… AND UNTO THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR (8 days/7 nights, by Orion Tour)
Istanbul, Pergamon (Bergama), Sardis, Aphrodisias, Laodicea, Pamukkale, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Izmir (Smyrna), Thyatira
Anatolia has been important to Christianity ever since St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John and other apostles came here to preach the Gospel. This intensive religious effort bore fruit in the building of Seven Churches of Revelation in seven major cities throughout western Asia Minor. ORION TOUR has created a tour that visits many of these historical and religious sites and allows the traveler full insight into the achievements of these early Christian missionaries.
Day 1 – Istanbul
We meet your at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to gather first impressions of the imperial city, as you like.
Day 2 – Istanbul
Following breakfast, we drive to the ‘Old City’ where we will visit the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, famous for its delicate blue ceramic tiles and Saint Sophia. This church – turned mosque – turned museum takes the breath away with the sheer architectural size of its interior and magnificent dome. Next we will visit the spectacular Topkapi Palace. Built on one of the seven hills of Istanbul, this huge complex commands views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It was the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire for many centuries (1453-1852) and we will see the extravagant Treasury, the priceless Chinese porcelain. We will finish up the day in the bustling Grand Bazaar. (BL)
Day 3 – Izmir – Pergamon – Thyatira
We will take an early flight to Izmir and from the airport drive north to beautiful Pergamon. Among the impressive structures of this city, dating from 399 BC, we will see the Altar of Zeus, Temple of Dionysus and the 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. The Asclepieum of Pergamon was a famous health center where methods of treatment included blood transfusions, music therapy and meditation. On our way back to Izmir, we will stop by Thyatira to see the remains of the church. (BD)
Day 4 – Izmir – Sardis – Philadelphia – Pamukkale
We leave in the morning for Sardis, which holds a prominent place in mythology. Sardis felt the influence of the Seven Churches of Revelation and highlights include the 3rd century AD Synagogue, Gymnasium, House of Bronzes, Temple of Artemis, and, of course, the Church. Next on our itinerary is Philadelphia which was an important Christian center during Byzantine times. We will see the Basilica and several interesting mosques. Overnight at Pamukkale. (BD)
Day 5 – Pamukkale – Laodicea – Aphrodisias – Kusadasi
We journey on to Laodicea Ad Lycum where the remains are found on a flat-topped hill. Christianity came to the area during the time of St. Paul, brought by Epaphras of Colossae. Laodicea became the seat of Bishopric and hosted an important Ecumenical Council in the fourth century AD, it was named in the Revelations as one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. Highlights will be the Water Tower, Stadium and the Council Chamber. Our next stop will be Aphrodisias, a site presently under excavation. Highlights will include the Stadium, the Baths of Hadrian, the Theatre and the “Bishop’s Palace” Overnight at Kusadasi. (BD)
Day 6 – Kusadasi – Ephesus – Izmir
Leaving Kusadasi behind us we will proceed to explore the ancient city of Ephesus and first visit the Basilica of St. John, “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel. Close by is the House of the Virgin Mary where she is believed to have spent her last years. On August 18th, 1961, Pope John XXll proclaimed the House of Virgin Mary at Ephesus to be sacred. You will have a chance to take a phial of Holy Water from the Sacred Spring. Dinner and overnight in Izmir. (BD)
Day 7 – Istanbul
We leave Izmir in the morning after a city tour and a glimpse at one of the Churches of Revelation. Catching our plane to Istanbul, we settle into the hotel for the night. (B)
Day 8 – Transfer.
We escort you to the airport for your flight home. (B)
(Tour code: ORNHASC5)