15-28 JUNE 2013
The Greatest Ancient Wonders of Anatolia -
Adventures Exploring the Beginning of Civilization
Join world-renowned geologist, scholar, and author, Dr. Robert Schoch, for an incredible 14-day comprehensive tour exploring the archaeology, history, culture, and natural beauty of Turkey – the region rightfully referred to as the “Cradle of Civilization”.
There is no better person to guide you when it comes to ancient sites and geological wonders than Dr. Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D. Classically trained (Ph.D. in geology and geophysics from Yale University), Dr. Schoch has been a fulltime faculty member at Boston University since 1984. For over two decades Dr. Schoch has been studying ancient civilizations around the world, in such diverse countries as Egypt, Turkey, Bosnia, Romania, Wales, Scotland, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Chile (Easter Island), and Japan.
In the early 1990s, Dr. Schoch’s geological analyses of the Great Sphinx demonstrated that the statue is thousands of years older than the conventional dating of 2500 BCE, bringing him worldwide fame. This work has been both controversial and pivotal in reshaping our understanding of the origin and history of civilization. Recent discoveries in Turkey, particularly at Göbekli Tepe (which Dr. Schoch has studied extensively, and which is on the itinerary for this trip), confirm the very ancient origins of civilization, going back to the end of the last ice age some 12,000 years ago.
Dr. Schoch is featured in the Emmy-winning documentary The Mystery of the Sphinx, which first aired on NBC and was subsequently broadcast on numerous channels, both in America and abroad. Dr. Schoch has also appeared on many other television shows and radio programs. He has contributed to numerous magazines, journals, and reviews, and he is the author and coauthor of a number of books, both technical and popular, including Voices of the Rocks, Voyages of the Pyramid Builders, and Pyramid Quest. His latest book, Forgotten Civilization: The Role of Solar Outbursts in Our Past and Future, includes Göbekli Tepe and other stunning new discoveries that will be discussed and explored during this extraordinary trip to Turkey.
“It is really going to be the opportunity of a lifetime, so I would encourage everyone to try to get on this trip, because I never know if we are going to be able do it again. It's a different type of experience. This is not where you’re just going to go with a conventional tour guide. We will bring our own perspective, our own passion, our own personal research to the trip. I can guarantee you that while we are together we will all be seeing new things. You will be exploring with us. This is very different experience; it’s not to be missed.”- Dr. Robert M. Schoch
Göbekli Tepe – the newly discovered, incredibly sophisticated, archaeological complex dating back to the end of the last ice age (12,000 years ago). Composed of numerous beautifully carved stone megaliths arranged in circles, this is one of the most important and impressive ancient sites in the world, and perhaps the most amazing archeological discovery of modern times.
Göbekli Tepe is near Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, associated with the patriarch Abraham. Indeed, Göbekli Tepe is located in the region of the Biblical Eden. Its circles range from 30 to 100 feet in diameter and are comprised of pillars up to 18 feet tall and weighting up to 15 tons each. Many of the pillars are carved with elaborate animal figure reliefs. In addition to bulls, foxes, and cranes, representations of lions, ducks, scorpions, ants, spiders, and snakes appear on the pillars. Some of the pillars are humanoid with arms, hands, belts, and loincloths.
Nobody knows which civilization created it, or why. But one thing we know for sure is that conventional archaeologists have to change their understanding of the past. The construction date of what some have called the “World’s First Temple” is thousands of years earlier than the standard dates of other important symbols of ancient wisdom, such as Stonehenge in England or the Egyptian Pyramids.
"This place is a supernova" - said Dr. Klaus Schmidt - the main archeologist excavating Göbekli Tepe, "Within a minute of first seeing it I knew I had two choices: go away and tell nobody, or spend the rest of my life working here."
Göbekli Tepe mystifies and astounds archaeologists, historians, and researchers. Nobody knows how to explain the site or why it was purposefully buried and its founding civilization decimated – nobody, that is, until now. After studying Göbekli Tepe firsthand, Dr. Schoch has developed a remarkable theory to address this grand puzzle. His new proposition, based on solid scientific evidence, involves solar (plasma) outbursts occurring 12,000 to 10,000 years ago that caused massive devastation to the surface of Earth, brought a rapid end to the last ice age, and in the process created huge floods globally, as fire struck glaciers and oceans releasing torrents of rain. Within this framework many megalithic monuments, underground cities (such as we will see on this tour in Cappadocia), as well as ancient myths and legends, fall into place. This new research is discussed in Dr. Schoch’s latest book, Forgotten Civilization: The Role of Solar Outbursts in Our Past and Future, and he will share his insights during our tour of Turkey.
(Note: Dr. Robert Schoch and The Time A New Era sponsored two great trips to Turkey during the summer of 2012. For those who either participated in those trips or heard about them, we want to point out that we have changed the itinerary for this trip. New sites for our 2013 tour include: The House of the Virgin Mary, a boat ride at Dalyan to see the Kaunos ruins, the beach of Ölüdeniz, Kekova and Demre to see the underwater ruins there by boat, and the Neolithic site of Asiklihoyuk.)
DAY 1 - Arrival to Istanbul (15 June 2013, Saturday)
Guests arrive in Turkey. A representative of “The Time of a New Era” company will welcome our guests at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, then assist with checking in to a hotel in Istanbul that is situated very close to the most popular part of the city, “Sultanahmet”. After the check-in process at the hotel, our guests will have a rest. In the evening we will have dinner and a welcoming meeting with Dr. Robert Schoch. Overnight at the hotel in Istanbul.
DAY 2 - Istanbul – The old city (16 June 2013, Sunday)
Istanbul - one of the greatest cities in the world, capital of the Byzantine Empire.
After breakfast, we will leave the hotel and visit the Sultanahmet district, called the “historical peninsula”. First we will visit Ottoman ruins and after that the Blue mosque, the most important mosque in Istanbul with its more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles and 200 stained glass windows. Then our guests can discover and enjoy beautiful examples of Ottoman art - Topkapi Palace (first Ottoman palace in Istanbul) and after this visit we will have lunch near the Blue mosque. After lunch, we will visit Byzantine monuments including the St. Sophia Museum (Hagia Sophia, the former Byzantine Church) – the greatest example of Byzantine architecture. Then we will see the Basilica Cistern, which was the main water provider for “Constantinople”, and we will also see the Byzantine Hippodrome where we will view beautiful obelisks and columns from the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman periods. The day will conclude with a visit to the Grand Bazaar. When our shopping time is over, we will return to the hotel for dinner. Overnight at the hotel in Istanbul.
DAY 3 - Troy & Pergamon (17 June 2013, Monday)
After breakfast we will check out of the hotel and drive to Troy via the European part of Turkey known as “Thrace”. When we arrive in Eceabat we will have lunch by the water and then take the ferry across the Dardanelles to the Asian side of Turkey – Canakkale. After that we will visit Troy, which was a city both factual and legendary. It is best known for being described in the Greek Epic Cycle and especially in the Iliad (one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer). Besides visiting the well-preserved ruins of the ancient city, we will see a replica of the Trojan Horse. Overnight at the hotel in Assos Dove.
DAY 4 - Ephesus & Selcuk (18 June 2013, Tuesday)
Ephesus - once the most important commercial center of the ancient world, a religious center of early Christianity, and today a unique and amazingly well preserved ancient city that attracts visitors from around the world.
After breakfast we will check out of the hotel. We will drive to Pergamon, which is located in the modern city of Bergama. Here we’ll take a cable car up the mountain to visit the ancient Akropolis. Then we drive to Ephesus where we will see the best preserved and restored Hellenistic-Early Roman age city; here St. Paul lived and preached for a time. We will also visit the ruins of the Artemis Temple, one of the classic wonders of the ancient world. Overnight at the hotel in Kusadasi.
DAY 5 – The House of the Virgin Mary, Dalyan, and Kounos (19 June 2013, Wednesday)
In the morning we visit the House of the Virgin Mary, a sacred shrine located on Mt. Koressos. Discovered in the nineteenth century, this stone house has been a site of pilgrimage for over a century. The faithful believe it is the place where St. John brought Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to reside at the end of her life. We then move on to the beautiful area of Dalyan from which we will take a two-hour boat ride to view the ruins of Kaunos. The rock-cut tombs along the riverbanks, traditionally dated back to the 9th century B.C. and earlier, are enveloped in mystery.
DAY 6 - Ölüdeniz (20 June 2013, Thursday)
After breakfast we travel to the small but outstanding village and beach resort of Ölüdeniz on the Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey where the Aegean and Mediterranean seas meet. We arrive for lunch, and this afternoon and evening we can relax and recharge while enjoying one of the most beautiful seaside spots of the Mediterranean region.
DAY 7 - Kekova, Demre (21 June 2013, Friday)
Today we visit the city of Demre, near the ancient Roman city of Myra. This was an important locality in ancient times. St. Paul stopped here during his travels, and St. Nicholas (who inspired the legend of Santa Claus) was bishop of Myra in the fourth century. Incredible ancient ruins are preserved here, including a large amphitheatre and various rock-cut tombs. We will also visit, via boat, the small island of Kekova to view the underwater ruins (sometimes referred to as the Kekova Castle), which can be seen from the boat. We will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear turquoise waters.
DAY 8 - CATALHOYUK ruins (22 June 2013, Saturday)
After breakfast we will check out of the hotel and drive to Konya. On the way to Konya we visit the Mevlana Museum (home of the Whirling Dervishes) in Konya. It is one of the most important religious and mystical sites of Turkey. After lunch in Konya we will visit Catalhoyuk ruins - one of the world’s earliest cities dating back nearly 10,000 years! It is one of the most amazing places in Turkey. Catalhoyuk is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic settlement currently known and is considered one of the key sites for understanding human prehistory. It is an active archaeological site rarely visited by typical tourists.
DAY 9 - Asiklihoyuk (23 June 2013, Sunday)
Today we tour the important but seldom visited Neolithic site of Asiklihoyuk in Central Turkey which dates back to 8th millennium B.C. Here was found an incredible obsidian (volcanic glass) bracelet from circa 7500 B.C. that presents a genuine enigma. Based on modern laboratory analyses, it was made using highly specialized manufacturing techniques that seem to be out of place for such an early period. This, along with a wealth of other evidence, indicates that peoples at that remote period were much more advanced than is generally believed to be the case. Next we head for Cappadocia, arriving in the late afternoon in time to take in some of the local culture of the region.
DAY 10 – Cappadocia (24 June 2013, Monday)
Cappadocia - the timeless and fantastic bare rock landscape of valleys and mountains, rock-cut churches, and mysterious ancient underground cities. This region is a geological wonder in its own right, forming a “lost world.”
We spend the full day in Cappadocia. After breakfast we drive to the Kaymakli Underground City which is one of the largest and the most mysterious underground cities in Cappadocia, with eight stories. We will also visit the Zelve Museum. Lunch will be in Avanos, and after that we will go to Urgup, which is known for its famous hotels built right within caves, for its wines, and for its hand-made carpets. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
DAY 11 - Nemrut Mount (25 June 2013, Tuesday)
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and drive to Nemrut (Kahta). On our way there we will visit Karatayhan Caravanserai. We will have lunch and a break in Kahramanmaras, which is famous for its typical Turkish ice-cream made from goat milk. When we arrive in Kahta we will check in at the hotel and then quickly leave so we can admire the sunset on Mount Nemrut.
This is a world-famous ancient megalithic site and one of the most interesting tourist attractions of Turkey. It is often considered the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World. At the summit of this approximately 2000 meter mountain lies the ruins of the ancient Commagene Kingdom which was at its height of power during the 1st century B.C. The most remarkable feature of the Mount Nemrut site is the giant stone heads of ancient gods. It is said to be the king’s tomb, although no grave has ever been found there. Who really built it and why? How far back might it date? It is still a mystery even today.
After enjoying the sunset we will drive back to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Kahta (Nemrut).
DAY 12 - GÖBEKLİ TEPE & Urfa (26 June 2013, Wednesday)
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and drive to Urfa. On our way we will see the biggest dam in Turkey that was built on the Euphrates River. We will pass Urfa and drive to Harran, which is a place full of surprises, with its Arabic culture, colorful people, old historical buildings, and ancient Islamic university. Then we drive to Göbekli Tepe where we will spend the afternoon. Gobekli Tepe is an incredibly old, yet extremely sophisticated, site, predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years. In the evening we will check in to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Urfa.
DAY 13 – Urfa - Istanbul (27 June 2013, Thursday)
After breakfast we check out of the hotel. We walk through the beautiful flower-filled gardens along the Pools of Abraham with their maze of canals full of thousands of carp fish which are held sacred and fed by the local people. We will also walk to the Cave of Abraham where, according to a local legend, the prophet Abraham was born. Then we will drive to the Urfa Archeology Museum to view a number of ancient artifacts, including stone sculptures excavated at Göbekli Tepe. After this visit we will transfer to the airport in Urfa and fly to Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 14 - Depart Istanbul (28 June 2013, Friday)
After breakfast we check out of the hotel, head to the airport, and fly back home.
4. Special Evening Presentations by Dr. Schoch during the Tour of Turkey
During our tour of Turkey, on selected evenings, Dr. Schoch will present a series of lectures relevant to the sites we are visiting, placing them in the larger context of ancient history and ancient knowledge. These lectures will be an added bonus (free!), and will supplement specific detailed notes on each of the sites we visit.
6. Payment Schedule:
During booking you should prepare personal details, date of birth, address, phone number, Email address, passport number, Passport Expiration Date (example mm/dd/yyyy). These details you should send to our E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The deposit is fully refunded if we cancel the trip for any reason. Otherwise, it is non-refundable outside of an exceptional, case-by case basis. We invite you to book this tour as soon as possible, because the number of places in limited. Turkey is a popular destination and accommodations must be arranged well in advance.
Please contact us for more information and for details - email@example.com
Dr. Schoch’s Website: www.robertschoch.com