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Sun and Sandals Tours Christian Pilgrimages to Turkey

TURKEY

In the Footsteps of St Paul. Turkey 16 nights. Code 10

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF PAUL - 7 EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCHES OF REVELATION

Day 01 Friday / ANKARA Arrive in Ankara and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Ankara (D).

Day 02 Saturday / ANKARA Free in the morning. In the afternoon visit to the Anatolian Civilizations Museum at which numerous remnants from Stone Age, Neolithic Age, Hittites, Urartians, Phrygians and many others are on display; Mausoleum of Ataturk, the burial place of the national hero who founded modern Republic of Turkey. Overnight in Ankara (B, L).

Day 03 Sunday / ANKARA-HATTUSAS-CAPPADOCIA In the morning departure for 208 km bus ride to Hattusas, long time capital of the Hittites. Before visiting the main capital proceed to Yazilikaya to see the open air sanctuary as the direct sun light best reflects on the bas-reliefs direct in the morning. Then lunch in a small restaurant in the town nearby. After lunch visit to the capital of Hattusas with Lion's Gate, Tunnel, King's Gate, Citadel and Grand Temple. Drive to Cappadocia and overnight (B, D).

Day 04 Monday / CAPPADOCIA Optional balloon tour at sunrise. Depart from the hotel at 09.30-10.00 depending on the arrival time of the balloon participants and drive to Kaymakli Underground City, a place where early Christians hid from persecutors. Continue on to Pasabagi in Zelve, an area where monks used to live in seclusion in rock cut rooms. Proceed to the pottery town of Avanos where the meandering Kizilirmak (Hallys), the longest river of Turkey, deposits the red clay on its banks that has been the raw material of pottery for centuries. After lunch break visit to Open Air Museum in Goreme with the early Christian churches decorated with unique frescoes depicting various Biblical scenes, and the Pigeon Valley near Uchisar. Shopping time for the well-known merits of the area. Overnight in Cappadocia (B, D).

Day 05 Tuesday / CAPPADOCIA-NIGDE-ANTAKYA Drive to Antakya via Gumusler Monastery near Nigde and through Cilician Gates (Gulek Bogazi). Continue on to Antakya (Antioch) for overnight (B, D).

Day 06 Wednesday / ANTAKYA-TARSUS-KIZ KALESI Visit Antakya Mosaic Museum which houses one of the best collections of Roman mosaics in the world; and St. Peter's Grotto, the earliest Christian church ever built. Continue to Tarsus, the birth place of St. Paul, to see the St. Paul's Well and Cleopatra Gate. It was also here where Marcus Anthony reputedly met Cleopatra. Drive on to Kizkalesi for overnight (B, D).

Day 07 Thursday / KIZ KALESI-SILIFKE-KONYA Drive on to Konya, ancient Iconium, via Silifke Castle and Alahan. Overnight in Konya (B, D).

Day 08 Friday / KONYA-YALVAC-PAMUKKALE After visiting the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the world-wide famous mystic. In the afternoon drive to Yalvac, Antiochus in Pisidia, and visit. Continue to Pamukkale for overnight (B, D).

Day 09 Saturday / PAMUKKALE-LAODECIA-COLOSSAE-PAMUKKALE Late morning visit ancient Hierapolis with the Theatre, Apollo Temple and magnificent Necropolis, the graveyard. In the afternoon visit to the recently excavated Roman city Laodicea and Colossae, ancient city mentioned in the New Testament book of Colossians. Drive back to the hotel for overnight. (B, L, D).

Day 10 Sunday / PAMUKKALE-PHILADELPIA-SARDIS-IZMIR Drive to Sardis, the capital of Lydian Kingdom which houses one of the seven churches, and see the ruins of the largest synagogue ever excavated. Continue to Alasehir (Philadelphia) to see the Church of St. John. Arrive in Izmir and visit to the Church of St. Polycarp, the oldest church in ancient Smyrna, and the Agora. Overnight in Izmir (B, D).

Day 11 Monday / IZMIR-EPHESUS-IZMIR Departure in the morning. Visit Ephesus Antique City*, the most visited ancient Biblical site of Turkey with many acres of carefully excavated ruins, also sites of the palace and the temple of Domitian, the Caesar who exiled John the Revelator to Patmos, and amphitheater where the crowd rioted because of the success of Paul's evangelism for Pergamum; House of Virgin Mary where she reportedly spent her last years together with St. John (John the Revelator); Ephesus Archaeological Museum; St. John's Basilica and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Return to Izmir for overnight (B, D). * Hillside Houses are excluded

Day 12 Tuesday / IZMIR-PERGAMUM-THYATIRA-BURSA In the morning drive to Pergamum via Thyatira. After visits to the Asclepion, Acropolis and Red Courtyard, which served as Temple of Serapis, but later symbolized one of the Seven Churches of Anatolia. Drive to Bursa for overnight (B, D).

Day 13 Wednesday / BURSA-NICEA-ISTANBUL In the morning visit Koza Han, the silk cocoon caravanserai, with shops selling beautiful silks and brocades. Visit the Ottoman complex to see the Grand Mosque, the Green Mosque, considered to be one of the finest examples of early Ottoman architecture, and the Green Mausoleum, the tomb of Sultan Mehmet I. This is Bursa's loveliest building with its spectacular tile work. In the afternoon drive to Istanbul via Iznik, ancient Nicea, the city where the seventh council of the Christianity was held in 786, to visit the St. Sophia Museum (Interior the building is closed due to the ongoing restoration) from the 4th century B.C. and the Green Mosque. Iznik was the ceramic centre of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries. Most of the imperial mosques in Istanbul like Blue Mosque and Suleymaniye Mosque were ornamented with the tiles made in Iznik. Iznik tile works are amongst the most popular products at the well known auction companies all around the world. Overnight in Istanbul (B).

Day 14 Thursday / ISTANBUL Full day tour. St. Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of architecture constructed as a basilica in A.D. 536 by Emperor Justinian; Blue Mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its more than 20.000 blue Iznik tiles and unique with its 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet in the 17th century, one of the best examples of classical Turkish art; Hippodrome, the scene of Byzantine chariot races, athletic events, victory celebrations, and political activities of the old city where one can also see today the "Obelisk of Theodosius" from Egypt, "Serpentine Column" from Delphi, the "German Fountain of Wilhelm II" and the "Colossus". In the afternoon, Topkapi Palace - Harem section is excluded - built in 1468 by Mehmet the Conqueror, the imperial residence of Ottoman sultans housing the souvenirs of 600 years and exhibiting imperial treasury, Chinese porcelains, weapons, calligraphy section, etc. After the visit to Grand Covered Bazaar, the most attractive shopping center in the world with nearly 4000 shops, drive back to the hotel. Optional "Turkish Night Dinner Show". Overnight in Istanbul (B).

Day 15 Friday / ISTANBUL In the morning visit the aromatic Spice Bazaar, circa 1663, with its domed and vaulted shops selling spices and herbs along with a wide variety of commodities, also known as Egyptian Bazaar as it was once endowed with the Cairo imposts. Then walk to the pier and board the public (or private, depending on the number of the participants) boat. Sailing through the Bosphorus waterway separating the two continents - Asia and Europe - there will be ample opportunities to photograph marble palaces, ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture, and stately modern residential homes. During this trip the Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges as well as Rumelian Fortress, a historical armament built by the Conqueror in 1452 to control and protect the access to the Bosphorus, will be visible from the sea. Disembark the boat and ride the bus back to the city to visit Kariye Museum (St. Savior in Chora). Drive back to the hotel or new city for a free late afternoon. Overnight in Istanbul (B).

Day 16 Saturday / ISTANBUL Day at leisure in Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul (B). Day 17, Sunday / ISTANBUL Bus transfer to the airport for the departure flight (B) Istanbul stay can be extended All of our tours will be accompanied by a Biblical scholar to provide Biblical relevance at the religious sites (If required, groups can bring their own scholars. In such a case, this scholar will be supplied with free services throughout - but excluding the international air ticket - on complimentary basis) Most hotels and restaurants offer buffet dinners with a good selection of vegetarian foods.

 

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