Bodrum peninsula. The walk takes us through lush rural vegetation and farmsteads with abundant displays of wildflowers everywhere eventually leading us uphill to breathtaking panoramic view points.

Up in the mountains we find Pedasa which is 2,400 year old and one of the most important of the eight cities of the Leleg trail. These cities are strategically positioned so that they are visible to each other and can be visited on the route to modern Bodrum.

Please contact petenturizm@petentour.com  for the detailed information.

A “gulet” is a picturesque traditional wooden yacht modified to accommodate passengers. These boats are powered by a quiet engine as their sails are mostly for show. However our captains use the sails whenever possible. Our gulets are between 32 and 42-metre vessels with 4, 5 or 6 air-conditioned cabins beautifully finished with mahogany paneling. Each cabin has a private bathroom with a shower. There is plenty of room for relaxing and reading in the lounge or on the decks outside. A large kitchen and bar area is located towards the back of the gulet, and meals are served in a spacious open area at the stern. Canvas and sailcloth awnings cover the dining area and a portion of the foredeck providing shade for comfortable lounging. All of our boats carry emergency medical kits and also have a basic library offering both classical and modern literature for your reading pleasure.

Please see the Discover Turkey by Land and Sea Tour for a sample of a possible itinerary. Of course Peten Travels is open to any ideas you may have in regards to exploring the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

All of our gulets comply with the high safety standards of local government regulations, which are monitored thoroughly by the coast guard.

Please contact us at petenturizm@petentour.com.

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