Your Licensed Professional Tour Guide and private, deluxe, air-conditioned vehicle will meet you at the Kusadasi Pier and take you to Tire. This town is famous for its artisan crafts, in particular rope making. (Allegedly Mehmet the Conqueror, the Ottoman Sultan who conquered Istanbul in 1453 at the age of 22, used the ropes made in Tire to pull his boats over Istanbul’s hills and into the Golden Horn for the conquest!). Walking around the town, you will see artisans make horse shoes, saddles, quilts and embroideries, as well as people engaging in woodworking and felt making, all by hand and by using traditional methods. Tire also is full of beautiful 400-500 year-old buildings, including five Caravanserais (ancient road side inns), beautiful fountains, and a famous eight-domed central bazaar. And, if you happen to be there on a Tuesday, as an added bonus, you will be able to visit the Farmer’s Market that has been held for centuries, where locals sell not only vegetables, but also handicrafts and works of arts; it certainly makes a fun experience!
You will have lunch in Tire, which also has the most famous meatballs in the Aegean Region of Turkey (People drive for hours from other cities to taste them!)
After lunch, you will drive for about another hour to Birgi, located on the green slopes of the Bozdag Mountains. Famous for its Seljuk and Ottoman architecture, Birgi has been listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site since 1994. The history of Birgi goes back to 7th Century BCE. Originally called Dios Hieron, which means “Sanctuary of Zeus”, over time it was inhabited by Lydians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and finally the Turks.
Birgi has a great collection of protected Ottoman mansions nestled among centuries-old trees. One of the best preserved of these mansions is the Cakiraga Mansion, built in the 18th Century by the wealthy Cakiraga Family. It has 14 rooms on three floors. Famously, Cakiraga had two wives, one from Istanbul and one from Izmir, and he had built separate wings of the mansion for each wife, each with panoramic city view paintings of their respective cities so that the wives would not get homesick!
There are over 100 historical buildings in this town that are officially registered by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. Notable buildings you might see include the Aydinoglu Mehmet Bey Mosque (Grand Mosque) which was built by the founder of the Aydinids dynasty 1313, the Birgi Karaoglu Mosque, and the Fortress Madrasa where Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror was educated.
This is indeed a tour that would take you back hundreds of years in time!
There will be a shopping opportunity before returning to your cruise ship.
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