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RELIGIOUS PILGRIMAGE TOURS

St Paul Pilgrimage Tour - TurkeyThe Footsteps of St. Paul
Religious Pilgrimage Tour

Day 1   USA/Istanbul
Depart today from USA bound for Istanbul!

Day 2   Istanbul
You arrive at night to Istanbul, the only city on two continents, formerly known as Constantinople, and settle in your hotel.

Day 3   Istanbul
After free time this morning and your reception orientation, you will begin a full afternoon of sightseeing.  Your first stop is the mysterious labyrinth of Topkapi Palace, former residence of the Sultans.  Here the vast Ottoman Empire stretching from Vienna to Africa to Arabia ruled against a backdrop of unimaginable riches and harem intrigue.  After Topkapi, visit Christendom’s greatest church, St. Sophia, built by the Roman Emperor Justinian in 537 A.D.  Stop briefly by the Hippodrome, early site of reckless chariot races and then the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet, the “Blue Mosque” on the way to the Covered Bazaar, with its maze of shops, displaying an array of Turkey’s crafts.  Following dinner, the remainder of your evening is free. (B,D)

St paul pilgrimage tourDay 4   Istanbul
After breakfast, a full day’s visit to the city.  Stop briefly at the exotic Egyptian Spice Bazaar before boarding your ferry boat for a morning cruise up the Bosphorous Straits.  Gliding toward the mouth of the Black Sea, pass lovely wooden Ottoman villas, palaces and fishing boats.  After lunch, at one of the fishing villages in Bosphorous, drive to the Dolmabache Palaco, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans with its 365 rooms, antique furniture and art and 4.5 ton chandelier.  Dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 5   Canakkale/Assos
Following breakfast, you will depart Istanbul via your private motorcoach.  Drive south, first along the sea of the fierce World War I Battle of Gallipoli.  You will cross the straits and continue to Homer’s Troy (Truva) dating to 1200 B.C.  And recalling the epic struggle of the Iliad.  You will then return to Canakkale or Assos for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
 
Day 6   Izmir
On your way to Izmir, stop at panoramic Assos, visited by St. Paul on his third journey where he was joined by St. Luke.  Continue to ancient Porgamon, a classical center of learning, the arts, and medicine, and the first of the Biblical Churches of the Revelation that you will visit.  Highlights include the theatre, the Altar or Zeus and the Aslepion.  Following lunch, you will continue to Izmir, the ancient city and the church of Smyrna, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities of the world.  Dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 7   Denizli/Pamukkale
Departing early in the morning, a scenic drive will take you to visit the sites of three more ancient cities and churches of the Apocalypse: Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia.  Among the highlights of these early hubs of Byzantium and Christianity will be Sardis’ famous Temple of Artemis and beautiful Synagogue.  You will continue to Denizli or Pamukkale for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 8   Denizli/Pamukkale
In the morning, you will pay a visit to Laodicea, another of the Seven churches of Revelation and home briefly to the great Roman Orator Cicero.  Once an important crossroads and financial center, it is to the inhabitants here that St. Paul wrote accusing them of “lukewarm Christianity”.  Continue on to Heirapolis, a center of pagan worship during the Roman Empire where St. Phillip was martyred in 80 A.D.  After viewing the Temple of Apollo and Roman baths, enjoy lunch in the lovely Pamukkale.  Your afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the sparkling calcified waterfall and thermal spring waters of Turkey’s favorite spa.(B,D)

St Paul Pilgrimage TourDay 9   Kusadasi
Following breakfast, you will travel westward to the Aegean Sea stopping at well-preserved Aphrodisias, city of Aphrodite, the god of love.  The site is still currently under excavation by New York University.  Following a short visit to ancient Miletus, home to philosophers and historians, you will arrive in Kusadasi, a lively Turkish seaside resort, for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 10   Izmir/Istanbul
Returning north to Izmir, visit Ephesus.  Roman capital of Asia of which St. Paul asked “Is there a greater city?”.  Along Ephesus’ marble avenues Mark Anthony and Cleopatra rode.  St. Paul preached against the Ephesians’ goddess Artemis, and St. John wrote his Gospel.  You will also view the Basilica built over St. Johns tomb and the stone cottage where the Virgin Mary spent her last days.  Continuing to Izmir Airport, you will meet your connecting flight back to Istanbul where you will have dinner and stay overnight. (B,D)

Day 11   Istanbul/USA
Transfer to airport for your return flight home. (B)

Sample Pilgriamage Tours

Shrines of Europe
Footsteps of St. Paul
Footsteps of Martin Luther
Land of Jesus and Moses

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