Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: About this sound Türkiye Cumhuriyeti) and Greece (Greek: Ελλάδα), Hellenic Republic (Greek: Ελληνική Δημοκρατία), historically also known as Hellas –> Biblical Tour
Day 1 –Istanbul
Arrival to Istanbul; transfer from airport to hotel; free time, dinner and overnight stay in Istanbul
Day 2 –Istanbul
After breakfast we will have Istanbul Old City tour with lunch;
Hagia Sophia: Hagia Sophia, also known as The Holy Wisdom, was built by Justinianus 1400 years ago. First it was used as the cathedral of Constantinople during the 9th century and became the center of religion. After the conquest of Constantinople, it was used as a mosque for 470 years. During the first years of Turkish Republic it was still a mosque until 1935 when it was turned into a museum. Now you can see the symbols of both Christianity and Islam in Hagia Sophia.
Blue Mosque: The Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 by order of The Sultan Ahmet I, after whom it is named. He is buried in the mosque’s precincts.
The Hippodrome:The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a horse-racing track that was the sporting and social activity centre of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Topkapi Palace: The Administrative centre of Ottoman Empire from 1465 to 1853. The Construction of the Palace was ordered by Sultan Mehmet II in 1459 and completed in 1465.
Chora Church. This site developed from a small chapel in a rural setting — Chora means ‘in the country’ — into a Byzantine church (11th century) with convent. Later, after the siege of Constantinople, the church was converted into a mosque and became a museum in 1950.
Grand Bazaar: is a historical location with an extraordinary atmosphere that separates you from the chaos of the modern world and makes you feel as if you are somewhere in the 1001 nights with the positive energy that surrounds you when you enter it. This structure, which is constructed on a very broad area in a labyrinth shape, is called the covered market because it is completely covered and it has numerous doors opening to the exterior. There are approximately 4.000 stores with jewelry and hand-woven carpets waiting for you inside this unique building.
After the tour, transfer to airport to fly to Izmir; arrival to Izmir, transfer from airport to the Hotel; dinner and overnight stay in Izmir.
Day 3 – Izmir/Laodicea/Colossae/Philadelphia/Sardes
After breakfast departure from the Hotel and 3 hours driving to Laodicea to visit “the lukewarm church”; 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 and a chance to witness the newest axcavations in Laodicea.
Short drive to Colossae to visit the ancient city mentioned in the Bible; it was an ancient city of Phrygia in Asia Minor, and was the location of a Christian community to which the Apostle Paul addressed a canonically accepted epistle (letter), which is known for its content’s exaltation of the supremacy of Jesus Christ.
After the lunch; proceed to Philadelphia to visit “the faithful church” Church at Alasehir, the youngest of the Seven Churches of Revelation, visiting the remains of an early church and the city walls, after the tour transfer to the Hotel ; dinner and overnight stay in Sardes.
Day 4 – Sardes/Thyatira/Pergamon/Kusadasi
After breakfast we will visit Sardes (“the dead church”), ancient capital of the Lydian Empire and visit the Church of Sardes. Discover the largest ancient synagogue outside of Israel, visit the Artemis temple. Proceed to Thyatira to visit “the adulterous church”; lunch; your last stop during this daily tour is Pergamon (“the compromising church”) to see the akropolis; after the tour transfer to Kusadasi; dinner and overnight stay in Kusadasi
Day 5 –Ephesus
After breakfast we will have the tour of Ephesus (“the loveless church”), Visit the city of Ancient Ephesus, the most important of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. See the great Library of Celsus, Agora, Odeon, Trajan Fountain, Domitianus Temple, Roman Latrines, Theater and Stadium in which St. Paul preached the gospel. Also visit the House of Virgin Mary, where she is said to have spent her final years and St. John’s Basilica, a Byzantine church marking his burial place. after the tour return to Kusadasi, dinner and overnight stay in Kusadasi.
Day 6 – Patmos
beakfast in the hotel; *optional activity: charter ferry to Patmos; Patmos guided tour with lunch; return to Kusadasi, dinner and overnight stay in Kusadasi.
Day 7 – Izmir/Athens
Breakfast and transfer to Izmir airport for your Athens flight. Arrival to Athens airport, transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure, dinner and overnight in Athens.
DAY 8- Athens City Tour/ Corinth/Cenchrea
After breakfast we will go on a city tour of Athens. “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription ‘To an unknown God’. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…” (Acts 17:16-34). We will visit the main points of interest in the city: the Acropolis, the Parthenon and Mars’ Hill (Areopagus) where Paul preached the truth to the Gentle Nation. After that, we will head toward ancient Corinth (Acts 18.1-18). It was in ancient Corinth where Paul came and worked, established a thriving church and writing two of the epistles, which are now part of the New Testament. We will see the sites associated with his ministry: the Agora, the Temple of Apollo, the roman Odeon, the Bema and Gallio’s seat, the pillars, stairs, and the place of public worship, where Paul preached. Before we return to Athens, we will visit the ancient Greek port of Cenchrea (Acts 17:15) where Paul was during his second missionary journey and the ruin of the early Christian 5th Century basilica. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9- Athens/Thessalonica
After breakfast, transfer to the Airport for your flight to Thessalonica. Arrival to Thessalonica Airport and departure to Veria (Berea), another town evangelized by Paul (Acts 17.10-14). When Saint Paul visited this town in AD50, he came across a more “noble” Jewish community where he preached and created an important Church. This is where Paul met Sopatros, who would later become a valuable comrade who followed him on his return journey to Asia. We will visit the ancient synagogue where we will see the Byzantine mosaic in the monument commemorating his preaching. We will continue the trip with exploring the city of Thessalonica, where Paul preached the gospel in the second and third missionary journey. For the early Christians of this city he wrote epistles “To the Thessalonians.”. We will visit the Cathedral of St. Demetrius, the Protector Saint of the city, the Agora, the Galerius Arch, the Rotonda and the Church of Saint Sofia, the White Tower and the Byzantine fortress of the city. Finally we will visit the monastery of Vlatadon, which was founded in 1360. The rest of the day is at leisure, dinner and overnight in Thessalonica.
DAY 10- Thessalonica /Philippi/Kavala
Breakfast and trip to Philippi, the town where Paul delivered his first sermon in Europe, sowing the seeds of Christianity. “And from there (He went) to Philippi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman Colony. We remained in this city some days…” (Acts 16:12-18). Paul arrived here with Silas and Luke on the winter of AD 49 to AD50. There the first Christian baptism was performed, of a woman named Lydia. Although they were prosecuted and arrested, they received God’s help to escape from prison (Acts 16: 11-23) where there was the conversion of the jailer (Acts 16: 23-26). We will visit the Roman Theatre, probable site of the prison where Paul and Silas were arrested. We will continue towards the city of Kavala and the ancient city of Neapolis (Acts 16:11) where Paul landed with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. It was later renamed Christoupolis, meaning city of God, because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. We will visit the Roman Aqueduct and the ruins of the Acropolis. Dinner and overnight in Thessalonica.
DAY 11- End of the trip
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for return flight.