Upon arrival at Istanbul Airport, a representative of Biblical Turkey will meet and assist you with your transfer to afternoon domestic flight to Antalya. Transfer your hotel for dinner and overnight.
A day trip to the remains of the ancient Pamphylia pirate-city of Side, whose picturesque churches, temples, aqueducts and theatre lie on the sunny Mediterranean coast. Overnight in Antalya.
A day trip takes us first to Aspendos with its Roman aqueduct rising on 15m arches and running across the valley for almost 1 km and a magnificent 15,000-seat theatre, the most perfectly preserved in all the Roman world. Then we move on to Perge, which boasts both one of the finest examples of a Roman Stadium and a well-preserved Roman bath. He we enter the city through the circular towers of a Hellenistic Gate and walk along a main street lined with shops and divided into two lanes by a channel for water, which flowed from a ceremonial fountain at its end. Overnight in Antalya.
A day trip to the long known, but only very recently uncovered metropolis of Sagalassos, considered in Roman times to be “the first city of Pisidia.” Situated some 1500m up the south slopes of Mount Akdag, the excavation constitutes one of the largest archaeological sites in Turkey, and has revealed numerous monumental structures in a remarkable state of preservation, such as the amazing façade of the Antonine Fountain. Overnight in Antalya.
A day trip to the breathtaking ruins of Termessos, with its theatre set in a hollow 1,000 m. high in the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean Sea – its defences discouraged even Alexander the Great. In the afternoon, we visit the Antalya Museum with its remarkable “gallery of the gods.” Overnight stay in Antalya.
Under the morning sun we stroll along paved streets and under ceremonial gateways or wade in the cool waters of one of three harbors of ancient Lycian Phaselis, lying in a peaceful wood betwixt sea and mountains with “a charm beyond most others.” Later, at Olympus, we visit the home of the legendary fire-breathing “Chimaera”, a mountainside site with natural flames, which have burn since antiquity. In the afternoon, we pay a brief visit to Myra, the home of Saint Nicholas, noted for its necropolis of richly decorated Lycian rock-tombs cut into the cliff face. Overnight stay in Kas.
We begin in Xanthos, a city which the geographer Strato described as “the greatest city of Lycia.” Here in the agora we find an Inscribed Pillar (in Lycian and Greek) which has played a large part in the study of the Lycian language, and among the city is many interesting tombs, we see an important Lycian Sarcophagus and the famous “Harpy Tomb”. Among its several churches, we visit the remains of a large basilica of significant size and decoration.
From Xanthus, we move 10 minutes south to The Letoon, a shrine dedicated to Leto and her children, Apollo and Artemis, and the site of the assembly of the Lycian League. Here, according to Plutarch, Alexander may have received the prophecy of Greek destruction of the Persian Empire. After lunch, we travel south to the seaside city of Patara, where Paul and Luke changed ships for their return from Miletus to Jerusalem. In modern times, the harbor has been filled in by sandy beach, which stretches for several kilometers. Overnight stay in Kas.
Driving inland through the mountains we enter the broad Lycos valley and pay a brief visit first to the site of Colossae, where we have an opportunity to see what a site which is otherwise well known looks like before excavations have begun. Leaving this early outpost of Christianity, we arrive at a younger city, Laodicea, which was founded in the 3rd century before Christ at the junction of two important commercial highways. One of the seven cities to whom of John wrote letters in his Apocalypse, Laodicea was wealthy enough to rebuild itself in AD 60 without any help from the Roman Emperor. Huge theatres demonstrate the size of this city. Overnight stay in Pamukkale.
Approaching through a vast necropolis, we make a morning visit to Hierapolis, the “sacred city”, site of an ancient thermal resort built by Pergamum kings and embellished by Romans. (Time permitting; we will have opportunity to swim in Thermal Pools amidst Roman sculpture and architectural ornaments.) Just outside the picturesque theatre, the sinister Plutonium still hisses with poisonous gases, and over the escarpment the mineral laden Hot Springs form a hillside of white lime travertine pools. From the hillside above, the octagonal Martyrium of Phillip overlooks the city. Overnight stay in Pamukkale.
As we return to the seacoast, this time on the Aegean Sea, we stop to visit the spectacular remains of the ancient city of Aphrodisias, where were found both public lists of “God-fearers” and Jews which seem to demonstrate the importance of gentiles in the Jewish synagogue. Along with impressive temple remains and the Tetrapylon, we visit the impressive Sebasteion celebrating the Julio-Claudian family. The local museum is filled with remarkable portraits of well-known imperial figures. Time permitting we will make a brief stop in the ancient city of Nysa, an educational center drawing students from all parts of Asia Minor, and a healing center attracting those seeking a miracle. Overnight stay in Kusadasi.
This morning we travel to Didyma, the vast and magnificently impressive oracular temple of Apollo (the 3rd largest edifice of the Hellenistic period), and then on to the sprawling remains of Miletos, with its harbor, in which Paul spoke to the Ephesian elders, now several kilometers from the sea, and its theatre advertising reserved seating for “the God-fearers.”
After lunch, we hike up a gentle slope to Priene, situated on a terrace below a towering cliff, and overlooking the fertile Meander valley, which once provided a harbor. The remains of the city spread out before us, as we visit a well-preserved “council chamber,” a theatre and the Temple of Athena Polias. Overnight stay in Kusadasi.
A daytrip with an early start brings us first to Ephesus, once capital of the Roman province of Asia and now Turkey’s most extensively excavated and restored ancient city. Here we visit an odeum, temples, and baths along Curetes Street, enter the Library of Celsus and the Theatre, in which an angry mob shouted against the apostle Paul with the words: “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” We turn our steps down the Arcadian Way, where once streetlights and covered sidewalks led to the middle harbor, and then on to the Church of the Councils, in which were held two of the great councils of the early church (in 431 and 449).
After a brief stop at the Artemision, site of the temple of Artemis/Diana, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, we tour the Selcuk Museum, with its well-known sculpture of many-breasted Artemis, and finally pay a visit to the partially restored ruins of the massive 4th century Church of St. John, the apostle’s legendary burial place. Overnight in Kusadasi.
A morning visit to Sardis, where we see the lofty walls of a partially reconstructed Roman Palaestra(wrestling school), a huge 3rd century Synagogue, and the massive columns of the Temple to Artemis among the ruins of the onetime capital of the kingdom of the Lydian. Overnight stay in Bergama.
This morning we climb to the top of the impressive royal citadel of Pergamum, site of the Pergamum Altar (now in Berlin), the magnificent Temple of Trajan and an astounding Hellenistic theatre cut into a steep hillside. Descending from the heights of the citadel, we stop to inspect the gigantic remains of the fabled “Red Hall”, a temple for the gods of Egypt. After lunch, we visit the Asklepion, the most famous medical center of its day, where once Galen practiced the medical art. Overnight stay in Bergama.
A morning drive around the small Bay of Edremit, to the towering ridge of ancient Assos, which boasts some of the most impressive Hellenistic fortifications in Anatolia. At the summit, we find the Temple of Athena, from which the Greek island of Lesbos can be viewed on the horizon. Here in Assos Aristotle researched from 348-345 BC, and the apostle Paul met his companions on his third missionary journey.
After lunch we move on to Troy, the heart of the Greek epic tradition, and (time permitting) we will pay a visit to the interesting Museum of Canakkale at the end of our day. Overnight stay in Canakkale.
After a short ferry ride across the Dardanelles, and a brief stop at the war memorials commemorating the sacrifice made by thousands of Anzac troops (and 40 member of the Newfoundland Regiment, which served as part of the 29th Division of the British Army) at Gallipoli, we drive along the European shore of the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul, to view the impressive remains of Theodosian walls and City Gates of old Constantinople. Overnight stay in Istanbul.
A morning visit first to Emperor Justinian’s Hagia Sophia, enduring symbol of Byzantine Constantinople and a wonder of architecture whose central dome, “as if suspended from heaven by a golden chain,” rises 55m from the marble floor, and then to Sultan Ahmet’s Blue Mosque, one of the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul with its six minarets, the Hippodrome and the Royal Cistern. After lunch, there is opportunity to visit the Covered Bazaar, one of the most fascinating markets in the world, a small city in itself containing some 5000 shops, workshops and stalls. Overnight stay in Istanbul.
In the morning we visit the Topkapí Palace, the palace of the Ottoman Sultans, with its magnificent collection of Chinese porcelain and the stunning Imperial Treasury. Later to the Archaeological Museum, which houses rich collections of Greco-Roman antiquities, including the famous Alexander Sarcophagus. Afternoon is free.
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to Istanbul airport for your International flight. End of services.
MEALS: B= Breakfast / L= Lunch / D= Dinner