Day 1: Pick up from the hotel, transfer to the airport for the early morning flight to Smyrna (Izmir), the unofficial capital of the Turkish Aegean area which is claimed to be the birthplace of Homer. Visiting St. Polycarp Church and a short tour in the city. Drive to Thyateira (Akhisar), Sardis (Salihli), the ancient Lydian capital and Philadelphia (Alasehir), the youngest of the "Seven Churches of Relevation". We will explore the still standing remains of an ancient church and the city walls. Dinner and stay overnight at Hierapolis (Pamukkale).
Day 2: Tour of Hierapolis after breakfast. Drive to Laodicea (Denizli), a crossroad of the ancient world, home of Philip the Evangelist, a small tour of the city. Continue to Ephesus where we will see the grandest and best restored of all the ruins in Turkey. This prominent ancient capital, founded in the 10th century BC by the Ionian Greeks, is the most important of the "Seven Churches of Asia Minor", where St. John brought Mary in fulfillment of his pledge to Jesus to protect her and where she is believed to have been taken into heaven. The Last Abode Virgin Mary and St. John Basilica are the spots. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Day 3: Departure after breakfast to Pergamum (Bergama), the site of the ancient cultural city of the same name. Pergamun with its impressive ruins: An acropolis with an Altar of Zeus, the chuch of Pergamum, palaces, gymnasiums, temples, the world s steepest amphitheater, an Aesculapium (ancient medical center) and a library that once held 200,000 volumes.
Note the familiar symbol of medicine on the base of the Serpent Altar; Pergamon was the home of early medical theoretician Galen, whose teachings held sway for 1,500 years. Drive to Izmir and transfer to the airport for the evening flight to Istanbul. Transfer to the hotels.
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