08 Jan – 28 Jan 2008

DAY 1 – 08 Jan : DEPART USA

The group arrived safely to Antioch.

DAY 2 – 09 Jan: via ISTANBUL - ANTIOCH ( See current weather )
Upon arrival, meet our guide Mehmet and fly to Adana.
Short drive to Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul. Visit St. Paul's Well, the Gate of Cleopatra and recently excavated Roman street and marketplace. Drive to Antakya(Antioch) and overnight at our hotel.D

DAY 3 – 10 Jan: ANTAKYA ( See current weather )
Full day excursion through the Assyrian Gates to Antakya (the biblical city of Antioch) pleasantly situated on the OrantesRiver. Here, the early Christians established their first major Gentile community outside Palestine. Antioch was also the point of departure for Paul's missionary activity throughout Anatolia. At the Grotto of St. Peter, meeting place of the early Christian community, we may have our first liturgy. Following lunch, we then visit the HatayArcheologicalMuseum to view the world famous mosaics from Daphne and surrounding area. Overnight at our hotel in Antakya.BD

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Report by Ashley Phillips

DAY 4 – 11 Jan : ANTAKYA / CAPPADOCIA ( See current weather )
Early departure short drive to Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul. Visit St. Paul's Well, the Gate of Cleopatra and recently excavated Roman street and marketplace to begin our drive over the picturesque Taurus Mountains and passage through the famed Cilician Gates. Crossing the Anatolian plateau, we arrive Cappadocia, the land of fairy-chimneys.Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Cappadokia .BD

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Report by Sarah Budrus

DAY 5 – 12 Jan: CAPPADOCIA ( See current weather )
Our first stop will be at the Pigeons’ Valley and the Castle of Uchisar. Castle of Uchisar is a natural volcanic rock which stands 300 feet high above the ground and was used as a watch tower. We then proceed to Goreme where we will see a lot of rock cut churches with beautiful frescoes. Cappadocia was the most famous Christian teaching center and is the home of St. Basil and St.Gregory of Nyssa whose teachings and ideas have influenced the whole Orthodox world. The open-air museum of Goreme is kept as a national park and is the home of many Christian churches carved out of the volcanic rock and painted with delicate frescoes of the 11th C. Our tour of Goreme also includes a special visit to the famous DarkChurch which has been closed to the public until recently and displays the best preserved and artistically the most valuable Cappadocian frescoes. After lunch, some free time either to visit the famous pottery workshops in Avanos or the Cappadocian carpet weaving centers as the region is well known since the Middle Ages as a center of weaving.  Drive back to our hotel Overnight at our hotel in Cappadocia.BD

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Report by J. Coleman

 DAY 6 – 13 Jan: CAPPADOCIA ( See current weather )
First we will visit one of the Underground cities of Cappadocia which was used in times of danger.Also today we will continue to explore Cappadocia.If time permits we will attend Whirling Dervishes night at one of the oldest Caravansarails. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Cappadocia.BD

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Report by Grace Kuznovski

 DAY 7 – 14 Jan: CAPPADOCIA / KONYAANTALYA ( See current weather )
Early departure , we drive west to the famed city of Konya (biblical Iconium). Although Paul was not successful in establishing a community here, Konya became world famous as the school and burial place of the Sufi mystic poet and teacher, Mevlana (Jalal-ud-Din Rumi). We will visit the MevlanaMuseum that houses the tomb of this famous spiritual leader that has become a sacred Islamic shrine and place of universal pilgrimage. From there we proceed to the KaratayMuseum, ancient Islamic theological school and displays exquisite Seljuk tiles of the 13th century.Drive to Antalya .Lunch en Route. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Antalya.BD

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Report by Stephanie Lawrance

DAY 8 – 15 Jan: ANTALYA ( See current weather )
After a short day-trip from our hotel, in Aspendos, we will visit one of the best-preserved Hellenistic theatres in Asia Minor, built by the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
From Aspendos we pass the impressive system of aqueducts which used to bring water to the city. Following lunch at a local restaurant, we will tour Perge, a wealthy and beautifully decorated city from Hellenistic times. Its remains today are second only to
Ephesus among the cities associated with the apostle Paul. We will continue to discover the beuties of Antalya before dinner.Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Antalya.BD

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Report by Linda Lambert

DAY 9 – 16 Jan: ANTALYA / ST. NICHOLAS / PAMUKKALE ( See current weather )
After breakfast, depart for the tour of Myra and the church of St. Nicholas. At Myra, we visit a large Roman theatre and splendid rock-hewn tombs with delicate carvings. Myra features some of the most impressive and well preserved Lycian monuments in the country. These include an excellent collection of rock tombs and an imposing 2nd century theater. Many of the tombs have log cabin features carved into the rock, presumably reflecting the domestic architecture of the period. Some people believe that Santa Claus did not exist but truth is that old Father Christmas did in fact exist as a historic personality. He did not come from beyond the North Pole where Reindeers roam, but lived under the warm Lycian sun as Bishop of Myra. His church and ex-tomb continue to exist as places of pilgrimage in the Turkish town of Demre. Saint Nicholas was born in Patara, was elected bishop during Diocletian's persecutions, and died in Myra around the year 350. The Church of St. Nicholas fell into disuse in Turkish times. In 1862 Czar Alexander I bought the edifice and began restoring it. Further restorations were carried out in recent years by the Turkish government, which also promoted the annual festivities which take place on the saint's feast day. Thousands of pilgrims from Italy, Greece and other countries come to Myra each year on December. Byzantine scholars and church historians meet to discuss the life and deeds of Santa Claus. Unfortunately there is no resident Christian community in Myra today, so the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Myra holds office in Istanbul. Drive via mountains to Pamukkale.Overnight at our hotel in Pamukkale.BD

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Report by Tina Badger

DAY 10 – 17 Jan: PAMUKKALE ( See current weather )
We start tour of Pamukkale. We will have a chance to swim in healing hot water springs and get younger and more  beautiful. Denizli famous with roosters, has rich history and culture. Denizli is a tourism center to be seen with its Hierapolis and Laodikeia, Tripolis, antic cities, hot springs and Pamukkale which is unique in the world with its travertines. Laodicea was the most famous and important city in the 1st century B.C. The remains of the city are dated from this era. The Romans made the city the center of Kybira's conventus (Golhisar-Horzum) because of the geographical setting. A series of coins were minted in Laodicea during the reign of Caracalla. Many monumental buildings were also built in Laodicea through donations of the local inhabitants. One of the famous seven churches mentioned in Revelation was located in Laodicea, which shows that Christianity was important here. Unfortunately, the city was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Overnight at our hotel in Pamukkale.BD

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Repot by Jessica Thomas

DAY 11 – 18 Jan: PAMUKKALE / KUSADASI ( See current weather )
Today we will head west  to Kusadasi, Our first stop will be at Didyma, the cult center, which was famed as a prophecy center dedicated to Apollo, with the great temple of Apollo, a sacred place of pagan worship.  It was one of the most colossal temples in the Hellenic World, venerating the God Apollo. Didyma was a sanctuary linked to Miletus with 12 mile sacred road and was inhabited only by the priests and the suppliants who came to consult the famous oracle. The second ancient site to be visited is Miletus, an ancient city located near the present Akköy at the mouth of the MeanderRiver. Miletus owed its importance to its position on the trade routes. It was one of the largest cities in Anatolia with a population of between 80.000 and 100.000. Highly prosperous, it founded many colonies and was the home of the 6C BC philosophers Anaximander, Anaximenes and Thales, the town planner Hippodamus and architect Isidorus, one of the two architect who built St Sophia.  Having a prominent position, Miletus became the most important port in this area and it was the most active member of the twelve cities of the Ionian Confederation. In the 7th century BC Lydians besieged the city. The city was then controlled in turn by the Persians, Roman and Seljuk Turks. Our last stop is at Priene, an important and fascinating ancient Ionian city dramatically overlooking the fertile plains of the MeanderValley. It used to be an ancient harbor city, however probably had to change its location when the harbor was threatened by the silt of the MeanderRiver. Priene was laid out on a Hippodamian system of grid plan and contained many examples of Hellenistic art and architecture including the Temple of Athena Polias, the Bouleterion, the Theatre etc... Continue to Kusadasi. Overnight at our hotel in Kusadasi.BD

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Report by Emily Morris

DAY 12 – 19 Jan:EPHESUS ( See current weather )
Today we drive to Ephesus, the greatest of all the Roman cities in Asia Minor.  Not only it was a political center as being the capital city of the RomanProvince of Asia but also a very important and reputed economical center with its harbor. Famous throughout history for its Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this city was also the most important shrine of the Asia Minor and was amongst many of the cities visited by St. Paul where he stayed longest. It is here that St. John lived and died and according to a legend where Virgin Mary spent her last years.
We can start our tour with a visit to the Temple of Diana which is a must in order to understand the dynamics and logistics of Ephesus. It was built in honor of the Greek goddess of hunting, wild nature, and fertility, Artemis and was counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world. After that, we will proceed on to the main site. Our tour of the main site of Ephesus will include the Gymnasium, Odeon, Agora, Prytaneion, Nymphaion, Domitian Temple, Celsius Library, Commercial Agora, the Grand Theater, Harbor Street etc...,  and also a special visit to the Roman villas of Ephesus with their elaborate wall paintings and with their mosaic decorated floors. These beautiful and sophisticated houses were the residences of the rich Ephesians and had heating systems and hot and cold running water in the bathrooms, kitchens and dining rooms. After a lunch break, we will visit the house of Virgin Mary which is located on top of the Nightingale Hill and which can be reached after a winding but very scenic drive up the hill. We will continue touring with a visit to the museum of Ephesus and then end our tour with a visit to the Basilica of St. John where he was buried. Overnight at our hotel in Kusadasi. BD

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Report by Hannah Urrey

 DAY 13 – 20 Jan : IZMIR ( See current weather )
Visit of The Campus Aegean University.We will visit The Campus and meet some Turkish students. Overnight at our hotel in Kuşadası. BD

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Report by Sarah Anderson

 DAY 14 – 21 Jan : IZMIR ( See current weather )
After breakfast at your hotel, drive to Izmir. We will discover ancient Smyrna and the modern city.Overnight at our hotel in Pergamon.BD

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Report by Becky Dab

DAY 15 – 22 Jan: PERGAMON / CANAKKALE ( See current weather )
After breakfast at your hotel, drive to Pergamum. As we approach, one can see the ancient acropolis a top the hill rising above the modern town.  This was the seat of the Pergamene rulers who stretched their territories to the Eastern Mediterranean.  It housed the second largest library of the ancient world.  We will see the temple of Athena, Trojan, the famous Altar of Zeus and the steepest theatre in the world.  After lunch, we continue to the most important healing center in Asia Minor which was dedicated to the God of healing, Asklepios. This is where Galen practiced and taught medicine.Drive to  Troy, the place perhaps of childhood fantasies of battles over Helen of Troy, or perhaps the place where Western literature had its beginnings. Proceed to Canakkale. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale.BD

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Report by Katie Kavorkian

DAY 16 – 23 Jan : BURSA ( See current weather )
After breakfast, depart for Bursa. Because of its being the first Ottoman capital, Bursa is very rich in religious monuments, mosques, and tombs (Turbe), baths. One of the places to be seen in Bursa is the Yesil Cami (Green Mosque), with its carved marble doorway which is one of the best in Anatolia. It is an elaborate and significant building in the new Turkish style. Just opposite, is the Yesil Türbe (Green Tomb), set in a green garden with an enchanting exterior decorated with turquoise tiles. Near the tomb, the Medrese complex (old theological school) now houses the EthnographicalMuseum which certainly deserves visiting. Ulu Cami (Grand Mosque) built in the Seljuk style, with impressive calligraphic wall decorations. The Orhan Gazi Mosque; the "Hisar", an attractive part of the province; the Mausoleums of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, and his son Orhan Gazi are other important sites to visit. Overnight is at our hotel in Bursa. BD

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Report by Heather Smith

DAY 17– 24 Jan : BURSA / ISTANBUL ( See current weather )
After breakfast continue to Nicea ( Iznik ) The city achieved fame as the site of two ecumenical councils during the Byzantine period. During the Ottoman period, it was celebrated for its highest quality tiles and pottery. Our tour includes the well preserved Roman city walls and the ByzantineChurch of Holy Wisdom.After lunch drive to Istanbul. Overnight is at our hotel in Istanbul.B


Report by Jan Fuller


 DAY 18 – 25 Jan : ISTANBUL ( See current weather )
 After breakfast meet your guide at the lobby for your private full day tour and spend the day exploring Istanbul, Church of Divine Wisdom (Aya Sofya in Turkish, Sancta Sophia in Latin, Hagia Sofia in Greek). Now a museum, Aya Sofya built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th Century and reigned as the grandest church in Christendom until its conversion into a mosque by Sultan Mehmet II just after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The Ottomans added minaret and buttresses, plastered over the Byzantine mosaics in the interior, and installed exquisite calligraphies medallions. Much of the plaster has now been removed and several of the original mosaics restored. The Hippodrome - the center of Byzantine civic life for 1000 years, including coronations, Roman chariot races and more than one royal execution. At the opposite end of the Hippodrome (at Meydani) is the elegant ‘’Blue Mosque’ of Sultan Ahmed I, with its six minarets. Built in the early 17th century, its popular name is derived from the 20.00 predominately blue Iznik tiles lining the interior walls. Lunch at a local restaurant... After lunch, explore the mysterious and surreal Underground Cistern which is also known as Yerebatan Saray, one of the Grand underground cisterns which were an important source of water for the city during the Byzantine and Ottoman times. The roof is supported by 336 Corinthian Columns. Sensitively restored, the cistern is now equipped with meandering walkways above the water, atmospheric illumination, and classical music… Turkish and Islamic Art Museum has a remarkable collection of ancient artifacts. In the numerous rooms of this historic building have been collected the most ancient, the most precious and the rarest of the Moslem works of the epoch. This constitutes a separate treasure. The collection includes spectacular pieces from ancient Babylon, Persia and MesopotamiaTour the Grand Covered Bazaar; the largest covered marketplace in the world where a dazzling array of items-from furniture and carpets to jewellery and clothing are sold in the bazaar’s 4000 shops.

Return to your hotel at the end of the day…
Overnight at your hotel in Istanbul.B

DAY 19  – 26 Jan: ISTANBUL ( See current weather )
Enjoy a second full day exploring Istanbul. Visit Mosque and complex of Suleyman the Magnificent built by eminent 16th century architect Sinan in an attempt to rival the Hagia Sophia.  It is perhaps the most prominent example of Ottoman architecture. Explore the magnificent Chora Museum, an 11th century church with Byzantine mosaics and frescoes considered to be among the worlds most important.
Lunch at a local restaurant… VisitTopkapiPalace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans for three centuries. Now a museum, it consists of gardens and buildings of the former palace restored to hold a wealth of treasures. Among the most notable are one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese porcelain, a spectacular collection of jewellery, gems and gold, and the wardrobes of the Sultans, consisting of more than 13.000 customers.

Return to your hotel at the end of the day…
Overnight at your hotel in Istanbul.B


DAY 20 – 27 Jan: ISTANBUL ( See current weather )
To day will be at leisure. Overnight at your hotel in Istanbul. B

Transfer to the airport for your outgoing flights. End of our services.


B - Breakfast , L - Lunch , D - Dinner