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Climb Mount Ararat with Sergio Fitch Watkins

From $5,195

  • Explore the highlights of Istanbul, including the Hagia Sofia and famous Blue Mosque!
  • Walk in Cappadocia, and see the ''Dark Church'' with its best preserved frescoes!
  • Stand on top of Mount Ararat – the highest peak in Turkey!

Join MTS' long-time favorite hiking guide, Sergio Fitch Watkins, on this challenging hike to the summit of Mount Ararat in Turkey! After exploring the highlights of Istanbul and Cappadocia, we'll fly east to the medieval town of Erzurum, located at 5,766-feet.  From here, we'll continue on to Dogubeyazit, where our Mount Ararat adventure begins!  We'll have enough time to acclimatize on this 5-day hike to the summit, sleeping in tented camps along the way.  Making a pre-dawn start from our highest camp, we'll begin our ascent up the snowy slopes leading to the summit of Mount Ararat, where breathtaking views of Turkey reward our effort.
 

Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul, Turkey

Upon arrival at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport you will be met by an MTS representative who will escort you to your hotel in the Old City. After getting settled in the hotel, we’ll meet for an orientation at 6:30 p.m., then head out for a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Arcadia Blue

Day 2: Istanbul - Highlights of the Old Town

Today we'll discover the ancient monuments of Istanbul. We'll start with a tour of the Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans for about 400 years, with its fabulous collections of jewels and other artifacts. We will also visit the ''Harem'' section, which is another palace located inside the Topkapi, where we will listen to the history of the white and black Eunuchs and the high education of Concubines. After lunch, we will continue our tour with a visit to Hagia Sophia, originally built as a church by Constantine The Great in the 4th Century and used as a mosque during the Ottoman era until 1935 (Today it is a museum encompassing both Christianity and Islam.) We'll also visit the Blue Mosque, famous for its beautiful blue tiles decorating the interior walls. The Blue Mosque was built in the 1609 C E, and both it and Hagia Sophia were considered masterpieces of their period.  Last on our itinerary is the Basilica Cistern, the best known and the largest of the closed cisterns built under the Justinian basilica in the 6th century. ''From Russia with love'' James Bond movie was filmed here in late 1960's. Later, we'll discover the highlights of the ancient hippodrome – The Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and others. Later, we'll discover one of the great restaurants of Istanbul.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Arcadia Blue

Day 3: Fly to Cappadocia – Afternoon of Exploration

We’ll take a 1-hour morning flight to Kayseri on Turkish Air departing at 9:45 a.m. and arrives at 11:05 a.m. Then we will transfer to the Cappadocia area, a 45-minute drive through beautiful and interesting valleys. Cappadocia is surely one of the most beautiful and unusual spots in the world, with a moon-like landscape boasting a variety of weird but interesting natural formations, including pyramid-shaped rocks and sensuously carved fertile valleys that are volcanic in origin.  After we check in to our hotel, we'll explore this lava covered ancient landscape. We'll walk up to Uchisar Castle to see the complete surrounding valleys of the area. We'll then drive to the famous Greek village, Sinasos for lunch in an old 18th century Greek home run by the people who were born in the same house. After lunch, we'll stop at some of the famous panoramic viewpoints overlooking the valley. Later on, we'll have the option to walk in one of the famous valleys in the area before returning to our hotel. 

NOTE: On request and at an additional cost, we can arrange you a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Please contact our office for details.  

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Lykia Lodge

Day 4: The Highlights of Cappadocia

We'll start our day by visiting the very important open air museum, Goreme St. Basil's valley, including the best survived ''Dark Church'' with its well preserved frescoes. We will also tour the other important churches of this area, and one of the 36 underground cities where Christians sought refuge from invading Arab Armies in the 8th century.  These underground cities are over 10 stories deep, and are a fascinating and important aspect of the history of Cappadocia.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Lykia Lodge

Day 5: Fly to Erzurum via Istanbul

After breakfast, we'll transfer back to the Kayseri airport and fly to Erzurum via Istanbul.  Our flight departs Kayseri at 11:50 a.m., and arrives in to Istanbul at 1:20 p.m.  Our connecting flight to Erzurum flight departs at 4:20 p.m., and arrives in to Erzurum at 6:15 p.m. Upon arrival in Erzurum, we'll transfer to our hotel, and then have a little time to check in before meeting up in the evening for a stroll through the bazars, and dinner.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Palan Otel

Day 6: Highlights of Erzurum – Transfer to Dogubeyazit

Today we'll visit the 14th century Yakutiye madrasa by Cemalleddin Yakut the Ilhanid Mongol ruler.  Later we will also visit the Cifte Minareli Madrasa dating back to 13th century, dedicated by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad to his daughter Hudavend. We'll also visit one of the earliest Seljuk mosques, the 12th century Ulu Camii. After lunch, we transfer drive to Dogubeyazit (3.5 – 4 hours transfer).

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Butik Ertur

Day 7: Begin our Climb – To Camp 1 at 10,500'

After breakfast, we'll transfer to Eli Village on Mount Ararat, located at 7,200-feet. Our luggage will be packed up, and carried by horses, as we begin our walk up to Camp 1, located at 10,500-feet (3 – 4 hours). Our camp staff will have a warm meal waiting for us as we arrive. We'll camp here at Camp 1 tonight.  Temperatures may drop to 0° or lower during the night, so we'll retire to our tents.  (3,300-feet of ascent, 3 – 4 hours)
 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 8: Day 2 of our Climb – Acclimatization Hike to 13,120'

Today we will continue our hike up to 13,120-feet. Today's hike is for acclimatization purposes, but we will return to Camp 1 again, where we will sleep a second night. (2,620-feet of ascent, 5 – 6 hours).

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 9: Day 3 of our Climb – To Camp 2 at 13,600'

Today we hike to Camp 2 at 13,600-feet. Our belongings will be carried by horses, and will meet us at camp. After we arrive at Camp 2, we'll settle in, eat a hardy meal, and check prepare our equipment for the next big day – summit day! Temperatures may drop to -10° or lower during the night, so we'll huddle in our warm tents. (3,100-feet of ascent, 5 – 6 hours)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 10: Summit Day

Today is the big day – summit day! We'll wake up before the sun rises, and have a good breakfast before we begin our ascent. Our summit of Mount Ararat requires no technical skills, but it is a long and strenuous walk. Because the summit is on a glacier, we will need to wear crampons for the last 650-feet. After 4 to 6 hours of hiking at a steady pace, we'll finally reach the summit at 16,854-feet, where breathtaking panoramic views over Turkey, Iran and Armenia reward our effort. We can expect temperatures as low as -15° at the top. After taking some time to enjoy the view and take a few summit photos, we'll return to Camp 2 where we'll have a well-deserved dinner and rest, before packing up our tents and baggage, and continuing down to Camp 1 for the night. (3,250-feet of ascent, 6,350-feet of descent, all day)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 11: Descend to Dogubeyazit – Agri

We'll have breakfast in Camp 1 and then walk down to Eli Village (2 hours) where our minibus will meet and transfer to Dogubeyazit. After lunch, we'll go for a visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace, one of the great samples of Ottoman Empire palaces from 17th century. Located high on a hill, the palace has a spectacular view of the Mt. Ararat. We'll then continue on to the town of Agri, where we stay the night.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Grand Cenas

Day 12: Return to Istanbul

We'll transfer to the Agri Airport in the morning and fly back to Istanbul departing at 12:45 p.m. and arriving at 3:05 p.m. Upon arrival in Istanbul, we'll transfer to our hotel and spend our final night in Istanbul.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Arcadia Blue

Day 13: Departure

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the Istanbul airport for departure flights homeward.

NOTE – The internal flight times indicated in this itinerary are subject to change.

  • Breakfast

Jul 21, 2015 - Aug 02, 2015

pricing

2015 Prices
$5,195 (6-16 members)
$500 internal airfare
$700 single supplement

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Butik Ertur — Dogubeyazit

Camp

Grand Cenas — Agri

Hotel Arcadia Blue — Istanbul

HOTEL ARCADIA BLUE ISTANBUL, recently renovated, re-opened its doors in May 2013.  Its current architecture is very modernistic and elegantly lean, where Norm Architects with their contemporary style, gracefully established a relationship with the Sultanahmet area, where the hotel is located. Namely a district, where the historical texture of ?stanbul is the most intensive.  The rooms, having bathrooms with Savannah marble flooring, a wall of blue tiles and glass surfaces, are completed with the comfort of air conditioning, mini bar, satellite TV, direct phone connection, free wireless internet access, safe, hair dryer and coffee tray with water heater.

Lykia Lodge — Cappadocia

Palan Otel — Erzurum

  • Explore the highlights of Istanbul, including the Hagia Sofia and famous Blue Mosque!
  • Walk in Cappadocia, and see the ''Dark Church'' with its best preserved frescoes!
  • Stand on top of Mount Ararat – the highest peak in Turkey!

Join MTS' long-time favorite hiking guide, Sergio Fitch Watkins, on this challenging hike to the summit of Mount Ararat in Turkey! After exploring the highlights of Istanbul and Cappadocia, we'll fly east to the medieval town of Erzurum, located at 5,766-feet.  From here, we'll continue on to Dogubeyazit, where our Mount Ararat adventure begins!  We'll have enough time to acclimatize on this 5-day hike to the summit, sleeping in tented camps along the way.  Making a pre-dawn start from our highest camp, we'll begin our ascent up the snowy slopes leading to the summit of Mount Ararat, where breathtaking views of Turkey reward our effort.
 

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul, Turkey

Upon arrival at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport you will be met by an MTS representative who will escort you to your hotel in the Old City. After getting settled in the hotel, we’ll meet for an orientation at 6:30 p.m., then head out for a welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Arcadia Blue

Day 2: Istanbul - Highlights of the Old Town

Today we'll discover the ancient monuments of Istanbul. We'll start with a tour of the Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans for about 400 years, with its fabulous collections of jewels and other artifacts. We will also visit the ''Harem'' section, which is another palace located inside the Topkapi, where we will listen to the history of the white and black Eunuchs and the high education of Concubines. After lunch, we will continue our tour with a visit to Hagia Sophia, originally built as a church by Constantine The Great in the 4th Century and used as a mosque during the Ottoman era until 1935 (Today it is a museum encompassing both Christianity and Islam.) We'll also visit the Blue Mosque, famous for its beautiful blue tiles decorating the interior walls. The Blue Mosque was built in the 1609 C E, and both it and Hagia Sophia were considered masterpieces of their period.  Last on our itinerary is the Basilica Cistern, the best known and the largest of the closed cisterns built under the Justinian basilica in the 6th century. ''From Russia with love'' James Bond movie was filmed here in late 1960's. Later, we'll discover the highlights of the ancient hippodrome – The Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and others. Later, we'll discover one of the great restaurants of Istanbul.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Arcadia Blue

Day 3: Fly to Cappadocia – Afternoon of Exploration

We’ll take a 1-hour morning flight to Kayseri on Turkish Air departing at 9:45 a.m. and arrives at 11:05 a.m. Then we will transfer to the Cappadocia area, a 45-minute drive through beautiful and interesting valleys. Cappadocia is surely one of the most beautiful and unusual spots in the world, with a moon-like landscape boasting a variety of weird but interesting natural formations, including pyramid-shaped rocks and sensuously carved fertile valleys that are volcanic in origin.  After we check in to our hotel, we'll explore this lava covered ancient landscape. We'll walk up to Uchisar Castle to see the complete surrounding valleys of the area. We'll then drive to the famous Greek village, Sinasos for lunch in an old 18th century Greek home run by the people who were born in the same house. After lunch, we'll stop at some of the famous panoramic viewpoints overlooking the valley. Later on, we'll have the option to walk in one of the famous valleys in the area before returning to our hotel. 

NOTE: On request and at an additional cost, we can arrange you a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Please contact our office for details.  

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Lykia Lodge

Day 4: The Highlights of Cappadocia

We'll start our day by visiting the very important open air museum, Goreme St. Basil's valley, including the best survived ''Dark Church'' with its well preserved frescoes. We will also tour the other important churches of this area, and one of the 36 underground cities where Christians sought refuge from invading Arab Armies in the 8th century.  These underground cities are over 10 stories deep, and are a fascinating and important aspect of the history of Cappadocia.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Lykia Lodge

Day 5: Fly to Erzurum via Istanbul

After breakfast, we'll transfer back to the Kayseri airport and fly to Erzurum via Istanbul.  Our flight departs Kayseri at 11:50 a.m., and arrives in to Istanbul at 1:20 p.m.  Our connecting flight to Erzurum flight departs at 4:20 p.m., and arrives in to Erzurum at 6:15 p.m. Upon arrival in Erzurum, we'll transfer to our hotel, and then have a little time to check in before meeting up in the evening for a stroll through the bazars, and dinner.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Palan Otel

Day 6: Highlights of Erzurum – Transfer to Dogubeyazit

Today we'll visit the 14th century Yakutiye madrasa by Cemalleddin Yakut the Ilhanid Mongol ruler.  Later we will also visit the Cifte Minareli Madrasa dating back to 13th century, dedicated by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad to his daughter Hudavend. We'll also visit one of the earliest Seljuk mosques, the 12th century Ulu Camii. After lunch, we transfer drive to Dogubeyazit (3.5 – 4 hours transfer).

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Butik Ertur

Day 7: Begin our Climb – To Camp 1 at 10,500'

After breakfast, we'll transfer to Eli Village on Mount Ararat, located at 7,200-feet. Our luggage will be packed up, and carried by horses, as we begin our walk up to Camp 1, located at 10,500-feet (3 – 4 hours). Our camp staff will have a warm meal waiting for us as we arrive. We'll camp here at Camp 1 tonight.  Temperatures may drop to 0° or lower during the night, so we'll retire to our tents.  (3,300-feet of ascent, 3 – 4 hours)
 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 8: Day 2 of our Climb – Acclimatization Hike to 13,120'

Today we will continue our hike up to 13,120-feet. Today's hike is for acclimatization purposes, but we will return to Camp 1 again, where we will sleep a second night. (2,620-feet of ascent, 5 – 6 hours).

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 9: Day 3 of our Climb – To Camp 2 at 13,600'

Today we hike to Camp 2 at 13,600-feet. Our belongings will be carried by horses, and will meet us at camp. After we arrive at Camp 2, we'll settle in, eat a hardy meal, and check prepare our equipment for the next big day – summit day! Temperatures may drop to -10° or lower during the night, so we'll huddle in our warm tents. (3,100-feet of ascent, 5 – 6 hours)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 10: Summit Day

Today is the big day – summit day! We'll wake up before the sun rises, and have a good breakfast before we begin our ascent. Our summit of Mount Ararat requires no technical skills, but it is a long and strenuous walk. Because the summit is on a glacier, we will need to wear crampons for the last 650-feet. After 4 to 6 hours of hiking at a steady pace, we'll finally reach the summit at 16,854-feet, where breathtaking panoramic views over Turkey, Iran and Armenia reward our effort. We can expect temperatures as low as -15° at the top. After taking some time to enjoy the view and take a few summit photos, we'll return to Camp 2 where we'll have a well-deserved dinner and rest, before packing up our tents and baggage, and continuing down to Camp 1 for the night. (3,250-feet of ascent, 6,350-feet of descent, all day)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 11: Descend to Dogubeyazit – Agri

We'll have breakfast in Camp 1 and then walk down to Eli Village (2 hours) where our minibus will meet and transfer to Dogubeyazit. After lunch, we'll go for a visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace, one of the great samples of Ottoman Empire palaces from 17th century. Located high on a hill, the palace has a spectacular view of the Mt. Ararat. We'll then continue on to the town of Agri, where we stay the night.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Grand Cenas

Day 12: Return to Istanbul

We'll transfer to the Agri Airport in the morning and fly back to Istanbul departing at 12:45 p.m. and arriving at 3:05 p.m. Upon arrival in Istanbul, we'll transfer to our hotel and spend our final night in Istanbul.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Arcadia Blue

Day 13: Departure

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the Istanbul airport for departure flights homeward.

NOTE – The internal flight times indicated in this itinerary are subject to change.

  • Breakfast

Butik Ertur — Dogubeyazit

Camp

Grand Cenas — Agri

Hotel Arcadia Blue — Istanbul

HOTEL ARCADIA BLUE ISTANBUL, recently renovated, re-opened its doors in May 2013.  Its current architecture is very modernistic and elegantly lean, where Norm Architects with their contemporary style, gracefully established a relationship with the Sultanahmet area, where the hotel is located. Namely a district, where the historical texture of ?stanbul is the most intensive.  The rooms, having bathrooms with Savannah marble flooring, a wall of blue tiles and glass surfaces, are completed with the comfort of air conditioning, mini bar, satellite TV, direct phone connection, free wireless internet access, safe, hair dryer and coffee tray with water heater.

Lykia Lodge — Cappadocia

Palan Otel — Erzurum

Dates and Pricing

Jul 21, 2015 - Aug 02, 2015

pricing

2015 Prices
$5,195 (6-16 members)
$500 internal airfare
$700 single supplement

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