In The Steps of St. Paul
DAY 1: HOME - ISTANBUL (D)
Flight to Istanbul. Arrive at the airport of Istanbul. Welcome and assist by our English speaking tour guide. All of the ladies will have fresh flowers and the gentlemen will have souvenir as a present by Celex Travel, Transfer to the hotel and check-in. During the key distribution “a welcome cocktail” will be served. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner will be served at hotel. Overnight.
After breakfast at hotel full day tour of Istanbul featuring Hippodrome where chariot races used to take place, St. Sophia Museum an ancient basilica which is one of the architectural marvels of all time with its immense dome rising 55 meters above the ground and 31 meters in a diameter, Topkapi Palace (Treasury and Harem Sections are not included !) from which The Ottoman Empire was governed for four centuries, Covered Bazaar with more than 4000 shops. Lunch will be served at a restaurant. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel in Istanbul.
After breakfast at hotel visit to the famous Egyptian Spice Market Bazaar embark on a Cruise along the Bosporus. Disembark at Sariyer and have lunch then drive to the Asian Part of Istanbul. Visit to Yeditepe Hill for a panoramic view of the city. Also visit to 11th century Church St. Savoir in Chora famous for it superb frescoes and mosaics. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel.
DAY 4: ISTANBUL - IZNIK - BURSA (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel and drive to Iznik formerly known as Nicaea. Visit the ruins of the St. Sophia Cathedral the seat of the first ecumenical council of 325. Also visit the very well preserved original Roman Walls of the city. After having lunch at a lakeside fish restaurant, continue to Bursa which is the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire, Green Mausoleum, and Silk Bazaar. You will have the opportunity to experience the traditional Turkish bath with thermal water in your hotel. Dinner and overnight will be at hotel in Bursa.
DAY 5: BURSA - BERGAMA - THYATIRA - IZMIR (B,L,D)
After breakfast at hotel drive to Pergamon, one of the seven churches of Apocalypse which survives as one of Turkey’s finest archaeological sites. The Asclepion located to the south-west of the lower city was a sanctuary dedicated to the God of Health Asclepios. Visit the ruins of Celebrated Library, a steep and impressive Theatre, the Temples of Trojan and Dionysos, the monumental Altar of Zeus. Continue to our second church Thyatira. Today our third church is Smyrna (Izmir). Dinner will be served at hotel.
DAY 6: IZMIR - EPHESUS - IZMIR (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel and visit to Ephesus fourth church of our program. Probably it’s one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Turkey. Highlights are Basilica of St. John, House of Virgin Mary, Artemision, Agora, Curetes Street, Temple of Domitian, Fountain of Trojan, Temple of Hadrian, Library of Celsius, the Theatre, and Arcadian Way. Dinner will be served at hotel in Izmir. Overnight.
DAY 7: IZMIR - PAMUKKALE (HIERAPOLIS) (B,L,D),
After breakfast at hotel we will see three more churches today. Namely Sardes, Philedelphia and Laodicea. Continue to Pamukkale (Hierapolis) and visit the Christian Basilica, Temple of Apollo, the Theatre. Pamukkale is a magical and spectacular natural site unique in the world. A fairyland of dazzling white petrified castles. The hot springs have been used since Roman times for their therapeutic powers. Dinner will be served at hotel in Pamukkale. Overnight. Possibility to swim in the hot spring pool.
DAY 8: PAMUKKALE - YALVAC (ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA) - CAPPADOCIA (B,L,D),
Breakfast at hotel. As today is the longest distance of our itinerary, early check-out from the hotel and on the way visit to Antioch of Pisidia where Paul on his first missionary journey arrived and addressed the congregation in the Synagogue on Sabbath with his first record Serman. Continue to Cappadocia. Dinner at hotel in Cappadocia.
DAY 9: CAPPADOCIA (B,L,D),
After breakfast at hotel full day Cappadocia tour featuring, Urgup, Goreme, Uchisar with their troglodyte dwellings. Remains of early churches can be seen. Visit to Natural Citadel of Uchisar which will enable you to get a panoramic view of the region and continues with the Göreme Valley which is the highlight of the day. This valley houses, the Göreme Open Air Museum with its churches hewn out of rock and the colorful frescoes which decorate them. Several hundred churches are in this area some of which are decorated with frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible or the Apocrypha. Continue to Underground City of Kaymakli or Ozkonak, was used by Christians of the 7th century as places of retreat in order to escape persecution. Today we also will visit one of the biggest a carpet weaving school of the area. Dinner will be served at hotel. Overnight.
DAY 10: CAPPADOCIA - TARSUS - ADANA (DANUNAS) (B,L,D),
Breakfast at hotel and drive to Tarsus where St. Paul was born, about the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Continue to Adana. Dinner will be served at hotel in Adana.
DAY 11: ADANA - ANTAKYA (ANTIOCH) - ADANA - ISTANBUL (B,L,D),
After early breakfast drive to Antakya, which is The Biblical city of Antioch. Visit to the Cave Church of the Grotto of St. Peter from which the Apostle preached for the first time and where he established the Christian community. Also visit to the Antakya Archaeological Museum, whose houses are one of the richest collections of Roman mosaics in the world. Drive back to Adana and dinner will be served in a local restaurant (if time permits). If not, dinner will be served in a restaurant in Istanbul). Transfer to airport for the flight to Istanbul. Arrive at Istanbul airport and transfer to hotel. Overnight.
DAY 12: ISTANBUL - HOME (B),
After breakfast transfer to airport for homebound flight.