FOOTSTEPS OF ST.PAUL

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14 days

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Duration: 14 days / 13 nights
Departure: Everyday
Route: Istanbul-Adana-Tarsus- Selucia- Antioch- Cappadocia- Aksaray-Lystra-Iconium- Pisidian Antioch-Colossea-Pamukkale- Hierapolis-Philadelphia-Sardis- Smyrna-Miletus-Didyma-Ephesus- Thytira-Pergamon- Troy-Alexandra Troas- Assos- Bursa- Nicea- Istanbul


Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Istanbul (no meal)
Arrive in Istanbul Ataturk airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 2 : Full Day Istanbul Classic City Tour (breakfast-lunch)
Pick-up from your hotel. You will visit the main attractions of Istanbul (capital of the Ottoman Empire untill 1923) by this full day tour. Hagia Sophia; magnificent Byzantine church and the unique sample of Byzantine architecture, Blue Mosque; one of the biggest mosque of the Istanbul from 17th century and famous for its blue tiles and 6 minarets,The Ancient Hippodrome where once chariot races were held. The main monument left today is the impressive Egyptian obelisk, carved in Egypt around 1,500 BC and brought to Constantinople in 390 AD. Our tour will continue with a visit to Topkapi Palace; it was once the residence of Ottoman sultans and their harem. We will finish the tour with a short drive to the exotic Grand Bazaar. End of the tour return to your hotel and overnight in Istanbul.

Day 3 : Istanbul-Adana / Tarsus /Selucia /Antioch (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
Pick-up from your hotel early in the morning and transfer to the airport for your flight to Adana. Adana is the fourth largest city of Turkey. After check-in to your hotel, we will drive to Tarsus. St. Paul, born in Tarsus in 5CE as Saul, the son of a tentmaker. Paul returned to Tarsus on his second and third Journeys. Visit the Apostle Paul s well, the Gate of Cleopatra, and the latest excavations. Then we visit the archaeological remains of Seleucia, the port from which Paul, Barnabas and John Mark departed from Antioch on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:4). Drive to Antioch and stay overnight.

Day 4 : Antioch / Cappadocia (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
Antioch played an especially important role in Christian history: it was the base for missionary journeys of Paul, where followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26) and where the Gospel of Matthew was probably written. The main sights to be seen in Antakya today are the mosaics in the Hatay Archaeological Museum and the Cave Church of St. Peter, which could be the oldest church in the world. After the tour, drive to Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 5 : Full Day Cappadocia Tour (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
We will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning and go to the visitDevrent Valley. Devrent Valley was under the water 20 million years ago, it rose up above the water after volcanic eruptions. After years and years, the rocks formed in a variety of different shapes. Then we will go to Pasabagi, also named Monks Valley (Rahipler Vadisi), you can see some special housing and living area here which are also only can be found in this area. After lunch in Avanos, we will visit Goreme Open-Air Museum. Then we will continue to Esentepe where you can see the panoramic view of Goreme valley and Goreme village with fairy chimneys, different rock formations and cave houses. Finally, we will visit the natural rock castle in Uchisar, many rooms connected to anothers with stairs, tunnels or passages. End of the tour return to your hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 6 : Aksaray/ Lystra/ Iconium (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
After breakfast depart for Aksaray to visit Sultanhan Caravanserai. A large Seljuk Caravanserai which was built in 1229, during the reign of the Seljuk sultan Kayquba. It is one of the best examples of Anatolian Seljuk architecture.Continue to Lystra which is located 30 kilometres south of the city of Konya. Lystra is the ancient name of the village where Apostle Paul visited. Paul preached the gospel in Lystra after persecution drove him from Iconium. Timothy joined him during the second journey (Acts 16:1-3). Depart for Iconium which was one of the missionary destinations of St. Paul; the site of one of the first church councils; the capital of the Seljuk empire from 1150 to 1300; and the home of Rumi (Mevlana), the Sufi saint who founded the Whirling Dervishes. Overnight in a Konya.

Day 7 : Pisidian Antioch/Colossea /Pamukkale (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
After breakfast drive to Pisidian Antioch (also called Antioch-of-Pisidia) ; it was a major Roman colony that was visited by St. Paul on his First Missionary Journey. Pisidian Antioch marked an important turning point in Paul s ministry, as the city became the first to have a fully Gentile Christian community. The ruins of Pisidian Antioch lie about a mile north of the modern town of Yalvac, which is 110 miles west of Konya. Highlights of a visit here are the substantial archaeological site and the Yalvac Archaeological Museum. Drive to Colossea which was located 120 miles east of Ephesus. Colossians is one of the most Christ-centered books in the Bible. The letter was written to the church at Colossae (1:2), but was also intended to be read at Laodicea (4:16). Continue to Pamukkale (means cotton castle ) which is one of the most important higlights of Turkey. Enjoy the dazzling white calcareous castles are formed by limestone-laden thermal springs, creating the unbelievable formation of stalactites, potholes and cataracts. Waters in the terraces are the sediments of the springs with calcium bicarbonate in 33C. Waters, containing mainly calcium salts and carbon-dioxide. Overnight in Pamukkale.

Day 8 : Hierapolis /Philadelphia /Sardis /Izmir (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
In the morning you will visit the Hierapolis ; Necropolis (cemetery) of Hierapolis which is one of the biggest ancient cemeteries in Anatolia with 1,200 graves and Roman Bath, Domitian Gate, the Main Street, Byzantian church, the Great Theatre, the Temple of Apollo, and the Plutonium, which pagan cults once called the entrance to hell. Examine the intriguing sites of the Churches of Revelation. Then visit the ancientPhiladelphia listed among the seven churches by John in the Book of Revelation (sixth church of seven). Philadelphia was known for its variety of temples and worship centers. Today, Philadelphia is known as the Turkish city of Alasehir. Due to a series of ancient earthquakes, there is not much left of ancient Philadelphia, and archaeology is limited to foundation stones and a few Roman columns. Continue to Sardis; once the capital of the Lydian realm of Croesus. Here the first coins were minted. Overnight in Izmir.

Day 9 : Smyrna /Miletus /Didyma /Kusadasi (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
After breakfast visit the ancient Smyrna. In the first century AD, Smyrna became one of the earliest centers of Christianity and it was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Both Revelation and the Martyrdom of Polycarpindicate the existence of a Jewish community in Smyrna as early as the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The letter to the church at Smyrna in Revelation indicates that the Christians were spiritually “rich” and apparently in conflict with the Jews: “I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” (2:9). At Miletus, you will see the theatre, Harbour monument, Roman baths, Delphinion, sacred way, sacred gate, north agora, stadium, Temple of Serapis and Ilyas Bey mosque. The ancient city of Miletus was the oldest and the most powerful of the twelve Ionian cities in Asia Minor. Continue to Didyma to visit the Temple of Apollo and the remains of the ancient city. Didyma, located in the southwest part of modern Turkey, was an important religious site of ancient Ionia. It was home to a large temple dedicated to Apollo, called the Didymaion. The temple of Apollo was built at the end of the 8th century BC. Continue to Kusadasi and stay overnight.

Day 10 : Ephesus and Virgin Mary Tour (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
Depart from your hotel after 25 minutes drive we will arrive in House of Virgin Mary. After the visit which approximately takes 45 minutes, driving down to the Upper Gate of Ephesus Ancient City. See the Odeon,The Fountain of Trajan, the five terraces of apartment houses, the stream baths of Scholastika, the temple of Hadrian and impressive library of Ephesus. The Ephesus Library is adorned with columns and statues. The Grand Theater where Saint Paul preached is the largest theater is antiquity with capacity of 24,000 seats. You will return to the bus through the Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. Drive to St.john Basilica , once a great church built on a 2nd century tomb thought to hold the remains of St.John. While the church is now in ruins, there are many frescoes, mosaics and graceful columns that attest to the glory that marked the place where St.John,the Evangelist lived and died. The next visit is to the museum of Ephesus. This is one of the most important museums in Turkey. It mainly exhibits the pieces found in and around Ephesus. Since the 2nd World War all small findings are on display in the Ephesus Museum. The visit of Ephesus Open Air Museum takes nearly 2 hours. After the tour drive back to Kusadasi.

Day 11 : Thytira/ Pergamon (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
After breakfast depart for Akhisar to visit the site of ancient Thyatira. Thyatira became an early center of Christianity. The apostle Paul visited the city on a number of occasions during his missionary travels. Lydia, the woman converted by St. Paul at Philippi, was from Thyatira (Acts 16:13-15), and the church at Thyatira was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Then drive toPergamon and visit the Acropolis. Home to the famous physician Galen,you will see the remains of the great library that once housed over 200,000 scrolls and the restored theatre built into the hillside that seated 10,000. Then we will visit the Asclepion which was among the earliest and greatest medical centers of the world. The view of the Acropolis from the Asclepion site is really worth seeing. Overnight in Canakkale.

Day 12 : Troy /Alexandra Troas /Assos (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
After breakfast , you will depart for Troy tour and visit the famous and mythological site of Troy, home of the Trojan Horse and Helen of Troy.Continue to Alexandra Troas which was mentioned six times in the bible it is the place, on his second missionary journey where Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Acts 16.9, which was the first time that Paul preached the gospel in Europe (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens). After visiting Alexandria Troas, Paul visited Assos by foot (Acts 20:13). Aristotle, Plato s most famous student was invited to Assos and spent over three years living and teaching here. The acropolis of Assos is 238 meters above sea-level, and the Temple of Athena was constructed on this site in the 6th century B.C. Drive to Bursa and stay overnight.

Day 13 : Bursa / Nicea /Istanbul (breakfast-lunch- dinner)
Bursa, forth largest city of Turkey located beautifully at the slopes of Mount Uludag in Anatolia. It was the capital of the Ottoman State between 1326-1365. The mausoleums of early the Ottoman sultans are located in Bursa The nickname of the city is “Yesil Bursa” (meaning “Green Bursa”) in reference to the parks and gardens. We will visit The Great Mosque (Ulu Cami); style of mosque architecture (a big stone square or rectangle topped by small domes) is characteristic of the early Seljuk Turkish empire, Green Tomb; is a mausoleum of the fifth Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed I. It was built by Mehmed s son and successor Murad II following the death of the sovereign in 1421 and visit Green mosque opposite to it. Finally visit the Silk Bazaar. Bursa has been a center for silk trade and silk production ever since. Free time for shopping in the bazaar. After that continue to Nicea where the famous Council of Nicea was held in 325 AD. You will see the well-preserved monuments from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman ages ,Nicea s Roman and Byzantine city walls, 14,520 feet (4,426 m) in circumference, remain almost entirely intact around the city and ancient theather. The highlight for religious travelers and historians are the ruins of the 4th-centurySt. Sophia Cathedral where the Seventh Church Council convened in 787. Drive to Istanbul and stay overnight.

Day 14 : Departure (breakfast)
You will be transferred to Istanbul airport for your flight to home. End of our services.

What’s Included

  • 13 nights accommodation in 2-3 star hotels.
  • All mentioned transfers in the program.
  • Flight tickets from Istanbul to Adana.
  • All mentioned tours in the program including transportation with air-conditioned buses,guidance and entrance fees.
  • All mentioned tours in the program including transportation with air-conditioned buses,guidance and entrance fees.
  • All local taxes.

What’s Not Included

  • Tips (optional).
  • International flight tickets.
  • Visa (if needed).
  • Travel insurance.