January 8 Wednesday
Today we depart for Turkey. Enjoy superb in-flight service and wonderful
meals on our flight across the Atlantic.
January 9 Thursday -
Upon arrival, meet with Tour Escort and transfer to the hotel. Remainder
of day is at your leisure. In the evening enjoy a Welcome Cocktail hosted
by your Tour Escort. Afterwards, sample the fine Turkish cuisine at your
dinner. Dinner and Overnight - Istanbul (D)
January 10 Friday -
Canakkale - Ayvalik
Breakfast in hotel. Morning departure from Istanbul by motor coach to
Canakkale (Dardanelles), the cradle of many ancient civilizations taking
visitors back into the depth of history. Discover the ancient city of
Troy and a symbolic wooden Trojan horse commemorating the legendary war.
Travel to Ayvalik where we spend the evening. Dinner and Overnight
- Ayvalik (B,L,D)
January 11 Saturday
- Ayvalik - Pergamum - Thyatira - Sardis - Izmir
Breakfast in hotel. This morning we drive towards Izmir. On route to Kusdasi,
stop at ancient Pergamum, once ruled by Alexander the Great. Famous for
the invention of parchment paper, Pergamum had a library containing 200,000
books. Visit the Acropolis, the Alter of Zeus, referred to as the "Throne
of Satan" in the Book of Revelations, and the 10,000 seat ampitheater.
Tour the marvelous Asclepieion, a 4th century B.C. shrine to the healing
God Asclepios. After lunch, we visit Thyatira (Akhisar) to see the remains
of a basilica and fragments from the Roman period - also one of the Churchs
of Revelation. (Rev.1:11; 2:18-29). Continue your day with a visit to
Sardis berated by John the Prophet for its façade of strength when,
in fact, it was weak (Rev. 3:1-6). Explore the temple of Artemis, marble
royal road, gymnasium and the Synagogue. Dinner and Overnight - Izmir
January 12 Sunday -
Izmir - Kusadasi - Hierapolis (Pumukkale)
Breakfast in hotel. After breakfast, we leave Izmir and drive towards
Ephesus. (Rev. 1:11). Incomparable with any other archaeological site,
Ephesus ruins are a feast to the visitor's eye. Ruins dating back to the
Roman period are probably the most interesting part of the excursion.
Most trade routes ended here and goods were shipped to overseas countries.
Two important Ecumenical Councils were held in the Church of the Virgin
Mary, which is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. The town was left
for the Ayasoluk Christian Settlement, which was built around the Easilica
of Saint John. The Selcuk town was built at the same area at the end of
Christian domination. The Virgin Mary spent the last days of her life
and died here after being entrusted to Saint John by Christ and therefore
was brought to Ephesus. Next we visit the Museum and see the statue of
Diana of the Ephesians. Continue through the Meander Valley to Hierapolis
(Pamukkale-Cotton Castle), with its fantastic Calcareous formations and
pools of natural warm water. Dinner and Overnight - Pamukkale (B,L,D)
January 13 Monday -
Hierapolis (Pamukkale) - Colossae - Laodicea - Philadelphia
Breakfast in hotel. This day begins with a visit to Heirapolis (Pamukkale)
where solidified calcium from the water has formed "frozen waterfalls"
which lead to shallow pools. Next we tour the ruins of the ancient Heirapolis.
This town was a cure center founded about 190 B.C. It had a large Jewish
community and an early Christian church. Christianity came here via Paul
(Colossians 4:13). Heirapolis contains perhaps the biggest cemetery in
Asia Minor with tombs dating from the Hellenistic Era to the early Christian
period. Have the opportunity to enjoy a thermal bath to rid you of the
day's dust and tiredness. Afterwards we drive to Colossae which is famous
as the receiver of Paul's Letter to the Colossians. Also we view the traces
of the Theatre, the Necropolis and the Church. Continue your day to Laodicea,
one of the Seven Churches (Rev. 3:14-22). In the famous scripture, Jesus
says to the the Laodicean Church: "Behold, I stand at the door."
Next we visit Philadelphia Church (Rev. 3:7-13) referred to as the New
Jerusalem. Dinner and Overnight - Pamukkale (B,L,D)
January 14 Tuesday -
Heirapolis - Antiochia in Pisidia - Konya - Cappadocia
Breakfast in hotel. Today we check out of our hotel and travel to Cappadocia
via Konya. On the way to Konya, we visit Pisidian Antioch, where Saint
Paul decided to turn Gentiles by opening the gates of Christianity to
the Pagan world. Konya, known as Iconium in the Roman times, was visited
by Saint Paul during his missionary trips. In Konya, known by the Islamic
world as the city of Mevlana and his Whirling Dirvishes, we visit the
Mevlana Mausoleum and Mevlana Museum. In the afternoon, we travel to Cappadocia
for our overnight. Dinner and Overnight - Cappadocia (B,L,D)
January 15 Wednesday
After early breakfast, we depart. The ancient region of Cappadocia lies
in central Anatolia, between the cities of Nev ihir Kayseri and Ni de.
Here we find the most fantastic landscapes in the world. Three million
years ago, violent eruptions covered the surrounding plateau with tuff.
Wind and weather eroded the soft volcanic rock into hundreds of strange
pillars, cones and chimneys. Since ancient times, men have hollowed dwellings
in this soft rock. The early Christians made cave churches, chapels and
monasteries. There are over 600 scattered throughout the valleys. Also
in this region are a number of underground cities which were used by the
Christians as places of retreat to live until danger had passed. These
cities were well hidden and safe and are located in the Goreme Valley.
Afterwards, we visit a Turkish carpet manufacturer. Later we have an underground
visit to the city of Kaymakali. In the evening, we depart for a flight
to Istanbul. Transfer to our hotel. Dinner and Overnight - Istanbul
January 16 Thursday
Breakfast in hotel. This morning we begin from Hippodrome, once the center
of Byzantine life, which houses the impressive granite obelisk of Emporer
Theodosius and was carved in Egypt in 1500 B.C. Theodosius brought the
obelisk to Constantinople in 390 A.D. and added military engravings of
this likeness. Next a visit to the Sultan Ahmet, the Blue Mosk, the most
famous mosk in Turkey built in 1603, and the only one to have six minarets,
a style borrowed from the sacred mosk of Kaaba in Mecca. It stands boldly
silhouetted against the sky and the cascade of domes and half domes. The
architect, Mehmet Aga, decorated the interior like a jewel. The tiles,
stained glass windows and decorations inside are magnificent. Upon entering,
participants must remove their footwear and cover their heads and shoulders.
Afterwards, we visit Hagia Sophia, (Saint Sophia) considered one of the
eight wonders of the world and once the biggest cathedral of the Christian
world. It was built by Constantine the first in the fourth century, and
its name means Holy Wisdom. Continue to the sixth century Basilica Cistern
with 336 columns brought from nearby temples was one of the many water
supplies. We travel to the Grand Covered Bizarre in the old city. This
bizarre was originally built as a horse stable to the Ottoman cavalry.
Enjoy some free time among thousands of shops. In the evening, we will
enjoy our Farewell dinner. Dinner and overnight - Istanbul (B,L,D)
January 17 Friday
After early breakfast, we transfer to Istanbul Airport for our return
flight to the United States. (B)
with fond memories...