IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST.PAUL COMBINED with SEVEN CHURCHES OF THE REVELATION & THE GREEK ISLAND PATMOS 13 N / 14 D
As you arrive in Istanbul we will meet our transfer guide and proceed to the hotel. We may give you afternoon orientation tour in Istanbul depending on your arrival time if time allows. Overnight in Istanbul Hotel
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. Overnight at the hotel.
Drive to Iznik (Nicea), the site of the First and Seventh Ecumenical Councils represented an attempt to reach an orthodox consensus and to establish a unified Christendom as the state church of the Roman Empire. Drive to Bursa; visit the Green Mosque and the Green Mausoleum. Overnight in Bursa.
Proceed to Canakkale, visit Gallipoli, Troy, Alexandra Troas where Paul raised the boy, Eutychus. Overnight in Ayvalik.
Depart to Pergamum one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Visit the Asclepion, the ancient healing center, the Acropolis, the Church at the site of ancient Serapium and the Red Court dedicated to St. John. Then visit Akhisar, the site of ancient Thyatira. Overnight in Izmir.
Visit Sardis, the capital city of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia, visit the Church built into the Temple of Artemis. Continue to Alasehir, ancient Philadelphia. Return to Izmir, visit St. Policarp Church. Overnight in Izmir.
Drive to Ephesus where St. Paul stayed a while, visit the ancient city, House of the Virgin Mary, the Basilica of St. John, and continue to Miletos where St. Paul gave a speech to spread Christianity. Overnight in Kusadasi.
Daily tour to the Greek Island of Patmos by chartered boat. Visit the Cave of Revelation and St. John’s Monastery on hilltop that is reputed to be where St. John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse. A monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was founded there in the late 10th century and it has been a place of pilgrimage and Greek Orthodox learning ever since. The fine monastic complex dominates the island. The old settlement of Chora, associated with it, contains many religious and secular buildings. Return to Kusadasi for overnight.
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, 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
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 visit the Yalvac Museum to see the artefacts unearthed from the very same city. They frustrated the authorities there and were warned in time to escape from being attacked. Continue onto Derbe where Paul visited twice. The Bible has it that that Paul and Barnabas spoke in Derbe and converted many. Next a visit to the area of ancient Lystra also twice visited by Paul. It was here Paul healed a lame man and later was raised after being battered with stones. Here also Paul met Timothy who later accompanied him on some of his travels. Pay a visit to the Mausoleum of Mevlana before going to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
A full day of sightseeing in Cappadocia first with a visit Göreme (open air museum, under UNESCO World Heritage protection) where you will see remains of several hundred early churches, with rooms carved out into the cones of volcanic ash. Interior part of the Churches is decorated with colorful frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible. Proceed to the Zelve Valley on your 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. Continue onto Uçhisar, another of these past Greek Christian Communities, before making our way to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Leave Cappadocia for Tarsus, the city where the Apostle Paul was born and grown. Visit the Church of St. Paul as well as the recently excavated remains of the Roman Tarsus and the remains the Cleopatra Gates in the town center. Then take a short walk to the site known as the Well of St. Paul. Continue to Antakya (Biblical city of Antioch) where St. Paul and St. Barnabas stayed for a while. Overnight in Antakya.
Antioch; the place where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians after the renowned congregation in the city. Pay a visit to 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 you will see an unusually rich collection of mosaics unearthed in the nearby areas from the city. Next proceed to the Seleucia Pieria, the ancient port town of Antioch from which Paul and Barnabas planned and set out on their first journey and where Paul finally ended up afterwards. Motor to Adana airport in late afternoon for a flight to Istanbul. Transfer to hotel, overnight in Istanbul.