Real Catholic Journey in Türkiye
Welcome to Turkey! Your adventure begins as you arrive at Istanbul Airport where your tour guide and driver will be waiting to greet you. After collecting your luggage, you'll be taken to your hotel in Istanbul where you can relax and unwind. In the evening, indulge in a delicious dinner and get a good night's rest to prepare for the exciting day ahead.
Day 1: Discover the Wonders of Istanbul
After a hearty breakfast, you'll embark on a full day of exploring Istanbul's old city with a knowledgeable guide. Visit the magnificent Topkapi Palace, the main residence of Ottoman Sultans, and the Byzantine Hippodrome, the site of chariot races. Continue to the St. Sophia Basilica, a historic seat of the Byzantine church, and marvel at its breathtaking mosaics, stained glass windows, and decorated domes. Take a leisurely walk through the gardens and then proceed to the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet 1, famous for its unparalleled ceramic tile work. In the evening, enjoy a sumptuous dinner and rest up for another exciting day.
Day 2: Explore the Rich History of Istanbul
Today, visit the Galata Tower and Bridge in the district of Galata, where many Catholic Churches are located. Explore The Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, the most prestigious Catholic Church in Istanbul, and celebrate Mass. After lunch, visit The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, a historic parish of the Georgian Greek Catholic Church in the district of Bomonti of the Istanbul district of Şişli. Finally, stop by SS Peter and Paul, a significant Catholic church in Istanbul, before heading to the Grand Covered Bazaar, a maze of streets and shops with the aroma and sounds of old Turkey. Return to the hotel for dinner and a good night's sleep.
Day 3: Immerse Yourself in the Spiritual Heritage of Istanbul
After breakfast, fly to Kayseri and visit the "moon-like" topography and unique landscape of Cappadocia. Explore the underground city of Kaymakli, where thousands of early Christians lived, concealed from persecutors in eight-story complexes of subterranean dwellings. Enjoy the picturesque views of this ancient and historic land before settling in your hotel for dinner and a restful overnight stay.
Day 4: Discover the Unique Landscape of Cappadocia
Early in the morning, take an optional hot-air balloon ride over the fairy-tale chimneys of Cappadocia. After breakfast, visit the famous Goreme "open-air museum." With its chapels carved by early Christians and decorated with frescoes dating from the 6th and 10th centuries, Goreme is an unforgettable experience. Continue to the Uchisar Castle, the panoramic watching point of Cappadocia. Afterward, drive to Konya, where you'll enjoy dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 5: Experience the Magic of Cappadocia
After breakfast, drive to Pisidian Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas visited on Paul's first missionary journey. Continue to Pamukkale, the white Cotton Castle formed by lime cascades. Take a leisurely bath in the warm mineral waters of your hotel's thermal pools before dinner and a restful night's sleep.
Day 6: Follow in the Footsteps of Paul and Barnabas
Today, enjoy a full-day excursion to the ancient City of Hierapolis, Philip the Evangelist's home. Tour the extensive necropolis, churches, and baths. Continue with a scenic drive to Laodicea, located in the Lycus River Valley of western Asia Minor. End your day by visiting Colossae, well-known throughout Christian circles as the receiver of Paul's letter to the Colossians. Return to Pamukkale for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Explore the Ancient City of Hierapolis
After breakfast, depart for Ephesus, the most influential capital city of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea. Visit "Ephesus receives praise for its perseverance" (Rev. 2:1- 7). You'll be amazed by the rich history and cultural heritage of this ancient city. After a full day of exploration, depart for Izmir, where your journey will conclude.
Day 8: Visit the Influential Capital City of Ephesus
Our day starts with a visit to the site of Philadelphia, also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 3: 7-13). Christ told those who overcame that He would write upon them "the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem." (Rev.3: 12). Continue onto Then Sardis, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Jesus told Sardis, "I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead"(Rev. 3: 1-6). Sardis is located on the banks of the Pactolus River in western Asia Minor. "The church of Sardis is described as dead and must wake up. We continue to Thyatira, known for its textiles and dyeing trade. It is now known as the Turkish city of Akhisar. It is "praised for its increasing faith and service" (Rev. 2:18-29). Return to Izmir for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Izmir | Philadelphia | Sardis | Thyatira | Izmir
Smyrna is nowadays a modern Turkish city of Izmir. In ancient times, it was in a powerful trading position on the Aegean Sea, known for its harbors, commerce, and marketplaces. Visit St. Polycarp Church. This 19th-century church is lavishly decorated and is the oldest in the city. It was named after St. Polycarp, the first bishop of Smyrna, who was burned at the stake. Continue to Pergamum, located on the plains and foothills along the Caicus River in Western Turkey. The city is "praised for its martyrdom and perseverance, but those who hold false teachings are criticized" (Rev. 2:12-17). Here, you will see the Acropolis, famous for the Greek and Roman Temples, and the unique Greek theatre built into the steep hillside. Also, visit the Asclepion, the ancient medical center for the Greeks. Return to Izmir for dinner and overnight.
Day 10: Izmir | Smyrna | Pergamum | Izmir
Early morning departure to the Airport for our return home - the end of a most enjoyable journey.
Day 11: Return Flights
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