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Turkey - Birth of Christianity
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Turkey - Birth of Christianity

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 17 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 22 people
Destination(s): Turkey  
Specialty Categories: Pilgrimage/Spirituality   Archeology/History  
Season: May - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 2200 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2500 US Dollar (USD)

We offer unique itinerary designed with an emphasis on the archaeological, historical and geographical aspects of the early period of Christianity, viewed in light of recent research and discoveries.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Flight Day. Flight from the United States.

Day 2: Istanbul. Arrival in Istanbul and transfer to hotel. Orientation walks. Dinner and overnight at the Richmond Hotel in Istanbul. Includes: (D).

Day 3: Istanbul. Visit Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome, and the Blue Mosque. Dinner in Kumkapi, the city’s fish market, and overnight at the Richmond Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 4: Antioch ad Orontes/ Antakya. Morning flight to Adana and drive to Antakya (ancient Antioch). Located near the mouth of the Orontes River, the city was one of the earliest centers of Christianity, serving as the headquarters of St. Paul for his missionary journeys between 47-55 A.D. Visit the Mosaic Museum and the Grotto of St. Peter, a cave church where St. Peter is believed to have preached and the new word, Christian, came into use. Dinner in town and overnight at the Buyuk Antakya Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 5: Tarsus. Visits to Titus Tunnel, Seleuceia ad Pierea, Antioch’s ancient port near Samandag, and the 6th century monastery of St. Simeon, Stylites the younger. Then on to Tarsus, the birth place of St. Paul. In Acts 21:39, Paul is proud of his city and says, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city”. Dinner and overnight at the Tarsus Mersin Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 6: Cappadocia. Drive to Nigde and visit Eskigumus Monastery, one of the best preserved monastery complexes with an intact fresco of Mary depicted smiling with her infant Jesus. Then on to Derinkuyu, the deepest underground city with eight layers. Dinner and overnight at the Urgup House Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 7: Cappadocia. Full-day tour of Cappadocia: Visits to the Goreme Open Air Museum, Zelve Valley, Avanos, and Uchisar. A land of eerie beauty, the region was a Roman province and the refuge of persecuted Christians during the early days of the Roman Empire. Cappadocia is well known for its rock churches that date to the period of the persecution and for its underground cities, amazingly intricate systems of tunnels cut into mountains of rock. Dinner in town and overnight at the Urgup House Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 8: Lystra/ Konya. Visit Ihlara Valley where there were more than one hundred churches once upon a time. Then on to Sultanhan Caravanserai and Lystra, where Paul was stoned by the people during his first visit. Drive to Konya, ancient Iconium. Optional Whirling Dervish performance in the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the Dundar Hotel in Konya. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 9: Pisidian Antioch/ Antalya. Visit the Mevlana Museum, which was the cloister of Mevlana, a great mystical philosopher of the 13th century, and Mevlevi, the Whirling Dervishes. Drive to Yalvac and visit Pisidian Antioch where St. Paul addressed the congregation in a synagogue on the Sabbath, the first recorded sermon. The Synagogue was later converted into a basilica dedicated to St. Paul. Dinner and overnight at the Talya Hotel in Antalya. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 10: Perge/ Aspendos/ Antalya. Perge colonnaded street Visits to Perge and Aspendos. In Perge, the apostles Paul and Barnabas began their first missionary journey in Asia Minor. Its most notable remains include a theater, a stadium, two basilicas and an agora. It was renowned for its schools of sculpture during the Roman period. The ancient Pamphylian city of Aspendos is noted for its Roman ruins, including an aqueduct and a Roman theater, possibly the finest in the world, which is carved out of the northeast flank of a hill. Free time for strolling through the old harbor in Antalya in the afternoon. Dinner in town and overnight at the Talya Hotel in Antalya. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 11: Pamukkale. Visit the Antalya Archaeological Museum, where a rich collection of artifacts from the vicinity, ranging from the upper Paleolithic period to Ottoman times, offers a glimpse of the area’s rich history. Drive to Pamukkale and visit Laodiceia, known for its “lukewarm” people, like the water of the city, and Colossae, mentioned by Paul in his letter. Dinner and overnight at the Colossae Thermal Hotel in Pamukkale. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 12: Hierapolis/ Pamukkale. Visit Hierapolis, modern Pamukkale, where the Martyrium of St. Philip the Apostle can be seen behind the Aphrodisias Tetrapylon theater. Its hot springs have been used since Roman times for their therapeutic powers. The build-up over thousands of years of mineral deposits has created fantastic formations of white stalactite, cataracts, and basins. Then on to Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite, and her temple which was converted into a basilica. Dinner and overnight at the Colossae Thermal Hotel in Pamukkale. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 13: Sardis/ Bergama. Drive to Bergama visiting three of the Seven Churches - Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia - from the Book of Revelation. Sardis, where the first coins were minted, was the capital of the Lydian Empire and the city of King Croesos. Dinner and overnight at the Berksoy Hotel in Bergama. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 14: Pergamum/ Smyrna/ Kusadasi. Visit Pergamum, the site of one of the seven churches of the Bible and well-known for its throne of Satan and the work done by the great physician Galen in Asclepion, Drive to Izmir, ancient Smyrna and visit the Church of St. Polycarp. Dinner and overnight at the Kismet Hotel in Kusadasi. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 15: Ephesus/ Kusadasi. Visit Ephesus and environs. Sites include the Museum, the Temple of Artemis, the Basilica of St. John, and the Church of the Virgin Mary. St. John preached and lived in Ephesus. It is believed that he brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the crucifixion of Christ and that she spent her last days in the small house that was built for her on Mt. Koressos (Bulbuldagi). Dinner in town, overnight at the Kismet Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 16: Istanbul. Chora Church Drive to Izmir for morning flight to Istanbul. Visit the Church of Holy Saviour (Chora), housing the best examples of mosaics and frescos in Byzantine Christian art. Free time at the Grand Bazaar. Dinner on your own, overnight at the Richmond Hotel in Istanbul. Includes: (B).

Day 17: Departure Day. Transfer to airport for return flight to the United States. Includes: (B).

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- 4 and 5 star and equivalent special category hotel accommodations
- All meals as indicated
- English-speaking guide
- Air-conditioned vehicle with professional tour bus driver
- Hotel tips
- Domestic flights in Turkey
- Group flight transfers
- All entrance fees and admissions
- Tea, coffee, and soft drinks with meals
- Baggage handling
- Tour folders with brochures and maps of Turkey.

Price Excludes:
- Lunches
- Guide and driver tips
- International flights
- Visa (can be obtained on arrival at airport in Turkey for $20 per person).

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