Gods, Myths and Sanctuaries of Asia Minor (Turkey)


June 28 – July 13, 2013

Andrew L. Goldman
Amy E. Goldman

We will visit sites linked to major and minor gods and mythological characters, discussing both the physical remains at the sites and the literary texts that inform our understanding of their associated myths and rituals. Participants will begin the journey in the city of Antalya on the southern Turkish coast, with visits to nearby Perge and the Antalya Museum. After excursions to Olympos, the mysterious flames of the Chimera and the sanctuary of Leto near Xanthos, the group will then continue on to Fethiye to enjoy a day touring the Lycian coast by boat. Turning inland, we will then visit Hierapolis, Aphrodisias and, Nysa. The tour will then head southwards to ancient Halicarnassus and embark on a ferry trip to Knidos. We will then spend several days visiting major sites along the western coast of Turkey, including Didyma, Priene, Ephesus, Claros, Pergamum, Assos, Tenedos, and Alexander Troas. After a day exploring ancient Troy and discussing the events of the Homeric conflict, the group will cross the Hellespont via ferry and proceed to Istanbul. The trip will end with a day in modern Istanbul, where we will tour the major ancient monuments, visit the famous Archaeology Museum, and get a taste of modern Turkish life.


Departure Day from the USA on Friday, June 28

Participants are responsible for travel to Antalya, to arrive by 5 pm on June 29 for the start of the program. Antalya may be reached by flying to Istanbul and then taking a domestic flight to Antalya, or by flying to any major European city and taking an inexpensive direct flight to Antalya. Participants who wish to arrive early in Antalya may make arrangements for hotels through our Turkish affiliate agent.

Day 1 Saturday, June 29 Antalya

Arrival in Antalya. Welcome meeting and orientation (5-6 pm), followed by dinner in a local restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean.

Accommodation: Hotel Adonis
Meals: Dinner in a local restaurant

Day 2 Sunday, June 30 Antalya

Spend morning at site of Perge, then visit the Archaeological Museum in Antalya. After lunch, a free afternoon to shop and relax.

Topics: Artemis Pergaea (at Perge); Hercules Sarcophagi, Perge Sculpture and Theater Reliefs (Antalya Museum)
Accommodation: Hotel Adonis
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 3 Monday, July 01 Fethiye

Leave Antalya in the early morning and drive to the ancient site of Olympos and its chief deity, Hephaestus. From there, a short hike to the Chimera, where natural flames burst up from the surrounding rock. After lunch, drive along the coast to the sanctuary of Leto and nearby Xanthus. End the day in Fethiye.

Topics: Hephaestus and Chimera (near Olympos); Leto, Apollo, and Artemis (at Letoon); Harpies (Xanthos)
Accommodation: Hotel Atapark
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 4 Tuesday, July 02 Fethiye

Boat tour along the Lycian coast. Float around for the day, enjoy a relaxing time in the Mediterranean in the company of Poseidon. Hiking trip for interested parties to the ancient (and unexcavated) city of Lydae.

Topics: The Gods of Lycia; Poseidon
Accommodation: Hotel Atapark
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner in a local restaurant

Day 5 Wednesday, July 03 Pamukkale

Leave Fethiye for the ancient site of Kaunos and its famous sanctuaries, where the giant stone Bothros and the Caunian God were worshipped. From Kaunos drive through Mugla and head inland to western Phrygia. Arrive at the ancient site of Hierapolis; discuss its cults to the Anatolian gods and visit the mysterious Plutonion, an ancient entrance to the underworld. End the day in Pamukkale at a thermal hotel.

Topics: Bothros sanctuary (at Kaunos); Hades (at Hierapolis)
Accommodation: Hotel Richmond Thermal
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 6 Thursday, July 04 Bodrum

Leave Pamukkale and drive to Aphrodisias (Geyre), with a visit to the archaeological site and its temples to Aphrodite and the Imperial cult. Continue on to the ancient city of Nysa, birthplace of Dionysus. From there, drive past the sanctuary to Hekate at Lagina (having viewed her statue in the Antalya Museum), with the seaside town of Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) as our final destination.

Topics: Aphrodite, Sebasteion/Imperial Cult of Rome (at Aphrodisias); Dionysus (at Nysa); Hekate (at Lagina)
Accommodation: Hotel Azka
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 7 Friday, July 05 Bodrum

Set out by ferry to the Datca peninsula and a visit to the site of Knidos, once home to Praxiteles’ famous statute of Aphrodite. Return to Bodrum in the afternoon. NB: If ferry schedule does not permit us to visit Knidos, then the day trip will switch to Cos and the sanctuary of Asclepius. Optional: Visit to Bodrum Museum in afternoon.

Topics: Aphrodite (at Knidos) or Asclepius (at Cos)
Accommodation: Hotel Azka
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 8 Saturday, July 06 Kusadasi

Leave Bodrum and drive north, with a short stop at the Temple of Zeus at Euromus. Continue north with visits to two major sites of Ionia: the great sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma and the Hellenistic city of Priene. Arrive at Kusadasi and relax in the afternoon.

Topics: Zeus (at Euromus); Apollo (at Didyma); Athena (Polias) and Hermes (at Priene); myths of Ionia
Accommodation: Hotel Ilayda
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 Sunday, July 07 Kusadasi

Visit the ancient city of Ephesus including the Slope Houses, Artemis Temple and the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk in the morning. Afternoon free or, if time permits, an optional trip to Claros.

Topics: Artemis, the Imperial Cult (at Ephesus); Apollo (at Claros)
Accommodation: Hotel Ilayda
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10 Monday, July 08 Behramkale (near Assos)

Leave Kusadasi and head north to ancient Metropolis, to explore the recently discovered temple to Ares and the site of a 4,000-year old fertility cult to the Mother Goddess of Anatolia. Continue north to ancient Pergamum (mod. Bergama). Visit the Acropolis and the sanctuary of Demeter. Continue on to the Serapeion and the Asclepion in the afternoon. Drive to Behramkale.

Topics: Ares, the Mother Goddess (at Metropolis); Pan and Mt. Tmolus (near Sardis); Zeus, Demeter, Eleusinean Mysteries, Asclepius, Serapis (at Pergamum); Hera (view of island of Samos)
Accommodation: Hotel Assos Eden Gardens
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 11 Tuesday, July 09 Canakkale

Visit the ancient site of Assos, viewing Mt. Ida and island of Lesbos from the bus. Tour the Temple of Apollo Smintheus (Gulpinar), and if there is time, take a quick ferry trip to the island of Tenedos. Dinner and overnight in Tusan Hotel.

Topics: Apollo (at Assos, Tenedos); myths of the Troad; Athena (at Assos)
Accommodation: Hotel Tusan
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 12 Wednesday, July 10 Canakkale

Morning spent touring the ancient city of Troy, the walls and the excavations. Visit Canakkale museum in afternoon, followed by free time.

Topics: Homer, Heroes, Gods and War; the walls of Poseidon and the legend of Polyxena.
Accommodation: Hotel Tusan
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner in the hotel

Day 13 Thursday, July 11 Istanbul

Leave Canakkale and take the ferry to Eceabat, crossing the Hellespont/Dardanelles into Europe. Visit battlefields and cemeteries of Gallipoli. Drive to Istanbul. City orientation in the afternoon, with possible trips to the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.

Topics: Myths of the Hellespont; Urban foundation myths of Constantinople.
Accommodation: Hotel Grand Yavuz
Meals: Breakfast

Day 14 Friday, July 12 Istanbul

Explore the great ancient landmarks of Istanbul in Sultanahmet Square, including the Roman Hippodrome, the Hagia Sophia, the religious center of the Byzantine Empire, and the ancient cisterns (see the famous Medusa heads!). Then continue to the Istanbul Archeological Museum to view many Hellenistic and Roman treasures, with special discussion of the famous Alexander Sarcophagus from Sidon. Free time to shop in the afternoon. Finish the day with a farewell dinner in Kumkapi.

Topic: The arrival of Christianity and the End of Paganism in the Eastern Roman Empire.
Accommodation: Hotel Grand Yavuz
Meals: Breakfast and Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant

Price: $2,575: Single suppelment: $425