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Footsteps of Ottoman Conquest



$4650 Double / $5350 Single

Something different and unique for us – a history focused tour. You will take in three countries (Turkey, Bosnia and Hungary) as we trace the path of the Ottomans as they concurred territories from Constantinople through the Balkans and onto the doorstep of Western Europe. Tour will be lead by Dr. Lee Beaudoen and a colleague from Istanbul.

This tour looks at the Ottoman empire from 14th to the 20th centuries. Its seed of inspiration is the 16th century Suleymanname Tarih-i feth-i Siklos ve Estergen, ve Istol-Belgrad (his full name). This narrative history tells the story of Süleymnan the Magnificent’s (Suleyman the Lawgiver, Kanuni Suleyman) Western European campaign through the Balkans and ending with the capture of Buda. The destinations on the tour focus not only historical contexts but also on the major thematic issues central understanding the Eastern Mediterranean, The Ottoman Empire, and the Balkans states that emerged after the Ottoman Empire.

This tour is for those who have an intellectual curiosity and passion for history and architectural history and are looking for a deeper travel experience. Throughout the trip, I will supplement the topics, themes, and contexts with readings and discussion at inspiring venues to enrich that travel experience and deepen guests’ understanding of the past Ottoman legacy in the Balkans.

Days 1-4

Istanbul, Turkey

Highlights include: Classic sights of Istanbul tour (Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapia palace); Traditional Ottoman meal and intro to Turkish wines at local wine bar, Ottoman/off-the-grid Istanbul sights (Rumeli fortress, Byzantine walls, Rüstem Pasha Mosque), day trip to Edirne.

Historic Context Istanbul: The third and final capital of the Ottoman Empire, Konstantoniyye; Constantinople/Պոլիս/Πολις served as the administrative center for the empire from 1453. Its key position on the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus offered an ideal location from which to oversee both parts of the empire. Discussion and activities in and around Istanbul will focus on the early Ottoman Empire and Istanbul’s role as an imperial capital and its expansion along the Bosporus straits beginning in the 17th century. Istanbul is also the ideal venue to discuss the Romano-Byzantine legacy which the Ottoman inherited in the fifteenth century and the complex social and cultural dynamics of the Greek, Armenian and Jewish millets, which emerged during the Ottoman period.

Historic Context Edirne: The second capital of the Ottoman Empire offers a contrast to post-conquest Istanbul, when AYA Sofya influenced mosque architecture. Edirne like Izmir/Smyrna and Istanbul, also supported a large Jewish population and served as the largest city in Thrace.

Days 5-7

Sarajevo, Bosnia

Highlights include: Walking tour of Sarajevo’s old town including Turkish quarter, 1990’s war and First World War history. Day trip to Mostar to see its famous single-arch stone bridge and learn the proper ways to enjoy your Bosnian (Turkish) coffee.

Historic Context Sarajevo: As the capital of Bosnia, Sarajevo played a crucial role in the early twentieth century when it was the site of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Joseph on 28. June 1914 — an event memorialized as a trigger for WWI. Sarajevo and Bosnia as a whole became critical as former Ottoman territory that was annexed by the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1908. The full annexation of the territory stuck a sensitive nerve in Belgrade; it forecasted one fate for the Serbia state. Sarajevo and Bosnia as a whole stood were at the center of Balkan wars in the 1990s.

Day 8

Pecs, Hungary with stop in Villany lunch and wine

Highlights include: Walking tour of city center. Lunch with wines in southern Hungarian wine region of Villany.

Historic Context Pecs: The City of Pecs is one of the largest cities in modern Hungary and is close to the key wine-producing region of Villanyi. Near the Croatian border, Pécs offers a pleasant urban location to discuss the Battle of Mohacs and the Szigetvár, the original place of Suleyman’s burial before his remains were transferred to Süleymaniye.

Days 9-12

Budapest, Hungary

Highlights include: Classic walking tour of Budapest’s districts. A delicious eat-your-way through the Central market food walk. Lunch at beautiful Lake Balaton on the way to Budapest. Sunset river cruise on Danube with wines. Day trip to smaller Hungarian towns along the Danube to visit some key Ottoman palaces and have optional hike.

Historic Context Budapest: The current capital of Hungary and former “second city’ of the Austro-Hungarian empire Budapest was three cities until its unification in 1870. Budapest offers an excellent venue to talk about Hungarian models of kingship, perhaps best exemplified by Hunyadi Janos and Matthias Corvinus and Hungary’s own responses to imperialism, nationalism and its Ottoman legacy. Day trips from Budapest Esztergom and Visegrad will highlight these themes.

I have been visiting friends and showing them my photos from the Piemonte tour. I was telling them how great it was to become immersed in this area and see things you would not normally have the opportunity to do or know about. Having a caring and inquisitive guide who delights in sharing where she lives brings so much to the experience. Go visit Piemonte with Lisa- you will have such an amazing time and fond memories to share and relish!

Patricia Eaganafter a tour in Piedmont, Italy with Lisa

I have had the joy of traveling with Adventures with Sarah many times, from Thailand, to Turkey, and many places in between. I choose to book with AWS because I can rely on a tour that is paced well, varied in activities, with great food and even greater guides. As a frequent traveler to Europe, I really enjoy AWS tours due to a small group size and the opportunity to go in depth into a region and really experience the culture of the area I’m visiting. And every time, with every group, I meet fellow travelers who are now friends. Adventures with Sarah is a tour company that I would recommend without hesitation. In fact, I have 3 tours booked for this year!

Betsy McGregorafter multiple tours with Adventures with Sarah

Fantastic look at more "out of the way" spots and wonderful experiences of food and wine. No crowds, just the Sicilian countryside and lovely towns. Traveling in April was fantastic with all the wildflowers. And walking on Mama Etna's shoulders was a highlight!

Barbara B.Sicily Pleasures tour

It really was a wonderful trip. This was our first group trip, and the size was just right. We all got along well which was a bonus. Everything was smooth, and Sarah had picked out some really wonderful things for us to do. I felt like we were getting "sneak peeks" of special things regular tourists don't get to do. We were willing participants for her to try out new things on this trip. The hotels were lovely, and the wine lunches perfect! There was a good balance of planned activities and free time which I appreciated. I will definitely be looking for more trips to go on with Adventures with Sarah!

Leslie P.Sicily Pleasures tour

Good accommodations in the heart of all important areas. Food experience was excellent with incentive to try new foods. Sarah is very personable and has each tour member's concerns and needs in mind. Love the small groups.

Larry C.Sicily Highlights tour

We had a great time! Perfect mix of free time and planned group excursions/tours. The food was amazing! Our accommodation was comfortable and our views were unforgettable! I would book another trip with this company.

Jen R.Dalmatian Staycation tour

My husband and I had a great time touring Dalmatia with Sarah and the local guides that joined us. A favorite activity was sailing on a traditional sail boat from the island of Vis. Lovely group of travelers and many memories made!

Dawn R.Dalmatian Staycation tour

Food and wine blitz in beautiful areas of Slovenia and Croatia. You will appreciate it most if you are a true wine lover. Meetings with young enthusiastic, creative winemakers were the highlight.

Betsy W.Harvest tour

We had a wonderful trip with no issues at all. Gorgeous area, plenty of delicious food, perfect weather and knowledgeable guide!

John G.Harvest tour

What a perfect way to get back into European travel. It was obvious from the start that Trish had put her heart and soul into the planning of the Hidden Paris tour. It was a great mix of adventures and I throughly enjoyed my travel group, who became like family, and it was obvious to see why most had traveled with adventures with Sarah before, Our local guide, Julian, was excellent and it was fun finally getting to also meet Sarah and sons. Merci beaucoup, Trish for this great time and I hope to travel with you again in the future.

Leslie A.Paris Staycation tour

A thoroughly enjoyable trip. George, our leader, was super-knowledgeable, helpful, energetic, and fun. His knowledge of people and places gave us experiences we couldn't have duplicated on our own. The itinerary was great - I thought the pace was good and we had a variety of experiences. The only thing I didn't like was that the weather in late April was rather chilly and often wet, more so than I expected. However, traveling later in the spring would have meant missing Orthodox Easter, which was the highlight of the trip for me. We spent it in a rural village, and participating in the villagers' traditions was a rare privilege that I'll never forget. So take an umbrella and some warm clothes and prepare for a special experience. Maybe you'll get the sunshine that we mostly didn't get!

Melissa M.Romania tour

Our guide Susanna was both professional and thoughtful. She cared for our health and happiness! I had some health issues and was treated with kindness and help! Our accommodations were both comfortable and clean. The bus driver was fearless and professional. I will travel with Susanna again!

Melva O.Sicily Pleasures tour

This was a wonderful trip! Susanna was such a wonderful tour guide, thoughtful, funny, informative. I can’t imagine a better guide for this trip! Our accommodations were wonderful as were all the varied activities and dining experiences. I enjoyed the other travelers in our group and felt as if we were family. I have made new friends that I will keep in touch with. Thank you!

Anne B.Sicily Pleasures tour

We had a wonderful tour with our guide Susanna and fellow travelers. The tour was well planned out touching on most all the main destinations in Sicily. Susanna was super well organized, kind and considerate and a lot of fun to travel with. She was a great communicator before, during and after the tour and was helpful with day to day needs like finding laundry service, restaurants and transport to the airport. The local guides, meals, accommodations, etc were all top notch. We had a great small group of 7 travelers that all got on very well. The spacious van we used for traveling was very comfortable and the driver Giuseppe was highly skilled at driving the chaotic streets in Sicily’s cities and towns. We highly recommend booking a tour with Adventures with Sarah and especially with Susanna Perrucchini!!

Randal D.Sicily Highlights tour

In short, we will travel with AWS again and would highly recommend them! Oh!! We also felt that we received far more in value and experience than the price for the tour.

Veneto Slovenia tour