Day 1: Arrive Izmir
Upon arrival in Izmir, we will meet you and transfer to your hotel for overnight. Included: (D).
Day 2: Izmir – Ephesus – Pamukkale
Full day tour to the ancient city of Ephesus where the St. Paul lived and preached for three years and to where he subsequently sent his letter to the Ephesians. We believe that this day will be the highlight of the tour. We see the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the theater, the Double Church (The Church of Mary) where the third ecumenical council was convened in A. D. 431. Then we visit the basilica of St. John where St. John was buried, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, which was once one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. After lunch, we visit the Virgin Mary's House. After that we drive to Pamukkale for our overnight stay. You will have a chance to swim in the warm spring waters of Pamukkale. Included: (B), (D).
Day 3: Pamukkale – Laodicea – Philadelphia - Sardis – Izmir
We start the day by visiting the ancient city of Hierapolis, Roman ancient city where St. Philip was martyred during the persecutions ordered by Domitian. Hierapolis is located on the top of a hill where you can see the famous natural wonder white “ cotton fortress”. Next stop Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor [Rev. 1:11; 3:14; Col. 2:1; 4:13-16]. The geographic location of the city explains why the Laodiceians were "neither hot nor cold but lukewarm" as it says in the Bible. Our next visits are to Philadelphia and Sardis. Philadelphia "the city of brotherly love," was the only church which John had no real criticism (Rev. 3: 7-13). After a short drive we reach Sardis. Sardis was the capital city of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia. We visit Roman gymnasium complex, the Byzantine shops and the latrines, Roman Avenue, the reconstructed synagogue, Temple of Artemis. Right by the temple there is a church of Sardis. Even though the new faith appeared to have made rapid progress here, St. John was not convinced that all was well and he admonished the Christians there to avoid temptation (Rev. 3: 1-6). Included: (B), (D).
Day 4: Izmir – Thyatira – Pergamon – Assos
In the morning we visit St. Polycarp's Church in Izmir. Then we drive to Thyatira (Rev. 2: 18-29). Then, we proceed to Pergamum (Rev. 2: 12-17) to visit the Acropolis. Its grandeur makes up for the missing Altar of Zeus (in the Berlin Museum), which was referred to in the Bible as "Satan's Seat." Pergamum was a great center of scholarship and learning. Anthony took the library from here with its 200,000 rolls and transferred it to Alexandria as a present for Cleopatra. After the Acropolis we will visit the Asclepion, the ancient hospital. The ruins here are so complete that walking among them one can relive the methods employed in this health center from sacrifice to psychodrama. Dinner and overnight in Assos. Included: (B), (D).
Day 5: Assos – Alexandria Troas – Troy – Istanbul
We drive to Alexandria Troas founded by a commander of Alexander the Great; Paul visited here at least twice in his second and third journeys (16: 7-12; 16:8-10). We proceed to Troy home of the legendary Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse. Then we drive to Istanbul for overnight. Included: (B), (D).
Day 6: Istanbul
Today we have a full day sightseeing of impressive city. We visit the famed Topkapi Palace, the St. Sophia (which for 1000 years was the largest Church in Christendom and now a museum), the Blue Mosque (so-named from its decorative blue-shaded tiles, glass and gemstones), Hippodrome, the Church of St. Savior in Chora, and Grand Bazaar. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul. Included: (B), (D).
Day 7: Departure
Transfer to the airport for your flight back home or continue to explore another destination. Included: (B).
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