Successfully conducted in 2012, this unusual tour was designed at the request of a group of librarians. It’s a good example of an affordable, good value package, the sort of program we’d be happy to craft for your group. Whether we’re accommodating a half-dozen or a hundred participants, our customized travel programs can help your affiliated group strengthen workplace relationships, raise funds, and attract new members. We welcome inquiries from schools, faith-based groups, and non-profits, as well as businesses.


Keepers of the Word

An Introductory Tour to Turkey
17-26 April 2012

The subcontinent of Asia Minor, now the modern nation of Turkey, boasts more than nine millennia of human settlement. This travel program has been designed to introduce participants to Turkey’s museums and libraries, overflowing with evidence of man’s desire to communicate through imagery and the written word. Their holdings range from Neolithic votive figures to cuneiform tablets and parchment scrolls to exquisite gilt Byzantine illuminations, intricate Ottoman miniatures, calligraphy, and photography.

Antiquarian Map of Asia Minor
Antiquarian Map of Asia Minor, also known as Anatolia


16th century Turkish miniature painting of the royal astronomers
16th century Turkish miniature
painting of the royal astronomers
(Istanbul University Library)

Meanwhile scholars—the archeologists, anthropologists, historians, and ethnographers delving into Turkey’s past-have created and recorded extraordinary volumes of material. Their findings—housed in mosques, universities, museums, and private foundations—light the way for the rest of us and generations of future researchers.

Today students in the courtyard of a school founded in the 15th century can check their smart phones to read anything from a foreign scientific journal to an out-of-print volume to Facebook.

Inside public and private libraries, the Dewey Decimal system on hand-written file-cards coexists with earlier catalogs in Persian, Arabic, and Greek.

The Beyazit Gate of Istanbul University
The Beyazit Gate of Istanbul University

Whether materials are housed in new, climate-controlled buildings or in historic edifices, Turkey has much to preserve—and so much more waiting to be discovered.

Within this dynamic, multicultural society, Turkish engineers and other scientists stand center-stage in the development of digital technologies to preserve historic materials and make their content more accessible to both Turkish and international scholars.

Istanbul’s Old Book Bazaar
Istanbul’s Old Book Bazaar

Come with us this spring as we explore Turkey and meet the Turks!

While our tour includes elements of special interest to library professionals and bibliophiles, anyone with an interest in history, the arts, and archeology is welcome to join this introduction to Turkey’s illustrious past and contemporary attractions.

We begin in Istanbul, the only city to straddle both Europe and Asia. Let us open the doors to mosque collections dating from the 15th century and to the extraordinary German Archeological Institute archives. We’ll travel to the Aegean region and visit the acropolis of Pergamon (whose library treasures were Marc Anthony’s wedding gift to Cleopatra). Pondering the glory that was Rome, we can contemplate the magnificent Library of Celsus in Ephesus, the grandest city of the eastern Roman Empire.

Library of Celsus at Ephesus
Library of Celsus at Ephesus

Springtime in Asia Minor presents us with a riot of native blooms, and anyone with botanical enthusiasms will enjoy the journey as we trace the Meander River eastwards to Konya, center of the mystical Whirling Dervish sect. Here, as in so many Turkish provincial cities, there are private museums and libraries open to public. Crossing the high Central Anatolian Plateau, we proceed to Cappadocia,whose eerie, wind-sculpted, volcanic valleys are dotted with hundreds of early churches.

Traditional agrarian rhythms persist in central Turkey, and we’ll learn about one of the region’s earliest social entrepreneurs who worked to increase literacy and bring the printed word (via donkeys laden with books!) to remote villages.


Springtime in Cappadocia
Springtime in Cappadocia

Through all of this we’ll include the famous highlights that have drawn visitors to Turkey for centuries- Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, the fanciful waterfront mansions of the Bosphorus….


Sultanahmet, The Blue Mosque
Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque
Photo © 2011, Holly Chase

The Pergamon Asklepion where Galen practiced medicine… Ephesus’s famous colonnaded street and theatre where St. Paul addressed the populace …. the flower-strewn site and sculpture museum of Aphrodisias, sacred to the pagan Goddess of Love. Rumi’s brilliant turquoise-tiled shrine, and the lunar landscape of Cappadocia.

Land Program in Turkey: $2,425.00 per person, double occupancy.

The tour begins and finishes in Istanbul, 17 April – 26 April 2012.

Separate extensions for Istanbul or other regions of Turkey can be made on a customized basis.

Airfare to/from Turkey is NOT included, but we are happy to advise you about economical flights or help you make the most of your frequent flyer miles. Those who want to travel on a private aircraft, I recommend you to visit Jettly‘s online page.

For the complete, day-by-day itinerary of this tour or other programs, please email either-Equinox Travel or Holly Chase

Ebru Tulips
A modern example of ebru, the Turkish art of paper marbling

Copyright © 2011 Holly Chase & Equinox Travel