THE OTHER HOLY LAND
.....I was caught up in the spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’
Did you know?
- Turkey is called the Other Holy Land as it has more biblical sites than any other country in the Middle East. 60% of places mentioned in the new testament are in Turkey.
- Turkey is important in the study of the New Testament, because a significant number of its books were written by the Apostles Paul, Peter or John either to or from Turkey.
- Turkey’s rich spiritual heritage starts at the very beginning in the book of Genesis
- Many Christians are unfamiliar with Turkey’s unique role in the BIBLE because of the geographical terminology used in Biblical reference works.
THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF REVELATION
This trip is ideal for:
• BIBLE Study Groups
• Spiritual Reunions
• Religious Reunions
• Educational Groups
• Seminary and BIBLE College students
• Senior Citizens/Retirees
• Heads of Conventions/Ministries
• Leaders and Members of various Ministry Groups: Women,
Men, Teenagers, Seniors, Young Adults, Single Parents, etc.
• Special occasion celebrations (Wedding, Honeymoon, Anniversary,
Birthdays, Family reunions, etc.)
• People of all faiths and religions are welcome
• Appropriate for all ages 9 to 99
10 NIGHTS / 11 DAYS
3 nights Izmir, 1 night Pamukkale, 1 night Konya, 1 night Cappadocia,1 night Ankara, 3 nights Istanbul
Izmir- Smyrna - Pergamum - Thyatira - Ephesus - Sardis -Philadelphia - Pamukkale
Day 1 - Izmir
Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred by motor coach from the airport to the hotel. Welcome refreshments will be served at the hotel during check in to your room. A short orientation meeting will be held in which the trip will be outlined. Overnight in Izmir
Day 2 - Smyrna
We will begin our tour with a visit to the church of St. Polycarp which is the oldest church in ancient Smyrna (Rev. 1:11; 2:8), and represents ancient Smyrna’s role as one of the Seven Churches in Revelation.
Smyrna was the second one of the seven Christian churches in Asia Minor to which the Apostle John wrote (Revelation 1:11). We will then visit Alexander the Great’s “Velvet Castle” overlooking the bay of Izmir. Drive along the Aegean coastline to the hilltop city of Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17), with a visit to Acropolis. Its majestic Acropolis was built on a commanding hill above the modern city of Bergama.
Notable structures still in existence on the upper part of the Acropolis include: The Hellenistic Theater with a seating capacity of 10,000. This had the steepest seating of any known theater in the ancient world, the Sanctuary of Trajan (also known as the Trajaneum) and the Sanctuary of Athena.
After lunch visit the Asclepium. Named after Asclepios, these temples were the nearest thing to a hospital in the ancient world. Pergamum was the birthplace of Galen, who in the medical history of the ancient world is second only to Hippocrates.
At Thyatira (Rev. 2: 18-28), you will see the ruins of an ancient commercial centre, located in the fertile Lycus River Valley through which the trade route passed. According to Acts 16:14, Thyatira was the home of Lydia, a “dealer in purple cloth” and a “worshiper of God” whom Paul encountered at Philippi in Macedonia. She became Paul’s first convert to Christianity in Europe. Overnight in Izmir. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 3 - Ephesus
Full day tour to the ancient city of Ephesus where the Apostle Paul lived and preached for almost three years. The Church at Ephesus was established in A.D. 53. The letter to the Ephesians was not to confront a specific problem or to counteract heresy but to strengthen and encourage the believers in Ephesus
We will see the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the theater, the Double Church (The Church of Mary) where the third ecumenical council was convened in A. D. 431.
After lunch we visit the basilica of St. John where St. John was buried and Pilgrims pay homage to the evangelist John. The Basilica of St. John now stands over the site of the apostle’s tomb. The Virgin Mary was said to have accompanied John to the region where John lived and preached. The site has increased its popularity since the
pilgrimage of the Pope to the sacred shrine.
We will also visit the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, which was once one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus remain a sacred site for Christians from all over the world. Its association with biblical figures including Paul and the Virgin Mary at other local sites make it a popular destination which has also been visited by the Pope.
We will then visit the Virgin Mary’s House. It is believed that Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to Ephesus to live out the last days of her life.
The house she was thought to have lived in sits at a top of a mountain and can be visited freely. Overnight in Izmir. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 4 - Pamukkale
Sardis (Rev. 1:11; 3:1-4); Philadelphia (Rev. 1:11; 3:7)
After breakfast we will drive to Sardis. Seven hundred years before the letter was written to Church in Sardis, it had been one of the greatest cities in the ancient world. Sardis was the capital of the Lydian empire and was located on the banks of the Pactolus River, just 60 miles inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. We will visit the Synagogue of Sardis which is notable for its size and location. In size it is one of the largest ancient synagogues excavated. In location it is found in the center of the urban center, instead of on the periphery as synagogues typically were.
We will also visit A large complex built in center of the lower city in the 2nd century AD which included a gymnasium and a bathhouse.
Afterwards we will visit Philadelphia with its famous church of Philadelphia, the youngest of all the seven cities. The city of Philadelphia was founded by colonists from Pergamum under the reign of Attalus II who ruled in Pergamum from 159 –138 B.C. Philadelphos is the Greek for “one who loves his brother.” Such was the love of Attalus for his brother Eumenes that he was called Philadelphos, and it was after him that Philadelphia was named.
We will finally arrive at Pamukkale. Cotton Castle, Pamukkale’s translated name, is a tremendously popular site. Seventeen hot-water springs in the area spill out water in temperatures ranging from 95 degrees to 212 degrees and contain a high concentration of calcium bicarbonate. The water flows off a cliff, cools and hardens into calcium deposits that form terraces, as white as cotton and bright enough
to be easily seen from the town of Denizli, which is 12 miles away.
These terraces, which continue to grow, hold pools of water. Soakers are welcome; shoes are not, to protect the deposits.
Hierapolis, the “Sacred City,” is located at present-day Pamukkale in south central Turkey. Only 12 miles from Colossae and 6 miles from Laodicea, Hierapolis received formal status as a city from the King of Pergamum in the early second century B.C. Hierapolis’ extensive remains include a Roman theatre, baths, city walls and a necropolis.
Before AD 70 Phillip the evangelist lived in Hierapolis. Overnight in Pamukkale. (Breakfast, Dinner).
Day 5 - Konya
Laodicea(Rev. 1:11; 3:14)
Morning visit to Laodicea which is situated 7 kilometers from Pamukkale. You will have a chance to see the place where one of the most financially wealthy but spiritually bankrupt of the seven churches of Revelation used to stand.
Laodicea was a great centre for clothing manufacturing and a noted medical center. Their medical school was famous for two things throughout the known world, ointment for the ear and ointment for the eyes. You will get to see the amphitheater and the monumental fountain. The most outstanding monument of Laodicea is the stadium with a length of almost 355 and a width of 65 meters, which used to be one of the most important stadiums of antiquity.
Konya, is the modern day name for the ancient city of Iconium. The Apostles Paul and Barnabas preached in Iconium during the first missionary Journey in about AD
47-48 (Acts 14:1-5 and Acts 14:21). On his second missionary journey to Iconium (Acts 16: 1-6) A.D. 49-51 Paul recruited Timothy of Lystra to accompany him because he was well known and respected in Iconium.
On a cultural note, Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate of Rum (“ROOM,” that is, Rome) which flourished in Central Anatolia from 1071 to 1275. For 800 years Konya has been Turkey’s city of Whirling Dervishes. We will visit the Mevlana Museum which shelters the tomb of Jelaleddin Rumî (1207-1273), known to his followers as Mevlana (or Rumî), a Muslim poet and mystic and one of the great spiritual thinkers and teachers of his day. Rumi was an accomplished poet whose long work of poetry The Masnawi is regarded as a masterpiece of Persian literature. It is often called the Divan of Shams-iTabriz after the wandering dervish who was Rumi’s inspiration and spiritual companion.
During the Mevlana service, known as a sema, the dervishes wear a full-length white flowing gown, which swirls as they perform their distinctive whirling dance, accompanied by the plaintive strains of the ney.
We will also visit Antioch Pisidia located on the banks of the Anthius River. Founded prior to 280 B.C., it was declared a free city by the Romans in 189 B.C.,and named a Roman colony by Augustus prior to 6 B.C. This was a thoroughly Hellenized, Greek speaking city and was visited by Paul and Barnabas during the first of their missionary journeys recorded in Acts 13:14. Overnight in Konya. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 6 - Cappadocia
In the morning we will visit Cappadocia which is the name of the ancient province in central Anatolia. The irresistible region is created through violent eruptions of the volcanoes Mt. Erciyes (3,916 m.) and Mt. Hasan (3,268 m.) three million years ago. The Taurus mountains, which are technically part of the Alpine chain, in their creation 60 million years ago, caused the warping of the Anatolian plateau. The resulting volcanoes, including the spectacular Mount Erciyas and Mount Hasan, produced the tuff from which the unique landscape of Cappadocia is formed.
We will visit several underground cities (Kaymaklı Underground City), largely used by early Christians as hiding places before Christianity became an accepted religion. The underground cities have vast defense networks of traps throughout their many levels. These traps are very creative, including such devices as large round stones to block doors and holes in the ceiling through which the defenders may drop spears. These defense systems were mainly used against the Romans. Overnight in Cappadocia. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 7 - Cappadocia
After breakfast we will visit Göreme Open Air Museum. The rocks of Cappadocia near Göreme eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars and minaret-like forms. People of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. Göreme became a monastic centre in A.D. 300— 1200. The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site of the monastic communities in Cappadocia and is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. The complex contains more than 30 churches and chapels carvedfrom-rock, some having superb frescoes inside dating from the 9th to the 11th century.
These Christian sanctuaries contain frescoes that are a unique artistic achievement from this period. Tokalı Kilise (or the Church of the Buckle), is the largest church in Göreme. The church contains frescoes of the twelve apostles, the saints and scenes from the life of Jesus.Overnight in Ankara. (B, D)
Today's Optional Tours
Day 8 - Ankara
Ankara (historically known as Angora) is the capital of Turkey and the country’s second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of 938 meters (3,077 ft). Centrally located in Anatolia, Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city. It is the center of the Turkish Government, and houses all foreign embassies. It is an important crossroads of trade, strategically located at the center of Turkey’s highway and railway networks, and serves as the marketing centre for the surrounding agricultural area. The city was famous for its longhaired Angora goat and its prized wool (mohair), a unique breed of cat (Angora cat), Angora rabbits and their prized wool (Angora wool), pears, honey, and the region’s muscat grapes.
After breakfast we will drive to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (19 May 1881– 10 November 1938) was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament. The mausoleum completed in 1953, is an impressive fusion of ancient and modern architectural styles. An adjacent museum houses a wax statue of Atatürk, his writings, letters and personal items, as well as an exhibition of photographs recording important moments in his life and during the establishment of the Republic. Drive to Istanbul. (B)
Day 9 - Istanbul
A short guided walking tour through the old city will take us first to the pearl of Byzance, Hagia Sofia, a 6th century masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, built as a Christian church, converted to a mosque in 1453, and made into a museum in the middle of the 20th century. The Church was dedicated to the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, its dedication feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the Birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture.” It remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years thereafter, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.
Walk around the Hippodrome, the heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life. See also the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I, called the Blue Mosque because of its interior tiles. It has one main dome, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. We will then go down to Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi, called the Basilica Cistern (or Sunken Palace) After lunch, we continue to the Topkapi Palace, which was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans, from 1465 to 1853 (for approximately 400 years). The palace is full of examples of Ottoman architecture and also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasure and jewelry.
The tour concludes with a visit to the Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered market in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Overnight in Istanbul. (B)
Day 10 - Istanbul
After breakfast we will be taking a Bosphorus Cruise (3 hours). We will board a private yacht. Cruise in style along the Asian and European shores for great views of
Istanbul including the European Side, Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Rumeli Fortress, Bosphorus Bridge, Asian Side and more. You’ll get to see the domes and minarets of Old Istanbul, Leander’s Tower (Kız Kulesi), the sprawling new districts of office towers, and the sweep of the Bosphorus to the north and the Sea of Marmara to the south. After that, you will have a leisurely day on your own which you can visit various sites such as Spice Market or other notable sites.
Recommendations will be provided. Overnight in Istanbul. Special FarewellDinner(Breakfast, Dinner)
Today's Optional Tours
Day 11 - Istanbul
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport. This will be the end of our services. (B)
• International Direct Flight from Washington DC/NY/NJ
• All hotel accommodations as described (4 and 5 star or equivalent
• Turkish domestic airfare (USA-Istanbul-Izmir)
• Meals as per itinerary (B=breakfast / L=Lunch / D=Dinner)
• EXCLUSIVE: In order to enjoy Turkish Hospitality in a truly home-style
fashion, special arrangements have been made to enjoy Turkish tea at a
local Turkish home. Every attempt will be made to have multiple Turkish
Christian Families to host our Group. This will allow us to learn firsthand
about their culture, lives and Christianity in Turkey.
• BIBLE-Oriented English speaking professional tour guide throughout
• Fellowship at a local church
• A private deluxe Air-Conditioned bus with professional tour bus driver
• Main entrance fees for all the sites
• Bosphorus cruise on a Private Yacht - 3 hours (Bonus!)
• Ferry, tolls, parking fees, gasoline
• Tips to restaurants, hotels, bellboy
• Service Charges and Local Taxes
• Arrival and departure airport transfers
• Baggage handling
• Welcome Package with valuable trip information and multiple gifts sent
to your home prior to your departure
Note: most other tour packages do not include airfare as part of their
• Visa (can be obtained on arrival at airport in Turkey for $20 per person or on-line)
• Guide and driver tips
• Alcoholic beverages
• Personal expenses