- All Inclusive Pricing
- First Class Hotels
- Breakfast and Dinner Daily
- Deluxe A/C Motor Coaches
- Fuel Surcharges and Gov't Taxes
- Entrance and Program Fees
- Guided Tours
- International Airfare from NY
Day 1 Depart USA
Your pilgrimage begins as you board your international flight for Istanbul.
Day 2 Arrive in Turkey
Upon arrival, you will be met by our airport representative. Transfer to your hotel in Istanbul for dinner and overnight.
Day 3 Istanbul & Cappadocia
The bejeweled capital of Istanbul sits between two continents and is home to 450 mosques. You will visit the famous Blue Mosque with its six minarets and sparkling interior. You will also visit the Topkapi Palace, once home to royal Sultans. Inside, you will see the fabled jewels of the Treasury, delicate displays of Chinese porcelain in the Kitchen Quarters, and the provocative Harem Quarters. Walk through St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia), which was the largest church in Christendom for 1000 years, built by Justinian (532-537 A.D.). The church has 107 columns; fossil embedded white marble floors, and beautiful glass mosaics. Today, it is the Museum of Byzantine Art. Enjoy the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, thyme, and other exotic spices as you explore the Grand Bazaar. Over 4000 shops sell everything from herbs to gold. This afternoon you will fly to Cappadocia where amazing cone-shaped rock formations create a fairy-tale landscape.
Day 4 Cappadocia
Explore Cappadocia and discover that, even today, people make their homes in the cliffs and rock cones of Cappadocia. It is estimated that over 3000 rock churches exist in the region. You will visit the Rock Chapels of Goreme, the Cave Village of Avcilar, and the Monastic Complex of Zelve.
Day 5 Antioch in Pisidia
Ancient Antioch was the center of Hellenistic civilization in the region and home to a massive temple and oracle complex dedicated to the pagan god Apollo. The temple functioned until the visiting Emperor Justinian threw out the last remaining priest and ordered the place burned to the ground. Christian roots go deep into Antioch’s soil. It was to Antioch that many Jerusalem Christians fled after the death of Stephen (Acts 11). Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch for a year and assembled with the church and taught many people. Later, the city became the center from which Paul performed his missionary labors (Acts 13: 1-5, 14-44; 14: 26-28; 15: 22-41; 18: 22-23). It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians”, and it was here that the first non-Jews were accepted into the early church.
Day 6 Colossae, Hierapolis & Laodicea
Famous as the receiver of Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, the town of Colossae has fallen into obscurity. While you can still see traces of the theatre, the Necropolis and the Church, the ancient city is mostly indistinguishable ruins. Hierapolis is blessed by hot mineral springs and some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Asia Minor. Paul mentions Hierapolis in his Letter to the Colossians in saluting Epaphras, a fellow laborer, for his love of the brethren there (Colossians 4: 13). The ruins cover more than a mile. You will see the impressive amphitheatre with seats still in perfect condition. You will see the City Gates, column-lined streets and arches, which have stood through time and earthquakes. Today, the area is known as Pamukkale, meaning “Cotton Castle”, named for the limestone-laden hot springs which cascade from one white-edged terrace pool to the next. The Christians of Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches (Rev. 3: 14-22), were chastised for being lukewarm, “You are neither cold nor hot” (Rev. 3: 15), and for being too comfortable incorporating pagan and Christian beliefs. In the famous scripture from Revelation (3: 20-21), Jesus says to the Laodicean church: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock . . .”. Today, there are many acres of ruins to see, including the stadium and columned streets.
Day 7 Philadelphia
Visit the site of Philadelphia also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 3: 7-13). Christ told those who overcame that He would write upon them “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem.” (Rev.3: 12) Today, not much is left to mark the spot. You will see an ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine basilica. Travel to Sardis, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. You will be impressed by white marble Royal Road, by the gymnasium, and by the synagogue. The third largest city in modern Turkey is Izmir, long a center for Jewish and Christian communities. In Paul’s day, the town was known as Smyrna. It was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 2: 8-11). You will see the Agora, the colonnaded commercial center where Roman statues can still be seen.
Day 8 Ephesus & Miletus
Ephesus is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 1: 11). In ancient days, Ephesus was a bustling port town of 250,000, graced with wide, colonnade-bordered streets. Today, you will be impressed with the spectacular excavations of the major streets of ancient Ephesus. You will view the Library and the huge Agora. The Temple of Artemis was declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today, only a single column remains to mark the site. You will visit the Basilica of St. John, traditional site of his grave. From the basilica, enjoy a commanding view of the area. You will visit the Museum of Ephesus for an up-close look at artifacts from the ancient city. You will have time to explore this powerful city on your own and recreate some of the footsteps of Paul. Visit the excavations at Miletus, where Paul bid farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus at the end of his Third Missionary Journey (Acts 20).
Day 9 Pergamum (Bergama) & Thyatira
Pergamum was another of the seven churches mentioned in Revelations (Rev. 2: 12). It displeased the Lord because it tolerated the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which Christ hated (Rev. 2:13-17). The fabled Acropolis towers 1000 feet above the town and commands a spectacular panorama. As you pass through the Royal Gates, you will enter one of the great centers of classic Greek culture. You will see the foundations of the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Athena, and the ruins of the Library which once held 200,000 parchment volumes. You will see the remains of the Temple of Trajan, the Grand Theatre, the Gymnasium, and the Health Center (Aesclepion). Visit Thyatira once a busy trading center, home to Lydia, the “seller of purple” (Acts 16). Today, it is famous for Persian rugs. Thyatira, one of the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelations, tolerated the false prophetess, Jezebel (Rev. 1: 11; 2: 18-29).
Day 10 Troy, Troas & Istanbul
In Troy, history is buried in myth and mud. Nine layers of the fabled city have been excavated. Homer’s Iliad relates the legendary story of the Trojan War. Not far away is Troas. Here, on his second missionary journey, Paul had a vision in which he was called to Macedonia (Acts 16: 8-13). Later, during his third journey, Paul spent a week in Troas preaching. On one occasion he also resurrected Eutychus who fell to his death from a window while sleeping (Acts 20: 6-12). Travel to Istanbul via the beautiful Dardanelles.
Day 11 Return to USA
Enhance Your Journey
Istanbul & Nicaea Extension
Day 11 - Istanbul
Begin your exploration of Istanbul with an enjoyable two-hour Bosphorus Cruise. You will glide beneath some of the city’s famous bridges and sail past some of Istanbul’s more colorful neighborhoods and peaceful suburbs. Your boat will take you past castles and quaint fishing villages. As you watch Russian ships sail by, you will understand why the Turkish straits were considered to be the lock to the Czar’s backdoor. Later, you will visit the eastern or Asian part of Istanbul. You will see the Byzantine city walls, the Golden Horn, and the world-famous mosaics of the Kariye Church.
Day 12 - Nicaea
Today, you will visit the lakeside town of Iznik, known in Byzantine times as Nicaea and site of two ecumenical church councils. The ancient name is associated with the Nicene Creed which many Christians can recite from memory. You will see the ancient walls and sites associated with the town’s Christian heritage: the ruins of the Basilica of St. Sophia, the Baptistry, and the Christian Tombs on the outskirts of town.
Day 13 - Return to USA
Guests taking an extension may be on a different flight than their group and/or traveling companion.
Thursday, November 4, 2021From $3348*