“In The Trail of St Paul’s in Turkey” 13 Days / 12 Nights

Day 1 – ISTANBUL / ADANA / ANTIOCH

Upon arrival to Istanbul, we continue to Adana with our connected flight and drive straight to Tarsus, the birth place of St. Paul. During St. Paul’s time Tarsus was a university city surpassing Athens and Alexandria. Cicero was a governor here in 51-50 BC. and the romantic meeting between Cleopatra and Mark Anthony took place in Tarsus. Highlights here will be St. Paul’s well and Cleopatra’s Gate. Drive to Antioch at Orontes for a good night rest

adana pld stone
Biblical Journey to Eastern Anatolia

Day 2 – ANTIOCH–ON-THE-ORONTES

Today we journey East to Antioch-on-the- Orontes, Daphne and Seleucia Pieria. Antioch is thought to have been founded in 300 BC. First to preach here was St. Peter followed by St. Paul and Barnabas whose extensive efforts proved to be very fruitful for Christianity. Incidentally, the word Christians was first coined in Antioch. The strong and wealthy community of Antioch contributed financially to the Christian community of Jerusalem. Highlights include the museum which houses a superb collection of mosaics from Antioch, Daphne and Seleucia Pieria. St. Peter’s Grotto, the cave church came to be known as the meeting place of the early Christians. The next site we will visit is Seleucia Pieria which was the port city of Antioch in ancient days. The most interesting monument here is the Tunnel of Titus which is a tremendous canal dug for the purpose of diverting waters of Orontes river. Another highlight here will be the rock tombs with their impressive facades pertaining to the Hellenistic period. Dinner and overnight in Antioch.

Day 3 – ANTIOCH / CAPPADOCIA

After breakfast drive north to Cappadocia and stop at Derinkuyu; this is an underground city, carved into soft rocks resembling a huge labyrinth of tunnels, rooms, kitchens, wine cellars and passageways. A huge chimney ventilates this 8-levelled dwelling which was used by Christians hiding from their Roman and Byzantine persecutors. Their colorful frescoes remain as vibrant as when they were first made. Fascinating place… Derinkuyu.

Further on we come to Cappadocia whose effect on the visitor is like that of a village out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. What Turks commonly call “Fairy Chimneys” are jutting pieces of volcanic rocks that have been beaten and shaped by the wind and rain. Highlights will be The Apple Church, The Chapel of St. Basil, and the biggest church of Cappadocia, the Buckle Church in Goreme. Overnight in Cappadocia.

cappadocia
konya

Day 4 – CAPPADOCIA

Today we visit the Göreme Valley to visit the rock carved churches hollowed out of volcanic ash. Then picture steps will be given at the Valley of the Birds and at the foot of the Uchisar Castle. Also time will be allocated for the local souvenir shopping before returning to the hotel. Overnight in Cappadocia.

Day 5 – CAPPADOCIA / KONYA

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and visit Pasabagi in Zelve area where monks used to live in seclusion in rock cut rooms, Proceed to the pottery town of Avanos where Kizilirmak (Hallys), the longest river of Turkey, meanders leaving the red clay on its banks that has been the raw material of pottery for centuries. Then drive to Konya, on the way visit to the 13th century Seljukian masterpiece Sultanhan Caravanserai. Dinner and overnight in Konya.

hierapolis
pamukkale

Day 6 – KONYA / PISIDIAN ANTIOCH / PAMUKKALE

After breakfast we will drive to Pisidian Antioch (Yalvac) where St. Paul opened Christianity to the world. Yalvac’s history goes back to 280 B.C. During St. Paul’s time the population was a mixture of Jews, Romans and Greeks. Very little is left of Pisidian Antioch today. There is the propylaea of the acropolis with a number of carved stones and the remains of a Byzantine church.

Than drive to Pamukkale. Upon arrival we visit Hierapolis which was founded by Pergamon king Telephos and named after his wife Hiera. During the Byzantine period the city became the seat of diocese with a large Christian Church dedicated to St. Philip, martyred here in 80 A.D. Highlights include the Roman Baths, the Temple of Apollo and the Theater.

Day 7 – PAMUKKALE / SARDIS / KUSADASI

After breakfast visit to Laodicea where we find here two Theaters, a large Stadium, a Water Tower and an Odeon. The city is named by Antiochus II in honor of his wife, Laodicea. St. Paul wrote a letter to the church here (Acts:4:16). Than we drive to Sardis whose history dates back to 12th century B.C. Sardis felt the influence of Christianity very early and was included in the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. During the Byzantine times it was the seat of a bishopric. Highlights will be a Synagogue, Gymnasium, Byzantine Church and the Temple of Artemis. Drive to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.

istanbul-yerebatan
istanbul-goldenhorn

Day 8 – KUSADASI / PATMOS ISLAND / KUSADASI

Early morning, we embark on a chartered boat for a 3 hrs ride to Patmos Island. The local guide will meet us at the port and then drive up to the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist, where we have a wonderful view of the island. We also visit the Grotto of the Revelation where the heavenly voice of God revealed to St. John the future of humanity (Rev. 1:12-21). Return to the port in the late afternoon to board our ferry back to Kusadasi. Dinner and overnight in Kusadası

Day 9 – KUSADASI / EPHESUS / IZMIR

After breakfast visit the famous city of Ephesus. Our tour begin with the Basilica of St. John “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. The Temple of Artemis, considered as on the Seven Wonders of the World, was located here. St. Paul’s preachings in the area resulted with the uproar of the Guild of Silversmiths and eventually the whole population of Ephesus. Highlights include the Library of Celcius, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Theater. We will also stop by the House of Virgin Mary closeby, where she is reputed to have spent her last years and died. Followed by the famous local carpet shows allowing ample time for shopping in the afternoon, than drive to Izmir for dinner and overnight.

ephesus
assos

Day 10 – IZMIR / PERGAMUM / ASSOS

On our way to Assos this morning we will stop by hauntingly beautiful Pergamum which rises high on a hill as one nears the city of Bergama. Highlights will include the Altar of Zeus, Temple of Trojan and the Theater. Coming down the mountain we will stop by Asclepion, a leading health center of the ancient world.

Day 11 – ASSOS / (Troas-Assos) / TROY / BURSA

We leave this morning for Troas and Assos. Troas was a busy port situated on the north-west coast of Asia Minor. During his stay in Troas, St. Paul had a dream in which he saw a vision of a man asking him to “come over to Macedonia and help us” after which he decided to go to Europe. Assos perched high on a cliff overlooking the Aegean and the Island of Lesbos is breathtaking. Its Acropolis carries the impressive Temple of Athena. Arriving at Assos on foot from Troas, St. Paul preached here and climbed down to the little port on the shore to board the boat on his return journey to Jerusalem. Then we proceed to Troy to see the legendary city and the replica of the Trojan Horse. Drive to Bursa for overnight.

truva
Hagia Sophia Turkey

Day 12 – BURSA / (Iznik/Nicea) / ISTANBUL

After the breakfast, We leave Bursa to Nicea . The city was founded around 1000 B.C. In 325, the First Ecumenical Council was held here for the purpose of condemning the heresy of Arianism. The Seventh Ecumenical Council was also held here in the St. Sophia Church. The church was built in the 4th century and has a mosaic floor which dates to the 6th century. All gates and walls date back from the Byzantine times. In the late afternoon , we drive to the pier to embark the Bosphorus Cruise Boat. A scenic journey along the Bosphorus between two continents, Asia and Europe. The hike takes about three hours: the first hour or so is uphill. As we hike, our gulet sails around to meet us in a spectacular cove which shelters the sunken baths of Cleopatra, built for her by Mark Antony. Legend says that Antony gave Cleopatra the entire Turquoise Coast as a wedding gift – a present fit for a queen. This is another excellent place to swim, if you feel so inclined. (B/L/D)

Day 13 – ISTANBUL Departure

This morning, we drive to the Old City of Istanbul and begin our full day visit starting with Topkapi Palace Museum followed by lunch. Thereafter, the so called Blue Mosque, because of the impressive blue tiles lining its walls, St.Sophia Museum. Time permit, we will drop by the Spice Bazaar, where the smells of cinnamon, cloves and thyme rise from hundreds of colourful muslin bags at every store-front. Transfer to the airport for international flight.

istanbul-goldenhorn

Other tour details; ViaMaris Brochure