Biblical Turkey Pilgrimage10 days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Hotel accommodations (or similar) in double occupancy
- Whisper Headsets
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Catholic Priest, Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Lunches, tips to your guide and driver, items of a personal nature.
Day 1, Depart USA
Depart USA for your overnight flight to Istanbul. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board. Be sure to take some time to meditate about the life-changing journey upon which you are embarking.
Day 2, Istanbul
Upon arrival in Istanbul Airport you will find your luggage and exit the baggage claim into the arrivals hall where you will be greeted by our tour escort and/or driver. You will be transferred to your hotel in Istanbul. Attend a welcome briefing. Dinner and a restful overnight.
Day 3, Istanbul
Following breakfast we begin our full day of the old City with a guided tour exploring the ancient city including the magnificent Topkapi Palace (main residences of Ottoman Sultans) and the Byzantine Hippodrome that was the scene of chariot races. Around the corner we will visit St. Sophia Basilica, historic seat of the Byzantine church, built in 360 AD and now a museum whose mosaics, stained glass windows and decorated domes have been crafted to create an environment of breathtaking beauty. Enjoy a short walk through gardens and proceed to the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet 1 built in 1616, famous for its unparalleled ceramic tile work. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4, Istanbul
Following breakfast we will visit the Galata Tower and Bridge. In the Galata district many Catholic Churches are located. We will visit The Basilica of St Anthony of Padua, the most prestigious Catholic Church in Istanbul, originally built on this site in 1725, but was demolished in the early 20th Century, in order to make way for a tramway. The church was rebuilt by the architect, Giulio Mongeri and completed in 1912. Celebrate Mass. Following lunch visit The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is a historic parish of the Georgian Greek Catholic Church in the district of Bomonti of the Istanbul district of Şişli.
We also will stop by SS Peter and Paul is a Catholic church in Istanbul, important for historical reasons. The church owns an icon of the Virgin of the Hodegetria type, which originally lay in a Dominican church in Caffa, Crimea.
Ending our day with a visit of the Grand Covered Bazaar, a maze of streets and shops aroma and sounds of old Turkey. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 5, Istanbul - Cappadocia
This morning we will take a short flight to Kayseri and visit the “moon-like” topography and unique landscape of Cappadocia. We will visit the underground city of Kaymakli where thousands of early Christians lived concealed from persecutors in eight story complexes of subterranean dwellings. We will enjoy the picturesque views of this ancient and historic land as we make our way to our hotel. We enjoy dinner and a restful overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 6, Cappadocia - Konya
Early in the morning you may experience an optional Hot-Air Balloon Ride. Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most fanciful and recognizable landscapes. During the Balloon Ride take in a unique panorama with fairy-tale chimneys in the light of dawn.
Following breakfast we will visit the famous Goreme “open-air museum,”. Goreme with its chapels carved by early Christians and decorated with frescoes dating from the 6th and 10th centuries is an unforgettable experience. Continue on a short drive to the Uchisar Castle which is the panoramic watching point Cappadocia.
This afternoon we drive to Konya. Paul and Barnabas visited the city on Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 13:51–14:7). Here they preached in the synagogue and then the city. Paul revisited the city on his second (Acts 16:2) and probably third journeys. In the center of the modern city of Konya, directly on the hill on which the ancient Iconium was located stands the Church of St. Paul, built in 1910 by the Sultan for the numerous Catholic workers on the Anatolian Railway. Dinner and overnight in Konya.
Day 7, Konya - Pisidian Antioch - Pamukkale
After breakfast we drive to Pisidian Antioch .The history of Pisidian Antioch goes back to some time between 310-280 BC. The first Biblical reference to this city is Paul’s mention of it in Acts 13:14-16 as the synagogue from which he preached his first recorded sermon during his first missionary journey. We continue to Pamukkale, the white Cotton Castle formed by lime cascades. Enjoy a leisurely bath in the warm mineral waters of your hotel’s thermal pools before dinner and a restful night sleep.
Day 8, Pamukkale - Hierapoli – Laodce – Collosae – Pamukkale
Today we will enjoy a full day excursion and visit the ancient City of Hierapolis meaning "Sacred City," Philip the Evangelist’s home. Tour the extensive necropolis, churches and baths. We continue with a scenic drive to Laodicea located in the Lycus River Valley of western Asia Minor, a primary trade route between the cultures of the West and East. "The "lukewarm" church with a faith that's neither hot nor cold" (Rev. 3:14-22). Continue to nearby Colossae, which is well-known throughout Christian circles as the receiver of Paul's letter to the Colossians. Today, the town has fallen into obscurity and nothing remains. Return to Pamukkale for dinner and overnight.
Day 9, Pamukkale - Ephesus – Izmir
After breakfast at the hotel, we will depart for Ephesus, which was the most influential capital city of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea. "Ephesus receives praise for its perseverance" (Rev. 2:1-7). You will explore some of the best preserved theatres, fountains and buildings in the world. We then visit the House of the Virgin Mary which was miraculously discovered hidden on a wooded hilltop. A pilgrimage site for many which has also been accepted by the Vatican. Finally visit the Basilica of St. John which stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the apostle, evangelist (author of the Fourth Gospel) and prophet (author of Revelation). Continue on to Izmir were our day ends with dinner and overnight.
Day 10, Izmir - Philadelphia – Sardis – Thyatira - Izmir
Our day starts with visit the site of Philadelphia also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 3: 7-13). Christ told those who overcame that He would write upon them “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem.” (Rev.3: 12). Continue onto Then Sardis, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Jesus told Sardis, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead”(Rev. 3: 1-6). Sardis, located on the banks of the Pactolus River in western Asia Minor. “The church of Sardis is described as dead, and it must wake up. We continue on to Thyatira, known for its textiles and dyeing trade. It is now known as the Turkish city of Akhisar. It is “praised for its increasing faith and service” (Rev. 2:18-29) Return to Izmir for dinner and overnight.
Day 11, Izmir - Smyrna – Pergamum - Izmir
Smyrna, nowadays a modern Turkish city of Izmir. In ancient times it was in a powerful trading position on the Aegean Sea known for its harbors, commerce, and marketplaces. Visit St. Polycarp Church. This 19th-century church is lavishly decorated and is the oldest in the city. It was named after St. Polycarp, the first bishop of Smyrna who was burned at the stake. Continue to Pergamum, located on the plains and foothills along the Caicus River in Western Turkey. The city, is “praised for its martyrdom and perseverance but those who hold false teachings are criticized” (Rev. 2:12-17). Here you will see the Acropolis famous for Greek & Roman Temples as well as the unique Greek theatre built into the steep hillside. Also visit the Asclepion, the ancient medical center for the Greeks. Return to Izmir for dinner and overnight.
Day 12, Izmir - USA
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight home to the USA.
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