Onward to Athens
Today we depart from the U.S.A. on our flight to Athens, Greece. Meals and overnight are on board our flight. After dinner, relax and enjoy the on-board entertainment. We arrive in Athens where we are met by our guide and transferred to our hotel Titania (or similar) in Athens for dinner and overnight. Today’s tour will touch the highlights of this center of one of the world’s greatest civilizations and the cradle of Western civilization. First we visit the Acropolis and wander through the ruins of some of the most architecturally perfect buildings ever constructed.We’ll see the Propylaea, the Temple of the Wingless Victory, the Erechtheum with its peerless Porch of Maidens, and Mars Hill where Paul was brought before the council. Finally, we reach the ‘harmony between matter and spirit’, the monument that ‘puts order in the mind’, the Parthenon. On a drive through the city, we’ll see the National Library, the University, the Academy, the Presidential Palace, the Stadium, Temple of Zeus, and Hadrian’s Arch. Then we tour to Corinth driving through Daphni and Eleusis. After crossing the Corinthian Canal which connects the Aegean and Ionian Seas, we will arrive in ancient Corinth. We visit the ruins of Corinth where St. Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla. Included are the First Century shops, the Agora, Temple of Apollo, and the Bema Seat. Still gurgling under the ruins is the water of the springs of the mighty Acropolis above, which once fed the Fountain of Pirene. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Athens. This morning we transfer to the airport for our domestic flight to Thessaloniki. Upon arrival, we take a tour of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest cityand capital of Macedonia, highlighting treasures of the ancient Byzantine and medieval eras. Included are the famous Byzantine St. Dimitri Church, Vlatadon Monastery, the University, and Arch of Galerius. After the tour, we continue to Veria where Paul remained for several days, and the Scriptures say the people were “more noble than in Thessaloniki.” Then we return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight at our hotel Capsis (or similar).
From Greece To Turkey
Today we drive along the ancient route of Paul, through mountain passes and plains, to Amphipolis for a short stop to view the ancient Lion Statue. We continue to Ancient Philippi where we find two early Christian basilicas, traces of the Egnatian Way which Paul followed from the harbor of Neapolis (ancient port of Philippi) on his first visit on European soil. Here we view the Roman Forum, the Citadel, the ancient theater, and the Ledia’s brook. Later, we drive to Alexandroupolis for dinner and overnight at our hotel Alexander Beach (or similar).This morning we drive to the Greek-Turkish Border. We meet our licensed bus on the Greek side for the border crossing. After passport formalities, we board our Turkish motorcoach. Then we drive through the First World War Battlefields of Gallipoli and cross by ferry to the Asia Minor side. Dinner and overnight are at Buyuk Truva Hotel in Canakkale (or similar). We continue today through the ancient city of Troy, with its 4000-year-old history recalling the epic struggle of the Iliad and then through Pergamon where the first Christian was put to death by the Roman state. We will also see the Acropolis with the Altar of Zeus (Throne of Satan), the Asclepion, and the Red Basilica. Then we see the Church of Pergamom. Dinner and overnight are at Kaya Prestige Hotel Izmir (or similar). In Izmir (Smyrna), we enjoy a tour of the city and a visit to the Church of Smyrna. Also located in Smyrna is one of the Seven Churches which had Risen Lord addressed epistles. Then we drive to Philadelphia (Alaşehir), the city of brotherly love, founded during the reign of Attalus II and a city that was also the site of one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. In the afternoon, we continue to Sardis, the capital of ancient Lydia which also ranked as one of the Seven Sister Churches and as a center of importance for various religious groups. Here we visit the temple of Cybele and Diana (which later became a church), the beautiful synagogue, and the gymnasium. Dinner and overnight are at Spa Hotel Colossae Thermal in Pamukkale (or similar).
The Hierapolis Ruins
In the morning, we will visit the ruins of Hierapolis, the natural pools. Then we drive to Laodicea, where John called its people ‘lukewarm’ and also one of the Seven Churches. Then we visit Colossae. Its Biblical significance lies in the fact that the book of Colossians was addressed to the church here (Col 1:2), and that Philemon lived in this city. Dinner and overnight are at Marina Hotel & Suites Kusadasi (or similar). Today we have a full day tour to Patmos (Monastery and Grotto of St. John) by chartered boat from Kusadasi to Patmos and back. Dinner and overnight are at Marina Hotel & Suites Kusadasi (or similar). We have a morning drive through the meandering Valley of Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and our 7th Church of Revelation. It was here that the special miracles were wrought by the hands of Paul. The apostle John was one of the early leaders of the church of Ephesus. It is believed he brought Mary, the mother of Jesus, here. We will visit the Basilica of St. John and the magnificent ancient city of Ephesus. Then drive to Izmir Airport for our flight to Istanbul. We arrive in Istanbul and then drive into the old town and have a half day tour, including visits to the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which we will see. From here, we will see the Hagia Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire. The Hagia Sophia was completed in 537 A.D. and ruled as the greatest Christian Church in the world for more than 1000 years until it was converted into a mosque by the conquering Ottomans who used it as a model for the construction of all their later mosques. Dinner and overnight are at Eresin Taxim Premier Hotel Istanbul (or similar). This morning we have an early transfer to the airport for our flight home. Our guide will assist with check in formalities. We arrive home in the U.S.A. same day.