St. Paul's Journey in Turkey (8D7N)
from Istanbul to Istanbul
Day to Day Itinerary
DAY 01. ISTANBUL / ADANA / ANTIOCH
Upon arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, we connect directly to a domestic flight to Adana, ancient Cilicia. Than, we journey east to Antakya, ancient Antioch. Antioch is thought to have been founded in 300 BC. St Peter was the first to preach here, followed by St Paul and Barnabas whose extensive efforts proved to be very fruitful for Christianity. Highlights include the museum which houses a superb collection of mosaics from Antioch, Daphne and Seleucia Pieria. St Peter’s Grotto, the cave church, came to be known as the meeting place of the early Christians. The most interesting monument here is the Tunnel of Titus, which is a tremendous canal dug for the purpose of diverting waters from the Orontes River. Another highlight is the rock tombs with their impressive facades pertaining to the Hellenistic period. Overnight in Antioch.
DAY 02. ANTIOCH / CAPPADOCIA
After an early breakfast, we drive north to Cappadocia. Our first stop is Tarsus, the birthplace of St Paul. Highlights include St Paul’s well and Cleopatra’s Gate. We continue on to Antioch at Orontes and stay the night there. Than second stop is Derinkuyu, an underground city carved into soft rocks resembling a huge labyrinth of tunnels, rooms, kitchens, wine cellars and passageways. A huge chimney ventilates this 8-level dwelling, which was used by Christians hiding from their Roman and Byzantine persecutors. Their colourful frescoes remain as vibrant as when they were first made. Further on, we come to Cappadocia, which reminds the visitor of a village out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Overnight in Cappadocia.
DAY 03. CAPPADOCIA
In the morning, we visit the Valleys of Goreme to explore the unusual troglodyte dwellings, remains of the early churches comprising complicated rooms hollowed out of the cones of volcanic ash and decorated with scratched frescoes. We will visit the Apple Church, the Church of Sandals, and the Church with a Buckle in Goreme. Next stops are Ortahisar and Avanos.Overnight in Cappadocia.
DAY 04. CAPPADOCIA / KONYA / PAMUKKALE
Following an early breakfast, we drive to Pisidian Antioch (Yalvac). During Paul’s time, the population was made up of Jews, Romans and Greeks. Very little is left of Pisidian Antioch today. Thereafter, we proceed to Pamukkale and stay the night there. Overnight in Pamukkale.
DAY 05. PAMUKKALE / HIERAPOLIS / LAODICEA / PHILADELPHIA / KUSADASI
In the morning, we visit Hierapolis, which was founded by Pergamon King Telephus and named after his wife, Hiera. During the Byzantine period, the city became the seat of diocese with a large Christian Church dedicated to St Philip, who was martyred there in 80 AD. Highlights include the Roman Baths, the Temple of Apollo, the Theatre and the famous white calcium cascades of Pamukkale (the white “Cotton Castles”). Then, we visit Laodicea, where we will find a Theatre, a large Stadium, a Water Tower and an Odeon. This city is supposed to have been named by Antiochus II in honour of his wife, Laodicea. Next stop will be on Philadelphia which was an important Christian centre during Byzantine times. Overnight in Kusadasi.
DAY 06. KUSADASI / EPHESUS / IZMIR / ISTANBUL
Following an early breakfast, we drive to the famous city of Ephesus, one of the world’s finest archaeological sites. Our tour will begin with the Basilica of St John “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. The Temple of Artemis, considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Antiquity, was located here. Highlights include the Library of Celcius, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Theatre. We will also stop by the House of Virgin Mary (on top of Mt Coressos). She was believed to have spent her last years in this area. On 18 August 1961, Pope John XXII proclaimed this place to be sacred. Drive to Izmir for flight to Istanbul. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 07. ISTANBUL
Following breakfast, we drive to the‘Old City’. Our first stop is the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the centre of Byzantine civic life, where horse and chariot races used to take place. We then travel towards the Blue Mosque, known for the impressive blue tiles lining its walls. The Basilica of Hagia Sophia (Divine Wisdom), now called the Ayasofya Museum, is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great, it was reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century. In the afternoon, we visit the famous Topkapi Palace, which was home to the sultans between the 15th and 19th centuries. It is now a museum exhibiting imperial collections of crystal, silver, Chinese porcelain and imperial costumes. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 08. ISTANBUL DEPARTURE
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and free until transfer time. Departure from the hotel at 12:00. Transfer to the airport for your International flight.
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