7 Churches Tour - TURKEY
Day 01 BEIRUT/ISTANBUL/IZMIR
Departure from Beirut Airport and arrival to Izmir in the afternoon, meet and greet. Visit Ancient Smyrna. The church at Smyrna suffered amidst prosperity for its refusal to worship the Roman Emperor. This proved to be the last stronghold of Christianity in Asia Minor. Visit St. Polycarp Church in Izmir. Drive thorough modern city. Check into your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Izmir Hotel.
Day 02 PERGAMON - THYATIRA - IZMIR
After breakfast, departure by bus to PERGAMON, visit the ruins of the city, a center of education and arts, which possessed one of the greatest libraries in antiquity. Visit the ruins of ASCLEPION, one of the foremost medical centers of classical times. Continue to the Red Court. The Red Court (Red Basilica) at the edge of the present day Bergama, was probably a temple dedicated in the 2nd C AD to SERAPIS maybe also to ISIS. Proceed then to AKHISAR to visit Thyatira, which is the site of one of the seven churches of Asia. John’s criticism of Thyatira in Revelation was related to the prophetess Jezebel. The Apostle Paul’s first convert in Europe was certain woman named Lydia... a seller of expensive purple cloth from the city of Thyatira (Acts 16:14). Most probably, her influence helped the church grow in Thyatira. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in the area. Dinner; overnight in IZMIR Hotel.
Day 03 IZMIR - SARDIS - PHILADELPHIA - PAMUKKALE
After breakfast, check out and depart by bus to Sardis. The partially restored Synagogue and the ruins of temples and churches mark the importance of Sardis as a religious site. The Temple of Artemis built in 334 BC was one of the most impressive buildings of antiquity. During its days as a Roman City, Sardis became an important Christian Center. Then continue on to ALASEHIR to visit Philadelphia, the faithful church. During the Byzantine times, Philadelphia was the seat of a Christian Bishopric. Its significance in Christian history was because it was the place of one of the seven church congregations addressed by John in the Book of Revelation. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in the area. Continue to PAMUKKALE hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 04 PAMUKKALE
In the morning start the day by visiting the ancient city of Hierapolis, the sacred city, Saint. Philip’s Martyrdom. Proceed with the visit of the “COTTON CASTLE” with its spectacular travertine, also especially well known with its thermal springs that caused it to become the foremost health SPA of the Romans. In the afternoon, drive to Laodicea, a city in the fertile LYCUS Valley of the province of Phrygia, where one of the seven churches of Asia Minor was situated (Rev 3:14). Before returning to the hotel, the last visit will take place at HONAZ – Ancient Colossae. Its importance in Christianity is because of a 1st century letter addressed to the town that was included in the New Testament. The letter to the Colossians, attributed to Paul, was probably written about AD 60 or 65. The grammar and the vocabulary of the letter have called into question Paul’s authorship. However, it could be that he asked one of his companions to put his thoughts into word and gave his mark of approval by adding a note at the end in his own hand. Lunch at a local restaurant in the area. Return to PAMUKKALE hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 05 EPHESUS – IZMIR/ISTANBUL/BEIRUT
Breakfast in the Hotel, Check out and departure to the House of Virgin Mary. The belief that the Virgin Mary had spent her last days in a house in the vicinity of Ephesus and that she had died there, focused attention on a nun named Anna Catherina EMMERICH who had lived in the late 18th century. The efforts to find the house were greatly influenced by her detailed description of the Mary’s coming to Ephesus, her life and her last home there. After the visit, drive to Ephesus Antique Site, one of the best-preserved cities of antiquity. A large and important city one the west coast of Asia Minor where Apostle Paul founded a church. The history of Christianity at Ephesus began probably about AD 50, perhaps as a result of the Priscilla and Aquila. The Grand Theater with 24,000-seat capacity, where St. Paul preached, the Trajan Fountain, the Temple of Hadrian, famous Street of CURETES and CELSUS Library are among antique beauties to be seen during the visit to Ephesus Antique site. In the 6th century AD the Roman Emperor Justinian raised a magnificent church to John’s memory in this city. Lunch will be served at a nice local restaurant in the area. After visits transfer for the airport of IZMIR. Take an evening flight to Istanbul and continue to Beirut.