Arrive in Izmir and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Izmir..
After leaving the hotel at 8:15 and then visiting Smyrna Agora at 8:30 drive to visit Ephesus Antique City*, the most visited ancient Biblical site of Turkey with many acres of carefully excavated ruins, also sites of the palace and the temple of Domitian, the Caesar who exiled John the Revelator to Patmos, and amphitheater where the crowd rioted because of the success of Paul’s evangelism for Pergamum. Drive on to Miletus, the famous Ionian city that had also been visited by St. Paul during his missionary trip. Overnight in Selcuk
After visiting the Church of St. Polycarp (This can be visited with an appointment only and the itinerary is subject to change depending on the confirmation time by the Chuirch. We will do our best to confim the earliest possible time though), the oldest church in ancient Smyrna. Drive on to Pergamum. After visits to the Asclepion, Acropolis and Red Courtyard, that served as Temple of Serapis and later symbolized one of the Seven Churches of Anatolia, drive back to Izmir via Thyatira. Overnight in Selcuk.
Departure for Sardis, the capital of Lydian Kingdom which houses one of the seven churches, and see the ruins of the largest Jewish synagogue ever excavated. Also, visit the nearby Artemis Temple. Continue to Alasehir (Philadelphia) to see the Church of St. John. In the late afternoon visit ancient Hierapolis with the Theatre, Apollo Temple and magnificent Necropolis, the graveyard. Overnight in Pamukkale.
In the morning visit to the recently excavated Roman city Laodicea. In the afternoon tour Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite; visit the Museum, the Temple of Aphrodite, the Theatre, the Stadium, the Agora, the Hadrian Baths, the Odeon, and the Bishop’s Palace. Visit Colossae for Friday evening worship. Overnight in Pamukkale.
Early morning, drive to Yalvac to visit (Antiochus in Pisidia) and have Sabbath worship service. Then drive on to Konya and, time permitting, visit to the Mausoleum of Mevlana, the world-wide famous mystic figure (If arrived late in Konya, this visit will be made on the following morning before departing for Cappadocia). Overnight in Konya.
Drive to Cappadocia to visit Kaymakli Underground City, the place early Christians hid from persecutors, the Pigeon Valley near Uchisar, Open Air Museum in Goreme with the early Christian churches decorated with unique frescoes depicting various Biblical scenes. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Optional balloon tour at sunrise. Depart from the hotel at 09.30-10.00 depending on the arrival time of the balloon participants for a full day sightseeing in Cappadocia including Sinassos, Pasabagi in Zelve, an area where monks used to live in seclusion in rock cut rooms. Proceed to the pottery town of Avanos where the meandering Kizilirmak (Hallys), the longest river of Turkey, deposits the red clay on its banks that has been the raw material of pottery for centuries. After lunch Cavusin Village, an old Seljukian and Ottoman village, and Rose Valley. Shopping time for the well-known merits of the area. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Drive to the Hittite capital. Before visiting the main capital proceed to Yazilikaya (Bogazkale) to see the open air sanctuary as the direct morning sun light best reflects on the bas-reliefs. In the afternoon visit to the capital of Hattusas with Lion’s Gate, Tunnel, King’s Gate, Citadel and Grand Temple. Overnight in Ankara.
After visiting the Anatolian Civilizations Museum at which numerous remnants from Stone Age, Neolithic Age, Hittites, Urartians, Phrygians and many others are on display, Overnight in Istanbul.
Full day tour with St. Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of architecture constructed as a basilica in A.D. 536 by Emperor Justinian; Blue Mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its more than 20.000 blue Iznik tiles and unique with its 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet in the 17th century, one of the best examples of classical Turkish art; Hippodrome, the scene of Byzantine chariot races, athletic events, victory celebrations, and political activities of the old city where one can also see today the “Obelisk of Theodosius” from Egypt, “Serpentine Column” from Delphi, the “German Fountain of Wilhelm II” and the “Colossus”. Yerebatan Underground Cistern. In the afternoon, Topkapi Palace – Harem section is excluded – built in 1468 by Mehmet the Conqueror, the imperial residence of Ottoman sultans housing the souvenirs of 600 years and exhibiting imperial treasury, Chinese porcelains, weapons, calligraphy section, etc. Grand Covered Bazaar, which is one of the most attractive shopping centers in the world with nearly 4000 shops. Return to the hotel (You may also prefer returning to the hotel on your own if you like to spend longer time in the Bazaar). Overnight in Istanbul.
A morning tour to visit the aromatic Spice Bazaar (Closed on Sundays) from 1663 with its domed and vaulted shops selling spices and herbs along with a wide variety of commodities, also known as Egyptian Bazaar as it was once endowed with the Cairo imposts. Then proceed to the pier so as to embark the public ferry. Sailing through the waterway separating the two continents – Asia and Europe – with a possibility to take pictures of the marble palaces, ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture besides modern residentials. During this trip Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges as well as Rumelian Fortress, historical armament built by the Conqueror in 1452 to control and protect Bosphorus, will be visible from the sea. After having disembarked the boat get into the coach to get back to the city to visit the Archaeological Museum. Optional “Turkish Night Dinner Show”. Overnight in Istanbul.
Worship in the Istanbul SDA Church on Sabbath morning. In the afternoon visit Kariye Museum (St. Savior in Chora) and then free time to visit selected museums Overnight in Istanbul.
Bus transfer to the airport for the departure flight.
– 13 night’ accommodation including breakfast at the mentioned hotels (standard rooms)
– Air conditioned luxury bus with driver on tours
– Professional guiding on tours
– Lunches on tours
– All admission fees to the museums and sights
– International flight tickets
– Drinks during the lunches
– Not mandatory but customary tips