Meet at the airport after clearing passport control and
drive to Antioch. Before dinner, a Welcome Briefing will
be presented by your English speaking guide, who will
accompany you throughout the entire tour.
Full day in Antioch
Antioch was the headquarters of St. Pauls Missionary
Journeys. It was the third largest city of the Roman Empire,
rivaled only by Rome and Alexandria. St. Peter, St. Paul,
St. Barnabas and St. Timothy all preached in this place
where Jesus followers were first called Christians. Visit
the cave church where St. Peter first celebrated Mass. South
of the church, the Iron Gate was one of the actual entrances
of Biblical Antioch; strolling through the old part of the
city, you cannot help recalling the saints who walked these
old streets, for little has changed since that time. After
lunch, drive to Seleucia Peria mentioned in the New
Testament as the port from which St. Paul and St. Barnabas
set sail for Anatolia on their first missionary journey
(45-46 AD). Visit the Temple of Zeus for a birds eye view
of the harbor, and then visit the famous Titus water tunnel.
Return to hotel for overnight.
Antioch - Tarsus - Cappadocia
Drive to Tarsus; visit the birthplace of St. Paul (10 AD)
and drink from the well of the blessed water. Continue on to
Cappadocia, land of unique landscapes and the unusual rock
formations called Fairy Chimneys. Early inhabitants carved
the soft volcanic rock to create underground dwellings, that
eventually grew to become entire cities where as many as six
thousand Christians hid to escape persecution. Elaborate
churches-by some counts over a thousand of them-were also
carved of the porous rock, and lavishly decorated with
frescoes; many of these 9th to 11th century art works still
remain. Transfer to hotel for overnight.
Full day exploring Cappadocia. Visit Goreme Open Air Museum,
Avanos, the pottery making town, the natural Citadel of
Uchisar and the monastic Zelve Valley
Visit the Ihlara Valley including painted cave churches,
Güzelyurt (Karballa), the birthplace of St.Gregory of
Nazianzus and the underground city of Kaymaklı. Return to
hotel for overnight.
Cappadocia - Konya - Antalya
Early departure to Konya. Visit the Mevlana Museum and the
13th century Whirling Dervish Monastery. After lunch, drive
Demre - Hierapolis - Pamukkale
Early departure to Demre, one of the six great cities of the
Lycian civilization which was first settled in the 5th
century B.C. The rock tombs, theater and Church of
St.Nicholas commemorate the life and work of this Fourth
Century Bishop. Saint Nicholas provided the dowries for
three poor girls who would not have been able to marry
otherwise, the beginning of our tradition of Christmas
giving. Continue to Hierapolis, where we will visit the
Martyrium of St.Philip amidst the sites extensive ruins.
Overnight in Pamukkale.
Pamukkale- Hierapolis - Laodicea
Complete the tour of Hierapolis, see the wonderful formation
of stalactites in Pamukkale (Cotton Castle), the Roman Bath
which later became a church, then visit Laodicea, one of the
Seven Churches of the Revelation, continue to Kuşadası for
Patmos - Kuşadası
Today well travel by private boat to the Greek Island of
Patmos, location of the cave where John wrote the Book of
Revelation, and also spent some time at St. Johns
Monastery. Return to Kuşadası for overnight.
Ephesus - Izmir
Depart for Ephesus, cradle of the early Churches. Visit the
House of the Virgin Mary, ancient Ephesus, the
Archaeological Museum, the Temple of Diana (one of the Seven
Wonders of the Ancient World), the grave and Basilica of St.
John. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Sardis - Philadelphia - Izmir
After Mass at the Church of St. Polycarp, travel to Sardis,
the capital city of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, and the
church which was built on the foundations of the Temple of
Artemis. After traveling to Philadelphia, return to Izmir.
Balance of the afternoon is free to explore the city and its
ancient bazaar. Overnight in Izmir.
Pergamum - Bursa
Depart to Pergamum to see the Asclepion, the ancient
hospital whose approach to medicine was remarkably modern,
the Acropolis, the church at the site of ancient Serapium,
and the Red Court dedicated to St. John. Continue to Bursa;
visit the Green Mosque and the Green Mausoleum. Overnight in
Bursa - Nicea- Iznik - Istanbul
Drive to Iznik (ancient Nicaea) via the beautiful Iznik lake
road. Two ecumenical councils were held here: the First
Ecumenical Council of 325 and the Seventh Ecumenical Council
of 787. Visit the ruins of the St. Sophia Church where the
Seventh Ecumenical Council was held. In the afternoon, drive
to Istanbul, the only city in the world spanning two
continents; transfer to hotel. Evening at leisure.
A full day of sight-seeing in Istanbul. Visit the Blue
Mosque with its beautiful blue tiles, the Roman Hippodrome,
and Topkapi Museum, the Imperial Residential Palace of the
Ottoman sultans between the 16th and 19th centuries and the
oldest and largest of the remaining palaces in the world.
Its displays include priceless world-class collections of
jewelry, porcelain and costumes of the sultans. In the
afternoon, take a boat trip through the Bosphorus Strait,
viewing the mosques, palaces, old traditional wooden villas
and the beauty of the Asian and European shorelines on each
side. Evening at leisure.
In the morning, visit St. Sophia Museum, built by
Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the
6th century, one of the worlds greatest architectural
marvels and a designated World Heritage site. After lunch,
visit St. Chora Church, with its beautiful mosaics,
Afterward, we`ll have the opportunity to go shopping at the
Grand Bazaar. This evening, we gather for a farewell dinner.
Istanbul - End
After an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the
Istanbul Ataturk Airport for your flight home.