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The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.


Turkey has more history than most freshman year history classes could ever cover. You'd have to start on the Aegean Sea and the city of Troy, read Homer's Iliad before getting close to the crusades and the great history of Constantinople--Istanbul today--or to even breach the surface of the richness of Turkey's cultural and mythical past. With an occidental and oriental side, Istanbul might be the most peacefully dissected city in the world. The great Mosque presides over the city with a watchful, architectural eye. Then there's the Turkish coast, now known as one of Eastern European's chief beach vacations with well-priced hotels, attractive people, and out of the way havens where Turks and western tourists can truly escape.

Troy Tours (tel. 310/417-3460; www.troytours.com) has two week vacations that offer up most of Turkey. From the Blue Mosque of Istanbul to the markets of Ankara to the edge of the Bosporus, Troy Tours is currently offering three tours from 10, 14 and 15 days. Surprisingly, the 10-day tour is the priciest. With airfare out of New York, the trip starts at $2,199 with accommodations ranging from four-star hotels to ultra-deluxe hotels. The trip includes all airfare from the United States, three flights within Turkey, all hotels, the service of an English-speaking guide, travel in an air-conditioned luxury motor coach, all admission fees to local sites, daily breakfast, three lunches and two dinners. The fabulous Four Seasons in Istanbul is available for the deluxe version of this trip which starts in Izmir and the Aegean resort town of Kusadasi. This trip departs from April through November, with the less expensive trips costing $2,295 in the colder months from November to December 2006.

Costs for the longer 14-day tour start at $1,899 with airfare out of JFK and Logan International. From Los Angeles, the price goes up to $1,999. Out of Seattle, the trip costs $2,099. Included on this trip are transatlantic flights, lodging at four and five star hotels, all airport transfers, service of a licensed English speaking guide, all sightseeing, admission fees, travel in an air-conditioned motor coach and a daily buffet breakfast along with eight dinners. This two-week trip starts in Istanbul before making stops in Ankara, Cappadocia, Antalya, Kusadasi, and Cannakkale. On day 12, you'll visit the ancient site of Troy, the site of the epic battle between the Greeks and the Trojans launched by a love affair between Paris of Troy and Helen. Departures for this trip begin May 3 and 4 and depart once monthly in June, July, September and October.

Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com/greece-travel/istanbul-vacation-6-06.asp) is currently offering a shorter six-day "Istanbul Vacation" with round-trip airfare out of New York and four nights at your choice of Istanbul hotel for just $799 with departures on May 4 and 11, 2006. Accommodations are at the Hotel Yigitalp, located in Sehzadebasi, the cultural and historical center of the city near such attractions as the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Saint Sophia. In June, the trip costs $1,179 but departs on June 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29. Air taxes and security fees are additional. The trip goes back to the $799 price point for an October 26, 2006 departure. Daily breakfast is included in the price of the trip. Sightseeing excursions such as a half-day tour of Istanbul are available starting at $44.

With four spaces available, GAP Adventures (tel. 800/708 7761; www.gapadventures.com/tour/TVBFG) has a land-only, or should I say sea-faring, eight-day sailing special that cruises the Aegean coast costing approximately $795. Leaving May 14, 2006 and returning May 21, 2006, the trip is on an eight passenger yacht with four twin berth cabins. No meals are included on the trip so allow about $250 for food expenditures. Basic goods like water and sodas are available on the boat and most travelers chip in for provisions. A full-time skipper and group leader will lead your tour of the South Aegean. This trip covers the Turkish coast from Bodrum in the north to Fethiye in the south.