8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
DAY 1: WELCOME TO ISTANBUL
Arrive in Istanbul, the only city in the world founded on two continents, “Europe and Asia “you will be met at the airport, assist and transfer to the hotel. A brief orientation and welcome cocktail with your tour escort. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul. D
DAY 2: ISTANBUL
Morning visit to the Kariye Museum, the old church of St. Saviour in Chora treasuring the marvelous and superbly preserved mosaics and frescoes, among the evocative of all of the city’s Byzantine treasures, which represents scenes drawn from the life cycle of the life of the Virgin and of Christ. Then drive to the Basilica of St. Sophia which was conceived by Emperor Constantine and later rebuilt by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. This tour also includes a visit to the famous Sultanahmet Mosque or Blue Mosque, a 17th century Ottoman church whose vast domed center and interior walls are adorned with some of the world’s most skilled and decorative mosaics. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to view the Suleymaniye Mosque, considered the most beautiful of all the Imperial mosques, and the Topkapi Palace. Lunch at the Konyali Restaurants of the Palace The tour concludes with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world, featuring over 58 streets and more than 4000 shops. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul. B, D
DAY 3: ISTANBUL
Morning visit to the Orthodox Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarch is the ceremonial head of the Orthodox Church on the Golden Horn followed by a visit to the Catholic Church, St. Antonie on the main walking Istiklal Street, formerly the Grande Rue De Pera. It is now a pedestrian way with many restaurants, café, shops, art galleries which attract many local people. Lunch on your own. In the afternoon drive to the Dolmabahce Palace, the second largest Ottoman Palace and the masterpiece of the 19th century Palaces in the Renaissance Style. Later a cruise on the Bosphorus by private boat enjoying the old wooden villas, marble palaces, ancient fortresses and expensive modern villas, zigzagging between the coasts of two continents, Asia and Europe. Disembark, and then continue by coach to Ortakoy, a Bosphorus suburb that has an interesting ethnic history “ in Syntheses of three religions” where you will have the opportunity to see a church , a mosque and a synagogue, they are very close to each other and coexist peacefully for centuries. Dinner in a typical Turkish restaurant. B, D
DAY 4: ISTANBUL – IZMIR (SMYRNA) –THYATIRA – PERGAMUM – IZMIR (Smyrna)
Transfer to the Ataturk Airport for a morning flight to Izmir. Here, is where we begin the visits to the Seven Churches which hold a unique place in the biblical and historical sites of Asia Minor. First, we drive north to Thyatira, the ancient Christian centre Paul visited on a number of occasions during his missionary travels. Upon arrival, tour the city, including a visit to the Church of Thyatira, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Afterwards, continue to Pergamum, one of the richest and most powerful kingdoms during the ancient Hellenistic period (289-129 B.C.). Here, you will visit the Acropolis, which houses the Temple of Trajan, the Heron shrine, the Sanctuary of Athena, the Altar of Zeus, the Theater, and the Library of Pergamum, built by King Eumenes II, and whose collection came second only to that of Alexandria’s. From here, visit the Asclepion, a leading health center of the ancient world. Drive to Izmir (Smyrna) for dinner and Overnight. B, D
DAY 5: IZMIR (SMYRNA –SARDIS –PHILADELPHIA -PAMUKKALE (Hierapolis)
Smyrna (Izmir) “The Crown of Asia “Ephesus was first, Smyrna was second because of its beauty. “It is also the city that Paul praised for its faithfulness. One of Smyrna bishop’s, St. Polycarp, was, with St. Ignatius of Antioch, a link between the apostles and the Christians of Asia Minor. An opponent of Gnosticism and supporter of orthodoxy, Polycarp was martyred in AD 156. The words of St. John to the first Christians. “Only be faithful till death, and I will give you the crown of life’ (Revelation 2: 10-11) must have been recalled by those who witnessed this dreadful event. Visit the St. Polycarp Church in Izmir.
Then continue the drive to Sardis and Philadelphia, two of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor… Sardis was founded in the middle of the valley of the river Hermus in 1200 B.C. The wealth of Sardis was legendary and greatest of all the Sardians (Lydians) kings was Croesus. Sardis was occupied in 546 B.C by Persian. Sardis vanishes from history under the Persian rule. Alexander the Great conquered Sardis and through him Sardis became a Greek city. At Roman times Sardis was still a wealth city and the center of the woolen trade. The message to Sardis is one of life and death. The understanding is that sin is the death of the will, the death of feelings and the death of all loveliness. The church in Sardis was lifeless because there was no one who challenged any teaching and any heresy was accepted. Sardis is told to be on watch against the wiles of the devil and against false teachings and to remember Christ is watching them.
The message of St. John to the church in Sardis begins with the introduction of Christ as the one who possesses the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. The spirit of God is symbolized as the seven spirits. The seven stars are the angels of the Seven Churches… Philadelphia (Alasehir) ‘ City of Praise ‘. Philadelphia was the youngest of the seven cities. It was founded with deliberate intention that might be a missionary of Greek culture and language to Lydia and Phrygia and it was so effective that the Lydian had forgotten their own language and had been incorporated into the Greek culture.
With the exception of Smyrna, Philadelphia is the only city that holds the banner of Christian faith. Philadelphia has an open door for missionaries and for outreach. Afternoon drive to Hierapolis ( Pamukkale), ) en route explore the ruins of Pamukkale and Roman spa, see the natural pools of pure calcium carbonate and wonderful limestone terraces. Its hot thermal springs of calcium spill over the plateau’s edge creating dazzling white formations called Cotton Castles. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale. B, D
DAY 6: PAMUKKALE – LAODOCİA - APHRODISIAS – KUSADASI
Morning visiting Laodicia, (one of the seven churches in Asia Minor Laodocia earned its wealth in the textile industry in the production of black wool and in the banking industry.
Laodocia was also known for its medical school which concocted a spice nard for the treatment of ears and an eye salve. Laodocia is best known today to readers of Revelation where Jesus criticized Laodocia, using imaginary drawn from its daily life (Rev: 3:14-22). First Jesus said Laodocia is lukewarm and provides neither refreshment for spiritually weary nor healing for the spiritually sick (Rev. 3:15-16). The Laodecian Christians are wealthy and self-content to a degree that they think that they do not need Christ. The letter of the Risen Christ to the church at Laodecia (Rev: 3:14-22) contains numerous allusions to conditions in the city. Drive to Aphrodisias, a cultural center of the ancient world renowned for its school of sculpture, philosophy, medicine. Aphrodisias was one of the earliest occupied sites in Anatolia. Neolithic and Bronze Age mounds have been found here. Excavations in the city have revealed traces of occupation dating back to 5800 B.C. Christianity made some progress in the city before the edict of Milan in 313 put an end to persecution. A bishop from Aphrodisias attended the Council of Nicaea in 325. However, pagan influence continued for a very long time. Even in the BC missionaries were still converting pagans in this area, but the prosperity and the influence of the Christians is indicated by the conversion of the Temple of Aphrodite into a Christian church. Explore the best preserved Stadium in Anatolia built in second century A.D., seats 30.000 people, the Temple of Aphrodite, the Agora, the Odeon, the Bath and Theatre. See an outstanding selection of statues in the local museum. Continue to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. B, D
DAY 7: KUSADASI – EPHESUS – ISTANBUL
A Full day at the ruins of glorious biblical excursion to EPHESUS (Revelation 1:11;2:1-7; Acts.18:19-28;19:1-41) ‘ The first and greatest ’ at the time of the Apostle John, Ephesus had the greatest harbor in all of Asia was known as ‘ the gateway of Asia’. Its position as a center trade route made Ephesus wealthy and very great in the ancient world. Ephesus was also the center of worship for Diana and Artemis. The Temple of Artemis was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. St. Paul stayed in Ephesus longer than in any other city and it was here Timothy was consecrated the first Bishop, Acts 18 and 20. In Revelation the Risen Christ praises the Christian in Ephesus because they have tested the evil men and proved that they were liars.
The reward for Ephesus is to receive the Tree of Life, to know paradise and understand the words of Jesus, Luke 23:43 ‘ today you will be with me in paradise’. It is recorded that St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Christ and that a small house was built for her on Bulbuldagi (Mount Nightingale) where she spent her last days. This house is popular pilgrimage place for Christians and Moslems and has received the official sanction of the Vatican. Each year on August 15th, a commemoration ceremony is held. After visiting the house of Mary and where St. John is buried, drive to the Izmir Airport for your flight to Istanbul. Farewell Dinner and overnight in Istanbul. B, D
DAY 8 : DEPARTURE ( ISTANBUL – HOME)
After breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for your homebound flight. B
B – Breakfast
L – Lunch
D – Dinner
TOUR FEATURES INCLUDED
- All transfers if airfare is booked through FOS Tours
- 7 nights first-class accommodations at centrally located hotels:
- 4 nights in Istanbul
- 1 night in Izmir
- 1 night in Pamukkale
- 1 night in Kusadasi
- 14 meals: 7 buffet breakfast and 7 dinners
- Sightseeing per itinerary in luxury air-conditioned coaches
- Service of English-speaking tour escort throughout the tour, plus services of local guides
- All entrance fees to the museums and sights as indicated in the itinerary.
- Bosphorus Trip by boat and coach
- Mineral water, coffee and tea with all dinners
- Gratuities at hotels and restaurants
- Service Charge and Local Tax.
Travel Insurance, International airfare, airport taxes and fees, fuel surcharges, gratuities to guides, driver and tour escort, optional trip insurance and personal expenses, beverages not mentioned, meals, sightseeing not included in the itinerary.
2011 Dates & Rates
Tour operates from April through November, from $1499
Group Only: call us for more details
We will guarantee the best available group airfare from your local airport at the time of booking. Rates are per person based on double occupancy in the low season with a minimum of 30 passengers per coach. Single and triple occupancy rates available on request.
Additional departures for groups of 20 or more available on request. Please inquire.
For Extension Tours to Greece and/or Italy please contact FOS Tours and Travel Inc.