Istanbul & Seven Churches Seven Churches of Revelation Jewish Heritage
     

Footsteps of St.Paul Tour
(15 DAYS - 14 NIGHTS)

DAY 1 : ARRIVE ISTANBUL

Our guests will arrive in Istanbul. Welcome to Turkey ! The Daca or Alin Tour  staff and your guide will be waiting to meet you at the Istanbul Atatürk airport. After the baggage is placed in the bus by the Daca or Alin Tour staff, our guests will be transferred to the hotel with an orientation tour of the city. On arriving at the hotel, a Welcome kit will be offered (The kit includes two post cards with stamps, Turkey and Istanbul map, Welcome sheet , Brochures of Turkey and Istanbul, Hotel Brochure , information about the hotel and the detailed program of the tour.) 

DAY 2 : ISTANBUL - ADANA - ANTAKYA – ADANA

Depart to the airport for the flight to Adana. Full day tour of Antioch; The city was the centre of artistic, scientific and commercial life in Roman times. Antioch was much more than one of the great cities of Hellenistic culture, for it is here that the early followers of Jesus Christ were first called "Christians" by their pagan Roman masters in order to distinguish the new cult from the Jews, who were at the time in a perennial state of revolt in Palestine. It was here, too, that the first non-Jewish members of the splinter group from mainstream Judaism were officially accepted in to the early church. The church was also the base from which Peter, Paul and Barnabas started their proselytizing journeys into the outside world. Outside of town is located the Grotto of St. Peter, the rupestrian church from which St. Peter preached for the first time and founded Christian community. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Time will be available to visit the Mosaic museum. These mosaics were fastidiously removed from Roman villas in the Harbiye neighborhood, and date mainly from the second and third centuries, They seem to leap off the walls where they have been set and they represent a most extensive and impressive collection of art from the Middle East, and possibly the world...  

DAY 3 : ADANA - CAPPADOCIA

Depart to visit Tarsus, the birthplace of St.Paul. Continue to Cappadocia area after. Visit Eski Gümüs, the rock church in Nigde. If you are a Byzantine art buff; it is worthwhile to see this church. It was restored by British archaeologists in the 1960s, has a completely preserved courtyard (the only one to survive in its entirety) and solemn frescoes in its interior which deserve to be better known. From a room upstairs springs a surprise: A smoky wall covered with non-religious pictures, mostly from Aesop's fables. What it is doing in this monkish place is anyone's guess. Continue to Cappadocia and visit the Underground City of Kaymakli one of the biggest underground settlements in the area...

DAY 4 : CAPPADOCIA

You feel like you are on the moon. The area offers an unique landscape and some specialties like wine, made of local grapes (UrgüpTown), handmade pottery from a special clay of the Red River crossing the region (Avanos town), onyx stone and handmade carpets with regional motifs. Visit the Goreme open air museum with the marvelous churches placed in the rocks. Many secret rock churches are found graved in the valley with lovely frescoes and wall painting. While touring the region, there will be many photograph stops with the possibility to take a photograph of a 'fairy Chimney ' Peri bacalari in Turkish (Zelve Town). After the visit to the Güvercinlik valley the land of earthen pyramids, stone dwellings , rock chapels and monasteries. Lunch will be served in the area. Visit Ortahisar, Zelve and Avanos. Also visit the Carpet factory and join here a carpet show where an English speaking expert will give information about the real Turkish handmade carpets and the different styles of traditional and regional carpets...  

DAY 5 : CAPPADOCIA – KONYA

Depart to Konya. Visit the Agzıkarahan Kervansaray; it is a good example of a stopping place for the silk road which was the major road for the trade kervans around the 11.century. While driving to Konya general information about Turkey will be given to the guests while in the bus. Visit The Sultan Han Caravanserai on the way. It dates from the time of the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Kaykobad I., who had it built in 1229. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful inns in Turkey. Continue to Konya which was known as Iconum during Roman times. The area where Konya is located is one of the most fertile regions of Turkey, even in the 4th millennium BC, the Chalcolithic period, it attracted cattle breeders and arable farmers. Besides its old history,Konya is a city that reflects Seljuk architecture. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. One can see the Seljuks influance in the city on buildings like the ruin of Sultan palace and Ince minare medresesi (Thin minaret medrese). A visit to the Aleaddin mosque will give an opportunity to see an unique example of the development of early-Seljuk mosque architecture, as it took 100 years to complete. The Karatay medrese was an exclusive institution of advanced specialist education ,in contrast with the mosque ,in which elementary instruction was also given. The  'University' of Philosophy, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics was founded in 1251 by Vizier Karatay later became a famous law school and 'administrative academy' for civil servants. Also some other important locations in this region of Anatolia are Derbe and Lystra...

DAY 6 : KONYA - YALVAÇ – ANTALYA

Visit the Mevlana Monastery that is the major symbol of the city. It is a venerated national shrine and one of the holiest places in Islam. Although only a few have read the profound writings of the poet, philosopher and mystic Celaleddin Rumi (Known as Mevlana), the fascination with which Mevlana kept his pupils and supporters in passionate self-immolation and boundless asceticism is still alive today. The Selimiye mosque can be seen near the monestary and it houses people on praying times. Departure from Konya and visit the Esrefoglu Mosque near the Beysehir Lake. The mosque is famous for its wooden construction that dates back to 1296. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant near the Beysehir lake. Continue to Antalya via Yalvaç (Antioch in Pisidia). Antiochia was notorious in its early history for its excessive cult of the pisidian God men, Askaenos, for which a large priestly shrine was built. Also St Paul and St Barnabas conducted a mission here, but were driven from the town by the Jews. On the way to Antalya drive through the Taurus Mountains...  

DAY 7 : ANTALYA

Depart to the west coast of the city. Visit Side, another old, leading Hellenistic city situated on the Pamphylian Coast. The Side Peninsula was populated as early as 1000 BC. The remnants of the city are witness to its grandeur and splendor during the Helenistic Period. Visit Aspendos: According to tradition, Aspendos was one of the original Pamphylian cities founded by Mopsus and his mixed Multitudes. Those who visit Aspendos almost invariably do so because of its magnificent theatre, the finest of those which have survived from the ancient Greco-Roman world. Lunch will be served in the area. Visit Perge : The ruins of Perge, although not on the scale of Ephesus or Pergamon, are nevertheless vast. Most of today's Perge, however, belongs to the period of Pax Romana; the Theatre, Stadium, baths and the colonnaded street. The Stadium is one of the best preserved in the ancient world...  

DAY 8 : ANTALYA – PAMUKKALE

Depart to Denizli. On the way, the wonderful site Aphrodisias will be visited. Aphrodisias is named after the goddess Aphrodite, whose cult-like status became synonymous with the celebration of sensual love and exquisite femininity. The ancient city of Aphrodisias itself became renown throughout Asia Minor as a center of medicine and philosophy but above all, of sculpture and the arts. Aphrodisias has undergone a series of earthquakes in late antiquity and was abondoned by the survivors after attacks by the Arabs. On arrival to Denizli, Laodicea ancient city, where one of the sevenchurches in Revelation is located will be visited near Collosae. Continue to Pamukkale (Cotton Castle in Turkish) which is a shimmering white cascade, formed by limestone-laden hot springs, which have formed stalactites, potholes and magical fairy-tables. Bathing in this warm water which has bubbles is an exhilarating experience. Incidentally, the water is reputed to be beneficial to eyes, skin, for rheumatism, etc. Visit the Hierapolis. In this ancient city, the ruins spread over a mile from the city founded by Eumenes II of Pergamon. It was leveled by an earthquake in AD 17 but was rapidly rebuilt and enjoyed prosperity between the second and third centuries...  

DAY 9 : PAMUKKALE - IZMIR (SMYRNA)

Departure to visit Philadelphia, which is one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible. Visit Sardes, that was the capital of the Lydian empire and is one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible. One of the cultural achievements of the Lydians was the invention of coins. The coins were first made of electrum, an alloy of silver and gold, during the reign of Croesus, and after this there were gold and silver coins. The city offers good preserved ruins and a wonderfull smell of history. Visit Izmir (Smyrna), the third biggest city in Turkey and one of the seven churches mentioned in the bible...  

DAY 10 : MILETOS - SELÇUK - EPHESUS - KUSADASI

Drive to visit Miletos : Although Ephesus is more famous, Miletos was by far the greatest of the Ionian cities, as measured by its enormous contribution of the development of Greek civilization. It was the principal port and the richest emporium on the Aegean coast. During the 7th and 8th centuries BC, Miletos established nearly one hundred colonies. Continue to Selçuk. See the ruins of the Artemis temple which is one of the seven wonders of the world and find the possibility to take a photograph of it with on the back side a wonderfull view of the Isabey mosque, the Basilica of St. John, a ruin of an Ottoman bath and the Citadel of the city. Visit the Basilica of St. John near Selcuk. It is believed that St.John lived in that area during the last years of his life and is buried under the Basilica. Lunch will be served in Selçuk. The guests will be visiting the largest archaeological site in the world;Ephesus Unmatched by any archaeological site anywhere in terms of sheer magnitude, Ephesus appeals to every visitor, whether serious or casual. The roots of this impressive site goes back to the 13th century B.C. The surviving ruins of Ephesus belong to the Roman Imperial Period. There is an impressive amphitheatre big enough to hold 24,000 people, and a well preserved and restored bibliotheque called the Library of Celsus. Ephesus is known with one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible. Departure to visit the House of Virgin Mary, the small house where believed Mary lived from AD 37 to 48, which has been visited by two popes and millions of pilgrims... 

DAY 11 : KUSADASI - BERGAMA – AYVALIK/ASSOS

Departure to Bergama via Thyatira. Visit Thyatira which is one of the seven churches mentioned in the bible. Towering 1000 feet above the city, the ruins at Pergamon command an extraordinary view in nearly all directions. One can understand how Pergamon dominated the entire region and cast its shadow over the realm. This great Hellenistic city was a great centre of culture. Pergamon which is one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible, was the rival of Ephesus in the field of commerce and of Alexandria and Antioch in that of letters and the arts. Visit the Asclepion, the sanctuary that was dedicated to the God of Medicine and which was the first complete health spa in history. Visit Acrapolis where the ruins of a library and sanctuary Athena are located, as well as an impressive theatre of 80 rows, allowing seating of nearly 10,000...  

DAY 12 : AYVALIK/ ASSOS – CANAKKALE - BURSA

Departure to visit Assos through Edremit and Adramyttium. Assos is even more interesting for its situation than its ancient remains. It is in the northwest of Asia Minor, opposite Lesbos on the South coast of the Troad and at the entrance to the Gulf of Edremit on a steeply terraced trachyte cone (767 ft). Drive through Alexandria Troas to visit Troy, which is home to excavations that revealed nine principal levels of occupation dating from 3000 BC to 400 AD. Here, one can see the ruins of the city and the famous wooden horse of Troy. This is the place the mythological war of Troy took place, which Homer immortalized in his Iliad...  

DAY 13 : BURSA – ISTANBUL

Early departure to visit the Green Tomb and the Green Mosque. Cross the Izmit bay with the ferry boat to reach Istanbul. Drive to Istanbul via the south coast road of the Marmara sea. The road offeres nice scienary and different types of aggriculture. On arrival to Istanbul , visit Chora Museum; which dates back from 11th century, and is famous for its fascinating mosaics and frescoes, most of which date back to 13th and 14th centuries, and are by far the most important works of Byzantine pictorial art known today. Visit the Hippodrome Square; where the four-horsed chariots raced around beneath the gaze of the Byzantine emperors and a quarter-million spectators. The Hippodrome dating back to 203 BC. under the Roman Rule, this was the largest track in the ancient times. The monuments of spinal (central line) which survived until our days are the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column and Constantine’s Column.....  

DAY 14 : ISTANBUL

Departure to visit the Orthadox Pathricate or St Antuan Catholic Church or any other church On request. Continue to the old city part. Visit St.Sophia Museum; originally a church,converted into a mosque and now a museum, this superb building wins admiration for the splendor of its Byzantine artwork. It was built by the Emperor Constantine, then re-built by Emperor Justinianus in the 6th century, this magnificent example of architecture rises with dignity in the Old City. Besides the dome which wins admiration by its height and size, the mosaics and frescoes decorating the walls are unique examples of Byzantine art. Visit Topkapi Palace. The Palace had been built between 1465-1478. The Ottoman sultans lived here and administered the empire for more than 400 years. Each sultan added pavilions, thus spreading the palace to a total area of 70.000 sq. meters. The palace also houses one of the greatest treasuries of the world. Visit Blue Mosque; which is the only mosque in the world with 6 minarets, was constructed between the dates 1609-1617 by the order of Sultan Ahmet. Inside the mosque, everything seems to float in the azure light reflected from the 21,043 blue ceramic tiles from Iznik. Continue to the Grand Bazaar, which was built by the order of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, after the conquest of Istanbul in 1460's with its 4400 shops...  

DAY 15 : DEPARTURE FROM ISTANBUL

Our guests will be transfered to the airport by their guide and Daca or Alin Tour  staff. After baggage handling at the airport end of service...

PACKAGE  INCLUDES:
Arrival and departure airport transfers
Accommodation in specified category
Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Museums and sites entry fees
Transportation in non-smoking a/c coach with professional English (other languages are possible)  speaking guide and professional driver.
Sightseeings as mentioned in tour plan.

NOT INCLUDED:
International or domestic flights, portage at airports, drinks, tips to guide and driver and items of a personal nature. Domestic flights with associated transfer are optional and extra if needed; overnight coach transportation price is included in the tour price.