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Price Per person double occupancy
|February 23-Mar. 7||$938||$426|
Ask About Special Rates for Pastors, Christian Educators, & Custom Groups of All Sizes. No Obligation Group Quotation - Click Here
Price Includes: First class (4 Star) lodging, breakfast and dinner daily, modern transportation, sightseeing as listed.
Not Included: Air fare*, travel/cancellation insurance, gratuities, Turkey visa fee (U.S. $30.00, Canadian $60.00 USD)
*Airfare - a block of seats is being held for flights between Thessalonica and Izmir on Day 8 at the cost of $165 including transfers and one piece of luggage.
Please Note: Turkey Entry Visas* must be secured in advance prior to arrival. Visas can be obtained in advance online at the link below. Optional shore excursions can be purchased on tour prior to cruise embarkation.
*Turkey “E-Visa” online purchase - Click Here
Airport transfers are included only when airfare is purchased from Pilgrim Tours. Taxi service is available for those purchasing their airfare elsewhere.
Day 1: Departure from US
Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history with an overnight flight to Athens. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight…Tomorrow you will be walking where the apostles walked!
Day 2: Arrive Athens
We arrive in Athens and check into our hotel. You will have the remainder of the day free to relax or take a stroll along the streets of Athens to enjoy the flavor of the city. This evening our group will enjoy the first of many delectable European style dinners.
Day 3: Ancient Corinth
Departing Athens, we stop for a rest stop and photos at the Corinth Canal and then travel to the ancient city of Corinth, another treat for the New Testament scholar. Corinth is the city that inspired many of Paul's most familiar letters. See the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema, and the Temples. To enjoy a devotional in the midst of the ruins of the church of Corinth and see the pillars, steps, and public worship place where Paul preached will enhance your understanding and love of I & II Corinthians. The ruins of this important cultural center are fascinating as we walk along the stone path that the Apostle Paul walked. The engineering skill and intellect of these people are evident in the water systems that still flow from ancient to modern day. Our guide will be sure to show you the room dedicated to the medical care of that period. Next, we travel to the top of the nearby Acropolis where our guide will speak on the worship practices and point out the bird’s eye view of what was a bustling city of around 800,000 during Paul’s stay. Before ending our day we visit Cenchreae, the ancient port region of Corinth. Acts 18:18, states the Apostle Paul stopped at Cenchreae during his second missionary journey, where he had his hair cut to fulfill a vow. We return to Athens for the evening.
Day 4: Athens, Acropolis & Mars Hill
We visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill where Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentile nation. Additional sites include the Agora (ancient market place and center of Athenian public life), the House of Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Olympic Stadium, and Presidential Palace. An option later this afternoon is a visit to the famous Plaka with a multitude of shops and cafes.
Day 5: Delphi
From Athens, our tour travels northward past Thermopylae to the lovely mountain region of Delphi - the ancient sanctuary of Apollo. Here you will gain a greater understanding of the Greek religious heritage and their influence on the early Christian church. We also visit the museum where we will marvel at the site of the Charioteer, a bronze statue so delicate we will see his eyelashes. This afternoon we continue on to our lodging this evening in Meteora.
Day 6: Meteora Monastery, Berea, Thessalonica
This morning we see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched precariously on summits of gray rock pinnacles of varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the cliffside caves then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, later transformed into monasteries. We pass by the area of King Phillip's (Alexander's father) tomb in Vergina, with travel commentary on the Apostle Paul's teaching on the Priest King. We then make the short trip to nearby Berea to view the synagogue where Paul preached. We stop at the Bema surrounded by mosaics of Paul and the plaque of scripture regarding the "more noble" church. The New Testament books of I & II Thessalonians will come alive to us today as we arrive in the delightful harbor city of Thessalonica. In route to the hotel we will view the old city ramparts; the newly excavated Forum, St. George Church, an ancient Roman monument which was transformed into a church and the Galerius Arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia. We spend two nights here.
Day 7: Thessalonica/Philippi/Kavala
We begin the day by following the massive battlement Byzantine wall to the citadel for a panoramic view of the city. Next, we will visit Philippi and Kavala. Kavala is Greece's prettiest mainland port with a most elegant harbor. Paul landed here with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. Luke, the Evangelist, also came here from Troas. This ancient city of Neapolis was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. Imagine walking on the same sod as these men of the Bible! We will see the Roman Aqueduct and the ruins of the Acropolis in this beautifully located city, known since the 5th century as Kavala. Continue on to Philippi where Paul preached his first evangelical sermon and baptized the first Christians on European soil. We will view the baptismal site where Lydia surrendered her life to Christ and visit a crypt dating from the Roman period that is thought to have served as a prison for Paul. See the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica, and the Theatre. We return to Thessalonica and visit St. Demetrius Basilica, dedicated to a distinguished member of the Roman army and a martyred Christian convert, before returning to the hotel for our final night.
Day 8: Arrive Turkey, Smyrna
We fly from Thessalonica to Izmir and our lodging for the evening. Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey and a long time center for Jews and Christians. In Paul's day, Izmir was known as Smyrna and was another of the Seven Churches (Rev. 2:8-11). Here we'll pass by the church of Polycarp and visit the ancient agora.
Day 9: Ancient Pergamum & the “Cotton Castle” Pamukkale
Our highlight today is Pergamum. Once a busy trading center and famous as a "seller of purple," the most favored of the Seven Churches, the church of Pergamum was praised for its forbearance (Rev. 2:12-17). It was here that the first Christians were executed by Rome. We'll visit the fabled Acropolis, pass through the Royal Gates, view the foundations of the Temple of Zeus and visit the ruins of the library, which once held 200,000 volumes. Other things of special interest are the mountainside theatre, the series of underlying stone archways used to support agora, temple and acropolis areas. We travel inland to our lodging for the next two evenings in a lovely hot springs spa hotel in Pamukkale.
Day 10: Hierapolis, Laodicea & Colossae
Hierapolis, meaning "Sacred City," was an ancient center for pagan cults until it was transformed into a Christian center in the first century. According to tradition, the Apostle Philip lived and was martyred in Hierapolis. It was likely the hot springs of Hierapolis in contrast to the cold mountain springs near Colossae that combined to bring application to the "luke warm" Laodiceans. (Rev 3:14-22) This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13). Laodicea contains many acres of ruins to visit including a stadium and remnants of a sophisticated water system. Nearby Colossae is well-known throughout Christian circles as the receiver of Paul's letter to the Colossians. Time will be allowed today for you to take advantage of the many services offered by your spa hotel.
Day 11: Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia
A stop will be made in Thyatira to view the ancient roadway and period columns en-route to Sardis. Sardis was berated by John for its facade of strength when in reality; it was weak (Rev. 3:1-6). Here coins were minted and the dyeing of wood originated. We'll visit the gymnasium and synagogue. Our next stop is nearby Philadelphia which was referred to as the "New Jerusalem" (Rev. 3:7-13) in the Book of Revelation. Not much is left of the city except for the ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine basilica in the modern city of Alasehir. Our lodging for the next two nights will be in the charming seaside village of Kusadasi.
Day 12: Ephesus
We travel to the nearby town of Selcuk for a visit to the Basilica of St. John, housing an immersion baptismal and believed to be resting place of John. From here we have an excellent overview of the Ephesus harbor, the Mosque of Jesus and the Temple of Artemis, completed in its most famous phase around 550 BC and listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We spend the remainder of our day in Ephesus, the city of the Bible and one of the largest restorations still in progress with miles of ancient treasures. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city where we view the Library, Agora, theatre, colorful mosaics in the aristocratic Terrace Houses, a panoramic view of the surrounding ancient port area including a wealth of church history and cultural insight. The day will not be complete without a visit to a local Turkish Rug cooperative.
Day 13: Depart for Home
This morning we transfer to the Izmir airport for our flight back home.