Arrive Istanbul, a world-class city that bridges the continents of Europe and Asia. Ever since its founding in the 7th century B.C. Istanbul has attracted travelers, traders and conquerors from East and West. Before going to the hotel cruise on the Bosphorus by private boat. At the end of the cruise transfer to your hotel for overnight. Dinner at hotel or local restaurant.
Our tour begins with visit of Kariye Museum (the Church of St. Saviour in Chora), the walls of which are adorned with splendid frescoes and mosaics, proceed to Sultanahmet, the heart of historical monuments. Here we walk across the Byzantine Hippodrome, where chariot-races were held. Then we visit the famous Blue Mosque with its priceless coloured tiles and the 1500 years old St. Sophia, the Imperial Church of Byzantine Emperors. End the day wandering round the covered Grand Bazaar, the largest in the world (with some 4,000 shops). After dinner at local restaurant transfer to the airport for the evening flight to Kayseri upon arrival transfer to the hotel in Cappadocia. Overnight at hotel.
We spend all day exploring the history and scenery of Cappadocia. First off, we’ll visit the gently folding volcanic rock formations and “fairy chimneys” of Goreme Open Air Museum. These rock formations are not only beautiful, but functional as well. Many early Christian communities lived and worshipped deep in the rocks and crags, leaving their frescoes and paintings to be marvelled at centuries later. Other communities lived underground and we’ll visit these dwellings too. To protect themselves from Roman persecution and marauding bandits, local people began to live in underground caves forming “cities” that reach a depth of up to 7 stories below the surface. Other sites include the Natural Citadel of Uchisar and the small, picturesque village of Avanos – famous for their red clay pottery. In Avanos we’ll visit “The Potter’s Place: Gift Shoppe and Cultural Centre” and have time for visiting local potter for a demonstration and maybe try your own hand at the potter’s wheel. Dinner at hotel.
Depart early today for Yalvac. Visit Pisidian Antioch which was a major Roman colony that was visited by St. Paul on his First Missionary Journey and continue to Colossae mentioned in Bible: Colossians 1:2, (at the present time there is not any ruins left). End your day in Pamukkale which means “cotton castle” where you see fantastic dazzling white limestone terraces formed by travertine deposits from hot water springs running over the chalk cliffs. Dinner at hotel.
After breakfast depart for Hierapolis which is located right over the travertine terraces and which was a fashionable spa center in Roman times. Visit the Temple of Apollo, a breathtaking theater, the fascinating necropolis and some church ruins. Proceed to Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches addressed by John in the Revelation. See the recently excavated town and its theatre. Then drive to Philadelphia and Sardis, the ancient capital of the state of Lydia, where gold and silver coins were first minted. Sardis was also a center very receptive to early Christian teaching and had a substantial community of believers by the 1st century AD. Visit the pre-Christian ruins in the Sardis area which includes the Temple of Artemis, the stadium and the Roman theatre. Continue to Thyatira, which is one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Dinner & overnight at hotel in Kusadasi.
Today you visit Ephesus, the capital of Roman Asia Minor, and where St. Paul preached and taught for over two years. View the magnificent harbor and the great amphitheater which seated nearly 25,000 people. See Marble Street, the Library of Celsius, a gymnasium and the Temple of Hadrian. You will also see the Temple of Diana, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the site of the scene of religious riots. St. Paul had founded the Church here and was also imprisoned in Ephesus. Visit the Basilica of St. John, whose later life and death are associated with Ephesus before returning to Kusadasi for overnight.
In the early morning depart from the hotel for Izmir (ancient Smyrna). Visit ancient agora and drive to Bergama (ancient Pergamon). Parchment was invented here. This was the home town of Galen, renowned doctor and surgeon and site of his temple devoted to healing, the Asclepion & visit also Acropolis. Continue to Canakkale. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
After breakfast visit Troy, the immortal city of the legendary Helen of Troy and Trojan Horse, which was destroyed and rebuilt nine times. And drive to Istanbul. Dinner at hotel or local restaurant.
After breakfast transfer to the airport for the flight back to home.
Tour above is for groups or churches of 20 or more group members. Price on request at the time of quoting based on dates given, hotel standard chosen, flights, exchange rates, etc.
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