St. Paul's Journey Through Turkey: June 15-25, 2019
Roundtrip economy airfare
Full board meals
All Airline Taxes
Filipino Tour Escort
Travel Bounty giveaway
We start our journey from Istanbul, gateway to Turkey, the only transcontinental country that straddles Europe and Asia. Explore the natural wonders of Goreme, the white terraces of Pamukkale and the underground dwellings of Cappadocia with a highlight visit to ancient Ephesus, where St. John took the Blessed Mother to live after the crucifixion of Jesus.
Hosgeldiniz! Upon arrival, we will be met and transferred to our hotel for breakfast and early check-in. Freshen up and prepare for Holy Mass. Commence on our tour by driving over the Galata Bridge spanning the Golden Horn. Visit the Basilica Cistern, a subterranean marvel and the largest of the long-forgotten palatial cisterns of the Byzantine Empire.
Proceed to the Spice Bazaar. Embark on a cruise along the Bosphorous, the natural waterway that divides Asia from Europe, while admiring the Ottoman palaces, mansions and fortresses along the way. Transfer to the airport to catch the flight to Kayseri.
Today we visit the incredible Underground City of Kaymakli, an 8-level labyrinth of passageways where early Christians lived in secrecy to survive and keep their faith. Picture stops at the natural fortress in Uchisar to capture a panoramic view of the beautiful plateau. Then proceed to Goreme Valley to explore the rock-carved churches hollowed out of volcanic ash. Lunch will be at Avanos Village with a glimpse of local pottery making and a carpet show. OPTIONAL: Pre-book your Hot Air Balloon Ride: USD 200
After breakfast, drive to Konya (ancient Iconium) which became an important Christian city following St. Paul's preaching. Mass at St. Paul Church.
Early morning drive to Psidian Antioch (Yalvac) where St. Paul opened Christianity to the world.
Drive to Laodicea where we see two theaters, a large stadium, a water tower and an odeon. On to Hierapolis, founded by Pergamon King Telephos and named after his wife Hiera. Visit the ruins of the Roman health spa and the Calcified Terraces (Cotton Castles) at Pamukkale.
Depart after breakfast for Philadelphia, an important Christian center during Byzantine times. Visit the ruins of the Basilica then proceed to Sardis whose history dates back to 12th century BC. See the Synagogue, the Gymnasium, the Byzantine Church and the Temple of Artemis. After lunch drive to Izmir to visit St. Policarp church.
Today’s highlight is Ephesus. We begin with the Basilica of St. John "the Evangelist" who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel. Highlights include the Library of Celcius, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan, the Brothel and the Theater. Not to be missed is the House of Virgin Mary where she is reported to have spent her last years until her death.
Depart hotel and drive to Bergama. Take a funicular to Acropol of the ancient site and see Asclepion Medical Center. Here is one of the seven churches where in the Book of Revelations there are messages to the angel of Pergamon. Lunch then proceed on to the city of Troy. Visit the ruins of Troia and see a replica of the wooden horse. St. Paul crossed to Samotrake Island from a town nearby called Alexandria Troya. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale.
Depart Canakkale and head back to Istanbul. Pass by the beautiful Chora Church (Kariya Museum), with the best remaining examples of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. At last we will browse around the exciting Grand Bazaar, a maze of over 4000 tiny shops selling gold, jewelry, leatherwork and fine carpets.
We cap our journey with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, from where the Ottoman Empire ruled this part of the world for almost five centuries. Visit the Hagia Sophia, one of the great architectural marvels of the ancient world, then cross the street to the Blue Mosque with its beautiful Blue Iznik tiles and its 6 unique minarets. Continue on the Hippodrome, the sportive political center of the Old City and finally, a stop at the Egyptian Obelisk.