Holy Churches of Christianity in Asia Minor 15D/14N

Holy Churches of Christianity in Asia Minor 15D/14N

Day 01 Istanbul Airport 

Your professional tour guide will meet you after the customs and baggage claim with a signboard to transfer you to your hotel in Istanbul. Overnight at the hotel. 

Day 02 Istanbul 

Today you will discover the heritage of Istanbul with a Full-Day tour. Visit the St Chora Church, the Chora Museum, Mosque or Church) is considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine church. In the 16th century, during the Ottoman era, the church was converted into a mosque and finally, it became a museum in 1948. The interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes depicting the scenes form the Bible. Hippodrome Square, St.  Sophia  Museum,  and the fabulous  Istanbul Archaeological Museum exhibiting the Gezer Calendar,  the Titus Inscriptions, City Walls from Babylon, and other ancient artefacts are also included in our program. Overnight at the hotel in Istanbul.    

Day 03 Istanbul Airport – Fly Adana – Antioch 

Today we will make our way to Istanbul Airport for morning flight to Adana or Antakya depending on the flight schedule availability.  In case flying to Adana meet and transfer   to Antioch; the place where the followers of Jesus were named and called Christians after the renowned congregation for the first time in history.  Here you will visit the Church of St. Peter, a grotto discovered by the Crusaders and reputed to be the cave church where early Christians met in secret.  At the Mosaic Museum in Antioch which is third largest one in the world you will see an unusually rich collection of mosaics unearthed from this area. Following your visit at the museum, we will take you to Seleucia Pieria, the ancient port town of Antioch 

from which Paul and Barnabas set out on their   first   journey   and   where   Paul   returned afterwards. Finally, you will check into the hotel in Antioch for dinner and overnight.  

Day 04 Antioch – Tarsus – Cappadocia 

Leave Antakya, an early departure from Antioch to Tarsus where the Apostle Paul was born and grown. See the Church of St. Paul as well as the recently excavated remains of the Roman Tarsus in the town center and the Gate of Cleopatra. Then take a short walk to the site known as the Home and Well of St. Paul in a residential  section of that lovely town.  In the afternoon we will head out to Cappadocia, for dinner and overnight.  

Day 05 Cappadocia 

Today we l have a full day of sightseeing in Cappadocia. First visit Göreme (open air museum, under UNESCO World Heritage protection program) where you will see examples of the several hundred early Christian Churches with rooms hollowed out of the cones of volcanic ash. Some of them are decorated with colorful frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible. Drive through the Zelve valley to see some of the most renowned shapes of the Fairy Chimneys on our way to Kaymaklı, an underground city which was an early Christian refugee center that extended downward in the earth for at least eight floors and housed several thousand people in the eighth and ninth centuries. Set out to Uçhisar where also early Christian communities lived. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Cappadocia.  

Day 06 Cappadocia – Konya 

Today we will have an early departure to drive to Konya- Iconium where Paul and Barnabas used the synagogue as their forum to address and promote Christianity the local people. They frustrated the  local authorities there and were warned in time to escape from being attacked.  Continue onto Derbe where Paul visited twice. The Bible states that Paul and Barnabas spoke in Derbe and had successfully many converts. Turn onto another important site and visit the area of ancient Lystra that was also twice visited by Paul. It was here Paul healed a lame man and later was raised after being battered with stones. Here Paul also met Timothy who later accompanied him on some of his travels. We will also pay a visit to the Shrine of Mevlana  who was 13 th century philosopher and leading sufi. 

Day 07 Konya – Antioch in Pisidia– Antalya   

An early departure to Yalvac,  ancient Antioch of Pisidia. Paul visited this town on his first missionary journey and it is here that he addressed the congregation in the synagogue on the Sabbath with his first recorded sermon. Immerse yourself in the excavations of ancient city here and also a take the opportunity to visit the Yalvac Archeological Museum to see the artefacts unearthed from the very same city. Next continue to Antalya through scenic drive contemplating the beautiful lakes and the Rocky Mountains. Dinner and overnight will be at the hotel in Antalya. 

Day 08 Antalya 

Drive to Perge, an ancient city visited by Paul. He and Barnabas went to Antioch on their first journey through Perge. Visit the Perge Theater, the Agora, Stadium, and the colonnaded   streets.   Proceed to Aspendos, one of the best preserved theaters of the ancient world. In the afternoon we will pay a visit to the beautiful Archaeological Museum and Old City with its Harbor. Dinner and overnight Antalya.    

Day 09 Antalya – Colossae – Pamukkale  

 Today we will first proceed to Collossae (Paul’s letters to the Colossians and Philemon) on the foothills of Mount Honaz. Then continue onto Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, and Hierapolis where you will see the monuments, the tomb of the apostle St. Philippe thermal baths and the theater with its well preserved   stage with intricate carvings on it and   Temple   of Apollo. Dinner and overnight will be in Pamukkale.  

Day 10 Philadelphia – Sardis – Izmir 

Today first drive to Philadelphia, now called Alasehir. See remains of a Byzantine basilica as well as some eleventh century frescoes. Philadelphia and Smyrna were the only two churches among the Seven about which nothing bad was mentioned by John. Next proceed to Sardis, one of the most picturesque areas of any of the Seven Holy Churches. There we will see the remains of the Temple of Artemis as well as a small Byzantine church built into the temple, and the largest synagogue discovered outside of Israel. At the end of the day we will head out for Izmir (ancient Smyrna), one of the Seven Churches and one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities of the world. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.   

Day 11 Ephesus – Izmir 

We will have a journey of one hour to Ephesus, the first of the Seven Holy Churches, for a visit. There you will see the amazing ruins of this great city: The grand theater, the library, the Temple of Hadrian, agoras, colonnaded streets, fountain of Trojan, the third largest library of the ancient world,  and the newly excavated  Roman Terrace Houses.  Dinner and overnight in Izmir.  


Day 12 Pergamum – Alexandria Troas – Canakkale 

Set out for Bergama which is the site of ancient Pergamos and one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Climb up the acropolis and visit the impressive theater, the Temple of Trojan and Athena, and the ruins of the second largest library of the ancient world. Drive up to north to Odun Iskelesi to visit the site and the port of Alexandria-Troas where Paul raised the boy, Eutychus. Paul visited this area at least twice.  Proceed to Canakkale for dinner and overnight. 

Day 13 Canakkale – Ferry to Dardanelles – Istanbul 

This morning visit the legendary city of Troy, immortalized by Homer in the stories of King Priamus, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. See the archaeological excavations that have revealed nine separate periods of settlement and the ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple and a theatre. Also see the symbolic replica wooden Trojan horse that commemorates the epic war machine that was constructed in the 13th century BC.  Then cross the Dardanelles Strait by car ferry and drive to the hotel in Istanbul for check-in.  Tonight is the Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 14 Departure 

Transfer to the airport and end of the services. 


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