16 day tour from $2,611
Visiting - Istanbul, Pergamum, Izmir, Ephesus, Sardis, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Cappadocia, Goreme, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Dead Sea, Bethlehem, Galilee, Nazareth, Golan Heights, Akko, Jaffa, Masada. Activities - Culture, History, Archaeology - Group size - Maximum 52 guests
Day 1 - Istanbul
Your representative waits to greet you as you land in Istanbul. After transferring to your hotel, welcome briefing.
Day 2 - Istanbul
Your day begins with a guided tour exploring the ancient city with highlights to include: the magnificent Topkapi Palace (main residences of Ottoman Sultans), then walk across the Byzantine Hippodrome that was the scene of chariot races. In the afternoon we visit Saint Sophia Basilica, historic seat of the Byzantine church, built in 537 AD and now a museum whose mosaics, stained glass windows and decorated domes have been crafted to create an environment of breath taking beauty. A short walk through gardens takes us to the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet 1 built in 1616 that is famous for unequalled ceramic tiles. Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 3 - Pergamum – Thyatira – Smyrna (Izmir)
breakfast & dinner
Early morning flight to Izmir and visit Pergamum (Rev. 2:12–17), and Aesculapiums, then continue to Thyatira (Rev. 2:18–29; Acts 16:14) a city of artisans' guilds in St. Paul time. For evening we continue to Izmir (Smyrna, Rev 2:8–11) Homer’s birthplace on the Aegean Coast.
Day 4 - Ephesus – St. Mary’s House – Izmir
This morning we explore Ephesus with its expansive synthesis of Greco-Roman and Christian remains (Ephesians; Rev 1:11: 2:1–7: Acts 18:19–28: 19:1–4), including the Church of Mary (The Council Church). It was the home of St. Paul between 54 & 57 AD. Nearby we visit Virgin Mary’s house on a wooded hilltop where it was miraculously discovered. In the evening, return to Izmir for overnight and dinner.
SDay 5ardi – Philadelphia – Pamukkale
After breakfast we visit Sardis with its beautiful gymnasium and marble paved synagogue and the Temple of Artemis including ancient Christian Chapel of the 4th Century. Then continue to Philadelphia (Rev 3:7–13), a favorite city of Paul and John. For evening we continue on to Pamukkale, the white “Cotton Fortress” lime cascades of the Roman spa Hierapolis. Enjoy a leisurely bath in the warm mineral waters of your hotel’s pool.
Hierapolis – Laodicea – Izmi
Morning visit Hierapolis. This was Philip the Evangelist's home. We will tour the extensive necropolis, churches and baths then stop at nearby Laodicea (Rev. 3:14–22: Col 2:1: 4:13–16), afternoon continue to Izmir for Overnight and farewell dinner.
Day 7 - Cappadocia
Morning short flight to Kayseri and a full day touring the "moon-like" topography and unique landscape of Cappadocia. Goreme with its Chapels carved by early Christians and decorated with frescoes dating from the 6th and 10th century is an unforgettable experience. Visit the underground city of Kaymakli where thousands of early Christians lived concealed from persecutors in eight story complexes of subterranean dwellings, before checking into our hotel to enjoy the picturesque views of this ancient and historic land.
Day 8 - Cappadocia – Istanbul
This morning visit the pottery making village of Avanos and the Byzantine monastic complex of Zelve, afternoon drive to Kayseri and take a short flight to Istanbul and overnight at hotel, close to the airport.
Day 9 - Istanbul – Jerusalem
Your escort will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival to airport meet our representative and transfer to Jerusalem.
Day 10 - Jerusalem, New City
Start with a spectacular view of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives, and then onto the Garden of Gethsemane. See the famous Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book and the model of Jerusalem from Herodian times. Experience a moving visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Explore the picturesque village of Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist. Overnight: Jerusalem
Day 11 - Jerusalem, Old City and Bethlehem
Visit the Western Wall and the Temple Mount (subject to security clearance). Explore the colourful bazaars, and walk the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) until the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Visit the tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion. Continue to Bethlehem (subject to security clearance) to visit Manger Square, Shepherds Fields and the Church of the Nativity. Overnight: Jerusalem
Day 12 - Sea of Galilee
Depart Jerusalem via Jericho (subject to security clearance), the oldest city in the world. Explore the excavations of the beautiful Roman City of Beit Shean. Continue onto Nazareth to see Mary’s Well and visit the Church of Annunciation. Drive to Safed – city of Mystical Judaism for a walk through the artists colony. Overnight: Galilee
Day 13 - Upper Galilee
Ascend the Golan Heights and from Mt. Bental, peer deep into Syria and the ghost town of Kuneitra. Explore Caesari of Philippi at the Banias Springs. Drive along the shores of the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to visit the ruins of the ancient synagogue. See the beautiful church at Tabgha where the miracle of the fishes and the loaves took place. Enjoy a short tour of Tiberias – the old centre of Jewish learning. Overnight: Galilee
Day 14 - Coastal Plain
Depart for Acre (Akko) to explore the Knights’ Halls and the secret Crusader tunnels, then to Haifa to view the magnificent Bahai gardens from atop Mount Carmel. Stop at Caesarea, to visit the Roman Theatre and the Crusader Fortress. Continue to Tel Aviv and Jaffa for a short city tour. Overnight: Tel Aviv
Day 15 - Free day OR Dead Sea and Masada
Enjoy a day at leisure. Take a walk along Tel Aviv’s famous beaches. OR
Dead Sea and Masada
Depart Tel Aviv and descend to the lowest place on earth. Drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to the rock fortress of Masada. Visit Herod’s palaces, dating back 2000 years. Then hear about the zealots who defied the Roman Empire from this location. Enjoy a chance to swim in the Dead Sea (weather permitting). The water is so rich in salts and minerals that you float! Overnight: Tel Aviv
Day 16 - Departure
Transfer to the airport for departure.
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