We fly Turkish Airways from London Gatwick and depart at 10:20am and arrive in Istanbul at 17:15pm. We transfer to our hotel in Istanbul, Turkey for the next two evenings. Check in and have evening dinner at the Istanbul Arts Taksim hotel.
The tour today will be an unusual combination of Greek Orthodox, Roman, Ottoman and modern-day Islam including entrance into the famed Blue Mosque and St. Sophia Mosque. We walk across the Byzantine Hippodrome, where chariot-races were held. In the afternoon we visit the fascinating Topkapi Palace (excluding Harem section) housing the many priceless treasures and colorful stories of Ottoman Sultans & Hagia Irene church. It is the oldest known church in the city. We return to the Istanbul Arts Taksim hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
This morning, we will visit the Grand Bazaar before departing Istanbul. Next, we travel west across “Trace,” the European portion of Turkey. The summer homes along the Sea of Marmara will provide the scenery as we travel. Views of the bunkers on the hillside and the ocean-going vessels give clear understanding to the commentary of the British major losses and World War I defeat in the Dardanelles Strait. Our bus boards a large ferry for the scenic crossing of the Dardanelles to our lodging this evening in picturesque Çanakkale. Dinner and overnight stay at the Canakkale Truva hotel.
We pass by the area known as Troas, where Paul had a vision during his second missionary journey and was called to Macedonia (Acts 16:8-13). Paul later spent a week in Troas preaching here and Eutychus was resurrected (Acts 20:6-12). Ancient Troy is well known for its 3rd and 4th Century BC excavations. Don’t forget to have your picture taken from the top of the Trojan Horse. Our next visit of the day is Pergamum. Once a busy trading center and famous as a “seller of purple,” the most favored of the Seven Churches, the church of Pergamum was praised for its forbearance (Rev. 2:12-17). It was here that the first Christians were executed by Rome. We’ll visit the fabled Acropolis, pass through the Royal Gates, view the foundations of the Temple of Zeus and visit the ruins of the library, which once held 200,000 volumes. Continue for the modern city of Akhisar, which is now situated on the site of Thyatira. The only remains visible are the ruins of a Temple. And then drive to Izmir the third largest city in Turkey and a long-time center for Jews and Christians. In Paul’s day, Izmir was known as Smyrna and was another of the Seven Churches (Rev. 2:8-11). Our lodging and dinner this evening will be at the Izmir Ontur Hotel.
Our first visit of the day will be to Sardis, it was berated by John for its facade of strength when it was weak (Rev. 3:1-6). Here coins were minted, and the dyeing of wool originated. We’ll visit the gymnasium and synagogue. Our next stop is nearby Philadelphia from where we are challenged to “hold fast” and look forward to the coming of the “new Jerusalem” (Rev. 3:7-13). Not much is left of the city except for the ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine basilica in the modern city of Alasehir. Our lodging this evening will be in a lovely spa hotel, the Pamukkale Colossae thermal hotel. We share dinner and overnight stay.
Hierapolis, meaning “Sacred City,” was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center in the first century. According to tradition, the Apostle Philip lived and was martyred in Hierapolis. It was likely the hot springs of Hierapolis in contrast to the cold mountain springs near Colossae combined to bring application to the “lukewarm” Laodiceans (Rev 3:14-22). This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13). Laodicea contains many acres of ruins to visit including a stadium and remnants of a sophisticated water system. Nearby Colossae is well-known throughout Christian circles as the receiver of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Today, the town has fallen into obscurity, and nothing remains. We spend the remainder of the day traveling through the Turkish countryside arriving in the port city of Kusadasi where we spend two nights. The day will not be complete without a visit to a local Turkish Rug cooperative. Dinner and overnight stay at the Kusadasi Ramada hotel.
We travel to the nearby town of Selcuk for a visit to the Basilica of St. John, housing an immersion baptismal and believed to be resting place of John. From here we have an excellent overview of the Ephesus harbour, the Mosque of Jesus, and the Temple of Artemis, completed in its most famous phase around 550 BC and listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We spend the remainder of our day in Ephesus, the city of the Bible and one of the largest restorations still in progress with miles of ancient treasures. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city where we view the Library, Agora & the theatre. We also visit the Church of Mary where the Council of Ephesus 431AD took place. Its best surviving architectural feature is the baptistery. Dinner and overnight stay at the Kusadasi Ramada hotel.
We transfer to Izmir airport. Today we take a short domestic flight and depart Izmir at 11:00am and fly to Istanbul landing at 12:20pm. We then depart Istanbul at 14:45 and arrive back at London Gatwick at 15:55pm.
£798.00 per person sharing a double/twin bedded room.
£199.00 Single room supplement.
*Prices based on minimum 20+ group members.
Non-refundable deposit of £250.00 per person upon booking.
TK1982 Sunday 10th March London Gatwick/Istanbul departing 10:20 and arriving 17:15.
TK2317 Sunday 17th March depart Izmir 11:00 and arrive Istanbul 12:20.
TK1997 Sunday 17th March depart Istanbul 14:45 and arrive London Gatwick 15:55.
Istanbul Arts Taksim hotel https://artshotel.com.tr/taksim/en/
Canakkale Truva hotel https://truvaotel.com/EN/
Izmir Ontur hotel https://izmir.onturhotels.com/
Pamukkale Colossae thermal hotel https://www.colossaehotel.com/
Kusadasi Ramada hotel and suites https://www.ramadahotelkusadasi.com