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St. Paul Missionary Journey in Asia Minor

Duration 12 Days / 11 Nights (Private Guided)
Tour Highlights St Paul in Tarsus Adana,
St Paul in Antioch,
St Paul in Lystra & Icoium (Konya)
St Paul in Perge & Antalya Harbour
St Paul in Laodicea & Pamukkale (Hierapolis)
St Paul in Philadelphia – Sardis & Smyrna (Izmir)
St Paul in Ephesus & House Of Virgin Mary (Kusadasi)
St Paul in Pergamon – Thyatira & Alexandria Troas
Troy & Istanbul
Description Saint Paul who brought Christianity to the western world, and introduces a selection of hymns inspired by his example and enduring words, is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the history of the western world. Tarsus is the birthplace of St.Paul and Antioch, his ‘home’ church which is included at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

Day 1: ISTANBUL to ADANA (By Flight)

Arrival to Adana via Istanbul. Transfer to the Hotel. Overnight in Adana. (D)

Day 2: ANTIOCH

After breakfast, departure for Antioch, where the term Christian was first associated with the followers of Jesus. (Acts 11:19-27; 13:1; 14:26; 15:22-35; Gal. 2:11; II Tim. 3:11) We will visit St Peter’s Cave Church the very first Christian Church, and the impressive Mosaic Museum. At the end of the tour return to Adana. Overnight in Adana (B&D)

Day 3: TARSUS, LYSTRA & ICONIUM (KONYA)

After breakfast drive to Tarsus, the birthplace of St.Paul (Acts 9:11; 9:30; 11:25; 21:39; 22:3). Visit the new St.Paul Church and Paul’s Well. Continue to the Biblical site of Lystra, where Paul preached on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6-21; 16:1-2, II Tim. 3:11). Then drive to Iconium (Konya) (Acts 13:51; 14:1-21; 16:2, II Tim. 3:11), to visit the Mevlana Mausoleum. Dinner and overnight in Konya. (B,D)

Day 4: PERGE & ANTALYA HARBOUR

Early departure route through the coastal mountains will bring new understanding of the rugged terrain that Paul traveled on his missionary journeys in route to the bustling, palm-lined streets of Antalya.  Founded on the “Turquoise Coast” of the Mediterranean, Antalya has boasted a mild climate and beautiful beaches and harbours for centuries. In fact, Paul and Barnabas sailed from Antalya harbour in the 1st Century on the first missionary journey. Today, we’ll visit the best preserved Roman Theatre in the world in Aspendos and the neighbouring town of Perge (Acts 13:13-14; 14;25). It was in Perge that John Mark decided to part company with Paul and Barnabas, while they continued on their missionary journey. Ruins of the city’s streets, baths, gates and theatre are still visible. We also visit historic Antalya Harbour and Hadrian’s Gate.  Overnight in Antalya. (B&D)

Day 5: WORSHIP, LAODICEA & PAMUKKALE (HIERAPOLIS)

In the morning worship at the St. Paul Culture Center. After worship we will drive to visit Laodicea (Col 2:1; 4:13-16, Rev. 1:11; 3:14). Then, continue to Pamukkale Hierapolis; meaning "Sacred City," was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center in the first century. According to tradition, the Apostle Philip lived and was martyred in Hierapolis. It was the likely the hot springs of Hierapolis in contrast to the cold mountain springs near Colossae that combined to bring application to the "luke warm" Laodiceans. (Rev 3:14-22)  This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13). Colossae is well-known throughout Christian circles as the receiver of Paul's letter to the Colossians. Today, the town has fallen into obscurity and nothing remains.   Laodicea contains many acres of ruins to visit including a stadium and remnants of a sophisticated water system.

Enjoy touring the beautiful snow, white ‘frozen waterfalls’ baths, theatre, main streets, gates and Necropolis. Overnight at a Thermal Hotel in Pamukkale. (B&D)

Day 6: PHILADELPHIA – SARDIS & SMYRNA

Early morning drive to Alasehir to visit Philadelphia was referred to as the "New Jerusalem" (Rev. 3:7-13) in the Book of Revelation, yet today, not much is left of the city except for the ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine basilica in the modern city of Alasehir.  Continue to Sardis was berated by John for its facade of strength when in reality; it was weak (Rev. 3:1-6). Here we will visit the Gymnasium and the 3rd century Synagogue, the Temple of Diana and the remains of the 1st century Church. Then drive to Izmir, is the third largest city in Turkey and a long time center for Jews and Christians. In Paul's day, Izmir was known as Smyrna and was another of the Seven Churches (Rev. 2:8-11). Here we'll see Polycarp's Church and the ancient agora. Overnight in Izmir. (B&D)

Day 7: EPHESUS & HOUSE of VIRGIN MARY (KUSADASI)

In the morning, departure for the House of Virgin Mary. The belief that the Virgin Mary had spend her last days in a house in the vicinity of Ephesus and that she had died there, focused attention on a nun named Anna Catherina Emmerich who had lived in the late 18th century. The efforts to find the house were greatly influenced by her detailed description of the Mary’s coming to Ephesus, her life and her last home there. After the visit, drive to Ephesus Antique Site, one of the best-preserved cities of antiquity, where St.Paul preached. A large and impor- tant city one the west coast of Asia Minor where Apostle Paul founded a church. The history of Christianity at Ephesus began probably about AD 50, perhaps as a result of the Priscilla and Aquila. During his stay in Ephesus, Paul encountered both great opportunities and great dangers. He baptized believers who apparently came to know the gospel through disciples of John the Baptist (Acts 19:1–5) and he countered the strong influence of magic in Ephesus (Acts 19:11–20).

Besides its importance in the Christian history, Ephesus is the best preserved of the Antique cities in Asia Minor. The Grand Theater with 24,000-seat capacity, where St. Paul preached, the Trajan Fountain, the Temple of Hadrian, famous Street of Curetes and Celsus Library are among antique beauties to be seen during the visit to Ephesus Antique site. Many traditions testify that the Apostle John lived in Ephesus toward the end of the first century. In his vision from the Island of Patmos off the coast of Asia Minor, John described the church of Ephesus as flourishing, although it was troubled with false and had lost its first love (Rev 2:1–7). In the 6th century AD the Roman Emperor Justinian raised a magnificent church to John’s memory in this city. Lunch will be served at a nice local restaurant in the area. The day will not be complete without a visit to a local Turkish Rug cooperative. Overnight in Izmir. (B&D)

Day 8: PERGAMON , THYATIRA & AYVALIK

Visit the ruins of great city of Pergamon, a center of education and the arts, which possessed one of the greatest libraries of antiquity. The church of Pergamon was praised for its forbearance (Rev. 2:12-17). It was here that the first Christians were executed by Rome. Visit Pergamon’s Acropolis and Asclepion, one of the foremost medical centers of classical times. Continue to Akhisar to visit the 1st century Thyatira Church (Acts 16:14, Rev. 1:11; 2:18-24) and to view the ancient roadway and period columns.

Then, proceed to Alexandria Troas (Acts 16:8-11; 20:5, 6, II Tim. 4:13 II Cor. 2:12) where St.Paul preached and he put his robe on the child Ithicus who fell from the building and said to him, ”child, there is still life in you”. Alexandria Troas (Alexandria of the Troad) is an ancient Greek city on the coast south of Troy. It was founded by Antigonos and Lysimachos on the instructions of Alexander the Great and flourished during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, this site was first called Sigia, perhaps about 310 BC. Antigonus refounded the city as Antigonia Troas. Early in the next century the name was changed by Lysimachus to Alexandria Troas, in memory of Alexander III of Macedon. Investigations led by Elmar Schwertheim have been conducted at this site since 1993. Alexandria Troas is very close to the Troy ancient site. Overnight in Ayvalik. (B&D)

Day 9: TROY & ISTANBUL

In the morning, visit Troy, the legendary city of Homeros and Alexandria. Troy is a city which existed for over 4,000 years and is known as the center of ancient civilizations. For many years people believed that it was a city mentioned only in tales and never actually existed until it was first found in the 19th century. Troy ("Truva" or "Troya" in Turkish) is located at Hisarlik hill near the village of Tevfikiye in Canakkale province, where the remains  of this once-great city can be visited. What is left are the remains from the destructive dig carried out by Schliemann, the famous German would-be archaeologist or "treasure hunter" as some people call him. Today, an international team of German and American archaeologists bring the Troy of the Bronze Age back to life under a sponsored project. A Turkish legal team is work negotiating with Russia and Germany to retrieve the stolen Trojan treasures. Lunch en route.
After lunch, drive to Istanbul crossing Dardanelles on a ferry. Arrive Istanbul and visit St Sophia Church, (built in 6th century, once was the largest Christian Church in the world). Overnight in Istanbul. (B)

Day 10: ISTANBUL OLD CITY TOUR

After breakfast begin your day with a visit to the Ancient Hippodrome, which was one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire.  Take a short walk to the Blue Mosque, completed in 1616, and its colourful 260 windows enables the sunlight to reach inside.  The blue Iznik tiles covering the walls have given the mosque its popular name, Blue Mosque.
Next, visit the magnificient Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Sultans for almost three centuries.  It is located on the promontory jutting out between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn which provides a magnificent view.  The imperial residence of the sultan, his court and harem, the palace was also the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire. In the Treasury section, you will see breathtaking displays, including the 7th largest diamond in the world, the “Spoonmaker’s Diamond”. 

 

Continue to visit to the Church of St Saviour in Chora.  Built in the 11th century, the walls are decorated with beautiful mosaics and frescoes.  The mosaics depict the life of Virgin Mary and the infancy, genealogy and ministry of Christ.

Explore ninety-two streets of  the famous Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar is the largest and oldest covered Bazaar in Turkey with more than 4,000 shops. A variety of Turkish Handicrafts, Oriental carpets, rare jewels and inexpensive souvenirs all sold in small shops next to each other. Overnight in Istanbul. (B)

Day 11: ISTANBUL BOSPHORUS CRUISE

After breakfast, visit spice market also called egyptian bazaar and then take a private/regular boat tour along the Bosphorus seeing both Asian and European shores of Istanbul. Afternoon is free. Tonight, we will have a Farewell Dinner at an outside Sea Food Restaurant in the Flower Passage (Cicek Pasaji). (B,D)

Day 12: DEPARTURE HOME

After breakfast check-out from your hotel and transfer to the Ataturk Airport for your homebound flight. End of our Services.(B)

 

Including

  • Domestic Flight from Istanbul to Adana 
  • 4/5 Stars Hotels Accommodation on BB and HB basis
  • Transfers from/to Hotel/Airport/Hotel
  • English Speaking Tour Guide throughout the itinerary
  • Transportation in A/C & non-smoking vehicle
  • Entrance fees to the sites and museums
  • Farewell Dinner in Istanbul
  • Local Taxes and Service Charge

Excluding

  • Personal expenses
  • Tips to the Driver and Guide
  • Lunch
  • Portrages at the Airport/Hotels
  • International Flight

NOTE:
* Itinerary can be customized upon request to suit your specific interest.
* Itinerary can be combined with 3 Days Gulet Cabin Charter Cruise or shortened upon request