Turning Points of History: Istanbul to Athens

Detailed Itinerary (with optional Athens extension)

Monday & Tuesday, September 22 & 23, 2014 - Home | Istanbul, Turkey
Depart home on an overnight flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, which has lovely views of the Bosphorus. Gather for a festive welcome orientation and reception. Swiss Hotel (R)

Wednesday, September 24 - Istanbul (Embark)
Discover the masterpieces of the Old City, beginning with the Hippodrome, center of Byzantine civic life; the splendid Sultan Ahmet Mosque, commonly called the Blue Mosque for its dazzling blue Iznik tiles; and the breathtaking Hagia Sofia Basilica, the Eastern Roman Empire’s beacon of Christianity until, in 1453, Sultan Mehmet “The Conqueror” ended Byzantine reign in favor of the Ottomans. Later, wander through the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar before embarking the Sea Cloud and departing Istanbul. Sea Cloud (B,L,D)
Thursday, September 25 - At Sea | Gallipoli
The Sea Cloud majestically crosses the open water of the Marmara Sea and navigates through the iconic Hellespont (Dardanelles) strait, en route to the Gallipoli Peninsula, where a brutal conflict took place between Allied and Ottoman forces during World War I. During the Gallipoli Campaign, Kemal Ataturk forged his reputation as a defender of the motherland. Because of his heroics, he came to be known as the “Father of Modern Turkey.” Sea Cloud (B,L,D)
Friday, September 26 - Troy | Assos
Today, step back in time to the Bronze Age at the site of ancient Troy, where the Achaeans defeated the Trojans in the 12th century B.C. to avenge Paris’s kidnapping of Helen, Queen of Sparta, as dramatically recounted in Homer’s Iliad. Odysseus’s subsequent 10-year struggle to find his way home to Ithaca from Troy forms the basis of Homer’s Odyssey. Continue south to spectacularly situated Assos, site of one of the AIA’s first excavations (1881–83). It is also a recipient of the AIA’s Site Preservation grant, for conservation of the remains of its 6th-century B.C. Temple of Athena, which are integral to our understanding of Greek temple architecture. Sea Cloud (B,L,D)
Saturday, September 27 - Philippi, Greece
In one of the most famous episodes in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a few months before the Battle of Philippi Brutus is visited by a ghost who tells him, “I shall see thee at Philippi.” The ghost reappears the night before the battle and foreshadows Brutus’s defeat. The watershed Battle of Philippi was the final action in the civil war to avenge Julius Caesar’s murder. Here, in 42 B.C., forces marshaled by Mark Antony and Octavian defeated those of Caesar’s assassins, Brutus and Cassius. Explore the archaeological site and museum before visiting a local winery to sample its notable wines. Sea Cloud (B,L,D)
Sunday, September 28 - At Sea
Marvel at the agility of Sea Cloud’s crew members as they climb the rigging to unfurl the sails. Below decks, tour the original staterooms of Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton. The educational program continues as we sail past the peninsula of Mount Athos, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries. Sea Cloud (B,L,D)
Monday, September 29 - Thessaloniki | Vergina
From Thessaloniki, travel to Vergina (ancient Aigai), the capital of the Macedonian kingdom and site of the royal court, from whence Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander, set out on their history-making conquests. At the site of the ancient Macedonian monumental palace and family tombs, see the lavish mosaics and painted stucco decorations, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. Sea Cloud (B,L,D)
Tuesday, September 30 - At Sea
Continue the educational program and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Sail past Evvoia, site of the historic 480 B.C. second engagement of the Persian and Greek forces in their quest for world hegemony. Tonight, gather for the captain’s farewell dinner on board. Sea Cloud (B,L,D)
Wednesday, October 1 Athens
Bid good-bye to the Sea Cloud and disembark for an excursion to Marathon, site of the Greek defeat of Persian King Darius in 490 B.C. during the first Persian invasion of Greece. Today’s 26-plus-mile long-distance endurance race is called a “marathon” after the legend of a Greek runner who ran without stopping from Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians. Visit the Marathon Tomb, which holds the bodies of 192 Athenian warriors, and the Marathon Museum of the Olympic Games. Continue to Cape Sounion, site of the ruins of the ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon. Here, according to legend, Aegeus, king of Athens, leaped to his death, thus giving his name to the Aegean Sea. Check in to your resort hotel in Vouliagmeni, a half hour outside of Athens, in the late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure. Astir Palace Resort Hotel (B,L)
Thursday, October 2 - Athens / Home
Transfer to the airport for flights home or continue on with the optional extension in Athens. (B)
** Optional Post-Cruise Extension to Athens October 2–4, 2014
Even for those who have explored Athens before, and certainly for first-time visitors, this two-night optional extension in the company of Professor Connelly will be a real treat. Her insights into the Acropolis and surrounding sites, captured in her soon-to-be-released book The Parthenon Enigma, will imbue these iconic monuments with a special magic. Participants will also have time to explore the beautiful new Acropolis Museum; the Agora, the focus of public life in Athens, and its unique museum; the kerameikos, once the potters’ quarter of the city as well as an important cemetery with numerous funerary sculptures; the National Archaeological Museum, one of the world’s most significant museums devoted to ancient Greek art; and the Benaki Museum’s Islamic art collection. Extension details and pricing will be sent to confirmed participants or upon request.

If you have any additional questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).


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