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Istanbul, Antakya (Antioch), Seleucia Pieria Tarsus, Derbe, Lystra, Cappadocia, Konya (Iconium), Antioch of Pisidia Antalya (Attalia), Perge (Perge), Miletus, Colossae, Hierapolis, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Sardes, Philadelphia, Thyateira, Nicea, Kavala, Philippi, Thessaloniki, Veria, Meteora, Kalambaka, Athens
Istanbul & Athens
22 Days / 21 Nights
Arrival in Istanbul and Flight to Cappadocia. Transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Cappadocia.
After breakfast we will drive to Cappadocia and on the way will visit Ihlara Valley, which itself alone needs almost a half day to complete.
Overnight in Cappadocia. (B & L)
After breakfast we will visit Goreme open air museum to see churches and Byzantine frescoes, Basil Church, St. Barbara church, Dark church, St. Catherine Chapel, Nunnery, the Troglodyte Village of Avcilar, after lunch visit, Ortahisar and Avanos Village and see the fairy chimneys and St. Simeon church at Pasabag (Monk) Valley.
Overnight in Cappadocia. (B & L)
Optional hot air balloon flight early in the morning (05:00-08:00) which is subject to availability due to weather conditions. After breakfast we will visit Cappadocia Derinkuyu Underground city, Uchisar Castle to see the panoramic points and the cone of Uchisar, Guvercinlik Valley, Love valley.
Overnight in Cappadocia. (B & L)
Early morning transfer to Adana; arrival to Adana. Transfer to Hatay (also known as Antioch). After Rome and Alexandria it was the 3rd largest Roman city and St. Paul began his missionary journeys from there.
The city became home to the first Christian church outside of the land of Israel and was the first place in which followers of Jesus were referred to as Christians. St. Peter also visited Antioch (Galatians 2:11).
After lunch you will visit St. Peter Church and the famous mosaic museum.
Overnight stay in Hatay. (B & L)
After breakfast in our hotel , We will drive to the town of Samandag (Seleucia Pieria) where Apostle Paul and Barnabas set sail for Cyprus on their first missionary journey cruise. Then we proceed to Tarsus, birthplace of St. Paul. You visit St. Paul’s Church which has been put under protection since 1993. Because of lack of community, regular services are not held, however ceremonies are held for groups of pilgrims.
Overnight stay in Tarsus. (B & L)
After breakfast we will drive to Konya. You will visit Konya, ancient Iconium; Konya was visited by St. Paul during his first missionary journey and
it is believed that he and Silas visited it again during his second missionary journey (Acts 13:51; 14:1-21;16:2,II Tim. 3:11).
You will also visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, Karatay Medrese and Ince Minaret. After lunch we will drive to Yalvac to visit Psidian Antioch.
That is the place where Apostle Paul preached his first recorded sermon and uttered his famous words ”Now we turn to Gentiles” (Acts 13:14-52).
Overnight in Yalvac. (B & L)
After breakfast we will to drive Aspendos to see the world’s best preserved Greco-Roman Amphitheater. Then we will visit the Greco-Roman city of Perge where St. Paul gave his first speech on Christianity in the area. After a short walking city tour of Antalya (Attalia) you will transfer to hotel for an overnight stay.
Overnight in Antalya. (B & L)
After breakfast continue to Pamukkale (Hierapolis). we visit the ancient city of Hierapolis home of Philip the Evangelist. Have a break at the calcium terraces of Pamukkale.
*** Revelation’s message to the Christians of Pamukkale ; We know that the early spread of Christianity into Asia Minor is attributed to the apostle, Paul, and his close associates, Barnabas and Silas. Paul mentions Hierapolis specifically in his letter to the Colossians (Colossians 4:13). St. Phillip, the apostle, is believed by many to have been martyred here in 80 AD.
Overnight in Pamukkale. (B & L)
After breakfast short drive to Laodicea. The final letter of the churches of ancient Asia Minor is to the church in the city of Laodicea.
We will see the Christian Ruins as well as the Statue of Emperor Augustus, Aquaduct, Stadium, Ephesian Gate. Then drive to the unexcavated city of Colossae (Honaz, Ancient metropolis of Phrygia, the recipient of Paul’s letter).
The book of Colossians was addressed to the Church here (Col 1:2) and that Philemon lived in this city.
Then continue to Philadelphia (Alaşehir), which is not so ancient as other cities of Asia Minor, it was founded after 189 BC.
It was the seat of the ‘Seven Churches’ (Revelation 3:7-12).
Then we will drive to Sardis. We will visit Sardis Gymnasium, Jewish Synagogue, Diana Temple.
Here was one of the seven Asiatic Churches (Revelation 3:1-6) and the capital city of ancient Lydia. You will see the early church remaining in Sardis
Overnight in Sardis. (B & L)
After the breakfast we will drive to Thyatira.
It was one of the Seven Churches (Revelation 1:11;2:18-28); Lydia, the seller of purple, who sold her dyes in Philippi was from this city ( Acts 16:14).
Then we will continue to the great Ionian port of Miletus, where Paul farewelled the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:17-38) and then visit the newly excavated remains of a synagogue.
Overnight in Kusadası. (B & L)
After breakfast we drive to Ephesus; St. Paul visited Ephesus briefly during his second missionary journey and stayed more than three years. Both St. Paul and Apostle John wrote letters to the Ephesians.
You will also visit Baths of Scholastica, Library of Celsus, Temple of Hadrian, the Theater and Temple of Artemis which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. You will visit the the Basilica of St. John to see John’s burial place. Our last stop during this tour will be the House of Virgin Mary.
Overnight in Kusadasi. (B & L)
*** Revelation’s message to the Christians of Ephesus ; begins with the Lord’s metaphorical reminder that He is their sovereign while at the same time intimately connected to them (Revelation 2:1). He then shows His compassion by acknowledging their diligence and their devotion to obedience, their enduring perseverance and strength and the tenacity and purity of their conviction (Revelation 2:2,3). He cautions the faithful in Ephesus that their focus on doctrinal piety and their congregational catharsis has caused a crisis in their fellowship and that, among them, there is a loss of trust and benevolence. They must regain their esteem for one another and the love that the family of their church once shared or, they are warned, they will lose their position as a testimonial pillar in the greater Christian Church (Revelation 2;4,5). If they can restore their kinship, they are promised eternal blessings (Revelation 2:7)
After breakfast we will drive to Smyrna (Izmir), the third largest city of Turkey.
It was the second city to receive a letter from Apostle John in the book of Revelation ( Acts 19:10). The letter in Revelation (2:8-11) is filled with the affection and joy that comes from triumph over hardship and persecution.
We will visit the agora of Smyrna and Church of St. Polycarp.
You will then proceed to Pergamon to visit the Acropolis, Temple of Athena, Serapis Temple, Heroon, Sanctuary of Athena, Library of Pergamon, Temple of Trajan, Theatre, Zeus Altar and Red Court.
Pergamon is the third of the ‘Seven Churches of Asia’ ( Rev.1:11).
Overnight in Pergamon. (B & L)
After breakfast long drive to Nicea through Bursa. At Nicea, you will see remains of Constantine’s palace, now covered by the water at the shore of Lake Iznik. It was here in this palace chapel that the First Ancient Church Council convened in A.D. 325 to produce the Nicene Creed. Enjoy Nicea’s St. Sophia Church, where the Seventh Church Council convened in 787.
Overnight in Istanbul
After breakfast, we will start our full day of the city with the Hagia Sophia. Originally built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, and converted into a mosque by the Ottomans in the 15th century. The Blue Mosque, another of the world’s most important religious buildings, unique for its 6 minarets and its celestial interior decorated with the famous blue Iznik tiles. The Hippodrome, scene of chariot races, The Topkapi Palace, residence of Ottoman Sultan’s from the 15th to the 19th century. With its impressive treasury, exquisite harem, attractive courtyards and pavilions housing huge collections of antiquities, last stop at The Grand Bazaar.
Overnight in Istanbul. (B & L)
After breakfast and continue your Istanbul Package Tour. We begin in The Spice Bazaar, one of Istanbul’s most colorful and bustling attractions. Next, we take an unforgettable Cruise along the Bosphorus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. In the afternoon, by driving across the first Bosphorus Bridge and head for the summit of Camlica Hill, which affords panoramic views of Istanbul, the Sea of Marmara and the Prince’s Islands. From here a short brings us to the Beylerbeyi Palace on the shore of the Bosphorus. Perhaps the most elegant of the late Ottoman palaces, Beylerbeyi boasts six sumptuously furnished reception halls. Your last stop during this tour will be Chora Museum (Church of Holy Savior in Chora).
Overnight in Istanbul. (B & L)
After breakfast we will start our journey to border of Greece. At noon we are meet by our Greek guide as we drive from the Greek/Turkish borders to Kavala passing by Alexandroupolis.
Overnight in Kavala. (B )
After breakfast at hotel, we drive to Philippi, the site where the apostle Paul came and worked, establishing a strong church. We see the river where Lydia is thought to have been baptized, the ruins of a Prison where Paul and Sylas had been kept, the Agora, 5th and 6th century Basilica and the Theater. Late that afternoon we arrive at Thessaloniki.
Overnight in Thessaloniki. (B )
In the morning, after a short city tour of Thessaloniki, we drive to Berea. We see the Byzantine mosaic in the monument commemorating his preaching. Lunch on your own. Then we proceed our drive to Meteora where we visit in the afternoon the fantastic and breathtaking Byzantine monasteries. Monks seeking isolation and spiritual salvation first built those monasteries in the 14th century.
Overnight in Kalambaka.
After breakfast at Hotel drive to Delphi, we visit the archaeological site of Delphi: the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Treasury of the Athenians, and the Museum containing such masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture as the bronze Charioteer and the famous athlete Aghias. Drive to Athens.
Overnight in Athens.
At 08:00 a.m. our excursion out of Athens takes us by the Saronic Gulf, where in 480 BC history root was changed. We stop at the historic Corinthian Canal where we take pictures. We arrive at ancient Corinth. Here, we see all of the sites associated with his ministry: the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Odeon, the Bema and Gallios Seat. We see the ruins of early Christian 5th century basilica in Cenchreae before returning to Athens.
In the afternoon we enjoy our half – Day sightseeing tour of Athens. We climb up to the marble – capped Acropolis and visit among the other buildings the famous Parthenon and the Erechtheum. We now have become time travelers! Then, we go to nearby Mars Hill (Areopagus).
(Acts 17:22) where the Apostle Paul delivered his soul – stirring sermon to the giants of philosophy, logic and learning.
Our tour continues with the highlights of modern Athens. In the evening optional dinner in Greek traditional restaurant with music and dance.
Overnight in Athens.
After breakfast, we check out from the hotel. We hope your tour was a memorable one and we look forward to seeing you in the future on another Turkey Tour.
Have a safe trip back home and thanks for choosing us.
The end of the tour.