Day 1: Istanbul
Welcome to magnificent Istanbul. Arrive at the airport, & transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 2: Istanbul
Discover the charm of Turkey’s capital city today. Visit the 17th-century Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or “Blue Mosque,” which boasts a beautiful interior décor, consisting of marble & handcrafted ceramic tiles. Explore the magnificent Hagia Sophia, & learn about its conversion throughout history, from church to mosque to the Museum of Byzantine Art. Venture through the Grand Bazaar, home to thousands of shops featuring antiques, spices, jewelry, & more. Other highlights include the imperial Topkapi Palace, which features the actual bones from John the Baptist’s arm & hand.
Day 3: Istanbul – Adana – Antioch – Daphne – Seleucia Pieria – Adana
In the morning, fly to Adana. Upon arrival, head to the ancient city of Antioch on the Orontes, where the Apostle Paul & Barnabas lived & spread the Christian faith. Step inside the ancient cave church, St. Peter’s Grotto, & explore the Hatay Archaeology Museum. Enjoy a walk through the charming forest in Daphne before heading to Seleucia Pieria, home of the Titus Tunnel & the rock tombs. Later today, return to Adana for dinner & an overnight stay.
Day 4: Adana – Tarsus – Agzikarahan – Cappadocia
Travel to the ancient city of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul’s hometown, & enjoy a drink from the Well of St. Paul. It is believed that this water has special healing properties. Next, journey across the Anatolian Plateau, heading for the “caravanserais” of Agzikarahan. This 13th-century accommodation was used to house weary travelers & their camels overnight. After touring this ancient motel, enjoy dinner & an overnight stay in the Cappadocia region.
Day 5: Goreme – Derinkuyu – Avanos
Explore the churches of Goreme. See the 11th-century frescoes inside the Apple Church, the colorful walls & ceiling of Tokali Church, the 5th-century cave Church of St. John the Baptist, & more. Next, head below the earth’s surface to see the remains of Derinkuyu. This ancient, underground city features wine cellars, shrines, & granaries. Other highlights for today include a tour of Zelve Monastery in Avanos. Enjoy another overnight stay in the Cappadocia region.
Day 6: Konya – Lystra – Konya
Experience the essence of Turkish culture & custom today on a visit to the city of Konya. Learn about the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes at the Mevlana Museum, & see the elegantly decorated mausoleum of the great Rumi. Afterward, take an excursion to the nearby city of Lystra. Paul & Barnabas came to this ancient town during one of the Apostle’s missionary journeys. As mentioned in chapter fourteen of the book of Acts, it was in this city that a lame man was healed & began to walk. Return to Konya for dinner & an overnight stay.
Day 7: Konya – Pisidian Antioch – Laodicea – Hierapolis – Pamukkale
Visit ancient Pisidian Antioch, where Paul preached the gospel to the Gentiles. Explore the remains of the city, which includes the Basilica of St. Paul, a Byzantine church bearing scripture from the book of Psalm within its mosaic décor. Next, head to Laodicea, a site of one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. The number of remains that can be seen within this ancient community, of whom the Apostle John prophesied to be lukewarm, is quite impressive. Highlights include the sports stadium, the Odeon, the aqueduct, & the hillside theatre. Later today, explore ancient Hierapolis, which features a monument honoring the Apostle Philip for dying for his faith. Enjoy an overnight stay in the nearby city of Pamukkale, famous for its beautiful travertine terraces.
Day 8: Pamukkale – Philadelphia – Sardis – Kusadasi
Today’s journey begins with a visit to ancient Philadelphia, home to the church who “endured patiently,” as depicted in Revelation 3:10. Next, see the remains of Sardis, another site of one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Highlights include the acropolis, the gymnasium, the synagogue, & the famous Temple of Artemis. Travel through Smyrna, also a site of one of the Seven Churches, on the way to Kusadasi.
Day 9: Kusadasi – Miletus – Ephesus – Kusadasi
Travel to the ancient city of Miletus, where the Apostle Paul informed the elders of the Ephesian church that he was on his way to Jerusalem. Sightseeing highlights include the Greco-Roman theatre. Afterward, head to Ephesus, a site of one of the Seven Churches of Revelation & one of the most amazing displays of ancient Greek & Roman architecture. Learn about the long-lost Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Stand on the stage of the Great Theatre, where the Apostle Paul preached the gospel to the Ephesians. This amazing structure, which can hold a congregation of 25,000, is still being used for events to this day. Other famous structures include the Stadium, the Library of Celsus & the Gate of Augustus. Later today, visit the house where the Virgin Mary spent her last days on Earth, & see the remains of St. John’s Basilica. Tonight, enjoy another overnight stay in Kusadasi.
Day 10: Kusadasi – Thyatira – Pergamum – Alexandria Troas – Troy – Canakkale
See the ruins of ancient Thyatira, home to the church that allowed Jezebel to falsely advise its members. Next, visit Pergamum, the ancient city referred to in the Bible as Satan’s lair. See the stunning Hellenistic theatre, one of the world’s steepest, which dates back to the 3rd century B.C. See the remains of the Red Basilica, a Roman structure that served as a pagan house of worship before converting to a Christian church. Walk in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul this afternoon as you explore the ancient city of Alexandria Troas. It was within this great, Greek province that Paul spread the word of God, brought back Eutychus from the dead, & received the vision of the Macedonian man asking Paul to help him & his people. Afterward, head for the archaeological site of Troy. Enjoy examining the ruins from inside the replica of the legendary wooden horse of Troy. Today’s journey ends in the town of Canakkale.
Day 11: Canakkale – Nicea – Istanbul
Enjoy a scenic route to Nicea, through the valleys of the Marmara region. Visit Hagia Sophia Church, & learn about the Christian councils which once met there. Afterward, head back to the capital city for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 12: Istanbul – USA
Transfer to the airport, & board return flight home.