The Footsteps of Saint Paul and The Seven Churches of the Revelation

DAY 1: ISTANBUL

Transfer from Istanbul airport to the hotel.

DAY 2: ISTANBUL / ADANA / ANTAKYA

After early breakfast, transfer to the airport to fly to Adana and then drive to Antakya, Biblical Antioch where Barnabas brought Paul and he preached there for a whole year. The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. We will visit St Peter’s Grotto that is a pilgrimage place for the Christians.
According to tradition, Peter was the first bishop of Antioch and he preached in this early church. Then we will head for the Mosaic Museum of Antakya to see wonderful Roman mosaics.
Paul and Barnabas started their first missionary journey by sailing from the seaport Seleucia, modern Samandag nearby Antakya.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 3: ADANA / TARSUS / CAPPADOCIA

After breakfast in the hotel, depart for Tarsus, the birthplace of Paul. We will visit St Paul’s Well. According to tradition, it is the site of the house of this born Roman citizen.
Then we will drive to Cappadocia.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 4: CAPPADOCIA / KONYA

After breakfast in the hotel, we will do sightseeing of the Cappadocia region. It will be an astonishing day with incredible valleys, rock formations, rock castles, rock carved houses and churches.
We will visit Goreme Open Air Museum, which is a medieval monastery complex with hundreds of carved rock churches with exceptionally well-preserved frescoes about the New Testament.
Then, we will drive to Konya.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 5: KONYA / ANTALYA

After breakfast in the hotel, we will visit Mevlana Museum, which used to be convent of the whirling dervishes. We will see 9th century Korans and 13th century poetry books of Rumi.
Konya is the Biblical Iconium that Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there during the first missionary journey.
Drive to Antioch in Pisidia, modern Yalvac. Paul preached to the Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism in synagogue on the Sabbath day but the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear him. Visit the Pisidian Antioch archeological site to walk along the ancient streets of the town and see St Paul Basilica, the theatre and the Roman baths.
Drive south to Attalia, modern Antalya where Paul and Barnabas sailed back to Antioch at the end of the first missionary journey.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 6: ANTALYA

After breakfast in the hotel, drive to Perge and visit Perge archeological site. Paul and Barnabas sailed to Perge, separated from John Mark in Perge and went on to Toros Mountains. We will walk along the beautiful ancient shopping arcade with the Agora and the Roman Baths.
Drive to Myra, modern Demre to visit the archeological site and the Church of St Nicholas who is known in the west as Santa Claus. He was an actual person who lived in Myra in 4th century and as the bishop of Myra, joined the first Ecumenical Council in Nicaea under Constantine’s rule.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 7: ANTALYA / PAMUKKALE

After breakfast in the hotel, depart for Colossae where the letter to the Colossians addressed. We understand that the church in Colossae met in the house of Philemon who received a private letter from Paul. We can talk about run away slave Onesimus who was useless for his master Philemon, but useful for the faith and also Epaphras who was working hard for churches in Colossae, Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Then we will proceed to Laodicea. There is a letter written to the angel of the church in Laodicea. We will visit Laodicea archeological site and try to understand about the meaning of being lukewarm. In addition, Paul instructed that his letter to the Colossians to be read in the church of Laodicea and the Colossians in turn read the letter to the Laodiceans, which is a missing one. We understand from those instructions that the church in Laodicea met in the house of Nympha in the time of Paul.
Our last destination for today will be Hierapolis, also called Pamukkale. We will visit Hierapolis archeological site, will have a view of far away ruins of the Martyrdom of St Philip and will have time to paddle in the lukewarm waters of the white calcareous mass terraces.
We will have dinner in the hotel.
Enjoy indoor and outdoor thermal pools in the hotel.

DAY 8: PAMUKKALE / KUSADASI

After breakfast in the hotel, drive west to Ephesus. We will visit archeological site, which was the second largest metropolis of the early Roman Empire.
Paul preached there more than two years. We will walk in the marble paved streets of Ephesus and see the odeon, Temple of Augustus, Temple of Domitian, Temple of Hadrian, Celsus Library, the agora and finally the great theatre. The crowds led by Demetrius the silversmith marched 2000 years ago in the streets and finally assembled in the theatre shouting for two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.”
We will visit the Church of St John in the Castle of St John that was built 6th century A.D.
There is a letter written to the angel of the church in Ephesus in the Revelation written by John.
In addition, we will (optionally) visit the House of Mother Mary that is believed to be the house of the mother of Jesus.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 9: KUSADASI / MILETUS / IZMIR

After breakfast in the hotel drive to Miletus and visit the archeological site. Paul sailed to Miletus to farewell to the Ephesian elders on the way to Jerusalem.
Then we will drive to Izmir and visit the Agora of the ancient Smyrna, which received a letter written to the angel of the church.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 10: IZMIR /THYATIRA / SARDES / PHILADELPHIA / IZMIR

After breakfast in the hotel, drive to Thyatira, modern Akhisar. Thyatira received a letter written to the angel of the church. We will visit the Basilica and talk about “eating food sacrificed to idols.”
Then we will drive to Sardes, modern Sart village nearby Salihli. We will visit the archeological site to see 2000 years old synagogue. Sardes received a letter written to the angel of the church. We will talk about those “who are dressed in white and have not soiled their clothes.”
Finally, we will drive to Philadelphia, modern Alasehir. Philadelphia received a letter written to the angel of the church. We will visit Basilica of St John. From the city of brotherly love, we will return to Izmir.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 11: IZMIR / PERGAMON / ASSOS

After breakfast in the hotel, drive to Pergamon that also received a letter written to the angel of the church. We will visit Pergamon Acropolis archeological site. The Altar of Zeus and the Library of Pergamon next to the Temple of Athena were the main structures of the town. Temple of Trajan was added in Roman era.
We will also visit so called the Red Courtyard, which was the Temple of Isis and Serapis in pagan time. A church was built in the middle of the temple in Christian era.
Then we will drive north and visit Assos archeological site. Paul came to Assos by land route from Alexandria Troas.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 12: ASSOS / ALEXANDRIA TROAS / TROY / CANAKKALE / ISTANBUL

After breakfast in the hotel, drive to Alexandria Troas. Paul came to Alexandria in Troas region twice to go to and return from Macedonia.
Drive to Troy and visit the archeological site. Homeric epic the Iliad and archeological excavations from Schliemann to Korfmann attract the visitors to this site.
By a short drive, we will take a ferry to go across the Dardanelles to the European continent and drive to Istanbul.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 13: ISTANBUL

After breakfast in the hotel, depart for a full day city tour.
We will visit Roman Hippodrome where the Greens and Blues had their chariot races.
Then we will visit the Blue Mosque, the most famous Turkish-Islamic mosque with 6 minarets.
Later we will visit Saint Sophia, a church once, then a mosque and a museum today. Probably it is the most important structure of today.
Finally, we will visit the Topkapi Palace. Once the centre of the Ottoman state system, today a museum with many breath-taking exhibition rooms to tell all about the Ottomans.
The last stop will be the Grand Bazaar with more than 4000 shops.
We will have dinner in the hotel.

DAY 14: ISTANBUL

After breakfast in the hotel, transfer to the airport.
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