Biblical Journey to the Land of the Old Testament and Eastern Anatolia

Day 1 – Istanbul / Adana / Gaziantep

Upon arrival to Istanbul, we continue to Adana with our connected flight and drive to Gaziantep. Visit of the Archaeology Museum with its artifacts from Neolithic, Hittite and Roman times. There are important mosaics from the ancient site of Zeugma (Belkis). Overnight in Gaziantep.

zeugma

Day 2 – Gaziantep / Urfa

After breakfast drive to Urfa. On the way Halfeti boat trip on the Euphrates River. We embark upon a boat ride on the Euphrates River, including a cruise around the Roman fortress of Rumkale, where St. John the Apostle is said to have written his Gospel. Afternoon we will visit Urfa, the city of King Abgar the great is believed to have been the first Christian King. According to the popular legend, wicked Nimrod used the columns as a sling to throw Abraham from the mount. Where he prophet fell springs burst from the ground to form pool of Abraham. We will visit this pool full with sacred carps. In a cave here, Job of Urfa lived 7 years as a pauperized leper. In a village named Nebiyob, where the tombs of Job, his wife, and the prophet Elijah are found. Job’s cave has a spring which restored Job’s health and a pavilion on top. In 460 AD, the bishop here found curative properties in this spring water and built a hospital nearby. “And after this Job lived a hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, his son’s sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.” (Job 42:16-17). Overnight in Urfa. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – Urfa / Harran / Adiyaman

After breakfast, drive to Haran, “Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, Abram’s wife, and went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go onto the land of Canaan: but when they came to Haran, they settled there. The days of Terah were two hundred and five years and Terah died in Haran. (Gen.11:31-32) Haran is the hometown of Abraham, the father of faith for Christians, Jews, and Moslems. God brought him out of Haran as a part of his plan to convert man’s history of sin (Gen.12:1-2). Also known as Padan Aram, Haran remained a spiritual home for Abraham and his descendants. Abraham found his daughter-in-law at Padan Aram (Gen.24:3-43) and Isaac also urged his sin to find a wife in this region. (Gen.28:1-2). Then we drive to Adiyaman. On the way, we will stop to see one of the largest rock-filled dam of the world called GAP. The sourse (Firat Nehri) of the Euphrates, one of the four rivers near Eden. Rev. 16:12-16 states that the Euphrates will dry up and cause a great war. It is 169 m high. It is built to irrigate Harran, Mardin, Ceylan pinar plaines. And with its 2400 mw power plant capacity. Overnight in Adiyaman. (B,L,D)

harran
nemrut adiyaman

Day 4 – Adiyaman / Nemrud / Diyarbakir

Early in the morning drive to Nemrud mountain to enjoy the view. The 2100 m high summit of Nemrud lies in the Antitaurus range of mountains. On this summit rises a gigantic tumulus surrounded by terraces and monumental statues which were created in the 1st BC. It was the place of regular pilgrimages and rituals during the time of commagene kingdom. This place is in the list of UNESCO since 1987. On the way to Diyarbakir, we will stop to visit Karakus funerary columns coming from 1st BC. Then stop on the Roman bridge at Cendere. A single graceful arch carries the road high above the water from 2nd
AD. Nimrod (Nemrud) was a part of Assyrian land mentioned in Micah 5:6 (Nimrod being an ally of Assur and Nineveh, Assyria was once called Nimrod (Gen 10:11-12). “They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrud with the drawn sword, and they shall deliver us from the Assyrians when he comes into our land and treads within our border.” (Micah 5:6). Overnight in Diyarbakir. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Diyarbakir / Mardin / Diyarbakir

In the morning drive to Mardin. Our tour starts visiting the Mardin Museum. Travelling around the city; we will view the castles, the stone houses and old bazaars. Lunch in a traditional restaurant. After lunch we will continue our way by visiting; Mor Yusuf Church (Surp Hosvep) and Deyru zaffaran Monastery (Mor Hananya). Drive back to Diyarbakir for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

mardin
ararat

Day 6 – Diyarbakir / Van

On the way to Van, nearest place to the Ararat mountain range ,we will visit Malabadi bridge from 12th AD.. Van; the ancient Urartian capital of Tuspa, is situated in a green, fertile oasis in the midst of rocky mountains. Overnight in Van city at an altitude of 1727 m. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Van

We begin our tour by visiting Van castle the carved steps into rock will take us to the fortress; the Urartian royal tombs are of interest in this fortress and the surrounding area is full of Urartian remains. The Archaeological Museum in the new city exhibits the Urartian finds. Lunch in a local restaurant. Time to visit the beautiful 10th century Armenian Church of Akdamar on an island in the lake before heading to the Hittite city of Cavustepe. Back to Van for stay overnight after visiting a small bazaar for kilims (rugs) and other weaving products. (B,L,D)

van
dogubeyazit

Day 8 – Van / Dogubeyazit

We will start our journey to Mount Ararat. On our way, we will see Muradiye Waterfall, then lunch in Dogubeyazit. After lunch, we will visit Ishakpasa Palace. Then drive to Mt.Ararat, we will change our bus to mini-buses to continue to the place where it is believed that Noah’s Ark landed. God said to Noah, “Go forth from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and sons’ wives with you. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh-birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth-that may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth.” (Gen.8:15-17) In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day, the ark rested on Mt. Ararat. Waters abated and on the first day of the tenth month, mountain tops were seen.” (Gen.8:4-5). Overnight in Dogubeyazit. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Dogubeyazit / Mt.Ararat / Kars

After breakfast drive to Mt.Ararat, we will change our bus to mini-buses to continue to the place where it is believed that Noah’s Ark landed. God said to Noah, “Go forth from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and sons’ wives with you. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh-birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth-that may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth.” (Gen.8:15-17) In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day, the ark rested on Mt. Ararat. Waters abated and on the first day of the tenth month, mountain tops were seen.” (Gen.8:4-5). Then drive to Kars. On the way visit Tuzluca to explore one of the salt mines that have existed at the Turkish and Armenian border since medieval times. Overnight in Kars. (B,L,D)

tuzluca
erzurum

Day 10 – Kars / Erzurum

After breakfast visit the ancient city of Ani and its churches. View of Arpa River, which forms the border to Armenia. Then drive to Erzurum. Erzurum is the largest city in Eastern Turkey, sprawls on a high plateau at an altitude of 1,950 meters. As you enter the city, the large Aziziye monument commemorating the Turkish-Russian war will catch your eye. The city walls and fortress are reminiscent of the period of Byzantine rule. Erzurum is known for copper crafting and its Oltu stone, which is a unique black stone used to make jewelry and beads. We will visit fine Seljuk monuments such as the Ulu (Great) Mosque, the Cifte Minareli Medrese. Overnight in Erzurum. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Erzurum / Trabzon

After an early breakfast drive to Trabzon. Today we will visit to the magnificent Sumela Monastery located high on the cliffs in the Altindere National Park. Two monks from Athens, Sophronius and uncle Barnabas found the monastery of Sumelas in AD 368. They followed the guidance of an icon to a cave in this mountain setting. They believed it had been painted by the Apostle St. Luke. In the 6th century theemperor Justinian ordered a silver reliquary made for the monastery in order to preserve the remains of Barnabas. The church is covered inside and out with brilliant frescos. Then we will visit the St. Sophia museum (restored 13th c Byzantine church with its splendid frescoes). Overnight in Trabzon. (B,L,D)

sümela
galata-tower-istanbul

Day 12 – Trabzon / Istanbul / Departure

Free until transfer time. Transfer to the airport our flight to Istanbul. Then connection flight to home.

Other tour details; ViaMaris Brochure