➤ Day 1, Sun: Istanbul
Your representative will be waiting to greet you while you land in Istanbul. After having been transferred to your hotel, welcome briefing. Overnight in Istanbul.
➤ Day 2, Mon: Istanbul
Your day begins with a guided tour exploring the ancient city with highlights to include the magnificent Topkapi Palace (main residence of the Ottoman Sultans), then walk across the Byzantine Hippodrome that was the scene of chariot races. In the afternoon, we visit Saint Sophia Church, historic seat of the Byzantine church, built in 537 AD and now a museum whose mosaics, stained glass windows and decorated domes have been crafted to create an environment of breath taking beauty. A short walk through the gardens takes us to the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet 1, built in 1616 and famous for its unique ceramic tiles. Overnight in Istanbul (B).
➤ Day 3, Tue: Pergamum - Thyatira - Smyrna (Izmir)
Early morning flight to Izmir and visit Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17), and Asclepion; then continue toThyatira (Rev. 2:18-29; Acts 16:14), a city of artisans’ guilds during St. Paul's time. Late afternoon we continue to Izmir, ancient Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11), Homer’s birthplace on the Aegean Coast (B,D).
➤ Day 4, Wed: Ephesus - St. Mary’s House - Izmir
This morning we explore Ephesus with its expansive synthesis of Greco-Roman and Christian remains (Ephesians; Rev 1:11: 2:1-7: Acts 18:19-28: 19:1-4). It was the home of St. Paul between 54 and 57 AD. We visit nearby Virgin Mary’s House on a wooded hilltop where it was miraculously discovered. Return to Izmir for overnight and dinner (B,D).
➤ Day 5, Thu: Sardis - Philadelphia - Pamukkale
After breakfast we visit Sardis with its beautiful gymnasium and marble paved synagogue. Then continue to Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13), a favorite city of Paul and John. Late afternoon we continue on to Pamukkale, the white "Cotton Fortress" lime cascades of the Roman spa Hierapolis. Enjoy a leisurely bath in the warm mineral waters of your hotel’s pool (B,D).
➤ Day 6, Fri : Hierapolis - Laodicea - Izmir
Morning visit Hierapolis. This was Philip the Evangelist’s home. We will tour the extensive necropolis, churches and baths. Then stop at nearby Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22: Col 2:1: 4:13-16). Late afternoon continue to Izmir for overnight and dinner (B,D).
➤ Day 7, Sat : Cappadocia
Morning flight to Kayseri and a full day touring with the "moon-like" topography and unique landscape of Cappadocia. Goreme with its chapels carved by early Christians and decorated with frescoes dating from the 6th and 10th Centuries is an unforgettable experience. Visit the underground city of Kaymakli where thousands of early Christians lived concealed from persecutors in eight story complexes of subterranean dwellings before checking in to our hotel to enjoy the picturesque views of this ancient and historic land (B,D).
➤ Day 8, Sun : Cappadocia – Istanbul
This morning visit the pottery making village of Avanos and the Byzantine monastic complex ofZelve. Afternoon drive to Kayseri (or Nevsehir) and take a short flight to Istanbul and overnight at a hotel near the airport (B,D).
➤Day 9, Mon : Istanbul - Return
Your escort will transfer you to the airport for the flight home (B).