SEVEN CHURCHES of REVELATION and PAUL’s MISSIONARY JOURNEYS
Arrival to Istanbul and transfer to your hotel. Panoramic city tour of Istanbul. Dinner and overnight
After breakfast, depart for a full day tour of Istanbul. The bejeweled capital of Istanbul sits between two continents and is home to 450 mosques. First you will visit the Hippodrome; the former center of sports and political activities and then the famous Blue Mosque, with its six minarets and sparkling interior. Continue to the Hagia Sophia Museum, and the St. Sophia Cistern and the Topkapi Palace. Catch a whiff of cinnamon, cloves, thyme and other exotic spices as you explore the Grand Bazaar. Over 4000 shops sell everything from herbs to gold. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Early checkout after the breakfast from our hotel and transfer to Istanbul airport to our flight to Izmir. Arrival and transfer to visit the ancient city of Ephesus. Full day tour of Ephesus; Ephesus is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 1: 11). In ancient days, Ephesus was a bustling port town of 250,000, graced with wide, colonnade bordered streets. Paul’s first visit to Ephesus was brief – during his second missionary trip (Acts 18:19-21). His second visit lasted about three years – during his third missionary trip (Acts 19:1 to 20:31). Luke’s account of the worship of Diana appears in Acts 19:34-35; we will visit the ruins of the temple of Diana of the Ephesians (Artemis), considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Great Theatre (stadium) mentioned in Acts 19:29-31 could seat 25,000 people. Walk the marble-paved street with grooves made by chariot wheels. See the Fountain of Trajan, the Library of Celsus; see the Temple of Hadrian and the Great Theatre, where Paul confronted local paganism. Arrival in Pamukkale. Accommodation and dinner.
After the breakfast at the hotel, depart for the visit of Hierapolis; an ancient city of pagan cults, Hierapolis or “holy city” was evangelized by Paul and Epaphras. The Apostle Philip lived and is said to be buried here. Pamukkale, or “cotton castle” is a spa and resort center with its hot springs and cascading limestone pools. Col 4:12-13. Continue to Laodicea; The Christians of Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev 3: 14-22), were chastised for being lukewarm, “You are neither cold nor hot” (Rev. 3: 15), and for being too comfortable incorporating pagan and Christian beliefs. In the famous scripture from Revelation (3: 20-21), Jesus says to the Laodicean church: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock…”. Today, there are many acres of ruins to see, including the stadium and columned streets. Laodicea, Hierapolis and Colosae formed a very important tri-city complex. Return to the hotel in Pamukkale for dinner and overnight.
PAMUKKALE – ALASEHIR (PHILADELPHIA) – SARDIS – AKHISAR (THYATIRA) – PERGAMUM – EDREMIT
After the breakfast at the hotel, depart to visit the site of Philadelphia (Alasehir), also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 3: 7-13). Then we will continue to Sardis, capital of Lydia, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev 3:1-6). You will be impressed by the massive scale of the Temple of Artemis, by the white marble Royal Road, by the gymnasium, and by the synagogue. Coins were minted and the dyeing of wool originated in Sardis.
Then we continue onto Thyatira (Akhisar); which was once a busy trading center and famous in dyeing of purple clothes. Thyatira is another of the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelations tolerated the false prophetess, Jezebel (Rev. 1: 11; 2: 18-29). We depart to visit the city Pergamum (mentioned in Revelation 2). We will visit the Roman city, where we will see the Theatre, the Temple of Trajan, Altar of Zeus, etc. Then we will go to Edremit. Accommodation and dinner.
EDREMIT – TROAS (Dalyan) – Troy/Çanakkale – Kavala (Greece)
After breakfast, we will leave early to visit the region of Troas (Dalyan) where Paul received the vision to go to Macedonia in Acts 16. Continue to Çanakkale to visit Troy, the famous city of the “Iliad” of Homer and the Trojan Horse. After the border formalities, we will enter into Greece now with our Greek tour guide. We will continue to Kavala (ancient Biblical city of Neapolis). Accommodation and late dinner at Hotel Lucy.
KAVALA – PHILIPPI – THESSALONICA
Check out of the hotel, tour around the beautiful port of Kavala and continuing journey toward Thessalonica passing and stopping along the way at Philippi, visiting the following locations: the museum, ruins and the site of Lydia’s baptism. Arrival at Thessalonica, check in at Hotel Port Palace. Dinner and overnight.
THESSALONICA – ATHENS
Check out of the hotel, morning visit to the archaeological sites of Thessalonica, then we continue to Athens passing on the road and visiting the ancient city of Berea (now known as Veria), arriving in the late afternoon in Athens. Check in at Hotel Divani Palace. Dinner and overnight.
ATHENS – CORINTH – ATHENS
After breakfast we will visit th city of Corinth, the city where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla, the tent makers, and where the Lord spoke to Paul by a vision saying, “I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18: 10). Here, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue believed in the Lord, and many Corinthians as well hearing Paul, believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8); thus, began the church at Corinth to whom Paul wrote two epistles. Visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place and Temples. Walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood before Gallio facing charges brought by the Jews that were dropped. Paul stayed awhile in Corinth before leaving for Syria from the port at Cenchreae (Acts 18: 12-18).
Return to Athens and afternoon tour af Athens, visiting: the Constitution Square (Syntagma), the House of Parliament, the memorial to the Unknown Soldier. Driving down Herodes Atticus street and the Evzones in their picturesque uniforms and the Presidential Palace. On your way to the Acropolis you will see the Panathenaic Stadium (where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896), the Temple of Olympia Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. On the Acropolis mount, you will visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylee, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally the Parthenon – the monument that “puts order in the mind” and “is harmony between material and spirit”. Beneath the Acropolis is the Areopagus or Mars Hill. This is where the Apostle Paul made his famous “Men of Athens” speech revealing a considerable knowledge of the Greek philosophy and character. Dinner and overnight in Athens.
ATHENS – USA
Check out after an early breakfast and transfer to the Athens International Airport your return flight to the USA.