The Journey of Paul in Türkiye
Chistian Believers Pilgrimages
Upon arrival at Istanbul Airport, proceed to the baggage claim area to collect your luggage. You will be greeted in the Arrival Hall by your tour guide and driver. Transfer to your hotel in Istanbul for check-in. Dinner will be provided at the hotel, followed by an overnight stay.
Day 1: Arrival in Türkiye
Istanbul, the bejeweled capital between two continents, is home to 450 mosques. You will visit the famous Blue Mosque, which boasts six minarets and a sparkling interior. You will also explore Hagia Sophia, the largest church in Christendom for 1000 years, built by Justinian (532-537 AD). The church features 107 columns, fossil-embedded white marble floors, and beautiful glass mosaics. You will have the opportunity to explore the Grand Bazaar, where the aroma of exotic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and thyme will envelop you. The bazaar is home to over 4,000 shops that sell everything from herbs to gold. In the afternoon, you will fly to Cappadocia.
Day 2: Istanbul
Cappadocia is home to unique cone-shaped rock formations that create a fairy-tale landscape. Even today, people live in the cliffs and rock cones of Cappadocia. It is estimated that over 3,000 rock churches exist in the region. You will visit the Rock Chapels of Goreme, the Cave Village of Avcilar, and the Monastic Complex of Zelve. Additionally, you will walk through the underground city of Ozkonak.
Day 3: Cappadocia
Stop at the Sultanhan Caravansarai, an essential stop on the Silk Road from China. Upon arrival in Pisidian Antioch, visit the site of Paul's first recorded speech. Paul delivered the speech in the synagogue among his fellow Jews. He spoke of the wonders God had done throughout Israel's history that led to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 13:14-52). The Jews were outraged, and Paul and Barnabas were expelled from the city. However, the Gentiles in Antioch heard the Gospel and were persuaded that the truth leads to eternal life. These believers then established the first-ever entirely Gentile Christian community.
Day 4: Antioch in Pisidia
Colossae, famous as the receiver of Paul's Letter to the Colossians, has fallen into obscurity. While you can still see traces of the theatre, the Necropolis, and the Church, the ancient city is indistinguishable, mainly ruins. Hierapolis is blessed with hot mineral springs and some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Asia Minor. Paul mentions Hierapolis in his Letter to the Colossians, saluting Epaphras, a fellow laborer, for his love of the brethren there (Colossians 4:13). The ruins cover more than a mile. You will see the impressive amphitheater with seats still in perfect condition and the City Gates, column-lined streets, and arches, which have stood through time and earthquakes. Today, the area is known as Pamukkale, meaning "Cotton Castle," named for the limestone-laden hot springs that cascade from one white-edged terrace pool to the next. The Christians of Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches (Rev. 3:14-22), were chastised for being lukewarm, "You are neither cold nor hot" (Rev. 3:15), and for being too comfortable incorporating pagan and Christian beliefs. In the famous scripture from Revelation (3:20-21), Jesus says to the Laodicean church: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock...." Today, there are many acres of ruins to see, including the stadium and columned streets.
Day 5: Colossae | Hierapolis & Laodicea
Visit 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) Not much is left to mark the spot today. You will see an ancient wall and the remains of a Byzantine basilica. Travel to Sardis, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. You will be impressed by the massive scale of the Temple of Artemis, the white marble Royal Road, the gymnasium, and the synagogue. The third largest city in modern Turkey is Izmir, a center for Jewish and Christian communities. In Paul's day, the town was known as Smyrna. It was also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 2:8-11). You will see the Agora, the colonnaded commercial center where Roman statues can still be seen.
Day 6: Philadelphia & Sardis
Ephesus is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 1:11). In ancient days, Ephesus was a bustling port town of 250,000, graced with wide, colonnade-bordered streets. Today, you will be impressed with the spectacular excavations of the major roads of ancient Ephesus. You will view the Library and the vast Agora. The Temple of Artemis was declared one of the World's Seven Wonders. Today, only a single column remains to mark the site. You will visit the Basilica of St. John, the traditional site of his grave. From the basilica, enjoy a commanding view of the area. You will see the Museum of Ephesus for an up-close look at artifacts from the ancient city. You will have time to explore this powerful city on your own and recreate some of the footsteps of Paul.
Day 7: Ephesus
Pergamum was another of the seven churches mentioned in Revelations (Rev. 2: 12). It displeased the Lord because it tolerated the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which Christ hated (Rev. 2:13 -17). The fabled Acropolis towers 1000 feet above the town, commanding a spectacular panorama. As you pass through the Royal Gates, you will enter one of the great centers of classic Greek culture. You will see the foundations of the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Athena, and the ruins of the Library, which once held 200,000 parchment volumes. You will see the remains of the Temple of Trajan, the Grand Theatre, the gymnasium, and the Health Center (Aesclepion). Visit Thyatira, once a busy trading center, home to Lydia, the "seller of purple" (Acts 16). Today, it is famous for Persian rugs. Thyatira, one of the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelations, tolerated the false prophetess, Jezebel (Rev. 1: 11; 2: 18 -29).
Day 8: Pergamum & Thyatira
In Troy, history is buried in myth and mud. Nine layers of the fabled city have been excavated. Homer's Iliad relates the legendary story of the Trojan War. Not far away is Troas. On his second missionary journey, Paul had a vision in which he was called to Macedonia (Acts 16: 8 -13). Later, during his third journey, Paul spent a week in Troas preaching. On one occasion, he resurrected Eutychus, who fell to his death from a window while sleeping (Acts 20: 6 -12). Travel to Istanbul via the beautiful Dardanelles.
Day 9: Troy | Troas & the Dardanelles
Early morning departure to the Airport for our return home - the end of a most enjoyable journey.
Day 10: Return Flights
Royal Vacations Tours