The Greatest Ancient Wonders of Anatolia –
Exploring the Roots of Civilization
June 6–19, 2020 & June 5–18, 2021
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".
1. Introducing Dr. Robert Schoch – Our Host for the Tour
There is no better person to guide you through ancient sites and geological wonders than Dr. Robert M. Schoch. Classically trained, with a 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, Indonesia, and Japan.
During the tour, Dr. Schoch will give a formal lecture presentation regarding his research, discuss the sites as we travel, and guests will also have the opportunity to take part in public and private conversations with Dr. Schoch, as everyone travels together, enjoying all of the sites and activities on the itinerary.
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 B.C., bringing him worldwide fame. This work has been both controversial and pivotal in reshaping our understanding of the origins 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 the tour, confirm the very ancient origins of civilization, going back to the end of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago. For more information about Dr. Robert Schoch, visit his personal website: www.robertschoch.com
It is really going to be an extraordinary adventure, so I would encourage you to join us if possible, because we never know if we are going to be able do it again. This will be a unique experience. This is not where one just goes 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. We will be exploring the sites, ideas, and the beauty of the country together. This will be a very different experience – one not to be missed. – Dr. Robert M. Schoch.
2. The highlight of our tour – two visits to Göbekli Tepe
"This place is a supernova. 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." – said the late Dr. Klaus Schmidt, the main archeologist who led the excavations at Göbekli Tepe.
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 an insightful theory that addresses the grand mystery of antediluvian civilization. His new explanation, 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 book, Forgotten Civilization: The Role of Solar Outbursts in Our Past and Future, and he will share his insights during our tour of Turkey and two visits to Göbekli Tepe.
Day 1 – Arrival in Istanbul & welcome dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Istanbul
A representative of The Time of a New Era will welcome you at the international airport in Istanbul, transfer you to the hotel and then assist you with checking into a hotel in Istanbul. In the evening, there will be a dinner and a welcoming meeting with Dr. Robert Schoch. Overnight stay at the hotel in Istanbul. (D)
Day 2 – Istanbul sightseeing: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome Square, Blue Mosque and Yerebatan Cistern
After breakfast, we will visit the Sultanahmet district called the "historical peninsula". First, we will visit various Ottoman ruins, followed by the sightseeing of the Blue Mosque – the most important mosque in Istanbul with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles and 200 stained glass windows. Next, we will discover and enjoy beautiful examples of Ottoman art at Topkapi Palace – the first Ottoman palace in Istanbul. After enjoying your lunch, we will visit the most iconic Byzantine monuments including the St. Sophia Museum – commonly known as Hagia Sophia, the former Byzantine Church, historically regarded as the greatest surviving example of Byzantine architecture. Next, we will explore the underground Basilica Cistern, which was the main water provider for Constantinople. We will also visit the Byzantine Hippodrome where one can admire beautiful obelisks and columns from the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman periods. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Istanbul. (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Troy and Assos
After breakfast and check-out from the hotel, we will drive to Troy via the European part of Turkey known as "Thrace". In Gallipoli we will have lunch by the sea and sail across the Dardanelles to the Asian side of Turkey – Canakkale, where we will visit the Ancient City of Troy, a city both factual and legendary. It is best known for being described in the Greek Epic Cycle and especially in the Iliad written by Homer. Besides visiting the well-preserved ruins of this ancient city, we will see a replica of the famous Trojan Horse. In the evening we will have a short break to swim in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Assos. (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Pergamon and Kusadasi
After breakfast and check-out from the hotel, we will drive to the ancient site of Pergamon, which is located in the modern city of Bergama. There, we will take a cable car up the mountain to visit the ancient Acropolis. During the Roman period, Pergamon became the most famous and influential city of Asia Minor. Visiting this UNESCO site will provide you with a chance to trace the steps of the ancient city of Pergamon and get to know more about its unique history. After lunch, we will drive to the hotel in Kusadasi for a free afternoon. There, you will get a chance to swim in the beautiful Aegean Sea or the hotel’s swimming pool. Dinner and overnight stay in Kusadasi. (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Ephesus and Pamukkale
After breakfast and check-out from the hotel, we will drive to Ephesus. This iconic place was one of the most important commercial markets of the ancient world and a religious center of early Christianity. Today, it is a unique and amazingly well preserved ancient city that attracts visitors from around the world. Next, we will drive to our hotel in Pamukkale, where you will enjoy hot springs water, rich in minerals, and relax after the day of sightseeing. Dinner and overnight stay in Pamukkale. (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Pamukkale, Hierapolis, and Konya
In the morning we will visit the picturesque white terraces in Pamukkale and the famous ancient city of Hierapolis. This Greco-Roman city was built on top of the white terraces and has a lot to offer to its visitors, including a surreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls, and a series of terraced basins. Later, you will have some free time to explore Turkey’s “Cotton Castle”. You will have an opportunity to walk barefoot on the unique calcite surface that is overrun with warm, mineral-rich waters, and admire the contrast between the powder-white surface, the clear blue sky, and the green plains below. After lunch, we will drive to Konya. Dinner and overnight stay in Konya. (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Catalhoyuk, Sultanhani Kervansaray, Derinkuyu Underground City
Our sightseeing will start with a visit to Catalhoyuk, an archeological site and one of the world's earliest known cities dating back nearly 10,000 years! Catalhoyuk is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic settlement currently known and is considered one of the key sites for understanding human prehistory. Regarded as a place off the beaten path, this archaeological site is rarely visited by tourists.
Next, we will visit the Sultanhani Kervansaray – one of the largest and most enchanting caravanserais in the world which had been used as an accommodation for people, especially merchants, and as a defense for trade routes.
After the visit, we will go to Derinkuyu Underground City – the deepest excavated underground city in Cappadocia, the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. It could house 20,000 people with their livestock and supplies. This place fascinates people from all around the world and provides us with many new insights on our ancestors’ past. Dinner and overnight stay in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Cappadocia
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" which we will explore during the day. We will visit the Göreme Open Air Museum which once housed one of the largest communities in the region. The museum sightseeing will be followed by stops at panoramic sites allowing you to take pictures of one of the most intriguing places in the world. We will have time to explore the local shops in search of unique souvenirs. Dinner and overnight stay in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Cappadocia
Another exciting day in amazing Cappadocia. We will have time to see different parts of the region and to photograph the unique otherworldly rock formations, volcanic peaks and mountains. The rocks that form the characteristic Cappadocia landscape have eroded for millions of years in the lakes, rivers and winds. Apart from gorgeous geological wonders, Cappadocia also boasts of fascinating rock-carved chapels and churches dating back to the 9th and 11th century. Dinner and overnight stay in Cappadocia. (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Mount Nemrut
After early breakfast in Cappadocia, we will drive towards our hotel in Adiyaman. On the way we will be able to see the changing landscapes and to adore the natural beauty of Turkey. We will also have an opportunity to taste delicious local cuisine. After check-in at the hotel in Adiyaman, we will leave to admire the sunset from the peak of Mount Nemrut.
This world famous ancient megalithic site is 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 lie the ruins of the ancient Commagene Kingdom, which was at its height of power during the 1st century B.C. The most remarkable features of the Mount Nemrut site are 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 to this day.
After enjoying the sunset, we will drive back to the hotel in Adiyaman. (B, L, D)
Day 11 – Ataturk Dam, Harran, Göbekli Tepe
In the morning, we will see the biggest dam in Turkey, built on the Euphrates River. Later, we will pass Urfa and drive to Harran, which is a place full of surprises, with its Arabic culture, colorful people, old historic buildings, and ancient Islamic university.
Then, we will drive to Göbekli Tepe, a place that changed the way archaeologists think about the origins of civilization. This 12,000-year-old stone complex, predating the conventional date for Stonehenge by 6,000 years, boasts multiple enclosures with tall, T-shaped pillars surrounded by rings of stones, many carved with reliefs – structures unique for humans at this time. At Göbekli Tepe, you will enjoy the beautiful sunset before driving back for dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Sanliurfa. (B, L, D)
Day 12 – Göbekli Tepe & Urfa Archeology Museum, Balikli Gol and Abraham’s Cave
In the morning, we will return to Göbekli Tepe for further exploration of this incredibly important site. One aspect of Göbekli Tepe is that the light and visibility varies from the morning to the evening, so to see all of the structures and carvings to their best advantage, one must visit in both the afternoon (as on day 11) and in the morning. In the afternoon, we will visit the Sanliurfa Archeology and Mosaic Museum to view a number of ancient artifacts, including incredible stone sculptures, one resembling a totem pole, excavated at Göbekli Tepe.
Later, we will 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. Dinner and overnight stay in Sanliurfa. (B, L, D)
Day 13 – Flight to Istanbul, Bosphorus Cruise
After breakfast and check-out from the hotel, we will transfer you to the airport in Urfa for the flight to Istanbul. After the check-in at the hotel in Istanbul, you will have some free time for resting, shopping, or further exploring of the area. In the evening, we will have a private boat cruise on the Bosphorus Strait. During the sunset, we will enjoy our farewell dinner. Overnight in Istanbul. (B, L, D)
Day 14 – Departure from Istanbul
After breakfast, we will bid each other a warm farewell, check out from the hotel, head for the airport, and fly back home. (B)
4. Terms & Conditions
Price: 5985 USD per person in a double room (deposit is only 800 USD during booking!). If you are a solo traveler, you can share a room with another tour participant. However, if you would like to stay in a single room, then the single room supplement is 970 USD.
- 800 USD deposit – during booking
- Remaining balance – 60 days before the tour
Price Includes: Dr. Robert Schoch as your tour host throughout the trip, assisted by his wife and research partner Catherine Ulissey; 13-night stay at 4/5-star hotels (best available locally); 3 meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner (except for the first day, which includes dinner only; and the last day, which includes breakfast only); all sightseeing tours and entrances included in the itinerary; English-speaking guide; English-speaking tour leader; transfers in air-conditioned buses; reception at the international airport in Istanbul; airport arrival and departure transfers; domestic flight from Urfa/Gaziantep; bottled water during the sightseeing; government taxes.
Not Included: International flights to/from Istanbul in Turkey; Visa cost (visa costs $20 and shall be obtained before the tour); soft and alcoholic drinks; souvenirs and personal expenses.
In order to book your place on our tour, you should download the registration form HERE. Please: 1. Print, 2. Fill in and sign, 3. Scan and send to our e-mail address.
We encourage you to book this tour as soon as possible, because the number of places is limited. Please contact us for more information and for details.
US phone: +1 646 7400-400
Office hours: 9am–4pm EST Monday–Friday.
Our consultants will be happy to give you all the information you need. JOIN US TODAY!
Dr. Robert Schoch and his wife Catherine Ulissey on the Bosphorus.