Visit Ukraine and 4 Day Cruise of the Greek Islands
WEDNESDAY: TOUR AROUND KIEV
Meet at the hotel lobby for a 3h sightseeing bus tour around Kiev. See the 3 main historical districts of the capital – the Upper City, Podil, and Pechersk. During the tour, see the famous churches and monasteries – St. Andrew’s, St. Volodymyr’s cathedral, St. Catherine’s Greek monastery, several churches devoted to St. Nicholas, St. Michael’s Golden Domed monastery and 2 UNESCO sites – Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (11 – 21ct) and Saint Sophia cathedral (1037). We will have the chance to see wonderful panoramic views of the Dnipro River, splendid Stalin style ensemble of the main street Khreschatyk, the government district with the Cabinet of Ministers, the Supreme Council, and Administration of the President. There are a number of must see places on our sightseeing list: the oldest and the most prestigious Ukrainian universities – Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (1632) and National Taras Shevchenko University (1834), the highest non-religious statue in Europe – the Motherland statue (106m), the Holodomor memorial, the deepest metro station in the world, the Golden Gate monument, Kyiv’s Opera, the former Euromaidan camp site. Lunch Walking tour “Charming Kiev” (2.5h) at the oldest and most picturesque part of Kyiv. We start at the oldest gates – the Golden Gate and walk to the Picturesque Alley. On the way, we will explore some hidden places and meet with their secret inhabitants. The Picturesque Alley is an amusing place in the city center where history is mixed with modern art and public activity. We will walk down St. Andrew’s street, which is called ‘Kyiv’s Montmartre’. This charming street is full of souvenir shops, delicious restaurants, and love stories. We will go up to Fortress Hill where the legendary founders of Kyiv settled in 1.5 thousand years ago and enjoy breathtaking views. Coffee break Walking tour “Legends of Podil” (2.5h) at the old trade district of Kyiv. We will see two squares: the Contract square – the unofficial city center and the Post square – Kyiv’s harbor. Podil is a district of stories, legends and gossips. You will hear stories about Kyiv’s witches and students of the oldest Ukrainian university, saints and criminals, the Catholic monastery next to the Orthodox convent, an Orthodox priest who saved a whole generation of Jews, ‘a lion that looks like a cat’. Dnipro cruise Free time
THURSDAY: WALKING TOUR& TOUR TO THE RESIDENCE OF THE EX-PRESIDENT V. YANUKOVYCH “MEZHYHIRYA”
Enjoy a 3h walking tour devoted to the Euromaidan revolution of 2014 and continue along the main street Khreschatyk. You will see the former camp site of protesters, medical offices, barricades, bullet traces, photos of the heroes who gave their life for human dignity. We will visit places that were under control of pro-president forces: Berkut riot police and paid supporters – ‘titushki’. We will pass the Administration of the President and the famous House with Chimaeras on our way. At Independence square (Maidan), you will get to know about two previous Ukrainian revolutions. We will walk along the main street Khreschatyk to the Bessarabska square. You will get to know Khreschatyk story and enjoy its unique Stalin style ensemble. The tour ends at the Bessarabka market where you can taste Ukrainian products of the best quality. Lunch 4h tour to the residence of the ex-president V. Yanukovych “Mezhyhirya”. Today it is a huge park (137 ha) with a former private zoo, a farm, stables, a harbor, several ponds, a golf course, 5-floored house ‘Honka’, a gym complex, a collection of retro cars, a helicopter, ‘Putin’s House’. It is hard to believe it all belonged to one man. After a guided tour, you will have free time to discover it for yourself. We recommend renting a bicycle or an electric car. There are a number of cafes where you can buy a snack. Unfortunately, there are no organized guided tours to the house of Yanukovich – ‘Honka’. Dinner and folk program at the family farm “Savki”
FRIDAY: RELIGION TOUR OF KYIV
This day is devoted to confessions and religions of Kyiv. You will start with a 3.5h walking tour to Kiev-Pechersk Lavra – a must-see in Kyiv. There are beautiful golden-domed cathedrals in Ukrainian baroque style, amazing 18th century paintings, vestments and utensils used during liturgy. A large pilgrim attraction is the cave (or catacombs) that house preserved incorruptible relics of 122 Kyiv-Pechersk saints as well as several museums. We will invite you to the Micro-Miniature museum where you will see a flee with golden horseshoes, a 3.5 mm ship and other amusements made by Ukrainian artist M. Syadristy. The second museum on our way is devoted to the Ukrainian folk art – Ivan Honchar museum. The collection presents embroidered towels, national costumes, folk tools, and icons. Lunch 3h bus tour “Religions of Kiev”. During the tour you will get acquainted with Kyiv’s Christians, Muslims, and Jews. You will get to know their past and present, see their temples: St. Oleksandr Catholic cathedral, St. Catherine Lutheran church, Kiev’s synagogues, Ar-Rahma Mosque, Pirogoschi that is a part of the Ukrainian autocephalous church, the Annunciation – a part of the Kyiv Patriarchate Church. You will also visit the biggest cathedral of 11th century Europe – St. Sophia (1037). This cathedral is a real piece of Byzantine art and is famous for its mosaics, frescoes and graffiti. Transfer to airport for departure to Athens, Greece Arrival to Athens, Meet, assist & transfer to your hotel in Athens. Check-in. & overnight.
SATURDAY: ATHENS – ANCIENT CORINTH- ACROPOLIS
After breakfast at the hotel, our excursion takes us to the Saronic Gulf, where in 480 BC the small Greek fleet managed to defeat the enormous armada of the Persians in the naval battle of Salamis, changing the course of history. We cross the manmade Corinth Canal to arrive at Ancient Corinth (Acts 18:1-18). It was in this Ancient megalopolis that the apostle Paul established a thriving church, subsequently sending two of his epistles, now part of the New Testament. Here we see all the sites associated with his ministry: the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman Odeon, the Bema and Gallio’s Seat. The small archaeological museum is an absolute must. We stop for lunch at a local restaurant, then visit the ruins of an early 5th century Christian basilica in Cenchrea. We then set off on our half-day sightseeing tour of Athens (Acts 17:15). This includes a trip to Mars' Hill (Areopagus) where the Apostle Paul delivered his well-known sermon (Acts 17:22). Then we climb up to the marble-capped Acropolis to see the famous Parthenon and the Erechteum. Our tour continues with the highlights of modern Athens: we pass by the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Parliament House, the Presidential Palace, Panathenian Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Academy, the University and the National Library. We return to the Hotel to rest and have dinner & an overnight.
SUNDAY: FREE DAY IN ATHENS
Today is a free day to visit the city of Athens. If you like to worship the lord we can arrangements to transfer your group a on English speaking local congregation of believers.
4-DAY CRUISE TO THE GREEK ISLANDS & EPHESUS (from Monday to Friday)
MONDAY: ATHENS - PIRAEUS – MYKONOS
At 8:00 a.m. we are transferred to the port of Piraeus for the 4-Day Cruise to the Greek Isles and Turkey. Embarkation and sail for Mykonos at 11 a.m. In the afternoon (6 p.m.), call at Mykonos. It combines the dazzling white beauty of a typical Cycladic island with a sophisticated international jet-set atmosphere with a very active nightlife. Stroll at leisure through the whitewashed, flower-decked alleyways to the sculpture church of Paraportiani or along the waterfront of «Little Venice» to the well-known windmills-picture taking at its best! Sail to Kusadasi, Turkey at 10:00 p.m.
TUESDAY: KUSADASI (EPHESUS), TURKEY – PATMOS, GREECE
At 7:00 a.m. we call at Kusadasi, starting point for our optional excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus. The Apostle Paul preached to the Ephesians and lived and laboured here for three years, thereafter sending his Ephesian epistle. We tour the spectacular ruins where excavations still continue in this once great and important city, which was founded in the 10th century BC. Walk through history along marble streets lined with wonderful public buildings, among them the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the Theatre. The enormous in size Temple to goddess Diana of the Ephesians, one of the seven wonders of the then ancient world, was erected in this city. Then return to Kusadasi for some shopping time before sailing for Patmos Greece at noon. At 3:30 p.m. we arrive at this beautiful mysterious rocky island where the exiled Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation. We have an optional tour: we drive up to the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist, where we have a wonderful view of the island. We also visit the Grotto of the Revelation where the heavenly voice of God revealed to John the future of humanity (Rev. 1:12-21). After some free time for browsing, return to the ship for an evening sailing to Rhodes at 8:00 p.m.
WEDNESDAY: RHODES, GREECE
At 7:00 a.m. we call at Rhodes. This stronghold was built by a Crusading Order, which originated from Palestine, and in older days, it boasted of another achievement of the then known world - The Colossus of Rhodes! Our optional half-day excursion takes us to visit the Temple of Athena on the majestic rocky Acropolis of Lindos, with the blue Aegean Sea beneath it and the sophisticated, whitewashed artists' colony at its foot. Local tradition has it that on his way to Rome; Paul’s vessels spent some time here in the small harbour (Acts 21:1). We have the afternoon free in Rhodes for a most delightful experience. Stroll around the medieval walled city; enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere from one of the elegant cafes in the marina. Sail for Heraklion, Crete at 6 p.m.
THURSDAY: HERAKLION CRETE, GREECE – SANTORINI, GREECE
At 7:00 a.m. we call at Heraklion Crete, (Acts 27:7-13) where our excursion takes us from the lively bustling city to visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, legendary home of the Minotaur (half bull and half man). Sail for Santorini at 11:30 a.m., where we arrive at 4:30 p.m. Take a mule or the cable car up to the white-washed town of Thera, perched high on the rim of the ancient volcano, the eruption of which (1,600 BC) literally buried a flourishing Bronze Age town which has now been excavated at Akrotiri. Sail for Piraeus at 8:30 p.m.
FRIDAY: PIRAEUS – ATHENS DEPARTURE
At 7:00 a.m. arrive at Piraeus. We disembark after breakfast. We are met and we receive assistance by our representative and we are transferred to Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” for your departure flight.