turkey travel
Foot Steps of St. Paul (14 Day Biblical tour of Turkey)

Program

Day 1 - Arrival in istanbul
As we say in Turkey, HOS GELDINIZ! Welcome to Turkey. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After a short briefing about your tour you will have the afternoon free to rest and explore Istanbul on your own. > Overnight in ISTANBUL

Day 2 - Istanbul - (B/L)
This will be a full day of exploring the historical sites of Istanbul.
Sites you'll see today
*Byzantine Hippodrome --The focal point of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Constantine. Within it's center you will see the Egyptian Obelisk and Serpentine Column.
*Topkapi Palace--the residence and leadership center of the Sultans during the Ottoman Empire. It was built in 1459-1465 shortly after the conquest of Constantinople. You will see the Treasury that includes the Topkapi Dagger, the 86 carat Spoon Maker's Diamond, and the jewel encased bones of St. John the Baptist's skull and arm bone. You also will see the Harem where all the women of the Palace were "kept", and the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle that is home to some of the holiest Muslim relics...including the mantle worn by the Prophet Mohammed and hairs from his beard.
*Blue Mosque--World renown for it's architecture and focal point for worshipping Muslims
*Haghia Sophia--1,400 year old supreme church from Byzantium times which houses famous Byzantine Mosaics
<overnight in ISTANBUL
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>>>>>>Christianity Significance for today: The Hippodrome area, with Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace at it's edges, was once the center of the Byzantine Empire, ruled by Constantine. Constantine was of great significance to the Christian world because he declared Christianity the official state religion of the Byzantine Empire. With Christianity declared officially for the Byzantine Empire, the construction of big churches began everywhere in Byzantium. Socrates, who chronicled the church history of the 300's AD, wrote that Constantine erected Haghia Sophia .
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Day 3 - Istanbul to Antakya - (B/L/D)
In the morning we will fly to Adana. In a day long excursion trip from Adana we will go to the ancient town of Antioch (Antakya). The Syrian cultural influences here will be a bit of a change from the rest of your experience in Turkey.
Sites you'll see today
*Grotto Church of St. Peter--This cave-church is built into the slope of Mt. Staurin. It traditionally served as a place of meeting for early Christians. Further tradition holds that St. Luke the Evangelist, from Antioch, owned the property of this cave and donated it to the growing Christian congregation as a place of worship.
*Antakya Archeology Museum--This museum holds some of the best Roman and Byzantine mosaics in the world.
*Seleucia Pieria--This is the ancient port town of Antioch, from which Paul and Barnabas set sail for Cyprus on their first missionary journey. Until disappearing under the waters of the Mediterranean, two ancient piers of the outer harbor bore the apostle's names. You will also see the Tunnel of Titus, an amazing feat of Roman engineering built to empty rain-water that flooded the ancient harbor.
Overnight in ANTAKYA
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>>>>>>Scriptural Significance for today: Acts 11:19-26, 13:1-4 After Stephen was martyred some of the frightened believers scattered and made it to Antioch where there was a Jewish congregation. It was here that a great number of people turned to believing in the Lord, thus necessitating the need for Barnabas to minister here. From here Barnabas went to nearby Tarsus and sought Paul. It was during this year of Barnabas's and Paul's teachings that the worshippers were first called Christians (Acts. 11:25-26) Antioch also served as the base for Paul's missionary activities.
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Day 4 - Antakya to Cappadocia (B/L)
Today will be spent visiting the birthplace of St. Paul, walking through an underground city where Christians once fled for their lives, and driving through the Taurus mountains on our way to Cappadocia.
Sites you'll see today
*Tarsus will be our first stop. This is the birth place of St. Paul. We will see the Old City where ongoing excavations have uncovered a stretch of Roman road that St. Paul perhaps walked on. We will also see St. Paul's Well and Cleopatra's Gate. Then we will provide a transfer to Cappadocia, after arrival in Cappadocia, you will check into your hotel and overnight stay.

Day 5 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
After breakfast we will take you on a full day tour of Cappadocia
*Underground City of Derinkuyu--You will gradually stroll your way down into the depths of the earth in this ancient underground city that has 18-20 floors as deep as 40 meters below the ground. Don't worry, you will only go down to the 8th floor. Cappadocia has around 36 underground cities. Archeologists date these back to the time of the Hittites which lived 4000 years ago. Others believe they were inhabited around the 7th century BC.....Regardless of how old or young they are, undoubtedly they will leave you with a sense of awe of how the dwellers of these cities lived. As you wind down you will begin to feel as if you are in a huge block of Swiss cheese. Everywhere you look there will be nooks and crannies carved into the rocks: holes, windows , paths, alleys, little rooms. . . it is really a maze of mass proportions. You will see ancient kitchens and stables; storage jars for oil, wine and water; rock carved tables, chairs, and beds; and deep wells for water supplies.
*Traditional Anatolian village --The head-scarfed women out at work in the fields from sun up until sun-down, and the mustached, vest-wearing men hard at work playing cards in the coffee shops. You will get time to stroll in such a village and see the average Turkish villager at work...or play.
Overnight in URGUP
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>>>>>>Christianity Significance for today: See the ancient Roman road where St. Paul one day walked as a young man. While climbing through the underground cities of Derinkuyu, imagine yourself as an early Believer hiding out for months under the ground, living in prayer and hope for safety from the Arabs that seek to kill you.
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Day 6 - Cappadocia - (B/L)
This day will be spent exploring the amazing sites of Cappadocia. Very, very early in the morning we will wake up to take a hot air balloon ride over the area. After this we will come back to the hotel for breakfast and a rest before setting out in late morning to see the rest of the sites.
Sites you'll see today
*The World Heritage Site of Goreme Open-Air Museum --This is a cluster of rock cut Byzantine churches, chapels and monasteries which include some wonderful 11th and 12th century frescoes on the cave walls. This place was used by the Christians as a place of refuge from those opposed to Christianity and also was a major monastery. Rooms, churches, houses, and gathering halls have all been cut into the rock or formed from natural caves. Within the caves you can explore and see the preserved mosaics and frescoes.
*Zelve Open Air Museum--Three natural valleys surrounded by steep rocks form a dramatic site as you can wander around looking at the thousands of rock houses, churches and tunnels carved into the cliffs here. Mosaics in the churches typify the type associated with the pre-Iconoclastic Period, meaning that you will see symbols such as the cross, deer, fish, grapes, etc.
*Fairy Chimneys--these geological phenomenon have been shaped over millions of years. They were formed during volcanic eruptions in the region. Reaching at times 40 meters in height, they are conical in shape and have a "hat" top to them.
*Devrent Valley --This valley is know as "the pink valley" because of the color of it's soil. This is a lovely place to wander around and look at the magical rock formations indicative to Cappadocia, including the Fairy Chimneys.
*Uchisar Castle -- Also called a fortress, this is actually a formation of two gigantic rocks surrounded by smaller rocks that together form a natural fortress with towers. These formations were inhabited during both the Byzantine and Ottoman times. You can climb and explore the different caves and rooms throughout the fortress, experiencing first-hand what it must have been like to hide in these fortified rocks, waiting for the ancient enemy to pass by or give up.
*If time allows we will also get the chance to visit local crafts people and learn how they make dolls and create traditional pottery. overnight in URGUP
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>>>>>>Scriptural Significance for today: Acts 2:7-12 Gives information about the Cappadocian Christians of the 1st century. A part of Cappadocia was part of the province of Rome known as Galatia, to which St. Paul wrote Galatians. Some scholars believe that Paul possibly visited Cappadocia and when he wrote Galatians, he was also addressing the Cappadocian Christians. Cappadocia is also mentioned in the five provinces of Anatolia that St. Peter addresses in his letter 1st Peter. As you walk into one of the little rock-carved chapels, you can step back in time and feel the zeal of these little congregations eagerly reading the letter sent them from St. Peter.
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Day 7 - Cappadocia to Pamukkale - (B/L)
This morning we will visit several significant Muslim sites in Konya before our journey to Antalya on the Mediterranean coast. Once known as a place for Christians in St. Paul's time, now Konya's fame comes as a devout Muslim city known for it's religious conservatism.
Sites you'll see today
*Mevlana Museum is a holy site for Muslims because it is the former lodging place for the whirling dervishes. The architecture and turquoise tiles are a beautiful site for all.
*Karatay Medrese houses an outstanding collection of ceramics and tiles. The eight- hundred year old building was once a Selcuk Islamic theological seminary.
After visiting Konya we will depart for Pamukkale, upon arrival you will check into your hotel and Overnight stay in Pamukkale.

Day 8 - Pamukkale - (B/L/D)
We continue our drive west through the scenic Taurus mountains and fertile Turkish farmland. We will arrive in Pammukale in the early afternoon. You will have the rest of the day to explore nearby Pammukale and ancient Hierapolis on your own.
Sites you'll see today
*Pammukale which means cotton castle, is the result of limestone formations built over thousands of years. Warm calcium rich mineral water flowed over the cliffs and as it cooled it deposited the calcium into the formations that are seen today. Pammukale is now a world heritage site.
*Hierapolis was founded as a healing care centre in 190 BC, taking advantage of the mineral waters in the area. It was one of the most important intellectual, artistic, religious and commercial centres of the Roman Empire. It eventually had a large Jewish and Christian community. and during the Christian era the city of Laodiceia, one of the Seven Churches written of in Revelation, was founded 8 km away.
*The tomb of St. Philip is back in the hills behind Hierapolis. Philip was a well-known saint of the region. St. Philip met his death as a martyr, and in honor of his service to God the Christians erected a matyrium over the site of his tomb. Special ceremonies and meetings were held here in the name of St. Philip.
Overnight in PAMUKKALE
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>>>>>>Scriptural Significance for today: St. Paul takes note of his fellow worker, Epaphras, that sent his greetings to the Christians of Hierapolis in the book of Colossians (4:12-13).
>>>>>>Christianity Significance for today: If the tour members would like, we will provide the supplies for a communion service to be held this evening at a fitting outside sight. This could be a nice time for members to come together and share their feelings and what they have learned during their stay in Turkey. It would also be a wonderful time to pray for the salvation of Turkish hearts that do not know Jesus. This nation is one that is 98% Muslim.
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Day 9 - Pamukkale to Kusadasi - (B/L/D)
Today we begin our journey with nearby Biblical sites, view an ancient sculpture school and then drive on to Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea.
Sites you'll see today
*Colossae was the church that St. Paul wrote to in the book of Colossians. This site will be a good experience of seeing what a ruin site is like before much excavation is done. We will be able to see an ancient church and other remnants of the once teeming city.
*Afrodisias was named after Aphrodite, the goddess of love, fertility, and nature. It was a famous site for the cult worship of Aphrodite and it is not known if any Christians lived in this town. It probably was the type of city St. Paul told Christians to avoid! Besides the fame of the cult of Aphrodite, the settlement was famous for its school of sculpture. Nearby marble supplies, as well as famous scholars, attracted students to its school and created a demand for its work throughout the Roman Empire. As a result an amazing collection of quality sculpture has been found.
*We will stop to learn how the infamous Turkish carpets are handcrafted and created by Turkish women. You might even get a chance to tie your own knot on a carpet!
*You will reach your hotel in Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea in the afternoon. You will have the rest of the day to rest, swim, or sunbathe beside the crystal blue Aegean.
Overnight in KUSADASI
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>>>>>>Scriptural Significance for today: Revelations 3:14-22 It is interesting to note how St. John wrote to this church with references to local customs. He reproved the church saying that spiritually it was neither hot nor cold but rather lukewarm. This reference would have significance to the people because archeological findings show that it's water may have been literally lukewarm. Surviving pipes are choked with lime deposits and it is quite possible the water came from hot springs in the south and cooled to lukewarm by the time it reached Laodicea. Furthermore, St. John writes that it was rich and in need of nothing and that it didn't know that it was poor, blind and naked. He said it should buy gold of the risen Christ refined by fire, white garments and salve for the blind eyes. Again, these references bear local allusions because it was rich and famous for garments made of it's famous black wool. Another allusion points to the need for them to buy salve for their eyes. This area was also famous for it's Phrygian powder which was used for diseases of the eyes. The book of Colossians was a letter written to the Christians of Colossae while Paul was either in Ephesus or Rome. Paul says that the Colossians learned their faith from the messenger Epaphras who was a Colossian (Col 1:7; 4:12 Philemon 23). He also took the Good News to the cities of Hierapolis and Laodicea. (Col 4:12-13) It is interesting to note that the kind of heresy that was mentioned in Paul's letter is confirmed by an inscription on the theatre wall of Miletus, a nearby ancient city.
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Day 10 - Kusadasi (B/L/D)
We will visit three ancient cities today while driving through beautiful Turkish farmland and countryside.
Sites you'll see today
*Priene is found in a dramatic setting high up in the mountains, overlooking the farmland way below. It dates back to 300 BC when it was one of the League of Ionian Cities. It's ancient population was 5,000 and had a well planned grid system design for its streets. In early days it had a port but by the Roman period the nearby Maiandros River silted up the land into a swamp. The swamp created perfect conditions for mosquitoes and as a result malaria struck in epidemic proportions. By 1400 the city was completely abandoned. Today there is no swamp, but a lot of fertile farmland.
*Miletus was an important commercial and governmental center from 700 BC until 700 AD. Although today this ancient city is surrounded by farm land, when it was at it's peak the Aegean Sea rose to it's city walls. You can still see where the harbor once brought goods to and fro. The most memorable part of visiting Miletus is to sit in one of the 15,000 seats of it's ancient theatre, and then wander the passageways that connect the sections of the theatre. Miletos was known as a city of philosophers who were at the forefront of scientific inquiry. Important Milesians were some of the first to make maps, explain the lunar eclipse, plan towns, recognize the atom and construct an accurate sundial. St. John, upon surviving a shipwreck, floated on a cork until landing in Miletus. A church was built in his honor. St. Paul also stopped here during his 3rd missionary journey. Avoiding those who hated him in Ephesus, he called its elders to Miletus to preach to them there.
*Didyma was not an ancient city, but rather a sacred place of pagan worship. It's fame rests in it's Temple of Apollo that was built in the 7th-8th century BC, although the works seen today are from the 4th century efforts of Alexander the Great. The Diymaion Temple was the 3rd largest temple in the ancient world. Soothsaying and prophecies were told here by an elite group of priests for 1400 years until Christianity became the state religion of the Byzantines and ended pagan practices. The temple was famous for its Oracle that gave divine information about the future to the priests who then relayed such prophecies to the worshipping people After seeing this ancient site with it's towering pagan temple, you can much better picture in your mind the type of lifestyles the early Christians were up against and those of which St. Paul so earnestly warned to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them" (Ephesians 5:11) Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner provided<overnight in KUSADASI
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>>>>>>Scriptural Significance for today: Acts 20 tells of the stop that Paul made in Miletus during his third missionary journey. It was at this time that he was not safe to go back to Ephesus to speak, and thus called the elders of Ephesus to Miletus to meet with and preach to. Although Acts does not say, it is easy to assume that during the years Paul lived in Ephesus, he visited with the nearby Christians of Miletus. While Paul was in Miletus he knew that soon he would be returning to Jerusalem and this meeting with his friends was bittersweet, since he knew what was in store for his future. "But now I know that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again." (Acts 20:25)
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Day 11 - Kusadasi - (B)
We will visit Turkey's most impressive Biblical site today, in what may well be your most memorable day in Turkey. We will also visit other significant Christian sites.
Sites you'll see today
*Ephesus is one of the best preserved cities from Roman times. At the time St. Paul lived in Ephesus in the 60's AD, it was at it's Roman heyday with a population around 250,000. When St. Paul lived in Ephesus he would have addressed the Ephesians in the great theatre, that today impresses everyone that walks into it's stands. Ephesus was a great ancient city and much of it has been preserved for you to see. More than any other site, you can walk the streets, stand in the great theatre, wander in the library, look towards the hill where St. Paul was put into prison, and feel that you are walking back into the time that St. Paul lived. After being here, you will read the book of Ephesians with new eyes.
*The House of The Virgin Mary where it is believed St. Mary came to live with St. John in the last years of her life.
*The Church of St. John was erected by Emperor Justinian in memorial to St. John whose tomb is within it's walls. St. John came here towards the end of his life with the Virgin Mary whom he cared for. He wrote the gospel of St. John and his other letters during the last years of his life here.
>Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner provided<overnight in KUSADASI
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>>>>>>Scriptural Significance for today: Book of Ephesians; Revelations 2:4; Acts 18: 18-20:1, 17-38 Among many things St. Paul taught in Ephesus, he made a stand against idolatry. This made all of the Ephesian street peddlers and craftsmen extremely upset, as their livelihood depended on making and selling idols of fertility. After St. Paul's speech, a slump in idol sales made one silversmith, Demetrius, so upset that he led a group that made claims St. Paul was disrespecting the goddess Artemis, a local cult religion. At one point St. Paul was banished to a nearby hill prison. The Ephesians gathered to protest St,. Paul at the great theatre and all chanted "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" St. Paul of course wanted to address this protest, but was persuaded not to by his disciples, who feared for his safety in such a riled up mob. Soon after this uproar, St. Paul left for Macedonia and later wrote a letter back to the Christians in Ephesus that would become Ephesians, one of the most read and loved books of the New Testament.
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Day 12 - (B) Kusadasi to Istanbul
We will leave this morning for the Izmir airport, where we will fly back to Istanbul.
Sites you'll see today
We will go to the Eminonu waterfront, Egyptian Spice Bazaar, and Grand Bazaar. cruise of the Bosphorus, passing all of the historical buildings, palaces, mosques and fortresses. Before the group turns in for the night, we would like one more time to pray together, specifically for your journey home and once again for the gospel to reach hungry hearts here in Turkey. overnight in ISTANBUL

Day 13 - Istanbul - (B)
After breakfast you will have a full free day to relax and explore Istanbul on your own. overnight stay in Istanbul

Day 14 - istanbul to Home - (B)
Gule, Gule! Our tour has come to an end. We will transfer you to the airport and wish you well, asking that you keep Turkey in your hearts and prayers, and hoping that our paths cross again in this life! If you have extended your time with an additional add-on trip, we will be confirming this day with you your additional schedule. To see additional trip add-ons, see below or go to the top of the page and click on trip add ons.-

To find out about the cost and departure dates and for all the other questions and inquiries, just drop us an e-mail, then we will get back to you as soon as possible

 



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