Travel with swrc and btip!
Turkey and Greece - Paul's Missionary Journey's PLANNED ITINERARY
Day 1- Depart the USA
Day 2 - Arrive in Athens
Arrive at the Athens airport this morning, where your guide will meet you. Enjoy the rich architectural splendor of the ancient city of Athens as your guide introduces you to the world-renowned Acropolis, the Propylaea, the Parthenon, and the Erectheum. Stand on Mars Hill as the Apostle Paul did when he proclaimed, “I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23). As you stroll the agora, the ancient marketplace and center of Athenian public life, recall that this was where the Apostle Paul preached “Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18) to the skeptical Athenians. Also, see the House of Parliament, the Presidential Palace, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Dinner and overnight is spent in Athens.
Day 3 – Corinth & Cenchrae
Journey to the city of Corinth, where the Apostle Paul met fellow tentmakers Aquilla and Priscilla and received a vision from the Lord saying, "I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city" (Acts 18: 10). As Paul spoke, Crispus (chief ruler of the synagogue) and many others believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8), establishing the church at Corinth to Whom Paul later wrote his two epistles.Discover the archaeological museum, marketplace and temples. As you walk among the ruins, stand on the Bema, where the Apostle Paul stood before Gallio to face charges brought against him by the Jews. Stop briefly at the port town of Cenchree from which Paul later departed for Syria (Acts 18: 12-18). Return to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 – Thessaloniki & Veria
Fly from Athens to Thessaloniki this morning. Discover Thessaloniki, where Paul was accused of turning the world upside down with his preaching of Christ (Acts 17: 3-6). As you explore St. George's Basilica, believed to be built over the synagogue where Paul preached, reflect on the two epistles the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church here. Stroll through the archaeological museum and the beautiful basilicas of St. Sophia and St. Demetrios. St. Demetrios is dedicated to a distinquished Roman proconsul martvred for his Christian faith. Along the Via Egnatia stands the Galerius Arch, and you can look out over the second-largest city in Greece from the Old City Ramparts, some dating back to Roman times. Follow the path of Paul when he fled Thessaloniki for the safety of Veria (Berea), where Jews and some honorable Greeks accepted the new faith (Acts 17: 10 -12). Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.
Day 5 - Amphipolis, Philippi & Neapoli
Follow in the footsteps of Paul and Silas to Amphipolis and explore the ruins of the many Christian basilicas there. In Philippi is a baptismal site commemorating where God opened the heart of Lydia (a seller of purple from Thyatira) to hear the words of Paul (Acts16:13 -15). Lydia and her household were the first Christian converts baptized on European soil. View the Roman-era crypt thought to have served as a prison for the Apostle Paul, and explore Philippi's famous acropolis, marketplace, the Basilica of Paul, and theater.
Today's last stop is Neapolis (Kavala), one of Greece's most picturesque mainland ports where Paul landed with his disciples, Timothy, and Silas. See the Roman aqueduct and acropolis before returning to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Journey to Istanbul
Today, you will cross the border into Turkiye. Upon arrival in Turkiye, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the Istanbul Airport for your flight to Cappadocia. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 7 – Cappadocia
Explore Cappadocia's amazing cone-shaped rock formations which create a fairy-tale landscape. Even today, people make their homes in the cliffs and rock cones of Cappadocia. It is estimated that over 3,000 rock churches exist in the region. You will visit the rock chapels of Goreme, the cave village of Avcilar, and the monastic complex of Zelve. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 8 – Konya
Before departing Cappadocia, you have the option for an early morning balloon ride (additional charge). Also, visit the underground city of Ozkonak. Explore Konya or ancient Iconium, where Paul the Apostle and Barnabas invested a lot of their missionary efforts preaching the Gospel despite persecution. Dinner and overnight in Konya.
Day 9 - Antioch in Pisidia and Tel Colossae
Arrive in Pisidian Antioch, the site of Paul's first recorded speech. Paul delivered it in the synagogue among His fellow Jews. He spoke of the wonders God had done throughout Israel's history that led to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 13:14 -52). The Jews were outraged at this. Paul and Barnabas were expelled from the city, but not before the Gentiles in Antioch heard the Gospel and were persuaded that it is indeed the truth that leads to Life Eternal. These believers then established the first-ever fully Gentile Christian community. Stop at Tel Colossae, home of a Pauline Church. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 10 – Laodicea & Hieropolis
Hierapolis is blessed by hot mineral springs and some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Asia Minor. Paul mentions Hierapolis in his Letter to the Colossians in saluting Epaphras, a fellow laborer, for his love of the brethren there (Colossians 4:13). The ruins cover more than a mile. You will see the impressive amphitheater with seats still in perfect condition. You will see the city gates, column-lined streets, and arches, which have stood through time and earthquakes. Today, the area is known as Pamukkale, meaning "Cotton Castle" named for thelimestone-laden hot springs which cascade from one white-edged terrace pool to the next. The Christians of Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches (Rev. 3: 14-22), were chastised for being lukewarm, "You are neither cold nor hot" (Rev. 3:15), and for being too comfortable incorporating pagan and Christian beliefs. In the famous scripture from Revelation (3: 20-21), Jesus says to the Laodicean church:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock...
" Today, there are many acres of ruins to see, including the stadium and columned streets.
Dinner and overnight is in Kusadasi.
Day 11 – Ephesus
Ephesus is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev. 1: 17). In ancient days, Ephesus was a bustling port town of 250,000, graced with wide, colonnade bordered streets. Today, you will be impressed with the spectacular excavations of the major streets of ancient Ephesus.
You will view the library and the huge agora. The Temple of Artemis was declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Today, only a single column remains to mark the site. You will visit the Basilica of St. John, the traditional site of his grave. From the basilica, enjoy a commanding view of the area. You will visit the Museum of Ephesus for an up-close look at artifacts from the ancient city. You will have time to explore this powerful city on your own and recreate some of the footsteps of Paul. Fly from Izmir back to Istanbul for dinner and overnight.
Day 12 – Istanbul
The bejeweled capital of Istanbul sits between two continents and is home to 450 mosques. You will visit the famous Blue Mosque with its six minarets and sparkling interior. Walk through Hagia Sophia, which was the largest church in Christendom for 1,000 years, built by Justinian (532-537 AD). The church has 107 columns, fossil-embedded, white marble floors, and beautiful glass mosaics. Enjoy the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, thyme, and other exotic spices as you explore the Grand Bazaar. Over 4,000 shops sell everything from herbs to gold. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Day 13 - Return Home