Seven Churches of Revelation

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Day 1 Arriving

Arriving to Istanbul, after transfer to domestic fly to Izmir. Overnight in Izmir.

 

Day 2 - İzmir

After breakfast in hotel, we will have Izmir city tour and visit the church of St. Policarp which is the oldest church in ancient Smyrna (Rev. 1:11; 2:8), it symbolized the community of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. Smyrna was the second one of the seven Christian churches in Asia Minor to which St. John the Divine wrote (Revelation 1:11). Then visit Alexander the Great’s "Velvet Castle" overlooking the bay of Izmir. Overnight in Izmir.

 

Day 3 - İzmir

After breakfast, drive along Aegean coastline to hilltop city of Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17), with a visit to Acropolis. Its majestic Acropolis was built on a commanding hill above the modern city of Bergama. Notable structures still in existence on the upper part of the Acropolis include: The Hellenistic Theater with a seating capacity of 10,000. This had the steepest seating of any known theater in the ancient world, the Sanctuary of Trajan (also known as the Trajaneum) and the Sanctuary of Athena. Revelation 2:12-16 describes the city as “where Satan’s seat is,” a reference to the altar of Zeus (in the Berlin Museum). After lunch visit the ancient medical center, the Asclepion. This was the home town of Galen, the second century renowned doctor and surgeon and his temple, the Asclepium was devoted to healing. At Thyatira (Rev. 2: 18-28), you will see the ruins of an ancient commercial center, located in the fertile Lycus River Valley where the trade route passed. According to Acts 16:14, Thyatira was the home of Lydia, a "dealer in purple cloth" and a "worshiper of God" whom Paul encountered at Philippi in Macedonia. She became the first European convert to Christianity, during Paul’s second missionary journey. Overnight in Izmir.

 

Day 4 - İzmir

Ephesus (Rev. 1:11, 2:1) The House of Virgin Mary Full day tour to the ancient city of Ephesus where the St. Paul lived and preached for three years. Ephesus was an important center for Early Christianity from the AD 50s. From AD 52–54, Paul lived in Ephesus, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands. He became embroiled in a dispute with artisans, whose livelihood depended on selling the statuettes of Artemis in the Temple of Artemis (Acts 19:23–41) He wrote between 53 and 57 AD the letter 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (possibly from the "Paul tower" close to the harbor, where he was imprisoned for a short time). Later Paul wrote the Epistle to Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD). We will see the Baths of Scholastic a, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the theater, the Double Church (The church of Mary) where the third ecumenical council was convened in A. D.431. After lunch we visit the basilica of St. John where St. John was buried. Pilgrims can pay homage to the evangelist St John. The Basilica of St John now stands over the site of the apostle’s tomb. The Virgin Mary was said to have accompanied St John to the region where John lived and preached. The site has increased its popularity since the pilgrimage of the pope to the sacred shrine. We will also visit the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, which was once one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus remain a sacred site for Christians from all over the world. Its association with biblical figures including St Paul and the Virgin Mary at other local sites make it a popular destination which pope has also visited. We will also visit the Virgin Mary’s House. It is believed that the Virgin Mary came to Ephesus to escape Christian persecution and live out the last days of her life. The house she was thought to have lived in sits atop a mountain and can be visited freely. Overnight in Izmir.

 

Day 5 - Pamukkale

Sardis (Rev. 1:11; 3:1-4) Philadelphia (Rev. 1:11; 3:7) Pamukkale After breakfast we will drive to Sardis. Known biblically as the home of the church that received the fifth of letters to the seven churches in Revelation, Sardis was the capital of the Lydian empire and one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. Located on the banks of the actolus River, Sardis was 60 miles inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. The city was home to the famous bishop Melito in the 2nd century. "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write. I know thy works that thou hast a name that thou lives, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou has received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief" (Rev 3:1-3) we will visit the Synagogue of Sardis which is notable for its size and location. In size it is one of the largest ancient synagogues excavated. In location it is found in the center of the urban center, instead of on the periphery as synagogues typically were. We will also visit a large complex built in center of the lower city in the 2nd century AD which included a gymnasium and a bathhouse. Afterwards we will visit Philadelphia with its famous church of Philadelphia which was an important place for the spreading of the Christian faith. The city of Philadelphia was founded in 189 BC by King Eumenes II who was the king over Pergamum. He named the city the “city of brotherly love” for the love that he had for his own brother, Attalus II, who he wanted to succeed him as king. Philadelphia was hit by a significant earthquake in 17 AD which destroyed most of the city. It was rebuilt by Emperor Tiberi us. So, in the time of the early church it would have been a very nice city having just been rebuilt. It was destroyed by subsequent earthquakes. Jesus starts the prophecy to Philadelphia by saying, “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Revelation 3:7) We will finally arrive at Pamukkale. Cotton Castle, Pamukkale’s translated name, is a wildly popular site. Seventeen hot-water springs in the area spill out water in temperatures ranging from 95 degrees to 21 2 degrees, which contains a high concentration of calcium bicarbonate. The water flows off a cliff, cools and hardens into calcium deposits that form terraces, a s white as cotton and bright enough to be easily seen from the town of Denizli, which is on the opposite side of the valley, 12 miles away. These terraces, which continue to grow, hold pools of water. Soakers are welcome; shoes are not, to protect the deposits. Hierapolis, the “Sacred City,” is located at present-day Pamukkale in south central Turkey. In the first century it was part of the tri-city area of Laodicea, Colossae, and Hierapolis. This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13) Before AD 70 Phillip (either the apostle or the evangelist) moved to Hierapolis, where he was believed to have been martyred. Overnight in Denizli.

 

Day 6 - Konya

Laodicea (Rev. 1:11; 3:14) Konya Morning visit to Laodicea which is situated 7 kilometers from Pamukkale. You will have a chance to see the place where one of the most important seven churches of Christian history used to stand. It is the last Church, the last light bearer on Earth before the coming of Christ. The message to Laodicea is a message of hope. --And to the angel of the church of the Laodicea’s write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14). Laodicea was a famous health resort. The city was popular for its hot baths and the collyrium eye salve that was produced there. You will get to see amphitheater and the monumental fountain ymphaeum) which have been pretty badly ruined. The most outstanding monument of Laodicea is the stadium with a length of almost 355 and a width of 65 meters, which used to be one of the most important stadiums of antiquity. Konya, also spelled in some historic English texts as Konia or Koniah, was known in classical antiquity and during the medieval period as Iconium in Latin. Saint Paul and Barnabas preached in Iconium during the First Missionary Journey in about 47-48 AD (Acts 14:1-5 and Acts 14:21) , and Paul and Silas probably visited it again during the Second Missionary Journey in about 50 (Acts 16:2) In Christian legend, it was also the birthplace of Saint Thecla. Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate of Rum ("ROOM," that is Rome) which flourished in Central Anatolia from 1071 to 1275. Konya is Turkeys city of Whirling Dervishes, and has been for 800 years. We will be visiting the Mevlana Museum which shelters the tomb of Celaleddin Rumî (1207-1273), known to his followers as Mevlana (or Rumî), a Muslim poet and mystic and one of the great spiritual thinkers and teachers of all time. Rumi was an accomplished poet whose long work of poetry The Masnawi is regarded as a masterpiece of Persian literature. It is often called the Divan of Shams-i-Tabriz after the wandering dervish who was Rumis inspirat ion and spiritual companion. During the Mevlana service, known as a sema, the dervishes wear a full-length white flowing gown, which swirls as they perform their distinctive whirling dance, accompanied by the plaintive strains of the ney. "Come, come again, come! Infidel, fire-worshipper, pagan, whoever you are, however often you have sinned, Come! Our gates are not the gates of hopelessness. Whatever your condition, Come!" Rumi We will also visit Antioch Pisidia. Antioch was a capital city for many different cultures because of the economic, military and religious activities of the region. This is the reason why Paul of Tarsus gave his first sermon to the Gentiles (Acts 13:13–52) and visited the city once on each of his missionary journeys. Overnight in Konya.

 

Day 7 - Cappadocia

After breakfast we will continue to Cappadocia, on the way we will visit Sultan Han Kervansaray. Cappadocia is the name of the ancient province in central Anatolia. The irresistible region is created through violent eruptions of the volcanoes Mt. Erciyes (3,916 m.) and Mt. Hasan (3,268 m.) three million years ago. The Taurus mountain, which are technically part of the Alpine chain, in their creation 60 million years ago, caused the warping of the Anatolian plateau. The resulting volcanoes, including the spectacular Mount Erciyas and Mount Hasan, produced the stuff from which the unique landscape of Cappadocia is formed. We will be visiting several underground cities (Kaymaklı Underground City), largely used by early Christians as hiding places before Christianity became an accepted religion. The underground cities have vast defense networks of traps throughout their many levels. These traps are very creative, including such devices as large round stones to block doors and holes in the ceiling through which the defenders may drop spears. These defense systems were mainly used against the Romans. The tunnel system also was made to have thin corridors for the Roman fighting strategy was to move in groups which was not possible to do in the thin corridors making it easy to pick them off. The Cappadocian Fathers of the 4th century were integral to much of early Christian philosophy. It also produced, among other people, another Patriarch of on stantinople, John of Cappadocia, who held office 517—520. Overnight in Cappadocia.

 

Day 8 - Istanbul

In order to have a hot air balloon ride we will wake up at 5am. With this special tour you will be seen sun-set on air in one of the most beautiful area. After balloon ride we will have our breakfast in our hotel and will visit outdoor museum at Zelve provides a fascinating look at how people lived in fairy-chimney communities. Zelve was a center of Christian monastic life from the 9th through 13th centuries, and the town was inhabited until the early 1950s. Afternoon we will take a domestic fly to Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul.

 

Day 9 - Istanbul

Istanbul A short guided walking tour through the old city will take us first to the pearl of Byzantine: St. Sofia, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century master piece of Byzantine architecture, built as a Christian church, converted to a mosque in 1453, and made into a museum in the middle of the 20th century. The Church was dedicated to the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, its dedication feast taking place on 25 December, the memo ration of the Birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture." It remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years thereafter, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. Walk around the Hippodrome, the heart of Constantine pole’s political and sporting life. See also the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed, called the Blue Mosque because of its interior tiles. It has one main dome, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. The design is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect, Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and splendor. We will then go down to Yerebatan Saray Sarnıçı, called the Basilica Cistern (or Sunken Palace) which borrowed its name from the Ilius Basilica, is 143 meters long and 65 meters wide. The roof is supported by 336 marble columns, mostly in Ionic or Corinthian styles, each measuring 9 meters in length. Spaced at four-meter intervals, they are arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns each. After lunch, we continue to the Topkapı Palace, which was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultan s, from 1465 to 1853 (for approximately 400 years). The palace is full of examples of Ottoman architecture and also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasure and jewelry. It also contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammad’s cloak and sword. We will also visit the harem. The tour concludes with a visit to the Grand Bazaar The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Overnight in Istanbul.

 

Day 10 -  Istanbul

Istanbul After breakfast we will visit one of the most famous market in İstanbul, which is Spice Market , after then we will be taking a Bosphorus Cruise (3 hours). We will board a private yacht. Cruise in style along the Asian and European shores for great views of Istanbul including the European Side, Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, Rumeli Fortress, Bosphorus Bridge, Asian Side and more. You’ll get to see the domes and minarets of Old Istanbul, Leander’s Tower (Kız Kulesi), the sprawling new districts of office towers, and the sweep of the Bosphorus to the north and the Sea of Marmara to the south. After that, we will visit Çamlıca hill for spectacular İstanbul view. Because Çamlıca hill is in Anatolian site of İstanbul, returning back we will cross Bosphorus bridge buy bus. Overnight in Istanbul.

 

Day 11 -  Istanbul

After breakfast we will visit Dolmabahçe Place which is located in Beşiktaş district on the European coastline of the Bosphorus strait. This Place was ordered by the Empire's 31st Sultan, Abdülmecid I, and built between the years 1843 and 1856. After this beautiful place we will continue our trip alone the Bosphorus and we will reach Ortaköy neighborhood. Apart from beautiful cafés with a Bosphorus view, pubs and restaurants near the ferry port, Ortaköy also has some of Istanbul's best seashore night clubs. We will contuniu our trip with The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora which is considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine church. The church is situated in Istanbul, in the Edirnekapı neighborhood. The interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes. In continuation we will visit Church of St. George which is the principal Greek Orthodox cathedral still in use in Istanbul. Since about 1600, it has been the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the senior patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church and recognized as the spiritual leader of the world's Eastern Orthodox Christians. Overnight in Istanbul.

 

Day 12 -  Returning Home

After breakfast you will be transported to the airport for your return flight. This will be the end of our services.

 

Include to the Tour:

• A private deluxe Air-Conditioned bus with professional tour bus driver

• All hotel accommodations

• Arrival and departure airport transfers

• BIBLE-Oriented English speaking professional tour guide throughout the tour

• Domestic flight with Turkish Airlines (Cappadocia to Istanbul)

• Ferry, tolls, parking fees, gasoline

• Istanbul Bosphorus cruise on a Private Yacht

• Luggage handling

• Main entrance fees to the ruins and to the museums for all the sites mentioned in the itinerary

• Service Charges and Local Taxes

• Tips to restaurants, hotels, bellboy

 

Not Include to the Tour:

• Any beverages

• Habitual Tips to Tour Guide and Driver

• Personal expenses

• Health insurance

 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.

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