Encounter life as it was known to ancient believers of Asia Minor, and view the ruins and landscapes that played a role in their day-to-day lives.
Underlying the Christian history, we’ll also explore layers of empires, emperors, and battles that helped to bring this region andher cities to the world stage.
Fly to Hatay/Antakya, Turkey (HTY), where you'll be greeted by your guide.
Please note that at the conclusion of the tour guests will depart from a different city and airport than arrival.
Return flight should be arranged from Izmir (ADB) and not Antakya (HTY).
Explore Antioch, the city where East meets West. Though Antioch is identified as the place where followers of Christ were first called Christians and from where the Apostle Paul and Barnabas were sent out to share the Christian gospel, the significance of Antioch in Christian history begins two centuries before with a pagan frenetic and impulsive Seleucid emperor, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who reigned 175-163 B.C.E.
Spend the morning in Tarsus, hometown of the Apostle Paul. Famed for its schools rhetoric, Paul once described Tarsus as "no insignificant city" (Acts 21:39).
Then, travel to Cappadocia, home of two church fathers and converts from the day of Pentecost. Experience your first views of this land of wonder seated above caves and underground cities which housed the Church during its early days of persecution.
Enjoy your morning walking through the famous landscapes of the Pigeon Valley. Next, explore the Uçhisar Castle, a centuries-old citadel with excellent views of Cappadocia. Continue surveying the beautiful landscape from the Göreme Panorama and the Göreme Open Air Museum. After lunch in a tasty local restaurant, dive underground to explore the Kaymaklı or Özkonak Underground City. Lastly explore the Paşabağ “Fairy Chimney” rock formations.
Continue West toward Pisidian Antioch, where Paul preached his first sermon in Acts. Stop along the way in Iconium & Lystra, which were frequently visited by Paul and his companions. In Pisidian Antioch, explore the important imperial cult temple built by Augustus as well as a historic church dedicated to Paul by the early saints of Asia Minor.
Visit Perga, where Paul landed after sailing from the island of Cyprus. This wealthy city is famous for its historic ruins and for the separation of Paul and Mark. A little further east is Aspendos, impressive for both its magnificent aqueduct and its 20,000–seat theatre, the best–preserved in the whole of Turkey. Afterwards, enjoy time to walk and shop in the quaint restored area of the old harbor of Attalia, boasting views over the port from which Paul sailed.
Venture west to Demre to visit the ancient site of Myra, the city of Saint Nicholas, known as a defender of Christian faith and doctrine throughout the Great Persecution carried out by Diocletian. Enjoy its lovely Roman theater, Lycian tombs, and the port where Paul changed ships on his way to Rome.
Nestled near the longest beach in modern day Turkey sits the ancient site of Patara, which not only boasted a booming trade market but also well-known religious sites.
Venture over the Taurus mountains to the ancient tri-city area that included Colossae and Hierapolis, where Laodicea stood between its two neighboring cities. Cold mountain springs flowed through Colossae on one side, and the hot springs of Hierapolis created the calcium travertine-capped hills on the other. This natural landscape provides a picturesque reminder of the “lukewarm” critique Christ gave the Laodicean church in Revelation 3.
Make your way back toward the coast to the ancient city of Ephesus, where the Apostle Paul’s School of Tyrannus unleashed the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout Asia. After Ephesus, explore the history of Ottoman and modern Turkey by witnessing how their famous carpets are made. Finish the day with a visit to St. John’s Basilica and witness one of the world’s oldest baptismals.
Explore the excavations at Miletus, where Paul bid farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus at the end of his third journey (Acts 20). The sitecontains a large theater where an important inscription refers to the Jews and“God-fearers” of the city. Visit Didyma's Temple of Apollo with its well-known oracles and one of the sacred places of antiquity. Priene is home to both a (recently discovered) synagogue and a substantial Christian community during the Byzantine period.
Transfer to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) by 6:00 pm.
*Overnight in Kuşadası followed by morning airport transfer available by request.
Enrich your insight. Enjoy your tour.