Day 1 Istanbul Cappadocia (Lunch, Dinner)
Guided tours Turkey start; first, we pick you up from your hotel and transfer to the airport. Then, we fly from Istanbul to Kayseri. After we arrive in Kayseri, we will visit the Devrent and Monks Valleys. We will enjoy the lunar landscape and the unique, striking fairy chimneys, known as the mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys. Then we will continue on to the small village of Avanos. It is famous for clay pottery design. A short break for lunch and proceed our tour to Goreme Open-Air Museum – an exhibition of impressive churches which contain many examples of Byzantine frescoes. We carry on another 5 km away from Goreme in our guided tours Turkey; a magnificent panorama of the valleys is provided from the rock-perched castle of Uchisar. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 2 Full Day Cappadocia Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
We will start the day with breakfast and then carry on with a hike through orchards and vineyards. Between fairy chimneys and rock-carved houses we are in another impressive valley – the Rose and Red Valley. Then we will continue to the old Christian village of Cavusin – the home of two rock churches. The captivating beauty of the Pigeon Valley will take us back to the time when pigeons were used as message carriers. At that time the valley was named after the hundreds of little windows carved into the rocks to attract nesting pigeons. Following lunch in a local restaurant we proceed to an elaborate labyrinth of tunnels and caves – Kaymakli Underground City. The last site to visit for the day is Ortahisar Castle and Mustafapasa village – an old Greek village. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 3 – Guided tours Turkey Cappadocia – Tarsus (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
After an early breakfast we get on the bus down to the south of Turkey, to Tarsus– the birthplace of St.Paul. There we will visit the Well of the Blessed Water. It is said to be at the side of St. Paul’s house, Cleopatra’s Gate (built in 2 AD by the order of Mark Anthony). Dinner and overnight in the hotel in Tarsus.
Day 4 Antakya (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
On day 4, we will have an early breakfast and leave for Antakya. It was known in the past as Antioch-on-Orantes, the third most important city in the old Roman Empire. Here Barnabas brought Paul to join in the congregation’s ministry for the first sustained efforts to bring gentiles into the Christian community, calling the first converts ‘Christians’. It was where Christians were first called thus. While in Antakya region we will visit the town of Samandag (“Straw Mountain”). It was once the ancient biblical port of Seleucia ad Pieria, serving Antioch. We will also see the Grotto of St. Peter – a little cave church where early Christians secretly met for prayer. Also, the Titus Water Tunnel and the exquisite Roman mosaics on display at the Mosaic Museum will be visited. Going back to Tarsus. Dinner and overnight in Tarsus.
Guided tours Turkey Day 5 Konya Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Breakfast at hotel after which we will travel to Konya. Due to persecution, St. Paul and St. Barnabas were forced to flee there. Centuries later, it became the focus for the Whirling Dervishes‘ mystical order, under the founding ‘Mevlana’ or master Sufi philosopher. We will visit the Whirling Dervish Museum and Monastery, which houses the sacred silver and gold decorated Tomb of the Mevlana. Nearby, is the beautiful hill-perched Syrian and Selcuk style Alaeddin Mosque and its unique madrasa with tiled dome of stars, hunting friezes and ceramic collection. Dinner and overnight in Konya.
Day 6 Antalya Antioch-in-Pisidia Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Breakfast in the morning and travel to Yalvac, site of the ancient city Antioch-in-Pisidia near the foothills of the snow-capped Sultan Mountains. Antioch was a capital city for many different cultures because of the economic, military and religious activities of the region. For that reason, St. Paul gave his first sermon to the gentiles(Acts 13:13–52), and visited the city once on each of his missionary journeys. Thus, he helped to make Antioch a centre of early Christianity in Anatolia. We will walk on the ruins of the paved and colonnaded streets, see the remains of the theater and aqueduct. In the afternoon, we will drive to Antalya, a coastal resort town with picturesque old quarter, shopping bazaars and natural yachting harbour. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
Day 7 – Guided tours Turkey Antalya, Perge, Aspendos, Side Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
After breakfast at the hotel we will embark on a journey to the ancient city of Perge – a Pamphylian city where St. Paul later preached after arriving from Cyprus. We will enjoy a nice walk through the Roman Gate and down the Colonnaded Avenue past the Agora, Baths, Hippodrome and Aqueduct to the Nymphaeum or great fountain. Then we will proceed to the Aspendos Theatre, a gigantic 2nd century Roman design so well preserved that it is still in use today. Our excursion will continue to the ancient city of Side and the Temple of Apollo, at whose ancient port landed St. Paul, Barnabas and Mark during their missionary journeys, en route to Antioch. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
Day 8 Pamukkale – Hierapolis Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
The ‘Cotton Castle’ will be awaiting us so right after breakfast we will leave for Pamukkale. The ancient spa centre for the Romans is famous for the healing properties of its thermal mineral baths and beautiful cascading snow-white terraced cliff side basins and waterfalls. After lunch, we will visit the ancient Roman city ruins of Hierapolis, where St. Philip the Apostle was martyred in 1AD. We will also see the magnificently preserved Necropolis, Avenue of Tombs, Gates, Thermal Baths, Devil’s Hole and the Masterpiece Theatre. Dinner and overnight in a hotel in Pamukkale where you can enjoy a bath in the hot spring pool of the hotel.
Day 9 Kusadasi – Eskihisar – Laodicea – Aphrodisias Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
In the morning, after breakfast we will visit Eskihisar, site of the ancient city of Laodicea. It is one of the Seven Churches of Asia. It is famous for a letter that St. Paul addressed the city concerning its faith and its waning progress. This is followed by a tour of one of Turkey’s most beautiful ancient cities – Aphrodisias. There we will see the Temple of Aphrodite, the monumental Tetra Pylon Gateway, the ancient Gladiator Stadium and many delicate carvings and sculptures in the onsite museum. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi/Selcuk/Izmir.
Day 10 – Guided tours Turkey Izmir – House of Virgin Mary – (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Following the breakfast is the House of Virgin Mary, where she is said to have spent her final years. We will continue on to the marble white ancient city of Ephesus, where St. Paul’s Third Journey involved a long ministry. There we will see spectacularly restored monuments such as the great Library of Celsus, Agora, Odeon, Trajan Fountain, Domitianus Temple, Roman Latrines, Theatre and Stadium in which St. Paul preached the gospel. After a lunch break at a local reastaurant in Selcuk, we will visit the Isabey Mosque and the Temple of Artemis. Of course, we won’t miss the picturesque village of Sirince. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Day 11 Izmir – Church of St. Policarp – Sardis – Philadelphia Church Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
After breakfast we will start our tur with a visit to the Church of St. Polycarp in Izmir, one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. Saint Polycarp was converted by the John the Apostle and became Bishop of Smyrna. He was martyred by the Romans at age 86. According to tradition, when they tried to burn Polycarp at the stake, the flames wouldn’t touch him. They finally stabbed him to death. This is followed by a visit to Sardis – the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia. we will walk the Royal Avenue and see the site of one of the Seven Churches built on the foundations of the Temple of Artemis. Then proceed to the ancient Philadelphia Church at Alasehir and one of the last cities to fall to the Ottomans. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Day 12 Canakkale – Akhisar – Church of Thyatira – Pergamon Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
Breakfast in the morning and a bus drive to Thyatira (the name of the modern Turkish city of Akhisar) – in early Christian times, it was the home of a Christian Church, which was mentioned as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Thyatira was also famous for dyeing and was a centre of the indigo trade. After a lunch break we will visit the hill-perched Acropolis, Asclepion (hospital), Altar of Zeus and other pagan temples of ancient Pergamon at Bergama. Then we will proceed to the church ruins at the site of ancient Serapeum and the Red Court of St. John. Drive to Canakkale. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale.
Day 13 – Guided tours Turkey Canakkale – Ancient City of Troy Tour (Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner)
After breakfast we will visit the ancient city of Troy – 5000 years old city, known for being the setting of the legendary Trojan War as described in Homer’s Iliad. There we will see a reconstruction of the so famous Wooden Horse, which Trojans accepted as a gift and that resulted in them losing their city; the city ruins from a succession of 9 civilizations, the Roman Bouletarion, Theatre and onsite Museum. St. Paul travelled through the southern city of Troas nearby here several times. After the tour, we will continue to drive back to Istanbul. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 14 Istanbul (Breakfast – Lunch)
The last day of our excursion will be under the motto “Classic Istanbul”. After breakfast we will visit Hagia Sophia Museum, the place where religions meet, where Islamic art and Christian architecture blend blissfully; the Hippodrome. After a short break for lunch we will continue with the Topkapi Palace – a fine example of Ottoman architecture, an exhibition of a large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armour, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasures and jewellery. We will finish our tour with a visit to the Cistern.