Arrival in Adana Airport, transfer to the hotel, free time for leisure. o/n.
Full day tour to Antakya, ancient Antioch-on-the-Orontes. It was the chief church on Gentile Christians where they first called “Christians”. Many Jerusalem Christians filed after the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 11:19). Paul’s first two journeys began and ended here. Our first stop will be St.Peter’s Grotto and St.Peter’s Church; the oldest known in the area. Then visiting Mosaic Museum; which houses an amazing collection of Roman mosaics. Continue to Samandag- Seleucia Pieria; it was the harbor for Antioch where the Orontes River met the Mediterranean Sea. Paul, Barnabas and John Mark sailed from here to Salamis (Cyprus) to initiate his first missionary journey (Act 13:4-5). Here we will visit the remains of dam and impressive Titus Tunnel-artificial water source constructed to protect the harbor from silting. Return to Adana, dinner & o/n.
Leaving Adana for Cappadocia, on the way we will visit Tarsus; Paul’s birthplace (Act 22:3), was a center of philosophy, had a privileged status with Rome. Barnabas came here for Saul, encouraging him to join in the ministry at Antioch (Acts 11:25). Visiting St.Paul’s well, the gate of Anthony & Cleopatra and the Roman Street. Continue to Nevşehir – Cappadocia. Cappadocia region was formed 60 million years ago by erosion of soft layers of lava and ash from Mount Erciyes (Argeus), Mount Hasan and Mount Güllü composing with wind and rain over millions of years. Human settlement at the Cappadocia region dates back to the Paleolithic era. The lands where the Hittites once lived have been one of the most important centers of Christianity in the later periods. Houses and churches carved into the caves and rocks turned the region into a huge heaven for Christians escaping from the dominance of the Roman Empire. In the 3rd century, Christians came to the Cappadocia which became a centre for education. Pressure on the Christians increased between 303-308. But Cappadocia was an ideal place to be safeguarded from pressures and to spread the Christian doctrine. Deep valleys and shelters dug into the soft volcanic rocks created a safe haven against the Roman soldiers. Half day tour visiting; Goreme open air Museum, Underground city, Zelve and Pasabag. Dinner and o/n in Cappadocia.
Leaving Cappadocia for Konya and Antalya. Our first visit will be Konya ancient Iconium, was the commercial center with a mixed Jewish and Gentile population. Paul and Barnabas spoke in the synagogues (Acts 13:31 14 :6) until an attempt by the population to stone them. The events that took place in Iconium during Paul’s visit is narrated in detail in the apocryphal “Acts of Paul and Thecla”. Iconium is one of the earliest settlements of central Anatolia, the capital of Turkish Seljuk Kingdom in the medieval period and the site of the “Whirling Dervishes”. Biblical references to Iconium: Acts 13:51, 14:1-6, 16:2. After arrival in Konya, visiting Mevlana Museum; the headquarters of the denomination founded by Mevlana, the leader of “whirlin dervishes”. Our next visit will be Lystra (Zoldera); Paul visited here several times. They thought Paul and Barnabas were Gods (Zeus and Hermes) after healing a cripple (Act 14:12), They stoned Paul and left him for death. Paul later returned appointed elders (Acts 14:23), and as joined by Timothy (Acts 16:13). Then Yalvaç – Pisidian Antioch; this city marked the end of Paul’s first journey (Acts 13:13 – 52) where he preached his first recorded sermon, “Men of Israel… God-fearers …” with limited results. They were forced to leave this Roman outpost, shaking the dust off their feet. Twice the size of Ephesus, it was likely visited on all three journeys. During the recent excavations the two main streets of the city, the temple dedicated to Augustus and the Cathedral of Paul that was constructed on the foundations of the synagogue is unearthed. Continue to Antalya. Dinner an o/n in Antalya.
Antalya, Turkey’s principal holiday resort, is an attractive city with shady, palm lined boulevards and a prize-winning marina. Since its founding in the 2nd.C. BC by Attalos II, a king of Pergamon, who named the city Attaleia after himself. It was the chief port of Pamphylia, from which Paul and Barnabas sailed at the end of the first journey (Acts 14:26). Half day tour to Perga; one of the earliest settlements on the Mediterranean and the remains of the Roman city is well preserved and impressive. Paul and Barnabas went through Perga on their way to and from Antioch on their first missionary journey. Here Paul assumed the role of leader rather than Barnabas (Acts 13:13 – 14). Many of this city’s buildings, and the Roman theatre of nearby Aspendos, give a glimpse of the grandeur Paul saw as he entered Perga. Then Aspendos; the Roman city with the best-preserved remains of a theater. Return to Antalya, free time for leisure or exploring this charming city. Dinner and o/n in Antalya.
Drive to Pamukkale. Our first stop will be Laodicea; where the good quality of raven black wool was spun, was once a wealthy city, which declined the emperors’ financial help after the earthquakes in the 1 st C.A.D. This Church was described as “lukewarm, naked, blind and abject poverty”. It was a cultic center of Hierapolis and both cities are mentioned in Paul’s letter (Col.2:1 & 4:15). Then continue to Pamukkale; a beautiful and spectacular natural site undoubtedly unique in the world. It’s situated on plateau with its pools and the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis-monuments on this site include the ancient thermal baths, a nympaeon, a great theatre a huge well-preserved necropolis. Hierapolis was a favorite spa in the Roman world. Paul greeted this city in his letter to Colossians (Col.4:13). Traditionally St. Philip is connected with early church here and a martyrium dedicated to him is identified in this site. Dinner & o/n in Pamukkale spa hotel.
After breakfast depart to Kusadasi. On the way visiting Miletus; the major Ionian city is to the south of Ephesus. Miletus dominated the se routes and had established more than 90 colonies all around the Mediterranean as early as the 7th.C.BC. This city was a wealthy, cultural and intellectual center of trade, science and philosophy and the site Paul’s famous farewell speech to Ephesian elders (Acts 20:17-38). Paul sailed from Miletus to Jerusalem for Pentecost. Continue to Sirince Village, a pretty old Orthodox village 12 km from Ephesus. Today the village is a perfect fusion of Turk-Greek culture. After the Independence war, the two governments organized a population exchange between the Greek and Turks. What was once a Greek settlement is now occupied by mainly Turks. The Greek Houses remain, though they have now received the local layout inside. All the narrow streets of Sirince Village belong to the women, selling handcrafts of all kinds and olive oil. The main attraction to Sirince is the grape and fruit wine. Dinner and o/n in Kusadasi.
Full day tour to Ephesus; one of the prime Biblical sites and dominant city of Antiquity, is one the highlights of any visit to Turkey. It was the wealthiest and most populated city in the Asian province of the Roman Empire. References to Ephesus in Bible outnumber any other site; Paul spent more than two years in his third journey (Acts 19), from here Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians. Orgiastic worship of Cybele, fertility goddess whom the Greeks equated with Artemis, was here. Paul’ preaching against idols clashed with Demetrius the silversmith, resulting in a riot at the theater (Acts 19:24-41). John lived from 40 AD onwards in this city, the traditional “House of Mary and the Church of Mary” where the 3rd Ecumenical Council met are among the many important sites of Christian history. The city is the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the world, the House of Virgin Mary where she is believed to have spent the last days of her life, the Library of Celsus, the baths of Scholastica, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Emperor Trajan, the Greater Theatre where Paul one preached the crowd od 24.000, St.John’s Cathedral-a 6th C. cathedral built on the burial site of St.John on a overlooking the site of the Temple of Artemis. We will also visit Ephesus Museum in Selcuk. Dinner and o/n in İzmir.
İzmir; ancient Smyrna founded by the Amazons first, later became the center of trade in antiquity, the city of Homer and Polycarp. This church was challenged, “Be faithful even to the point of death…” (Rev.2:8-11). Smyrna was the second city to receive a letter from the apostle John in the book of Revelation. Acts 19:10 suggests that the church there was founded during St. Paul’s third missionary journey. Continue to driving along Kordon to see the symbol of the city; the Ottoman Clock Tower, which is in Konak town. It is in the heart of the city. Our second stop will famous public elevator, is another symbol of Izmir. It was built in 1907 and restored by the municipality in 1993. Restored old houses fill the old Asansor quarter, also known as the Jewish quarter. Continue to drive to the Agora. This 2nd century A.D. agora, midway between the acropolis and the harbor, was partially excavated by the harbor and Turkish archaeologists from 1932-1941. Continue to drive to Kemeralti. We will Visit the old famous shopping centre in Kemeralti, Kemeralti is historic market (bazaar) district. It was originally formed around the street surrounding the shallow inner bay of the city, which was filled in due course during the 17th century, availing the bazaar to be extended to a wider area. Dinner and o/n in Izmir.
Leaving İzmir for Assos. On the way visiting Pergamum one of the most spectacular city of Asia Minor, it was the most favored of the Apocalypse churches, praised for its perseverance in hard times (it lived where “Satan has his throne” Rev.1:12-17). Reportedly the site of the largest library in the ancient world which contained 200.000 volumes, it was here that parchment, “charta pergamena” was invented. Along with the Temple of Trajan and the library, the well-preserved medical center “Asclepion” and the “Red Basilica” originally built for the Egyptian Goddess Serapis, however it was used by Jewish and Christians, are the sites to be visited. Continue to Assos, dinner & o/n.
After Breakfast depart to Assos; with the Aegean Sea and the Island of Lesbos. The well-preserved remains of the city include the walls, the temple of Athena, the theatre and the agora. The Roman harbor, which is still used by the fishermen, is the sites to be visited. Paul walked from Troas to Assos, while the others joining him made the trip be sea (Acts 20:5-6,13). Aristotle taught here for 4 years. Paul sailed from Assos to Lesbos-Mitylene (Acts 20:14). Our second stop will be Alexander Troas; it was founded immediately after Alexander the Great and it was the most important port until the establishment of Constantinople. Paul preached at Troas on his second journey (Acts 16:8-10) before receiving the vision of the Macedonian asking for help. This vision changed the destiny of Paul and Europe. Paul and Timothy were joined but Luke at Troas and stayed for a week (Acts20:6- 12. Our last stop will be Troy; we will relive the glory of ancient Troy and uncover the myths and legends of Achilles, the Trojan Horse and Helen of Troy. Dinner & o/n in Canakkale.
After Breakfast we will cross the Dardanelles and drive to Istanbul. Our stop in Istanbul will be Kariye Museum; 11th century St.Seviour in Chora is the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul after St.Sophia. The walls are decorated with superb 14th century frescoes and mosaics on a gold ground. Dinner & o/n in Istanbul.
Full day city tour. Visiting; Byzantine Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Cistern Basilica, Grand Bazaar and Hagia Sophia Museum. Hagia Sophia Museum; the Divine Wisdom, constructed as a royal cathedral in 537, served as a mosque after 1453, a museum after 1935 and since 2020 again as a mosque. Dinner and o/n in İstanbul.
Transfer to Istanbul International Airport for your flight to your home town.