9 Days/8 Nights Biblical Tour of Turkey: A comprehensive tour of north western and western Turkey, with a particular interest in the important Biblical sites as well as other places of interest in Istanbul and the legendary city of Troy.
Day 1: arrival day.
Welcome to Turkey. Arrive in Istanbul Ataturk airport, meet your guide and transfer to hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 2: Istanbul (breakfast included).
Discover the Byzantine and Ottoman treasures of Istanbul. We visit St. Sofia, the (church of the sacred wisdom), converted to a mosque from a Christian basilica after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. We see the Hippodrome and the Obelisk brought from Egypt. Then our next visit is the Blue Mosque with its six minarets. Afternoon We will visit the Topkapi Palace which was the residence of the Ottoman sultans, with its fabulous treasure chambers. Continue with the Grand Covered Bazaar. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Istanbul (breakfast included).
Morning private Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul, sailing along this important waterway which divides the continents of Asia and Europe. This is followed by a visit to the Egyptian Bazaar or Spice Market where you have free time to enjoy the aromatic herbs and spices and a break for lunch before returning to the hotel. Free time in the evening and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 4: Istanbul, Troy and Canakkale (breakfast and dinner included).
After breakfast we depart for Gallipoli, through the European lands of Turkey crossing the Dardanelles Strait by ferry - boat. Lunch en route. Visit ancient Troy, see the legendary walls and the replica of the wooden horse. Drive to Canakkale, that lends its name to the Straits of the Dardanelles (in antiquity it was called Hellespont) and faces the WW! battlefields of Gallipoli. Check in at the hotel followed by dinner. Overnight in Canakkale.
Day 5: Pergamon, Thyatira and Izmir (breakfast and dinner included).
After breakfast at our hotel in Canakkale, we drive to Pergamon, one of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 2:12]. Here we explore the impressive Acropolis, the steepest theatre in the world, the Asklepieion, famous medical centre of classical times, see the Altar of Zeus which is mentioned as the «Throne of Satan» in the book of Revelation, the marble columns of the Temple of Trajan and the Library which is once said to have held over 200, 000 volumes of books. We also visit the Red Basilica (St. Johns Church). Buffet lunch is provided at a local restaurant. Then we continue our visit to Thyatira, now called Akhisar, another one of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 2:18 - 24; Acts 16:14]. It was a city famous for purple dyes. We visit the remains of a basilica and some architectural fragments from the Roman period. Lydia, the seller of purple in Philippi, was from Thyatira. Before we check in at the hotel in Izmir, we enjoy a panoramic ride of Smyrna, the third largest city in Turkey and one of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 2:12 - 17]. We ascend to Mount Pagus where we visit the Citadel of Lysimachos, commander of Alexander the Great, erected in the 4th century BC. We will also see the Clock Tower. Check in at the hotel for dinner. Overnight in Izmir.
Day 6: Izmir, Sardis, Philadelphia and Hierapolis (breakfast and dinner included).
Today we depart early in the morning to one of the most picturesque areas of any of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 3:1 - 4], Sardis. Here we visit the great Temple of Artemis and the Temple of Cybele, which became a Byzantine Church. We will also visit the restored gymnasium and reconstructed Synagogue. Lunch en route. Then we continue our journey to Philadelphia, nowadays called Alasehir, another church of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 3:7], and the only church not censured. There we see the remains of a Byzantine basilica built of brick, with a bit of high arch and some 11th century frescoes. Following this we drive to the healing city of Hierapolis, actually Pamukkale, the white «cotton fortress» where hot mineral water bursts from the earth and cascades over steep cliffs forming calcium rock pools. In Hierapolis we visit the Martyrium of the Apostle Philip. Dinner in hotel and overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 7: Laodicea, Aphrodisias and Kusadasi (breakfast and dinner included).
We depart for Laodicea (present name Denizli) yet another of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor [Rev. 1:11; 3:14; Col. 2:1; 4:13 - 16]. We see the ancient theatre, the remains of the basilica and ancient stone water pipes. Aphrodisias is our next stop. We visit the best - preserved ancient stadium ever excavated where the seating capacity was 30, 000. We see the odeon with its extraordinary blue marble stage, the Temple of Aphrodite that marks the site of ancient veneration, Hadrian’s Bath and the Bishop’s Palace. Afterwards we drive to Kusadasi on the Aegean coast (approx 3 hours) where we will have supper and spend the night at the hotel.
Day 8: Ephesus and Kusadasi (breakfast and dinner included).
Today we enjoy a visit to the ancient city of Ephesus including the Basilica of St. John. The Apostle Paul preached to the Ephesians and lived here for three years. This church also received an epistle from him. We tour the spectacular ruins where excavations still continue in this once great and important city, which was founded in the 10th century BC. We also visit the Basilica of St. John. Free time for lunch at a selected restaurant. Return to hotel in Kusadasi approx 17:00pm. Dinner in hotel and overnight.
Day 9: Izmir and end of the tour (breakfast included).
After breakfast, check out and transfer to Izmir airport for flight back to Istanbul Ataturk airport and the end of the tour.
Meeting/pick-up point: Istanbul Airport.
Duration: 9 days.
Start/opening time: According to the clients flight time. Each day tour starts approximately at 8:30am.
End/closing time: According to the clients flight time. Approximately at 5pm.
Languages: Private tour: English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese and English. Shared tour: English.
Others: Included: arrival and return airport transfers in Istanbul, 3 nights hotel in Istanbul, 1 nightin 5* hotel in Canakkale, 1 night in 5* hotel in Izmir, 1 night in 5* hotel in Pamukkale, 2 nights in 5* hotel in Kusadasi, 8 open buffet breakfasts, 5 dinners, guided tours as mentioned in the itinerary, all entrance fees mentioned in the itinerary, transportation in a fully air - conditioned and non - smoking coach, domestic flight from Izmir to istanbul Ataturk airport. Not included: international flights, all types of insurance, Turkey entry visa, items of personal nature such as alcoholic drinks, cold drinks or laundry, any others expenses which are not mentioned at the “included” section.
Arrivals and departures from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport incur an extra charge.