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Travel and Tourism

Tour operators | Travelogues | Travel guides

Tour operators

Peter Sommer Travels: In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. Sommer studied Archaeology at University College London and joined Michael Wood's crew for the "In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great" documentary, not to mention traveling the 2,000 miles from Troy to Issus on foot. Not surprisingly, his "Alexander" tour is no mere name. The itinerary follows Alexander's path pretty closely, including the Hellespont, the sites of Granicus and Issus, Bodrum, Termessus and even Gordion. His other tours page includes five other land and yacht adventures through Ionia, Caria and Lycia, often well off the beaten path.

Full disclosure: I'm advertising Sommer's tour in the (probably vain) hope of earning a spot on it. So, although I'm promoting his services, I wouldn't be doing it unless I thought it looked good... Top 5%

Peten Travels: In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. This looks promising, with professors for guides and an agency given to high-brow tours[1]. Too bad they don't say much about it.

Midas Tours: Battlefield and Historical Tours Eight-day tour goes from Istanbul to Termessus. It seems a little unfocused, with a lazy day in Kas, and a trip to Sardis and Selçuk. The tour is led by Stephen McCotter, Queen's University, Belfast.

Argeus: Following Alexander the Great. 15-day tour looks pretty good, covering much of the Western Anatolian route. There's a detour into Ankara and Cappadocia, both interesting. Unlike some of the other tours, this one is apparently an all-Turkish affair. This could be good or bad. In my experience, Turkish tour guides are often winging-it on historical and archaeological matters. Turkish guidebooks are full of slips large and small, and the guides follow their lead.[2] On the other hand, Turkish is full of Turks, and a Turk is well positioned to give tourists an authentic Turkish experience, not to mention find the best restaurants and be able to sweet talk the staff when a museum decides to close down for lunch. It might be better if they listed who the guide was going to be.

Absolute Asia: In the Footsteps of Alexander, hitting the highlights of Turkey and Iran. Since it's a private tour "departing daily" with "cost available on request," you can probably tailor it a bit more closely to Alexander's footsteps, or, at special request, be carried the whole way on a golden litter with attractive girls dropping grapes into your mouth.

Archaeological Tours specializes in top-end tours led by scholars. A number of their tours have an Alexander angle, including:

  • The Oases of The Western Desert covering Siwah and other Egyptian oases
  • Central Asia traveling through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. I'm not sure what spurious letter they are citing when they assert Alexander called Maracanda (Samarkand) "more beautiful than I could imagine."

Travel the Nile on the Alexander the Great from Tourlite. Sounds nice, although Cleopatra's Nile barge would have been more evocative.

GeoPassage: "In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great." This 14-day tour doesn't do much to justify its title. True, Alexander's army did pass through Istanbul (Byzantium) and Ephesus, and Alexander himself did see Athens. But Mykonos, Metéora, Venice and Split, Croatia? You'd be just as accurate calling it "Journeys with Hannibal" or "Mithridates' Marvelous Adventure." They also toot their horn a bit too much.[3]

Collette Vacations: In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, presented in association with the History Channel. Alexander apparently went by sea from Athens to Verona, stopping at—take a guess!—Split.[4]


Amazon. Alexander's Path: A Travel Memoir by Freya Stark, following Alexander in Lycia and Pamphylia. Stark's The Lycian Shore another good Turkey travel book.

Amazon. In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great : A Journey from Greece to Asia by Michael Wood. The companion to Wood's documentary. (UC publisher's blurb.)

Borza's review of the video calls the book "uneven and occasionally inaccurate account of Alexander's career." I liked it better, but I won't press the case.

For more reviews and the documentary itself see Documentaries. Top 5%

Amazon. On Alexander's Track to the Indus by Aurel Stein. Seminal 1929 classic was Michael Wood's bible. See the publisher's blurb.

Amazon. In the Land of Alexander: Gay Travels, With History and Politics, in Hungary, Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Greece by Keith Hale. Hale writes about the Turkey and Greece I know, good and bad. Alexander is a frequent sub-topic, but discussing and testing the limits of local gay tolerance is another one. Hale certainly had guts—making homosexual passes in Turkey is risky business, and it gets him in trouble.

Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark by Jane Fletcher Geniesse.

Travel guides

Four of the best guides to Turkey were written in the 1960s by George E. Bean, Aegean Turkey, Turkey's Southern Shore, Turkey Beyond the Maeander and Lycian Turkey. They are all listed on Amazon, but there's almost no info there.

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.
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Wiki Classical Dictionary, currently focused on Alexander

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Genghis Khan on the Web More than 275 links about the Mongol conqueror.

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Ancient Library and the Wiki Classical Dictionray, major new reference sources for ancient studies.

Hieroglyphs! Over 125 links about Egyptian hieroglyphs for all ages and levels of knowledge.

( See all my ancient history sites )