Sunrise Over the Levant: The Eastern Mediterranean by Land and Sea 13 MAR 4 APR 2016

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1 Sunrise Over the Levant: The Eastern Mediterranean by Land and Sea 13 MAR 4 APR 2016 Tour Leaders Code: Iain Shearer Physical Ratings Join Iain Shearer on this fascinating tour and cruise, exploring the extraordinary history of the Persian Gulf, Jordan, the Red Sea and the coasts and islands of the Eastern Mediterranean.

2 Overview Tour Highlights Led by Iain Shearer, this 23-day quest by land and sea uncovers spectacular architecture and scenery. Explore the epic, interconnected histories of the Persian Gulf, Jordan, the Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, her coasts and islands. Meet Minoans, Hellenes, Romans, Nabataeans, Byzantines, Umayyad Caliphs, Crusading Knights, Mamluk Sultans, Venetian and Genoese merchants, Ottoman Turkish Sultans, Portuguese Sea Captains and British spies and adventurers. Uncover the vital role in world history of the Red Sea incense trade, the transformative powers of Hellenic culture and colonisation, and medieval commerce and pilgrimage. Explore the mysteries and power of paganism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their crossfertilizations throughout history, visiting key sites of all faiths including: The Dead Sea, Greek temples, early churches and important mosques. Immerse yourself in the fabulous collection of the world s greatest Islamic art museum in Doha, with treasures from Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and medieval Spain. Explore Jordan s magnificent Nabataean Petra and Graeco-Roman Jerash, its atmospheric Umayyad desert fortresses, and Madaba and Mount Nebo, seedbeds of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Follow in the wakes of Hellenic and Roman, Jewish and Byzantine, Venetian and Genoese maritime merchants, masters of the Red Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, visiting historic ports including Aqaba, Limassol (Cyprus) and Rhodes. Stroll the streets of the great Graeco-Roman centres of Asia: Perge, Aspendos, Ephesus and Aphrodisias. Enjoy the tranquillity of Greek Islands from the ship s deck while going ashore to explore Santorini s Minoan Akrotiri and Delos Sanctuary of Apollo. Visit great crusader fortresses in Jordan and Rhodes and wander through the lovely medieval Venetian Rhodian city, exploring fortifications and grand palaces of the Knights Hospitaller. Revel in artistic masterpieces from Minoan, Mycenaean, Archaic and Classical Greek art as we end our journey across 5000 years of human achievement, with Athens sublime Acropolis and collections of the National Archaeological Museum. 23 days in the Eastern Mediterranean Overnight Doha (2 nights) Amman (3 nights) Dead Sea (2 nights) Petra (2 nights) Aqaba (1 night) Aboard the Aegean Odyssey (11 nights) Athens (1 night). Overview Join Iain Shearer on an epic tour and cruise from Doha (Qatar) to Athens exploring the extraordinary interconnected histories of the Persian Gulf, Jordan, the Red Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean s coasts and islands. We study the intense trade in incense, spices, precious gems and glorious silks and textiles to the western termini of the epic transcontinental Silk Routes. Events in this region changed world history: the rise of Semitic and Hellenic culture and Greek colonisation, the triumphs of the Persians and the conquests of Alexander the Great. The Nabataeans formed a state and constructed Petra. Roman imperialism was transformed into a distinctive Byzantine culture. Islam changed the region forever. Crusaders invaded the Holy Land to protect Christian pilgrims and founded the Knights Hospitaller. Genoese and Venetian traders exploited the Crusades, and then, when the Crusader States collapsed the Islamic Ayyubids, Mamluks, and Seljuks triumphed. Ottoman hegemony followed the collapse of Byzantium. When Ottoman power itself Page 2

3 waned, Portuguese, French and British colonialism was followed by the emergence of modern Middle Eastern States. We begin this extraordinary tour as guests of the stunning new Islamic Museum in Doha. We journey through Jordan to Roman Jerash and unforgettable Petra. In Amman and at Jordan s atmospheric desert palaces we explore the culture of the Umayyad caliphate. At the American Centre for Oriental Research we examine the fascinating Petra scrolls and from the Dead Sea we explore Madaba s wonderful Early Christian mosaics and visit Mount Nebo, where Moses gazed upon the Promised Land. We board our small cruise ship at Aqaba and cruise the Red Sea, passing through the Suez Canal to Cyprus, Rhodes, the Turkish coast, the Greek Islands of Santorini, Delos and Mykonos before landing at Athens. Our voyage takes us to ancient Kourion (Cyprus), the Graeco-Roman cities of Perge, Aspendos, Ephesus and Aphrodisias, Minoan Akrotiri on Santorini, Venetian and Hospitaller Rhodes and the wonderful Sanctuary of Apollo on Delos and Athens Acropolis. The vast history you ll trace will bring a deep understanding of this fascinating region, still so central to world events. Page 3

4 Leaders Iain Shearer ASA's Academic Coordinator Graduate Uni. College (London), Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society & Sackler Scholar. Archaeologist in North Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Middle East. Iain leads ASA s Silk Route, Iran, Oman, Algeria & Eastern Turkey tours. ASA's Academic Coordinator Iain Shearer is an archaeologist who has always been fascinated by the many cultures and stories to be unearthed and explored within the Islamic World. During the last 20 years, he has worked as an archaeologist in North Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the Arab Middle East and was appointed a Fellow of The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in Iain has successfully led a number of tours for the British Museum, The Traveller, ACE Cultural Tours and Distant Horizons across the Maghreb, the Arab Middle East, Iran and Central Asia, and was the Lonely Planet author for the Saudi Arabia and Hajj guides in 2009, as well as the upcoming edition for 2013, Lonely Planet Iran 2012 and the author of the forthcoming updated Bradt guide to Iran. Iain is passionate about exploring and explaining the thrilling histories and cultures of the Arabic, Persian and Turkic speaking peoples and hosted an episode of National Geographic and Lonely Planet's Roads Less Travelled to Kazakhstan, which still lurks darkly in the nether regions of cable television, airline entertainment systems and the internet. He recently left the Middle East department of the British Museum where he was the Sackler Scholar for Afghanistan and Iran and is currently dividing his time between Sydney, the UK, the Maghreb, the Middle East and Central Asia. See YouTube short documentaries by Iain Shearer Cathedral of Holy Ascension in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Lonely Planet travel writer Exploring the Green Market in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Lonely Planet travel writer Page 4

5 Itinerary The following itinerary describes daily activities which may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight and cruise schedules etc. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches & evening meals indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meals. Cruising and Learning For travellers who would prefer a more leisurely ASA program, this tour combines visits to Doha, Jordan and Athens with a 12-day cruise with Voyages to Antiquity along the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean. We take advantage of their small, luxury cruise ship, their official lecture program and on-shore excursions, which we supplement with our own exclusive ship-board talks and shore excursions. The times for the lectures given during the cruise are subject to confirmation by the cruise coordinator and will be confirmed each day either in the Daily Journal or by your group leader, Iain Shearer, whilst on board. Doha, Qatar - 2 nights Day 1: Sunday 13 March, Arrive Doha Welcome Meeting & Introduction Orientation coach tour Dhow Cruise Walking tour of Souq Waqi & the Falcon Souq Light evening meal Participants taking the ASA designated flight will arrive at Doha airport in the early morning. After clearing immigration and customs a representative from Gulf Adventures will meet us in the Arrival Hall. We then transfer by private coach to the Mövenpick Hotel overlooking the city s famous seafront boulevard. Breakfast will be available on arrival. Page 5

6 Following a morning at leisure to rest after your flight, there will be an orientation coach tour of Doha, including Doha Fort and the waterfront Al-Corniche. We also take a dhow out on the harbour to view the sparkling city-skyline of Doha. We disembark after an hour of freshening breeze for a late afternoon walk through Doha s Souq Waqif, the restored souq that is the traditional centre of life in the city. Nearby is the Falcon Souq, which sells raptors and all the paraphernalia needed for the traditional sport of falconry, one of the most venerable pastimes in the Islamic world and subject of many medieval treatises, including that (in Arabic) of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Following a light evening meal at a local restaurant in the souq we return to the hotel for an early night s rest. (Overnight Doha) BD Day 2: Monday 14 March, Doha Introductory talk at the Museum Doha Museum of Islamic Art Welcome Evening Meal at the Shebestan Palace Restaurant The undoubted highlight of our visit to Doha is today s behind-the-scenes VIP exploration of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art. This architectural masterwork of the elderly I.M. Pei, who came out of retirement to design this stunning complex, is perched like a medieval palace on the waters of the Persian Gulf. It is arguably the finest museum of Islamic art in the world, with a priceless collection of ceramics, glass, manuscripts, metalwork and textiles. Highlights include ceramics and metalwork from medieval Islamic Spain, including the exquisite bronze Doha Hind, a fountainhead from Madinat al-zahra, the wonderful country palace of Abd-ar-Rahman III alnasir, ( ) Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba, a descendant of the Umayyad dynasty whose country palaces we will visit in Jordan. The museum also possesses a magnificent collection of Turkish, Indian and Persian manuscripts commissioned by Ottoman, Mughal and Safavid merchants, princes and scholars. In the extraordinary textile section we shall revel in the only surviving interior panels of a 13th-century Mongol tent, the earliest tent material in existence. Amongst the array of fabulous carpets is a fascinating example of a Central Asian 15th-century chessboard carpet, decorated with a grid pattern and used for playing chess. Also from Central Asia is an exquisite tiled tomb from Khiva, Uzbekistan. We shall be hosted by museum curatorial staff who are Iain s friends, and we gain access to an undreamt of behind the scenes view of the museum and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to handle beautiful objects from the permanent collection. We ll start our visit to the museum with a short introductory lecture before exploring the collections, and enjoy a fabulous lunch in the glamorous restaurant reserved for VIPs. This evening we enjoy a splendid welcome meal in one of the city s finest restaurants - The Shebestan Palace, serving traditional Persian cuisine in a magnificent setting. (Overnight Doha) BLD Amman, Jordan - 3 nights Day 3: Tuesday 15 March, Doha Amman Late morning flight to Amman Evening meal at the Fakhr El-Din Restaurant Today we take a late morning flight to Amman, Jordan. On arrival we shall drive to our hotel for check-in. This evening we dine at the Fakhr El-Din Restaurant, one of the leading Lebanese restaurants in Amman, located in a house once owned by Jordan s first Prime Minister, Mr Fawzi Al-Mulki. (Overnight Amman) BD Page 6

7 Day 4: Wednesday 16 March, Amman Roman theatre of Amman The Jordan Museum American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR) - subject to confirmation in 2016 We begin our exploration with a visit to the beautifully preserved 2nd century AD Roman theatre of Amman, or Philadelphia, as she was known to her Roman and Greek-speaking inhabitants. Philadelphia was an integral unit of the Decapolis, an informal league of ten Greek-speaking cities of the eastern Roman Empire that were linked by geography, culture and language. Philadelphia s theatre was constructed during the reign of Antonius Pius ( AD), seating 6000 citizens and orientated north to protect theatregoers from the glare of the harsh desert sun. We then travel to the Jordan Museum, recently expanded and modernised, with a collection covering 1.5 million years of human activity in the landscapes of modern Jordan. The museum visit is designed to illustrate and contextualise the many cultural and archaeological sites we shall visit on our exploration of this fascinating country and includes some of the priceless Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered by a Palestinian shepherd in We enjoy lunch in Amman before heading to the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), one of the most active archaeological and historical research bodies in the Middle East. Part of our private tour includes an examination of the famous Petra Scrolls, dated ca. 537 to 594 AD, thanks to a law promulgated by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian insisting on calendrical dates at the beginning and end of all legal documents. The Petra scrolls vary in size from a single sheet listing stolen goods (P. Petra 6, L. 28 cm), to the exceptionally long P. Petra 2 (L. 8.5 m), an agreement concerned with inherited property. The cache of scrolls deals with real-estate transactions, legal disputes, contracts, division of property, marriages, dowries, and inheritance. The central figures of the archive are Theodoros, son of Obodianos, who was deacon and later archdeacon in the church, his extended family and social peers. The language of the scrolls indicates that the people of Petra at this time were speaking an early form of Arabic. (Overnight Amman) BL Day 5: Thursday 17 March, Amman Desert Fortresses - Amman Qasr Kharana Qasr Amra Qasr Azraq Qasr Amman Short coach orientation tour and walk through downtown Amman We depart early this morning for an exploration of glorious Umayyad fortified palaces constructed within the desert environs of Amman. These Umayyad palaces were not dissimilar to medieval European castles, as they combined an economy of agricultural industry with imperial domination of local tribes. The palaces functioned as political centres and operated as elegant resting places for Umayyad dignitaries as they travelled their domains. We head into the desert to visit Qasr Kharana first, built in the style of a small square Byzantine border fortress, before heading onto Qasr Amra, a small and enigmatic foundation consisting primarily of an audience hall and a series of hamams, or bathing rooms. Qasr Amra s audience hall is decorated with startling frescoes of hunting parties, women, and contemporary rulers paying homage to the Umayyads, while astronomical and astrological designs decorate a dome in the hamam. We then continue on to Qasr Azraq, constructed from the region s black basalt, which dominates the local oasis and takes advantage of Page 7

8 the strategic position of four abundant springs. The fortress was probably begun during the 2nd century BC by Imperial Rome, and was again utilised for martial purpose by T.E. Lawrence, who used Qasr Azraq as his base during the winter of Following lunch at the Sufra Restaurant in Amman, we explore the Umayyad Qasr Amman, or Citadel of Amman. Built on high ground at the centre of the old medieval city, the fortress constitutes a square audience hall with four iwans constructed in the Sassanian (Persian) style. Within the citadel is a small museum and from the commanding heights we look down upon the modern city of Amman and the remnants of Roman Philadelphia. We end our day with a short coach orientation tour of the city, and a walk through downtown Amman finishing at the famous Hashem Restaurant for a light dinner of falafel, hummus, Arabic bread, mint tea and Arabic sweets. (Overnight Amman) BLD Dead Sea, Jordan - 2 nights Day 6: Friday 18 March, Amman Jerash Ajlun - Dead Sea Graeco-Roman city of Jerash Ajlun Castle and Mosque This morning we drive 40kms north from Amman to another Graeco-Roman city of the Decapolis: Jerash was a foundation of Seleucid Hellenistic Kings. Jerash was incorporated into the expanding Roman Empire and with the other nine Greek-speaking cities of the Decapolis, formed a buffer zone between Roman imperial dominion, the Nabataean Arab kingdom to the south, and the Sassanian Persians to the east. Trajan s conquest of the 2nd century AD subjugated the Greek-speaking cities of the Middle East, the rebellious Jewish Kingdom and the wealthy mercantile Nabataean state, leading to Jerash being appointed capital of the phenomenally wealthy Roman province of Syria. The city s famed prosperity developed from international trade based on exploitation of the local agricultural base and her role as centre of Imperial Roman government. The Emperor Hadrian resided in the city for a period and a great deal of construction was undertaken during his reign. Unlike Palmyra or Petra, Jerash did not preserve her pre-roman character; the city plan is exclusively Roman, making Jerash one of the finest extant examples of Roman urban planning. The most important architectural remains include a large triumphal arch dedicated to Hadrian s visit in 129/130 AD, a large hippodrome, colonnaded cardo (main street), an almost unique colonnaded oval forum and grand temples dedicated to Zeus and Artemis. Following our lunch in Jerash we drive further north to explore Ajlun Castle and Mosque. Constructed by Izz al-din Usama, a commander and nephew of Salah ad-din al-ayyubi (Saladin), Ajlun citadel was built during Izz al-din Usama constructed this fortification in response to attacks from crusaders of the Latin Kingdom of Transjordan, based in the castles of Kerak and Belvoir. Ajlun Castle successfully dominated much of the Jordan Valley for the Ayyubid dynasty, controlling three key trade routes leading into the valley, (Wadi Kufranjah, Wadi Rajeb and Wadi al-yabes) and vital communication links between Damascus and Ayyubid dominions in the south. The citadel also protected fecund iron mines at Ajlun, vital for the production of famed Damascene steel swords. The original square keep with walls protected by four corner towers and a fosse, was extended by the Mamluk governor Aibak ibn Abdullah in , but the citadel lost strategic importance with the eviction of crusader knights from the castle of Kerak. Like so many fortifications in the Middle East, Ajlun was partly destroyed by a Mongol assault during 1260, but was repaired and rebuilt. The fortifications then continued in use as a Ottoman army stronghold until the Page 8

9 successful Arab revolt led by T.E. Lawrence in In the late afternoon we journey south to the Dead Sea where we check in to our luxury 5-star hotel. Situated on the edge of this famous salt lake, the hotel provides uninterrupted views across the vast sea towards the West Bank. (Overnight Dead Sea) BLD Day 7: Saturday 19 March, Dead Sea Mount Nebo Madaba Dead Sea Madaba Institute for Mosaic Art & Restoration (MIMAR) Madaba Archaeological Park Mosaic Map, Greek Orthodox Church of St George The Monastery of Sygha, Mount Nebo The Dead Sea & time at leisure This morning we shall travel from the Dead Sea to explore Mount Nebo and Madaba, a centre of early Christianity, which now shelters a large Palestinian population. Madaba was home to a very substantial Christian community and today is the seat of an Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan. During building work in the 20th century AD, a number of 1st Millennium BC Roman and Byzantine churches were unearthed, all of which were brightly decorated with fabulous mosaics. These churches often incorporated the architecture of earlier Roman palatial structures and one of these, the Hippolytus Hall, includes the vestibule of the Church of the Virgin, built above the hall of a 6th-century AD Madaba mansion. A border of acanthus scrolls depicting hunting and pastoral scenes highlights the four seasons in the corners of the mosaic. All of the early churches have been successfully preserved in the Madaba archaeological park. Without doubt, the most famous mosaic in Madaba covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St George with an extraordinary 6th-century AD mosaic map of Palestine, vividly depicting the holy city of Jerusalem at its centre. Comprising two million individual pieces of brightly-coloured local stone, the mosaic also depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns, as far away as the Nile Delta. While in Madaba we also visit MIMAR, the Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration. Originally set up as a school in 1992, its primary aim is to train Jordanian artists in the production and restoration of mosaics. Behind Madaba rises Mount Nebo, with commanding views over the Dead Sea and Palestine and Israel beyond. Mount Nebo is also known as Jabal Musa or Moses Mountain, because according to legend God granted Moses his dying wish to see the Promised Land by transporting him to the summit of Mount Nebo. In commemoration of this legend, a 4th-century chapel was erected at Sygha on Mount Nebo s highest crest, which was further extended during the 6th century AD. A later Byzantine monastery was constructed around the chapel and decorated with a series of detailed mosaic floors, including a vine of life and a cornucopia of animal life. From Madaba and Mount Nebo we return to the Dead Sea, the dividing line between Jordan and Israel, for time at leisure to enjoy a dip in the therapeutic saline waters, ideal for washing away the dust of desert exploration. (Overnight Dead Sea) BLD Petra, Jordan - 2 nights Day 8: Sunday 20 March, Dead Sea Umm Ar-Rasas Kerak Petra Page 9

10 Archaeological site of Umm ar-rasas Crusader Castle of Kerak We depart the Dead Sea and drive east once more to the gloriously atmospheric and little visited site of Umm ar-rasas. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004, most of the site, which began life as a Roman military camp and developed as a major provincial town in the 5th century AD, has not yet been excavated. Umm ar-rasas contains remains from the Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties (3rd to 9th centuries AD). The old town contains sixteen churches, most with well-preserved mosaic floors. Particularly noteworthy is the mosaic floor of the Church of Saint Stephen depicting a pictorial map of Roman and Byzantine towns in the region. Two square towers at Umm ar-rasas are almost certainly the only remnants of stylite pillars, of ascetic monks who spent time in isolation atop a column or tower. Simeon Stylites of Antioch is probably the most famous practitioner of this once widespread Christian tradition in the Middle East. From Umm ar-rasas we continue our journey to the famous 12th century crusader castle at Kerak. Initially constructed by Pagan, the butler of Fulk of Jerusalem during the 1140s AD to protect the eastern flanks of the Christian Kingdom of Outremer, Crac de Moabites (Karak in Moab) is one of the largest of all the crusader castles in the Middle East, rivaling Crac de Chevalier in Syria, for the strength, size and completeness of its architecture. The castle dominates the surrounding landscape and was expanded through the 12th and 13th century by local crusader Lords of Oultrejordain (Lords of Transjordan.) Besieged by Saladin after the Battle of Hattin in 1187, the castle held out for two long years before falling in Further expanded by Mamluk Sultans in the 13th century BC, it was only during the 19th century that Kerak finally lost its position as the dominant fortification in the region. As with Ajlun, Kerak was used by Ottoman forces until their expulsion in From Kerak we drive south along ancient trade routes to the ancient city of Petra, with Maidan Salah in modern Saudi Arabia, the joint capital of the Nabataean Kingdom. The Nabataeans were Semitic Arabicspeaking nomads who settled in towns during the 4th century BC and quickly developed into a powerful mercantile kingdom controlling the phenomenally lucrative spice trade in frankincense and myrrh, vital for religious practice in temples from the western Mediterranean, to the highlands of modern Afghanistan. The Nabataeans combined their commercial acumen with a remarkable understanding of hydraulic technology, enabling them to develop agriculture in a hostile landscape and truly make the desert bloom. At its height, the Nabataean state stretched as far north as Damascus but Roman expansion gradually pushed against Nabataean borders, until Petra itself was annexed to the empire and went into decline. (Overnight Petra) BLD Day 9: Monday 21 March, Petra Full day tour of Petra Optional climb to the rock-cut façade, ad-deir (the Monastery) Optional evening excursion: Petra by night After an early breakfast we shall set off for the Petra site. Petra is located in a narrow valley flanked by spectacular cliffs that widens out to a broad desert floor. The streaked cliffs range in hue from sand through pink and rose to blood red. The city itself is nestled in the valley, but the Nabataeans carved a multitude of tomb chambers with monumental façades from the glowing rose cliffs. The spectacular beauty of these façades and their apparent antiquity led 19th-century Europeans to see Petra as an ancient and mythical centre of civilisation, although its actual peak was reached during the Hellenistic period. We shall enter Petra through a narrow winding canyon (Siq) with soaring sides that leads into the valley. The Page 10

11 first tomb façade that we shall see is the sublime Khazna Fara un, the Pharaoh s Treasury, which suddenly greets the passerby after the final twist of the Siq. As we continue down into the valley we shall pass countless tomb chambers finally reaching the Romano-Nabataean city itself. We shall visit the amphitheatre, several royal Nabataean tombs and the mausoleum of Sextus Florentinus. In the afternoon we shall walk down the colonnaded main axis of Petra, visiting along the way the marketplace, the nymphaeum, the temple of Dushara, the principal Nabataean deity, the temple of the Winged Lions, and a Byzantine church. We shall end the afternoon with an optional walk up the wadi or narrow valley leading to the tomb chamber and façade known as ad-deir, (the Monastery). The Deir is one of Petra s most spectacular sites and commands a tremendous view across east Jordan, but the climb involves over 900 steps and takes about 45 minutes each way. This evening there will be an optional walk, following a candle-lit path, through the Siq to the Khazna Fara un, which may be viewed at night by the light of 1,800 candles. (Overnight Petra) BLD Aqaba, Jordan - 1 night Day 10: Tuesday 22 March, Petra Wadi Rum Aqaba Little Petra Wadi Rum This morning we take a short drive to Beidah, or Little Petra. A similar entrance to Petra s Siq, Beidah s Siq al Barid Cold Siq is much shorter, and the site itself while sharing a name and landscape with the Nabataean city, is actually a Pre-Ceramic Neolithic village dating from the 7th millennium BC. From ancient Little Petra we drive to the iconic landscapes of Wadi Rum, a desert valley frequented by Lawrence of Arabia and later made famous through the glorious cinematography of David Lean s 1962 film. Following a brief orientation at the Visitors Centre, 4WD jeeps drive us to explore hidden valleys, red dunes, and petroglyphs scattered throughout the desert, finishing up at a Bedouin camp where we will be treated to a Bedouin feast for lunch. We then follow in T. E. Lawrence s footsteps and drive to Aqaba on the Red Sea. (Overnight Aqaba) BLD Cruising the Red Sea - Onboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 2 nights Day 11: Wednesday 23 March, Aqaba Embark Aegean Odyssey Orientation tour of Aqaba & Fort Museum Lunch at the Royal Yacht Club Restaurant Embark M.V. Aegean Odyssey We explore the port city of Aqaba today, with an orientation tour of this small but significant entrepôt sited on the coast of the Red Sea. Famously captured by T. E. Lawrence and his Arab allies in a lightening raid on 6th July 1917, the defeat of Aqaba s Ottoman garrison with virtually no losses energised Lawrence s Arab allies and is the foundation stone in the edifice of the myth of Lawrence of Arabia in the West. We enjoy a leisurely lunch at the famous Royal Aqaba Yacht Club before embarking our cruise ship, the Aegean Odyssey, which sets sail in the evening. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Page 11

12 Day 12: Thursday 24 March, At sea cruising the Red Sea Day at leisure Cruise Lecture Program Begins We spend today cruising the Red Sea, a vital trade corridor linking East Africa, Oman and Yemen, India and South East Asia to markets in the Middle and Mediterranean. One extremely important commodity that was traded along this narrow sea was incense from Yemen and Oman. Highly valued by the Egyptians and later the Romans, this aromatic at different times enriched trading cities like Petra, Mecca and Medina. Today, to supplement our views of the Sea s shores, the cruise lecture program will begin. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Daytime transit of the Suez Canal, Egypt - Onboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 1 night Day 13: Friday 25 March, Suez Canal Day transit through the Suez Canal Cruise Lecture Program In 1854 and 1856 Ferdinand de Lesseps obtained a concession from Sa id Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, to create a company to construct a canal open to ships of all nations. The project took ten years using Egyptian forced labour. We shall pass through the canal during the day. The cruise lecture program will continue. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Limassol, Cyprus - Onboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 1 night Day 14: Saturday 26 March, Limassol, Cyprus Morning: Cruise the Eastern Mediterranean M.V. Aegean Odyssey docks at Limassol from hrs Afternoon: Roman site of Kourion, Sanctuary of Apollo, Medieval Castle of Kolossi, old town of Limassol (VTA included excursion) moderate walking This morning we cruise the Eastern Mediterranean, following in the wake of Richard The Lionheart to Cyprus, docking at Limassol at midday. Although five earthquakes shook the thriving city kingdom of Kourion during the 7th century BC, it took a tsunami created by the last earthquake to deliver the final blow. This afternoon we visit this remarkable Greaco-Roman city founded by Mycenaean Greeks and a major cultural centre of its time. The setting is superb, perched atop a hill just outside the modern city of Limassol, with breathtaking views of cultivated lands stretching to the Mediterranean. A highlight is the fully restored Roman theatre, built in the 2nd century BC. Once, two thousand spectators watched gladiators in this arena; today the site s wonderful acoustics and stunning sea views make it ideal for musical performances. We also tour the House of Eustolios with its beautiful 5th-century mosaic floors, colonnaded courtyard and unique baths. We continue to the romantic remains of the Sanctuary of Apollo, a 7th-century shrine to the sun god that features stunning Corinthian columns. The stadium nearby was a venue for Greek sports such as wrestling, and we can still see the urns that provided water to the athletes. En route to Kourion, enjoy a short photo stop at the 13th-century Kolossi Castle, a fine example of Crusader architecture. An opening above the entrance gate served as ornamentation and also allowed the castle Page 12

13 occupants to pour boiling oil or tar over unwanted entrants. Besides being the best- preserved medieval castle on Cyprus, the site is where Commandaria, the island s famous sweet dessert wine was first produced over 800 years ago. After visiting Kourion, return to Limassol and head to the centre of Old Town and the city s medieval castle. This is where Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen of England in 1191 before going on to conquer Cyprus. In the late afternoon we return to the ship where our evening will be at leisure to soak up the atmosphere and sunset over these fabled waters (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Antalya, Turkey - Onboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 2 nights Day 15: Sunday 27 March, am at sea, pm Antalya Morning: Cruise to Antalya M.V. Aegean Odyssey docks at Antalya at 1400hrs Afternoon: ASA excursion to Ancient city of Termessos This morning we sail to Antalya, arriving in the early afternoon. We drive westwards from Antalya to the spectacular ruins of Termessos. Described by Homer in the Iliad, Termessos lay just inside ancient Pisidia. Its citizens, who called themselves Solymians after nearby Mount Solymos, were especially martial in character and refused to surrender even to Alexander the Great in 334 BC, knowing themselves to be well protected by their remote and inaccessible stronghold. Alexander didn t capture Termessos but, piqued, he retaliated by burning her olive groves and torching her fields. Termessos today is a gloriously atmospheric site consisting of a ruined theatre teetering on the edge of a great chasm, grand water cisterns, and remains of a temple and fine villas of local worthies. We reach Termessos, 1650m above the coastal plain, by driving high into the mountains and then ascending a track on foot through fragrant herbs and the hum of bees. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Day 16: Monday 28 March, Antalya Perge - Aspendos Antalya Morning: Graeco-Roman Perge & Aspendos (VTA included excursion) - medium to heavy walking M.V. Aegean Odyssey departs Antalya at 1800hrs Today we explore two of modern Turkey s finest Graeco-Roman sites: the cities of Perge and Aspendos, both outstanding examples of the grand, wealthy metropolis that made the Roman Province of Asia the wealthiest in all the Empire. Perge is an especially ancient settlement recorded in Hittite inscriptions, then colonised by Ionian Greek settlers around the beginning of the 1st millenium BC. Perge grew into an archetypal Greek polis, was captured by the Achaemenid Persians and following the invasion (or liberation, depending on one s ethnos!) of Alexander the Great, became part of the disputed imperial patrimony of the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Graeco-Syrian Seleucids. As Seleucid power in the Eastern Mediterranean faltered, piracy increasingly disrupted maritime trade in the area; following the successful campaigns of Pompey and Julius Caesar against the fearsome pirates of the region, Perge was incorporated into the Roman Empire and transformed into a Roman civis. The educated and sophisticated citizens of Perge were highly receptive to St Paul s teachings and the city became a base for Christian proselytising in the region during the early centuries of the 1st millenium AD. As the seat of an important Byzantine bishopric, Perge sent representatives to the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) and her clergymen played an active part in the Page 13

14 formulation of Christianity as we understand it today. The eruption of Arab Muslim armies during the 7th century had a traumatic effect on Perge, as the mountainous landscape of the region became a bandit infested borderland between the reeling Byzantine Empire and the muscular raids of a religiously inspired Umayyad Empire. The disruption to international commerce was the death knell for Graeco-Roman Perge and the city was left to gently decay in a spectacular location, high above the coastal plains. Aspendos has a similar history to Perge, having been developed by Ionian Greek colonists who built upon an earlier settlement. Ionian Aspendos was also incorporated into the Achaemenid Empire, before being surrendered to Alexander s forces, then passing between Ptolomies, Antigonids and Seleucids, before finally becoming part of the Roman and then Byzantine Eastern Mediterranean imperial dominions. Aspendos reached her cultural apogee during the early centuries of the 1st millennium AD and was embellished and enriched with the finest civic accoutrements of Roman civilisation. These included a splendidly decorated theatre, which is one of the finest preserved anywhere in the world. We then follow in the footsteps of Pompey and Julius Caesar and return to our ship in the afternoon. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Rhodes, Greece - Onboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 1 night Day 17: Tuesday 29 March, Rhodes M.V. Aegean Odyssey docks in Rhodes hrs Full Day ASA Excursion: Rhodes citadel & old town, Harbour of Mandraki, Palace of the Grand Masters & the Archaeological Museum (or option to take half-day excursion with VTA) We sail to the great island city-state of Rhodes to explore her glorious citadel and old town. The fortress of Rhodes, built by the Order of The Knights Hospitallers, looms above one of the finest medieval towns in Europe. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Classical Rhodes was a planned city of the 5th century BC, laid out by the famed architect Hippodamus of Miletus, who is claimed to have invented the urban-street grid, an architectural master plan that defined the form of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine cities across the Eastern Mediterranean for the next 1500 years. The Dodecanese Islands were tragically ruled by Italy during the early 20th century and Rhodes became a showpiece for Italian fascist Modernist constructions of the late 1930s. The real architectural jewel of Rhodes, however, is her fortified medieval town, constructed in large part by the Order of the Knights Hospitaller following its eviction from the Holy Land in 1291 AD. The Order first retreated to Cyprus before moving its headquarters to Rhodes in 1310 AD. In continuation of the Order s founding charter of 1018 AD to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, the Hospitallers constructed one of the most powerful navies of the medieval world and fought in many famous battles of the later Crusades in Syria, Egypt and across the Mediterranean. These military triumphs, the wealth and temporal power of the Order attracted Knights from across Christian Europe to join it and these recruits were grouped according to their native language, in Langues. This is still tangible in the cityscape of modern Rhodes on the Street of the Knights, where the Gothic palaces of the (initially seven) separate Langues form a marvelous late medieval streetscape. Each palace has an impressive arched doorway surmounted by the emblem of its proud Langue, while the Palace of the Grand Master of the Order looms over the terminus of the Street of the Knights. The Hospitallers were finally driven from Rhodes in 1523 AD, following a six-month siege by the forces of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The Order retreated with full military honours accorded by the impressed Suleiman and was left without a headquarters until 1530 AD when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V granted the Knights possession of the island of Malta. This transfer provided the Hospitallers a new title by which they are today better known Page 14

15 (despite being evicted from Malta by Napoleon in 1798 AD): The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, or Knights of Malta for short. It is a Jesuit Christian Order with Observer status at the United Nations and the right to issue internationally recognised passports to modern members. We begin by visiting the heart and raison d être of Rhodes: the Venetian harbour, Mandraki, where we explore the medieval harbour and fortifications. Here we envision the famed Colossus of Rhodes, a 3rdcentury BC statue of Helios the Sun God and Wonder of the Ancient World. We continue our exploration with a walking tour of the old city, through medieval streets and on to one of the highlights of the island, the Palace of the Grand Masters. Construction began in 1440 by Grand Master de Lastic with money bequeathed from his predecessor and it was completed in 1489 by Grand Master d Aubusson. The Palace houses Rhodes Archaeological Museum, with collections including ceramics from all eras, stunning jewellery, Iron Age figurines discovered in tombs of Rhodes three Hellenic cities, a glorious array of Classical, Hellenistic and Roman sculpture, and a series of Hellenistic to Early Christian mosaics. Particularly impressive are funerary slabs of various Knights Hospitaller from across Europe, carved with relief portraits of the dead and their coats of arms. In the evening we set sail for Kusadasi on the Anatolian coast. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Kusadasi, Turkey - Aboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 2 nights Day 18: Wednesday 30 March, Kusadasi Ephesus Kusadasi M.V. Aegean Odyssey docks in Kusadasi 0700hrs Full Day ASA Excursion: The Ephesus Museum, Temple of Artemis, Graeco-Roman Ephesus, Basilica of St John and Isa Bey Mosque, Selçuk This morning we explore Ephesus, the first and greatest metropolis of Asia and Asia Minor s commercial centre through much of the first millennium BC and up to the collapse of the western Roman Empire. The city boasted one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the celebrated Temple of Artemis (Diana). Although only a single column remains today, the extant sections of the city (some of which have been restored) constitute one of the world s most atmospheric classical archaeological sites. The remains of Ephesus are built on a Hellenistic plan that was heavily remodelled by wealthy Roman citizens and the city s marble streets draw visitors today, as they once did St Paul, nearly 2000 years ago. We explore the famed Agora, temples, shops, mosaic footpaths and the glorious Library of Celsus, before heading to the great theatre, one of the finest in all Asia. To enrich our imaginations, we conclude our exploration with a visit to the excellent Ephesus Museum at nearby Selçuk, which appropriately contains two famous statues of Ephesus cult goddess, Artemis. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Day 19: Thursday 31 March, Kusadasiu Aphrodisias Kusadasi Full-Day: Excursion to the Graeco-Roman city of Aphrodisias (VTA included excursion with lunch) heavy walking M.V. Aegean Odyssey departs Kusadasi at 2000hrs A full day drive takes us from the Aegean coast inland, to the ancient city and shrine of Aphrodisias. Spectacular ruins include a theatre, odeon, temples, public baths, paved streets and public squares, several Byzantine churches, the Sebasteion with its propylon, porticoes and processional way, and a stadium. The city was only recently uncovered and boasts pristine monuments. As her name suggests, Aphrodisias was originally a shrine to Aphrodite and shares with Ephesus a dedication to the goddess of love. Aphrodisias Page 15

16 stayed loyal to Rome during the bitterly fought wars with Mithridates VI Eupator ( BC) and her loyalty ensured Roman patronage, burgeoning into a major urban centre of Roman Asia Minor. Aphrodisias fine local stone was used by a highly accomplished school of sculpture, whose works have been found in locations as distant as Hadrian s villa at Tivoli and the North African city of Leptis Magna. Examples abound both on site and in Aphrodisias excellent museum. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Delos & Mykonos - Aboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 1 night Day 20: Friday 1 April, Delos and Mykonos M.V. Aegean Odyssey Docks Delos at 0700hrs Morning: Excursion to Delos including the Sanctuary of Apollo, Avenue of Lions, Sacred Harbour (VTA included excursion) - medium to heavy walking Afternoon: Excursion to Mykonos with ASA optional visit to Panagia Paraportiani (church) and the Archaeological Museum M.V. Aegean Odyssey Departs Mykonos at 2200hrs This morning we explore the island of Delos, the most important Panhellenic sanctuary and mythic birthplace of both Apollo and Artemis. The earliest evidence of human habitation on the island dates from the 3rd millennium BC and important Mycenaean remains (late 2nd millennium BC) have been uncovered in the area of the Sanctuary of Apollo. From the 7th century BC Delos revelled in her status as the birthplace of Apollo and was patronised by pilgrims and devotees from across the entire Greek speaking world. We visit the UNESCO World Heritage site, consisting of three temples dedicated to Apollo, the Altar of Dionysus, and the Lion Terrace with sculpted lions dedicated as a gift from the citizens of Naxos. The theatre was built in 2nd - 3rd century BC and seated 3,000 to 5,000 spectators. The 2nd century BC House of Cleopatra takes its name from the two headless statues of Cleopatra that were found within it. The House of Dionysos, House of the Masks and House of the Dolphins all contain marvellous mosaics. A sacred lake is believed to be the very spot where immortal Apollo was born. We spend the afternoon on the nearby island of Mykonos wandering through her picturesque alleyways, visiting Panagia Paraportiani, a Byzantine jewel of a church inaugurated in 1425, and the island s Archaeological Museum. There will be time at leisure to explore the pretty old town. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BLD Santorini - Onboard M.V. Aegean Odyssey - 1 night Day 21: Saturday 2 April, Santorini M.V Aegean Odyssey docks in Santorini hrs Full Day: ASA Excursion to Santorini including Oia, Ancient Akrotiri, Museum of Prehistoric Thira We dock to an early sunrise at the island of Santorini, and transfer from the ship by local boat, then drive to the northern tip of the island to the village of Oia with its whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and coffee shops carved in the cliffs. Stroll along the cobblestone streets where wealthy sea captains built their mansions, now converted to cafes, boutiques and art galleries. Take in breathtaking views in all directions. We continue to the southern end of the island for our exploration of the extraordinary and recently reopened Minoan site of Akrotiri. A Minoan town in an exquisite state of preservation, Akrotiri is without doubt one of the most significant archaeological sites in the whole world. Earliest habitation at the site Page 16

17 dates from the Late Neolithic period (at least the 4th millennium BC), while during the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC), a sizeable town was founded, developing during the Middle and early Late Bronze Age (ca. 20th-17th centuries BC) into one of the primary city-ports of the ancient Aegean. The prosperity and sophistication of Minoan Akrotiri is reflected in the large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), elaborate drainage systems for private houses that put much of the modern world s plumbing systems to shame, elegant multi-storeyed buildings complete with magnificent wall paintings, furniture and vessels, while expensive imported objects found in the buildings reflect the enormous range of her trade networks and stand in mute testimony to the phenomenal lost wealth of the city. Akrotiri was in direct contact with the Minoan homeland of Crete, but also communicated with the Greek mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria, Anatolia and Egypt. The city s life came to an apocalyptically mephitic end during the last quarter of the 17th century BC, when her inhabitants were obliged to abandon their homes, wracked by severe earthquakes, which in turn were harbingers of a devastating volcanic eruption in the 15th century BC, burying the entire island under metres of ash and blowing a third of the entire island high into the Aegean sky; ash drifted as far as the Nile Delta and Sinai. As at Pompeii, this utterly calamitous volcanic disaster for the unfortunate inhabitants of Akrotiri preserved their homes and ways of life under a blanket of thick, protective ash, allowing us to visualize so vividly a long-distant past through the lens of an ancient tragedy. Following some time at leisure lunch we visit the rich museum of Prehistoric Thira, where we ll enjoy viewing the enormous range of material culture excavated from Akrotiri. The museum has remnants of pottery from distant lands, complex, elegant jewellery and a world-class collection of vibrant frescoes, still vivid in their colours; an extraordinary collection. (Overnight M.V. Aegean Odyssey) BD Athens - 1 night Day 22: Sunday 3 April, Athens Disembark M.V. Aegean Odyssey early morning Agora Acropolis Acropolis Museum Farewell Evening Meal Today we disembark early from our ship. We begin our day s activities with a visit to the Agora, the civic heart of the Greek city. The Athenian Agora was situated on the northwest side of the Acropolis. Crossed by the Sacred Way (which led from the city walls to the Acropolis) it was a large open space reserved for a broad range of public functions. Established during the late 7th century BC, the Agora remained the political (bouleuterion - council house, tholos public dining hall, law courts etc.), religious (Hephaistion, Altar of the Twelve Gods, Stoa of Zeus Eleutherius) and commercial centre of Athens throughout her long and glorious history. The colonnaded Stoa of Attalus II of Pergamon ( BC) was beautifully reconstructed by the American Academy of Classical Studies in We next visit the glorious Acropolis. This great anvil of rock dominates the city skyline and has been occupied without interruption since the Mycenaean Age of Homeric heroes. The rugged citadel served as religious sanctuary, palace for Athenian kings, the city s fortress and spiritual and artistic emblem of ancient Athens. Following Pericles, Socrates, Euripides and Aeschylus, we walk the ancient Sacred Way to the summit of the Acropolis and access the temple complex through the Propylaea (gateway). Standing on a stark, rocky plateau, the Parthenon, or temple of Athena Polias (dedicated to the patron goddess of Athens) is physical testament to a time of aesthetic wonder and architectural perfection. The extant temples were commissioned by Pericles during the latter half of the 5th century BC, as a singularly powerful cultural statement of Athenian glory and tangible celebration of Athens role in the defeat of the Persians (490, Page 17

18 BC). Following lunch in the Plaka district at the foot of the Acropolis, we visit the splendid New Acropolis Museum, with direct views of the Parthenon. Modern galleries allow sculpture to be enjoyed in natural light, while high-spec glass and climate-control ensures ancient marble and colour remains untouched by the harsh gaze of Helios. The museum s piece de resistance is the top floor, where we can gaze upon sublime sculptural friezes from the Parthenon, then turn back to look upon the temple itself. The award-winning museum was designed by the New York-based architect Bernard Tschumi and replaces the cramped old Acropolis Museum, housed in an 1874 building and tucked into the very bedrock of the Acropolis. Tonight we enjoy an evening farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (Overnight Athens) BD Day 23: Monday 4 April, Depart Athens National Archaeological Museum Airport transfer for participants travelling on the ASA designated flight This morning we check out of our hotel and visit the National Archaeological Museum, established in to exhibit the cascade of ancient artifacts being unearthed in the 19th-century orgy of archaeological discovery. The museum s spectacular collections present an unrivalled overview of Greek culture from the Bronze Age Helladic to Hellenistic eras: exhibits include the magnificent Mycenaean treasures excavated by Heinrich Schliemann; stunning coloured wall frescoes from Thira (Santorini); and one of the world s premier collection of glorious Attic Red-on-Black ceramics. The museum s collection of Hellenic sculpture encourages us to explore the development of abstract and representational human form, through Attic Kouros and Kore figures, to the sublime beauty of 5th-century BC naturalism. Museums are not only repositories of the tangible, but also totems of national and cultural identity. The National Archaeological Museum, National Academy, University of Athens and National Library, were all constructed as 19th-century Neo-Classical imitations of ancient temples, physical reminders of an ancient Hellenic glory and a tangible bridge to a modern, hopeful future for the newly independent Kingdom of Greece, freed from Ottoman domination. Following our exploration of the museum collections, we enjoy some time at leisure for lunch, before tour participants taking the ASA designated homeward flight transfer to Athens airport. B Page 18

19 Accommodation 23 days in the Eastern Mediterranean Accommodation is in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 4-5-star hotels. Each hotel is centrally located within the cities that we visit. Single rooms may be requested and are subject to availability and payment of the single supplement. Further information on hotels will be provided in the 'Tour Hotel List' given to tour members prior to their departure. Doha (2 nights): 4-star Mövenpick Hotel Doha - located in the heart of Doha, overlooking the city s famous seafront boulevard, the Corniche; an outdoor pool, a sauna and modern accommodation are offered. All spacious accommodation boasts stunning views over Doha Bay or the city. Amman (3 nights): 5-star The Intercontinental - a modern hotel perched on one of the city's seven hills in the heart of the diplomatic district. Dead Sea (2 nights): 5-star Kempinski Hotel Ishtar - a luxury hotel situated on the edge of the famous salt lake providing uninterrupted views across the vast sea towards the West Bank. Petra (2 nights): 5-star Mövenpick Resort Petra - a modern hotel located at the entrance to the historic site. Aqaba (1 night): 4-star Radisson Blue Resort Tala Bay - a modern hotel with a scenic beachside location. Cruising (11 nights): Aboard MV Aegean Odyssey - for a description please see About the Ship Athens (1 night): 4-star Athens Gate Hotel - a modern hotel featuring a roof top bar and restaurant with spectacular views of the city, within easy walking distance of the Acropolis. Note: hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided. MV Aegean Odyssey (11 nights) About the Ship The MV Aegean Odyssey is a premium class cruise ship owned and operated by Voyages to Antiquity. Originally built as a ferry, it was redesigned for island and coastal cruising. This means that Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbours and sail closer to the coast, enabling you to really appreciate the magical views. If you like to avoid crowds, wander around beautiful islands, cruise remote inlets, visit charming villages and explore ancient sites that are inaccessible to others, then Aegean Odyssey is the ideal ship for you. Today with her new configuration, she averages 350 passengers. Public facilities include Mediterranean-influenced restaurants, 3 lounges, 4 bars, a library, Internet centre, beauty salon, sun-decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa, medical centre and lecture theatre. Cabin facilities include en-suite bathroom (incl. hairdryer), satellite TV & personal safe. Page 19

20 There are seven passenger decks on board this ship. You can find out more about the cabins and amenities on each deck by clicking this link: Deck Plans & Cabins. Voyages to Antiquity have allocated to ASA a limited number of cabins in the following categories: Category F Deluxe Stateroom Outside sq ft staterooms located on the Belvedere, Lido & Bridge Desks. Private bath/ shower or walk-in shower. Convertible twin or fixed double beds. Category G Premium Outside sq ft staterooms located on the Bridge & Lido Deck. Fixed twin beds with private shower. Category H Premium Outside sq ft cabins located on the Belvedere, Columbus & Bridge Deck. Fixed twin beds with private shower. Category HH Premium Outside Single Use sq ft cabins located on Bridge & Belvedere decks, featuring a European full-size bed and a private shower. Views are partially obstructed by lifeboats in the cabins on Bridge deck. Category GG Premium Outside Single Use sq ft cabins located on Bridge and Lido Deck. Private shower and a European full-size bed. Views in some cabins on Belvedere deck are partially obstructed by lifeboats. Page 20

21 The Official Cruise Itinerary Page 21

22 Page 22

23 Tour Map Page 23

24 Tour Price & Inclusions AUD $TBA Land Content Only - Early-Bird Special: book before 30 Sep 2015 AUD $TBA Land Content Only AUD $TBA Single Supplement For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information. Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes: Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 4-5-star hotels 11 nights cruising with Voyages to Antiquity onboard the MV Aegean Odyssey Breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals as indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included. Transportation by air-conditioned coach Flight from Doha to Amman (economy class) Day 3 Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on the ASA 'designated' flights Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels and during the cruise (not at airports) Lecture and site-visit program Tour reference book Entrance fees Use of audio headsets during site visits Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals. Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include: Airfare: Australia-Doha, Athens-Australia Personal spending money Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on the ASA 'designated' flights Luggage in excess of 20 kg (44 lbs) Travel insurance Page 24

25 Physical Endurance & Practical Information Physical Ratings The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, six to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain. This 23-day tour involves: Doha, Jordan & Athens It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stairclimbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you. Voyages to Antiquity - Shore Excursions These sightseeing programs are outstanding but can be challenging. Visits to archaeological sites require walking over uneven surfaces, up and down multiple steps, and therefore a reasonable level of fitness is recommended. Some passengers may decide to take a break on certain days and explore the environs around the port. Look for the symbols above each tour description to get a good idea of the level of walking that may be involved (see also their Tour Category notes included in this itinerary). Tour durations are approximate and, to be sure you get the most out of the excursion and to avoid overcrowding, the sequence of site visits and operating times may vary. The on-board staff will brief you nightly on the expected plans for the following day. All departure times and meeting points will Page 25

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