PILGRIMAGE in the FOOTSTEPS of SAINT PAUL - 14 Days Biblical Tour

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PILGRIMAGE in the FOOTSTEPS of SAINT PAUL - 14 Days Biblical Tour

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Destination for this trip:

Adana, Turkey; Antalya, Turkey; Istanbul, Turkey; Izmir, Turkey; Konya, Turkey; Turkey

Length of trip:

14 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 0 to $ 2000

Best travel dates to go:

Any time.


Detailed Description of this trip:

Journey in the ancient footsteps of St. Paul. With his vigor to spread the Gospel, St. Paul spent most of his Christian life traveling from his birthplace in Eastern Turkey to the places throughout the country that he visited, explaining the religious and social context of his life. Most of these journeys were done in the lands of present day Turkey. Our journey starts from Istanbul and heading further East to Adana. Then, trace his missionary journeys, places of sermon and persecution via Tarsus, Antioch, Cappadocia, Antalya, Hierapolis and Izmir. En route, discover the sites of the Seven Churches and many more where St. Paul and his apostles preached in biblical times. Year of St. Paul to be celebrated to mark 2000 anniversary June 28, 2008 - June 29, 2009 Pope Benedict XVI has declared 2008 the "Year of Saint Paul" in honor of the 200th anniversary of the apostle's birth. The year of St.Paul starts on June 28th and millions of Christian Pilgrims are expected to meet in his birth town Tarsus, Turkey. Saint Paul of Tarsus (originally Saul of Tarsus) or Saint Paul, the Apostle is considered by many Christians to be the most important disciple of Jesus, and next to Jesus the most important figure in the development of Christianity.



Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - On the Bus

    ISTANBUL

    Arrival at Istanbul airport and transfer to the hotel. (D)

  • Day 2 - On the Bus

    ISTANBUL
    Museums

    Full day city tour of Istanbul visiting the famed Topkapi Palace, with the dazzling displays of the treasures of the Ottoman sultans, St. Sophia (which for 1000 years was the largest Church in Christendom and now a museum), the Blue Mosque (so-named from its decorative blue-shaded tiles, glass and gemstones) and the Church of St. Savior in Chora. Visit also the Grand Bazaar with its 4000 shops. Dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

  • Day 3 - On the Bus

    ISTANBUL / ADANA / ANTIOCH
    Historical and Educational Tours

    After breakfast, we fly to Adana and drive straight to Tarsus, the birth place of St. Paul. During St. Paul's time, Tarsus was also a university city surpassing Athens and Alexandria. Cicero was governor here in 51-50 BC and the romantic meeting between Cleopatra and Mark Anthony took place in Tarsus. Highlights will be a visit to St. Paul's well and Cleopatra's Gate. Finally, drive to Antioch at Orontes for a dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

  • Day 4 - On the Bus

    ANTIOCH
    Historical and Educational Tours

    Today after breakfast in the hotel we journey east from Antioch-on-the-Orontes to Daphne and Seleucia Pieria. Antioch is thought to have been founded in 300 BC. First to preach here was St. Peter followed by St. Paul and Barnabas, whose extensive efforts proved to be very fruitful for Christianity. Incidentally, the word "Christians" was first coined in Antioch. Highlights of the tour include the Museum which houses a superb collection of mosaics from Antioch, Daphne and Seleucia Pieria as well as St. Peter's Grotto, the cave church which came to be known as the meeting place of early Christians. The next site we will visit is Seleucia Pieria which was the port city of Antioch in ancient days. The most interesting monument here is the Tunnel of Titus which is a tremendous canal dug for the purpose of diverting the waters of the Orontes River. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B, L, D)

  • Day 5 - On the Bus

    ANTIOCH / CAPPADOCIA
    Historical and Educational Tours

    After breakfast we drive to Cappadocia known for its bizarre land formations and settlements. On our way to the hotel, we’ll make picture stops at the Valley of the Birds and at the foot of the Uchisar Castle. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B, L, D)

  • Day 6 - On the Bus

    CAPPADOCIA
    Historical and Educational Tours

    We'll begin to explore Cappadocia with homes hidden in windswept landscapes and cities buried inside sinuous hills of stone. Once the heart of the Hittite Empire, then a vast Roman province, Cappadocia survived volcanic eruptions, mountains of ash, eroding winds and rains. Dominated by Mt. Argeus, inhabited by Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, it offers magnificent rock carved monasteries and churches ornate with Christian frescoes from the 7th-13th centuries. We visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum with its fairy chimneys and dozens of cave churches decorated with unique frescoes depicting various scenes from the Bible. Highlights will be The Apple Church, The Chapel of St. Basil, and the biggest church in Cappadocia, the Buckle Church of Goreme. After lunch in the area, we visit the Zelve Valley. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B, L, D)

  • Day 7 - On the Bus

    CAPPADOCIA / KONYA (ICONIUM)
    Historical and Educational Tours

    After an early breakfast we will drive to Konya (Iconium). St. Paul visited this city during his missionary trips. Arriving in Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went to the Synagogue and had many Greek and Jewish converts. Today we begin with a tour of Konya, an important Roman city and capital of Seljuk Empire. Visit Museum and Mausoleum of Mevlana, founder of the Whirling Dervishes. After lunch in the area, we will visit the 13th century Selcuk’s era “Buyuk Karatay Medresesi” which houses a magnificent collection of tiles. After that we will visit the Alaeddin Mosque, the largest of the town’s Selçuk mosques. Dinner and overnight t hotel. (B, L, D)

  • Day 8 - On the Bus

    KONYA / YALVAC (PISIDIAN ANTIOCH) / ANTALYA
    Historical and Educational Tours

    After early breakfast we will drive to Psidian Antioch (Yalvac where St. Paul decides to turn to Gentiles. (II Timothy 3:11). Antioch played an important role
    in the life of Paul and in the history of the Christian Faith. Very little is left of Psidian Antioch today. There is the propylaeum of the acropolis with a number of carved stones and the remains of a Byzantine church. After lunch we drive to Antalya for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

  • Day 9 - On the Bus

    ANTALYA / PERGE ASPENDOS / ANTALYA
    Historical and Educational Tours

    Today we begin our tour with Perge, one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities in the world. Once one of the richest cities in the area, it is also where Paul preached his first sermon. After lunch in the area, drive to the ancient site of Aspendos to see the best preserved ancient Roman theater of Asia Minor. Built around 160 – 180 CE, it has a capacity of more than 15,000 seats and is still in use for concerts and theater performances. We drive back in Antalya and visit the Antalya Archeological Museum. Here we see exhibits from every age of this historically rich region, including an excellent gallery of fifteen classical gods and goddesses. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B, L, D)

  • Day 10 - On the Bus

    ANTALYA / MYRA / ANTALYA
    Historical and Educational Tours

    After breakfast we will drive west from Antalya along the beautiful Turquoise Coast to the ancient city of Myra, which was always one of the most important cities in Lycia. When St. Paul was taken as a prisoner to Rome in 60 AD, his ship called at Myra. After lunch we will visit another important sight, the Church of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) was the bishop of this Mediterranean city during the fourth century and died here in 342. Continue to Antalya for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

  • Day 11 - On the Bus

    ANTALYA / LAODICEA / PAMUKKALE
    Historical and Educational Tours

    Departure for a visit to one of the remnant ruins of the Seven Churches (Revelation 1:11). Laodicea, a town that was under both Roman and Turkish rule at various times, had a large Jewish community which eventually converted to Christianity (Colossians 4:13,15), but fell into disrepair and is now uninhabited. The city was named by Antiochus II in honor of his wife, Laodicea. After lunch at local restaurant, we drive to Pamukkale with its hot mineral springs and spa. Pamukkale is also known as the “Cotton Castle” because of the hot, calcium-laden spring waters, which cascade from one white edged terrace pool to the next. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B, L, D)

  • Day 12 - On the Bus

    HIERAPOLIS / PHILADELPHIA / IZMIR
    Historical and Educational Tours

    After breakfast we visit Hierapolis which was founded by the Pergamon King Telephos and named after his wife Hiera. Paul introduced Christianity to the local population here. While visiting the ruins of one of the largest Roman cities in Asia Minor, you may see the amphitheater, the city gates and the colonnaded streets. Following lunch, we drive to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, to see the remains of its churches. Philadelphia, together with Smyrna was considered as one of the distinguished churches out of the seven churches of the Revelation about which nothing bad was mentioned by St. John. After lunch, continue to Izmir, ancient Smyrna, also having one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. Dinner and overnight at Izmir hotel. (B, L, D)

  • Day 13 - On the Bus

    IZMIR / EPHESUS / IZMIR
    Historical and Educational Tours

    Morning departure to the one of the world’s most visited sites, Ephesus which represents ruins on a grand scale. (Revelation (1:11) Visit the theatre, the Odeon, the Library and the Roman baths. Continue then to the Basilica of St. John, built on the hilltop site of the house and tomb of St. John the Apostle. Here lies the crypt with the tomb of St. John: it was believed by pilgrims during the Middle Ages that the dust rising from his grave had curative powers and was diligently gathered up. St. Paul visited Ephesus between AD 55 –58, where his ministry included preaching, conversion and the baptizing of the twelve disciples (Acts 19:5-8). St. Paul was imprisoned for several years in Ephesus and is believed to have written portions of the Epistles during his confinement. Ephesus eventually became one of the cradles of Christianity due to his efforts. In addition to Saints John and Paul, Ephesus was also the home to the mother of Christ, Mary who was entrusted to John’s care after the Crucifixion and moved with John to Ephesus, where both are believed to have lived the remainder of their lives and are buried. We’ll visit to the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, the most important Christian shrine in Ephesus. Drive to Izmir for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

  • Day 14 - On the Bus

    IZMIR / SARDIS / PERGAMUM / IZMIR
    Historical and Educational Tours

    After breakfast, we drive to Sardis whose history dates back to the 12th century B.C. Sardis felt the influence of Christianity very early and was included in the Seven Churches of the Revelation. Highlights will be a Synagogue, Gymnasium, Byzantine Church and the Temple of Artemis. We will then proceed to Thyatira which was another one of the towns where Christianity spread quickly.
    Following lunch we proceed to Bergama, the ancient Pergamon, the most favored of the Seven Churches, the capital of a large and powerful pre-Roman kingdom that was also the site of a famous Roman medical center (Revelation 2:12-17). Visit the Basilica built on the Serapis Temple, along with the Acropolis, the Parchement Library, and the Asclepium. We drive back to Izmir for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

  • Day 15 - On the Bus

    IZMIR

    Transfer to Izmir airport for departure flight. (B)

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