Footsteps of Apostle Paul
DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Welcome to Turkey, the crossroads between East and West! Arrive in Istanbul, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. Join the rest of the group at the lobby for refreshments and info regarding your tour.
DAY 2: ISTANBUL
Our journey begins in Istanbul, the only city in the world situated on two continents. Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul - its three names span more than 2600 years, nearly 1600 of them as the capital of two of the greatest empires the world has known; Byzantine and Ottoman. We visit Topkapi Palace, including the Treasury section, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome, famous for its chariot races and the site of the Byzantine riots. Free time in Grand bazaar with its 3,500 shops.
DAY 3: ISTANBUL - ADANA BY FLIGHT - TARSUS- SELUCIA - ANTIOCH
Early morning flight to Adana, the country's fourth largest city. Adana is situated thirty miles east of Tarsus, birthplace of the Apostle Paul. Enjoy breakfast in your hotel, then drive to Tarsus and visit the Apostle Paul's well, the Gate of Cleopatra, and the latest excavations. Then we visit the archaeological remains of Seleucia, the port from which Apostle Paul, Barnabas and John Mark departed from Antioch on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:4). Drive to Antioch for overnight.>
DAY 4: ANTIOCH - CAPPADOCIA
It was here at Antioch on the Orontes that believers were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Visit the cave where they met in secret. Apostle Paul and Silas departed from here on their second missionary journey (Acts 15:35-36). We will travel to Cappadocia scenic Ihlara Valley, where early Christians carved some 3,500 cave churches from the tufa rock. At Kaymakli, one of the best preserved underground cities, you will enjoy your own guided tour into this amazing region.
DAY 5: CAPPADOCIA
Cappadocia, with its center in Caesarea (Kayseri), was once the heart of the Hittite Kingdom of the Old Testament. This vast area is one of the most photogenic landscapes in the world. Extraordinary rock formations have become symbolic of this region, where you will enjoy the Valley of the Fairy Chimneys and Goreme’s breathtaking Open Air Museum. Watch the potters at their craft, in the famous pottery producing town of Avanos. Finally, savor the natural wonders of the Citadel of Uchisar and Zelve Valley.
DAY 6: SULTANHAN - LYSTRA - ICONIUM
Drive to the Sultanhani Caravansary for a fascinating look at one of the rest stops for ancient camel caravans. Along the trade routes, such caravansaries appeared at intervals of some twenty-five miles, the average distance that camels could travel in a day. Continue on to Lystra, where a mob stoned Apostle Paul during his first journey (Acts 14:6-19) and where Timothy joined him during the second journey (Acts 16:1-3). Depart for Iconium, where Apostle Paul preached and encouraged believers during his first missionary journey (Acts 14:1-6). Iconium was once the home of the sect of mystical Muslims called Whirling Dervishes. Hotel accommodation in Konya.
DAY 7: PISIDIAN ANTIOCH - COLOSSAE - PAMUKKALE
Drive to Antioch of Pisidia, where nearly the whole city came to hear Apostle Paul preach during his first missionary journey (Acts 13:14-52). Excavations include an ancient church and the 1st century great Temple of Augustus. Travel the Royal Road that once connected Ephesus with Babylon. Visit the unexcavated site of ancient Colossae. The Apostle Paul wrote one of his prison epistles to the church at Colossae. Continue to Hierapolis (Pamukkale), enjoy the “Cotton Castles” of brilliant white calcium rock formations and hot-water travertine. The churches here in Hierapolis, Colossae, and Laodicea once flourished under the ministry of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12-13).
DAY 8: HIERAPOLIS - PHILADELPHIA - SARDIS - SMYRNA
Explore incredible excavations at Hierapolis, including a Byzantine church, the Great Theater, the Temple of Apollo, and the Plutonium. Examine the intriguing sites of the Churches of Revelation. Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22) will take you back to the 1st century. At Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-12), your Bible will come alive as you read it on location. At Sardis (Rev. 3:1-5), your thoughts will turn to the Old Testament period following the 586 B.C. destruction of Jerusalem. Your visit to Sardis will include the imperial court and the ancient Jewish synagogue. You will rest in the shade of the Temple of Artemis, while studying in the light of prophetic Scripture. Overnight stay in Izmir.
DAY 9: MILETUS - DIDYMA - KUSADASI
Drive to Miletus. It was here, in the first Christian century, that the Apostle Paul, on his third missionary journey, called for the Ephesians elders and preached a powerful message to them (Acts 20:15-38). It was also here that Apostle Paul left his friend Trophimus, who was too ill to continue (II Timothy 4:20). Its ancient ruins include the marvelous 15,000-seat theater. Nearby, at Didyma, we visit the massive Temple to Apollo, one of the most impressive sites in Anatolia. Continue to Kusadasi and enjoy evening at your own leisure.
DAY 10: EPHESUS
Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7), major port city on the Aegean, was the commercial, political, and religious centre of all of Asia Minor. The Apostle Paul's first visit to Ephesus was brief—during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-21). His second visit lasted about three years—during his third missionary journey (Acts 19:1 to 20:31). Luke’s account of the worship of Diana appears in Acts 19:34-35. The Great Theater (stadium) mentioned in Acts 19:29-31 could seat 25,000 people. We visit the Fountain of Trajan, the Library of Celsus and the House of Virgin Mary, where the Third Ancient Council convened. Enjoy St. John's Basilica (built on the site of the Apostle John’s tomb) and ponder the remains of the Temple of Diana.
DAY 11: THYATIRA - PERGAMUM
Today, we will visit the last two of the Seven Churches of Revelation. At Thyatira (Rev. 2: 18-28), you will see the ruins of an ancient commercial center. One of the town's cloth and dye merchants was a woman named Lydia, who conducted business as far away as Philippi, where she became the first European convert to Christianity, during the Apostle Paul's second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-15). A most memorable experience will be Pergamum, with its acropolis and Great Theater, the steepest of the ancient world. Revelation 2:12-16 describes the city as “where Satan’s seat is,” a reference to the altar of Zeus, where we pause for reflection on the fulfillment of Scripture.
DAY 12: ALEXANDRIA TROAS - ASSOS - TROY - CANAKKALE
During the Apostle Paul's second missionary journey, it was from Troas that he received the “Macedonian call” to Europe. This is where Luke's account changes from “they” to “we” (Acts 16:6-12), indicating that he joined Paul's team at Troas. Returning from Macedonia during his third journey, the Apostle Paul was in Troas for a week, when the young man Eutychus fell from the third loft as Paul preached. Paul soon walked some thirty miles to Assos, where we will follow the Apostle’s footsteps to the old city walls (Acts 20:5-14). Continue with a fascinating visit to recent excavations of ancient Troy, made legendary by Homer’s Iliad. Overnight in Canakkale.
DAY 13: NICEA - ISTANBUL
Drive to Nicea through Bursa. At Nicea, you will see remains of Constantine’s palace, now covered by water at the shore of Lake Iznik. It was here in this palace chapel that the First Ancient Church Council convened in A.D. 325 to produce the Nicene Creed. Enjoy Nicea’s St. Sophia Church, where the Seventh Church Council convened in 787. Continue to Istanbul.
DAY 14: DEPARTURE
Transfer to the Airport and return flight home. We hope that your trip following Apostle Paul’s footsteps and visiting the Churches found in Revelation has brought you a new understanding of the Bible to go along with fresh memories, souvenirs and a renewed interest in Turkey, the land of culture, faith and mystery.