Tours

crete-15

Cyprus, Crete & Santorini – 2015

Our odyssey will explore these maritime civilizations whose intrepid sailors and merchants linked pre- and ancient Greek and Roman cultures with the eastern civilizations of Anatolia, and the Levantine centers in Egypt and Mesopotamia. From Neolithic villages to the Bronze Age palatial cultures of the Minoans, Mycenaeans and Cypriotes, then on to Classical, Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras, our Aegean adventure unfolds a clear and sparkling development of cultural achievements.

September 29 – October 17, 2015 (19 Days)

This tour has passed.
Take a look at our other tours

Tour Description

Our odyssey will explore these maritime civilizations whose intrepid sailors and merchants linked pre- and ancient Greek and Roman cultures with the eastern civilizations of Anatolia, and the Levantine centers in Egypt and Mesopotamia. From Neolithic villages to the Bronze Age palatial cultures of the Minoans, Mycenaeans and Cypriotes, then on to Classical, Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic eras, our Aegean adventure unfolds a clear and sparkling development of cultural achievements. After a nine-day tour of Cypriote sites (south and north), spanning some 9,000 years of history, we fly to Crete for an extensive seven-day exploration of Minoan archaeology. Sunny skies, excellent beaches and delicious Mediterranean cuisine will enhance our discovery of these ancient civilizations.

ITINERARY

Tuesday, September 29: Independent departures from our home cities on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 30: LARNACA: The tour begins in Larnaca. This evening we meet with Professor Stieglitz for dinner. Golden Bay Hotel.
Meals: Dinner

Thursday, October 1: LARNACA: After an opening lecture, our touring begins with the site of Kition and its museum. Originating in the Mycenaean period, Kition became a place of commercial importance for its rich metal trade. In about 900 BCE, the Phoenicians established a colony here, and it later became a way station for pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Touring includes the mosque of Umm Haram, tomb of the maternal aunt of the Prophet Muhammad, one of the holiest shrines of Islam, as well as the superb Byzantine mosaics in Kiti Church, St. Lazarus Church and Pierides Museum. Golden Bay Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Friday, October 2: LARNACA: A short drive north to Nicosia, site of ancient Ledra. As we explore the oldest parts of this city, founded in 280 BCE, we will see the remains of its pillaging by the Mamelukes and occupation by the Venetians and Ottomans. After visiting the Cyprus Archaeological Museum, we will visit the Bank of Cyprus which houses an excellent Numismatic Museum. We then return to Larnaca. Golden Bay Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Saturday, October 3: NICOSIA: We cross into Northern Cyprus and begin our touring at Soli, rebuilt about 600 BCE on the site of the older Sillu, one of the ten Greek Kingdoms of Cyprus. After visiting its famous temples and theater, we continue to the Palace of Vouni (provided that the road is passable), built in the early 5th century BCE by the pro-Persian king Doxandros of Marion to control the pro-Greek city of Soli. Our touring continues in the village of Morphou/Guzelyurt, where we will examine the material from the Bronze Age settlement at Toumba tou Skourou at the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology and the excavated remains of an early Bronze Age settlement at Philia. At our last stop today, Myrtou-Pigades, excavations have revealed a stone altar with bull horns linking this site with Minoan Crete. Holiday Inn.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Sunday, October 4: NICOSIA: Returning to Northern Cyprus, we visit Salamis, believed to have been founded about 1180 BCE by Teukros on his return from the Trojan War. It became the most powerful city-kingdom in Cyprus and continued its prominence until it was sacked by Arab raiders in the 7th century. Our visit will include the Royal Tombs, theater, gymnasium, Roman baths and Zeus Temple as well as its small museum. Our final stop today will be Enkomi, the Late Bronze Age capital of Alashiya, predecessor to Salamis. Holiday Inn.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Monday, October 5: PAPHOS: Today we will drive into the Troodos Mountains to visit several picturesque Byzantine churches including Agios Ioannis Lampadistis, which houses a fine Pantokrator in the dome and Panagia tou Moutoulla, one of the oldest of the Troodos churches (1279). Here we will see rare frescoes of St. George and St. Christopher, both dressed in Byzantine armour. Coral Beach Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Tuesday, October 6: PAPHOS: Touring begins at the Monastery of Ayios Neophytos and the nearby Roman remains, including the House of Dionysios with its well-preserved mosaics of mythological subjects, and the Tombs of the Kings, a Hellenistic cemetery of monumental tombs. Coral Beach Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Wednesday, October 7: LIMASSOL: En route to Limassol, we stop at Petra tou Romiou, legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Our touring continues at Kourion, one of the most important and dramatic ancient sites in Cyprus. The sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, theater and baths of the acropolis command a spectacular panoramic sea view from its heights. The day ends with a visit to Kolossi Castle, built by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Grand Resort Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Thursday, October 8: LIMASSOL: We continue to the Neolithic sites of Khirokitia and Kalavassos. Khirokitia, dating from circa 5800-5250 BCE, is one of the earliest-known sites on Cyprus. Our walk along the excavated main street lined with stone beehive-type houses offers an opportunity to study its many layers of occupation. Our day ends at Amathous. During its long history, it served as a harbor to the Phoenicians, while under the Romans it was the capital of one of the four districts of the island. Our visit will be to Amathous’s celebrated classical city. Grand Resort Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Friday, October 9: HERAKLION: After a morning at leisure, we depart for the airport and our flight to Crete. Astoria Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Saturday, October 10: HERAKLION: The focus of our six-day stay is the Minoan civilization flourishing here from 2000 to 1400 BCE. This maritime civilization was noted for its marvelous palaces and artistic creations. Our touring will begin with a walking tour of Heraklion with some free time to explore on your own before meeting for our tour of the excellent Heraklion Museum. Astoria Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast

Sunday, October 11: HERAKLION: We will drive through Gortyn, the Roman capital of Crete, to Minoan Phaistos, where the famous Phaistos disk was discovered. After visiting the palace, we continue to Ayia Triada, the villa of a Minoan baron, beautifully situated overlooking both the plain and the Mediterranean Sea. We stop in Matala for lunch and return to Heraklion. Astoria Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Monday, October 12: AYIOS NIKOLAOS: Touring begins at the palace of Knossos, where, according to tradition, Minos conversed with Zeus in order to obtain the laws of his kingdom. The palace buildings have been reconstructed and preserved, giving us an excellent picture of royal lifestyle. At Vathypetro we visit a Minoan villa of the 16th century BCE and the museum at Archanes, housing the remains of a Minoan palace believed to be the summer residence of the kings of Knossos. The Minos Beach Hotel will be our home for the next three nights. Minos Beach Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Tuesday, October 13: AYIOS NIKOLAOS: Touring continues at Gournia, where the remains of an ordinary ancient Minoan town, with small houses crowded along narrow cobblestone lanes, are laid out much the same as Cretan mountain villages of today. We then continue to the Sitia Museum, which houses the finds from the area. Minos Beach Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Wednesday, October 14: AYIOS NIKOLAOS: Touring begins at the Minoan palace of Mallia. Excavations here have revealed Neolithic habitation, including the first palace erected circa 1900 BCE, about the same time as the old palaces at Knossos and Phaistos. We will make a brief stop at the Temple of Apollo Delphinios 8th century BCE in ancient Dreros, one of the earliest temples to have survived in Greece. Lastly, we visit the large Minoan villa at Nirou Chani. Forty rooms have been excavated on the ground level along with courtyards and evidence of stairways leading to an upper floor. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Minos Beach Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Thursday, October 15: Santorini: A ferry brings us to Santorini (ancient Thera). Our two nights here offer ample time to explore the maze of picturesque streets easily reached from our hotel. This afternoon we will visit the local museum. We will gather for our farewell dinner this evening. Atlantis Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Friday, October 16: Santorini: Touring begins at Akrotiri, where we will explore a Late Minoan city destroyed by earthquakes and a great volcanic eruption circa 1500 BCE. Although ancient Thera was occupied before the 9th century BCE, our visit will be to the city dating from the Ptolemis, under whose rule Thera became an important naval base. From there they could control the Aegean. Atlantis Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Saturday, October 17: Today we will have one group transfer to the airport at a time convenient to the majority of the group.
Meals: Breakfast

Additional Information

Scholar

Led by Prof. Robert R. Stieglitz Rutgers University