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Price Per person double occupancy
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Price Includes: First class (4 Star) lodging, breakfast and dinner daily, modern transportation, sightseeing as listed.
Not Included: Flight departures (low cost fares available nationwide), travel/cancellation insurance, gratuities, Turkey visa fee (U.S. $30.00 / Canada $60.00 USD) See information below.
Please Note: Turkey Entry Visas* must be secured in advance prior to arrival. Visas can be obtained in advance online at the link below.
*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.
Deposit Required: $300 per person will reserve your place. A $100 service fee will be charged for cancellation at any time in addition to our normal payment and cancellation policy.
Day 1: Departure
Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history with an overnight flight to Turkey. 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 Turkey, Smyrna
We arrive in Izmir and transfer to 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).
Day 3: Ancient Pergamum & the “Cotton Castle” Pamukkale
We have an early morning visit to the ancient Agora before departing Izmir traveling north to the highlight or our day; 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 4: 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 5: 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 wool originated. We'll visit the gymnasium and synagogue. Our next stop is nearby Philadelphia from where we are challenged to “hold fast” and look forward to the coming of 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 6: 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 7: Cappadocia
We transfer to the Izmir airport for our flight schedule to Cappadocia. Arriving in Kayseri, we transfer to our lodging for the next two evenings, where the remainder of the day is free for you to relax and enjoy a leisurely dinner.
Day 8: Cappadocia
We spend all day exploring the history and scenery of Cappadocia. First off, we’ll visit the gently folding volcanic rock formations and “fairy chimneys” of Goreme Open Air Museum. These rock formations are not only beautiful, but functional as well. Many early Christian communities lived and worshipped deep in the rocks and crags, leaving their frescoes and paintings to be marveled at centuries later. Other communities lived underground, and we’ll visit these dwellings too. To protect themselves from Roman persecution and marauding bandits, local people began to live in underground caves forming “cities” that reach a depth of up to 7 stories below the surface. Other sites include the Natural Citadel of Uchisar and the small, picturesque village of Avanos – famous for their red clay pottery. In Avanos we’ll visit “The Potter’s Place: Gift Shoppe and Cultural Center” and have time for visiting local potter for a demonstration and maybe try your own hand at the potter’s wheel.
Day 9: Cappadocia / Caravanserai/ Lystra / Konya
Travelling westward, we stop at the Sultanhani Caravanserai just like travelers from Turkey’s bygone era. Founded for military and trade purposes, the Caravanserai’s Inn was built along the east-west trade route. We will have lunch near Konya, followed by an afternoon visit to Lystra, where Paul preached on his first missionary journey (Acts 14: 6-22). Our lodging this evening will be in Konya (ancient Iconium) included in Paul's first missionary journey. Nearly two thousand years ago, Paul and Barnabas visited Iconium during Paul’s first missionary journey. As he preached to the city, God used Paul to bring many Jews and Gentiles to Christ (Acts 14: 1-6). We will also visit the excavations of Catalhoyuk before transferring to our lodging for the evening in Konya.
Day 10: Pisidian Antioch / Mevlana Mausoleum
Konya is also the home of the Mystic sect of the spectral Whirling Dervishes. We’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this mysterious order when we visit the museum of its founder, Mevlana, who is also known as the poet Rumi. We will continue to Pisidian Antioch – one of important stops on Paul’s missionary journeys. Although only 10% of Pisidian Antioch has been excavated, the ruins from the Roman period are noteworthy. We’ll see Septimus Severus’ triumphal gate, Augustus’ Temple, the Roman baths, a theater and a church dedicated to Paul. We transfer to the airport for our flight to Istanbul and our lodging for the next two evenings.
Day 11: Bustling Istanbul
The tour today will be an unusual combination of Greek Orthodox, Roman, Ottoman and modern day Islam including entrance into the famed Blue Mosque and St. Sophia Church. After lunch we visit the fascinating Topkapi Palace housing the many priceless treasures and colorful stories of Ottoman Sultans. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey is a thriving seaport and commerce center with a marvelous Bazaar allowing for a perfect opportunity to pick up those souvenirs and unique gift items. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 12: Depart for Home
This morning we transfer to airport for our flight back home.