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“Seven Churches of Revelations (Churches of Apocalypse) in the book of John refer to seven major cities or 7 churches of asia minor throughout western Turkey: Thyatira – Sardis – Laodicea – Philadelphia – Hierapolis – Aphrodisias. These places provided a relatively safe haven for the Early Christians. For those looking to make a spiritual journey, Turkey cannot be overlooked. For a deeper discovery of Biblical Turkey, join our tours.”.
Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel, check- in. Leisure afternoon.
Day 2 – Sultanahmet – Old Istanbul
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:00am
Visit The St. (Haghia) Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian. It was the largest building in the world for over 1000 years. See its intricate mosaics and huge central dome. Continue to the Topkapi palace, which was used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries. We will also see the impressive collection of priceless jewels, crystal, silver and porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and relics of the prophet Mohammed.(Entrance to the Harem is extra). After lunch we will see the Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I, which is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul and visit the Yerebatan underground Cistern. See the Grand Covered Bazaar (except Sundays). *May be done as a walking tour if your hotel is centrally located. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 3 – Bosphorus Cruise with Beylerbeyi
Meeting at the hotel reception at 08:45am
Visit the exotic Egyptian Spice Market on the Golden Horn. Board your cruise of the Bosphorus, the waterway, which separates the continents of Europe and Asia. Pass Rumeli fortress, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 to prepare for his conquest of Istanbul. We will visit the museum of Sadberk Hanim, which has an excellent private collection of artifacts dating back to the prehistoric period and an ethnographic section housed in an old Ottoman building. After lunch in a seaside fish restaurant, cross over the Bosphorus Bridge to Asia and visit Beylerbeyi Palace, which was the summer residence of the Ottoman Sultans, then on to Camlica Hill, for a magnificent view of Istanbul. Cruise is done by public boat unless other arrangements are made. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 4 – Istanbul – Şanlıurfa
Early morning flight to Sanliurfa. Arrival and meeting at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Visit the Mevlid Halil Mosque, the Cave of Prophet Abraham, then the sacred fish pool. You will have a chance to wander in the Old Bazaar. – Continue to Harran, city of the prophet Abraham. See the fortress, Islamic school and curious beehive-shaped adobe houses. Overnight Urfa.
Day 5 – Şanlıurfa – Gaziantep – Hatay (
After breakfast, drive to see Gobekli Tepe, which is one of the most incredible archeological discoveries ever. With its T-shaped megaliths carved with strange and delicate images, mostly of animals. Gobekli tepe is at least 12,000 years old and is thought to be a temple. Some are saying that it marks the site of the Garden of Eden. Continue to Hatay via Gaziantep. The artisans of Gaziantep are specialists in making copperware and furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The city has a fortress with 36 towers originally constructed in the Justinian era and later rebuilt by the Seljuks. We will visit the Gaziantep Zeugma Museum with the collection of impressive mosaics from the ancient site of Zeugma (Belkis) this museum has become one of the most extensive mosaic museums in the world. See the Old town of Gaziantep with beautifully carved stonework of doors and windows in the old parts of town. We will leave Gaziantep and pass the Euphrates River with a stop at Birecik which is famous for the nearly extinct Bald Ibis. Check-in to hotel and overnight Hatay.
Day 6 – Hatay ( Antioch)
It was here at Antioch on the Orontes that believers were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Visit the cave where they met in secret (may be partly closed for restauration). Paul and Silas departed from here on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:35-36). Discover the impact of leaders such as Ignatius of Antioch and John Chrysostom. In Acts 2:9, pilgrims from Cappadocia were assembled with the thousands in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost when they received the initial baptism of the Holy Spirit and heard the Apostle Peter preach his powerful message. Visit to mosaic museum (partially closed) and overnight Hatay.
Day 7 – Hatay – Tarsus- – Cappadocia
Departure in the morning and drive to Tarsus, birthplace of the Apostle Paul. 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). We will travel to Cappadocia and stop by The rock-hewn monastery of Eski Gümüşler which is 10 km east from Nigde. Overnight Cappadocia.
Day 8 – Cappadocia
Meeting at the hotel reception at 09:30am
Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Soğanlı Valley, an Open Air Museum in a wild natural setting near a typical Cappadocian village with its different style Rock-Cut churches and frescoes. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the “table top” mountains, are spectacular. Lunch and Visit to Sahinefendi newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & Archaeological excavation site. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides its frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which we can only see by torch light. Our tour finishes with a visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Overnight Cappadocia.
Day 9 – Cappadocia
In the morning, first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia: rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley; a journey in the past with its troglodyte houses, visit to Pasabag “fairy chimneys” where the voice of wind mixes with the “songs of fairies” near Zelve. Lunch in Avanos, centre of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century). Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Overnight Cappadocia.
Day 10 – Cappadocia – Ephesus- PERGAMON – THYATIRA – IZMIR)
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Take the morning flight from Kayseri to Izmir (direct or via Istanbul).
Arrival and meeting at the airport with your name sign. Transfer to Pergamum, actually called Bergama. It is one of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 2:12]. Here we explore the impressive Acropolis, the steepest theatre in the world, the Asklepieion, famous medical centre of classical times, see the Altar of Zeus which is mentioned as the «Throne of Satan» in the book of Revelation, the marble columns of the Temple of Trajan and the Library which was foremost in the world and was long a rival of the equally famous Library of Alexandria in Egypt. Its wealth of volumes was estimated at over 200,000. It inspired the invention of parchment. We also visit the Red Basilica (St. John’s Church). Then we continue our visit to Thyatira, now called Akhisar, another one of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 2:18-24; Acts 16:14]. It was a city famous for purple dyes. We visit the remains of a basilica and some architectural fragments from the Roman period. Lydia, the seller of purple in Philippi, was from Thyatira. Before we check in at the hotel in Izmir, we enjoy a panoramic ride of Smyrna, the third largest city in Turkey and one of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 2:12-17]. Smyrnas is a city scarred with a bloody history of trade and warfare. We ascend to Mount Pagus where we visit the Citadel of Lysimachos, commander of Alexander the Great, erected in the 4th century BC. We will also see the Clock Tower. Check in at the hotel for dinner and Overnight in Izmir.
Day 11 – IZMIR – SARDIS – PHILADELPHIA – LAODICEA – HIERAPOLIS
Today we depart early in the morning to one of the most picturesque areas of any of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 3:1-4], Sardis, presently Sart. This was the capital of the ancient Lydian kingdom of the 6th century BC, portrayed as a dying church. We visit the great Temple of Artemis and the Temple of Cybele, which became a Byzantine Church. We will also visit some ancient Lydian houses, and the restored gymnasium and reconstructed Synagogue. We also see the last several meters of the royal Persian Road from Susa to Sardis built by Cyrus the Great and the «golden» river Pactolos. Lunch en route. Then we continue our journey to Philadelphia, nowadays called Alasehir, another church of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 3:7], and the only church not censured. There we see the remains of a Byzantine basilica built of brick, with a bit of high arch and some 11th century frescoes. We drive to the healing city of Hierapolis, actually Pamukkale, the white «cotton fortress» where hot mineral water bursts from the earth and cascades over steep cliffs forming pools, channels and stalactites. The therapeutic waters were known to the founders of Hierapolis and of Laodicea in 190 BC. In Hierapolis [Col. 4:13] we visit the Martyrium of the Apostle Philip where he was martyred during the persecutions ordered by Domitian. Proceed to Laodicea (present name Denizli) yet another of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor [Rev. 1:11; 3:14; Col. 2:1; 4:13-16]. We see the ancient theatre, the remains of basilica and ancient stone water pipes. We visit the Gate of Domitian, the Arcadian Way, the 2nd century AD Theatre, the Nymphaion, the Temple of Apollo, the Plutonium and the Necropolis. Check in at hotel for dinner and overnight in Hotel in Pamukkale.
Day 12 – EPHESUS – KUSADASI
Drive to Ephesus visit to the ancient city of Ephesus including the Basilica of St. John and the Ephesus archaeological museum. The Apostle Paul preached to the Ephesians and lived here for three years. This church also received an epistle from him. We tour the spectacular ruins where excavations still continue in this once great and important city, which was founded in the 10th century BC. Walk through history along marble streets lined with wonderful public buildings, among them the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the Theatre. The Temple of Diana of the Ephesians, another of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was built in this city. We visit the Basilica of St. John and the Ephesus archaeological museum. Visit The House of Virgin Mary before drive to Kusadasi Overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 13: Kusadasi – Istanbul
Pick-up from hotel 2 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Izmir airport for flight to Istanbul Ataturk airport. Arrival and transfer to Hotel. Free afternoon for a last chance to complete your visits. Overnight Istanbul.
Day 14 B)
Pick-up from hotel 3 hours before flight departure.
Transfer to Airport to connect to your international flight and leave Turkey
This itinerary is subject to change and may be reversed without prior notice according to weather, museum closing days, daily events or other unforeseen circumstances outside the control of Custom Travel Services.
Tags: classical, cultural