Day 1 :
Departure from North America
- Flight to Athens:
Enjoy full meal service on your scheduled wide-bodied flight to Athens.
Day 2 :
Arrive Athens – Corinth
- Arrive in Greece:
We will be met at the airport by our tour manager/guide who will accompany us to Corinth, one of the largest and most prosperous cities in ancient Greece and the site of Paul’s preachings to the Corinthians.
- Ancient Corinth:
Our day includes a visit to Ancient Corinth, beginning with the most conspicuous and the most handsome surviving building, the 6th-century BC Temple of Apollo,which stands on a low hill overlooking the extensive remains of the Roman Agora. Only seven of the temple's 38 monolithic Doric columns are standing; the others having long since been toppled by earthquakes. From the temple, we will walk along ancient Corinth's former main drag, a 40-foot-wide marble-paved road that ran from the port of Lechaion into the heart of the Agora. In the Agora, we will view the remains of the Fountain of Peirene, rebuilt by the famous Roman traveler, Herodes Atticus. When he was done, the spring was encased in an elaborate two-storied building with arches and arcades and a 50-square-foot courtyard. We will also view the Bema, the public platform where St. Paul had to plead his case when the Corinthians, irritated by his constant criticisms, hauled him up in front of the Roman governor Gallo in AD 52.
Continue on to Athens.
Day 3 :
Athens (Birthplace of Western Civilization)
Our morning commences with a visit to the Acropolis, which has dominated the skyline of Athens for over 2,000 years. A citadel was built on the rock in Mycenaean times, and was the first of a series of temples that honored Athena, the city’s divine patroness. In 480 BC, the Persians captured the Acropolis, and the Athenian leader Pericles rebuilt the site according to his plan of unsurpassed beauty and grandeur. During our tour of the Acropolis, we will view: the Propylaia, the monumental entrance to the complex; the Temple of Athena Nike; the Parthenon, the temple to Athena which crowns the Acropolis; the Erectheion, dedicated to Poseidon and Athena; and the Theater of Herodes Atticus, originally built in AD 161.
- Acropolis Museum:
Our time on the Acropolis concludes with a visit to the Acropolis Museum, featuring a superb collection of treasures excavated from the area.
- Ancient Agora:
Our day continues with a visit to the Ancient Agora, or marketplace, which formed the political heart of Athens from 600 BC. Socrates was indicted and executed here in 399 BC. The theater, schools, and stoas filled with shops also made this the center of social and commercial life. We will explore the vast remains of the ancient complex, which have been excavated since the 1930s, including Hephaisteion, the best-preserved Temple, and the Stoa of Attalos, a reconstructed, colonnaded building, which houses a small museum with the finds from the Agora.
- Plaka Area:
This evening we will explore and dine in the lively Plaka Area, the historic heart of Athens.
Day 4 :
Athens – Flight to Izmir – Ephesus – Pamukkale
- Mt Koressos:
At Mt Koressos, visit the humble Chapel which lies on the site of the little house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her final days. Despite many controversies, the Christian World still favors this belief, and the Vatican has officially sanctioned the site for pilgrimage.
- Explore Ephesus:
Ephesus is one of the best preserved ancient cities in the world. It was founded at the end of the Silk Road, where the merchants from east and west used to meet and has always been coveted by different conquerors because of its location. In Ephesus, you'll visit Temple of Diana which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Other highlights include the Forum, the Odeon, the Fountain of Trajan, the Temple of Hadrian, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika, and the Great Theatre.
Day 5 :
Laodicea, Hierapolis, & Pamukkale
Visit the Laodicea Church (3:14–22), which was closely related to its sister churches at
Colossae and Hierapolis.
Visit the impressive remains of the ancient city-spa of Hierapolis, where emperors and kings
weekended around 2,000 years ago. The city of Hierapolis was founded in 190 B.C. by
Eumenes II as part of the great Empire of Pergamum and was probably named after Hiera,
the wife of the legendary founder of Pergamum. Considered a sacred site for the magic of its
healing waters, Hierapolis reached its peak of development under the Romans at the end of
the 2nd and 3rd centuries. During the Byzantine Era, a large church was erected to St. Philip,
who was martyred here in A.D. 80. Our tour will include the stunning remains of the best-preserved
Ancient Theater in Turkey, the Temple of Apollo, the Plutonium, the Martyrium of
St. Philip, the Byzantine Gate; the Colonnaded Street; the monumental Arch of Domitian, and
the Necropolis, stretching for over 1 mile and ending at the northern entrance to the site.
Swim in the effervescent waters of the Sacred Pool, which is the main source for the springs
feeding the travertines. The pool lies in the center of a lush garden and cay evi (teahouse).
Scattered about at the bottom of the crystal-clear pool like so much detritus is an amazing
collection of striated columns and capitals, a striking reminder of the pool's pedigree. The
thermal water maintains a relatively constant temperature of about 95°F.
- This evening, dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.:
Day 6 :
Pamukkale - Aphrodisas - Philadelphia - Sardis - Izmir
Today we will travel from Pamukkale to Izmir. Via Aphrodisias, Philadelphia and Sardis
Aphrodisias is one of the oldest cities of ancient Anatolia founded on the old Silk Road.
Dedicated to the Goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite, it was the second cultural centre of
the ancient world, after Pergamum, for its worldwide renowned school of sculpture,
philosophy and medicine.
Visit the ancient remains at Aphrodisias, the best-preserved example of a Hellenistic
civilization in Turkey. It is commonly believed that the cult of the mother goddess was central
to the origins of Aphrodisias and as early as the 1st century BC it was recognized as a
sacred sanctuary, and was awarded special privileges that began with Julius Caesar and
lasted through the end of the Roman Empire. Aphrodisias is still undergoing excavations,
compliments of New York University, and the site covers an area of 1,284 acres. Highlights of
our tour will include the Temple of Aphrodite, built around the 1st century BC; the immense
Stadium of Aphrodisias, an elongated oval, which rivals in grandeur the stadium of Pompeii;
the truly Olympic-size Pool; the Theater; the Portico of Tiberius; and the Baths of Hadrian.
Visit the Church at Philadelphia (3:7–13), which stood at an important junction of the imperial
post road that ran from Rome through Troas, Pergamum, and Sardis on through to Tarsus
and the East. They had an open door through which to share the gospel.
Visit the Church in Sardis (3:1–6).
Izmir (the ancient and medieval city of Smyrna) is the third most populous city of Turkey and
the country's largest port after Istanbul.
Our accommodation for the next night will be in Izmir. While here, breakfast and dinner will be
served at the hotel daily.
Day 7 :
Izmir - Thyatira - Pergamon - Bursa
- Church of St. Polycarp:
Today we will travel from Izmir to Bursa. Via Smyrna, Pergamon and Thyatira
Visit the Church of St. Polycarp in Smyrna (2:8–11) sight of the martyrdom of the bishop of
Smyrna, Polycarp. This is the oldest church in ancient Smyrna and it symbolizes the
community of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse.
Visit the ancient remains of Pergamon, perched on a hilltop of the modern city of Bergama.
Enjoy a guided tour of the remains, highlighted by the City Walls; the Temple of Trajan, built
in white marble; the Library Ruins, which once housed 200,000 parchment scrolls; the Altar of
Zeus, whose altar was rebuilt in Berlin; the Upper Agora; and the Theater, constructed in the
3rd century BC.
Visit the Church in Thyatira (2:18–29), which was plagued by a false prophetess symbolically
named Jezebel after the evil queen of Israel who worshiped idols. Thyatira was known for its
trade guilds (cf. Lydia; Acts 16:14), which would hold banquets in the pagan temples.
As the first capital of the Ottoman Empire (during the 14th century), the city can be
considered the birthplace of modern Turkish culture. Its innumerable ancient buildings,
including those of the old spa suburb of Çekirge, are a reminder of Bursa’s weighty past.
Our accommodation for the next night will be in Bursa. While here, breakfast and dinner will
be served at the hotel daily.
Day 8 :
Bursa - Istanbul - Bosphorus
Today we will travel from Bursa to Istanbul.
Istanbul, known as Constantinople until the early 20th century, is a city much immortalized in
art and literature.
Enjoy a boat trip on the Bosphorus, or Istanbul Strait.
Our accommodation for the next two nights will be in Istanbul. While here, breakfast will be
served at the hotel daily.
This evening, dinner will be provided in a local restaurant.
Day 9 :
Istanbul (Crossroads to Asia and Europe)
- Blue Mosque:
Visit the impressive Blue Mosque also known as the Sultanahmet/Suleymaniye Mosque; this
is the masterpiece of Sinan the Chief Architect of the Ottoman Empire, and is considered as
to be one of the best amongst the Imperial Mosques.
- Hagia Sofia:
Hagia Sofia, originally a Christian basilica erected in 360 AD, is a thousand years older than
St. Peter's in Rome. First a church, then a mosque and now a museum, it is considered to be
the supreme masterpiece of Byzantine architecture.
Visit the Hippodrome, the city’s former stadium, which today features a Brazen Column, the
Serpentine Column and an Egyptian Obelisk.
- Topkapi Palace:
Discover Topkapi Palace - a luxurious preserve that was the imperial seat of the Ottoman
Empire. The Palace complex is surrounded by three miles of walls and is the oldest and
largest Palace in the world. We will walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul and visit the
elegant little Sokullu Pasa mosque and the hidden underground Theodosian Cistern (or a visit
to Suleymaniye Mosque may be made).
- Turkish Dinner and Oriental Show:
This evening we will enjoy a Turkish Dinner, followed by a spectacular Oriental Show with
belly dancers and folk singers.
Day 10 :
Departure from Istanbul
- Tour ends:
Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our Tour Director accompanies us to
the airport on our final day.