8 days Tour of Turkey
1 night Istanbul, 2 nights Izmir, 1 night PamuKkale, 3 nights Kusadasi, 1 night Istanbul
DAY 1: ISTANBUL
Arriving to Istanbul, you will meet your guide in the hotel lobby and departure for your full-day tour in Istanbul. Your tour of Istanbul begins with St.Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom. The architectural marvel of all time. It was built during Emperor Justinian reign ( AD 537 ) and it remained the greatest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II who ordered to convert Hagia Sophia into a Mosque. In 1934, Atatürk proclaimed it a museum. The walls of this beautiful piece of architecture are decorated with gorgeous mosaics. Next, you will visit the Church of St. Saviour in Chora. After St. Sophia, St.Saviour Chora is the most important Byzantine Church in the city. It was built in the 11th century AD. The walls are decorated with breathtaking 14th century AD frescoes and mosaics. The mosaics relate to the life story of Virgin Mary and the life of Christ. Lunch is recommended at the Green House Garden, which is an old Ottoman house. You can taste traditional Turkish Cuisine in a lovely atmosphere. Then continue to explore ninety-two streets of the famous Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar is the largest and oldest covered Bazaar in Turkey with more than 4,000 shops. A variety of Turkish Handicrafts, Oriental carpets, rare jewels and inexpensive souvenirs all sold in small shops next to each other. The streets are named according to the trades, such as gold and silver sellers, carpet sellers, booksellers, etc. The most oriental atmosphere in Istanbul is found in the bazaar.
DAY 2: ISTANBUL
First, you will visit the Hippodrome, which was one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire. You will take a short walk to the Blue Mosque, completed in 1616, ıt is a triumph of harmony, proportion and elegance. The mosque was a part of a complex also ıncluding, tombs, fountains, kitchens, and a bath. Its colourful 260 windows enables the sunlight to reach inside. This makes the interior unusually light. The blue Iznik Tiles covering the walls have given the mosque its popular name, Blue Mosque. Next, you will visit St. Irene Church, which is important in Christian history as the setting of the meetings of the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. Then you will enter the magnificent Topkapı Palace, residence of the sultans for almost three centuries. It is located on the promontory jutting out between the Bosphorus Sea and the Golden Horn. This setting provides a magnificent view. The construction of the Topkapı Palace was completed between 1465 and 1478. Being the imperial residence of the sultan, his court and harem, the palace was also the seat of government for the Ottoman Empire. 4,000 people lived in the Palace. In the Treasury section, you will see the breathtaking displays, including the 7th largest diamond in the world, the “Spoonmaker’s Diamond”. Lunch is suggested at Konyali Restaurant featuring local specialties, which is located in the Topkapi Palace. After lunch, you will depart to Ataturk Airport for you flight to Izmir.
DAY 3: IZMIR
After breakfast, you will travel to Pergamum, one of the Seven Churches (Revelation 2:12-17). Explore Bergama Acropolis and the Remains of Asklepion that belong to Roman Empire times. Lunch is suggested in a local restaurant in Bergama. After lunch drive to Thyatira, which is another of the Seven Churches (Revelation 2:18-29) St. Paul may have visited Thyatira in his missionary journeys (Acts 19:10). Afterwards, you drive to Izmir and visit the Church of St. Policarp the oldest church in ancient Smyrna and another of the Seven Churches (Revelation 2:8-11).
DAY 4: PAMUKKALE
You will begin the day with a drive to Sardis. First, you will visit the massive scale of the Temple of Artemis and the white marble royal road, the gymnasium and the synagogue. You will explore Sardis, another of the Seven Churches (Revelation 3:1-6), berated by John the Prophet for its facade of strength when, in reality, it was weak. The ruins of Sardis are scattered throughout the valley, which lies beneath the striking ragged mountain range to the south. Lunch is suggested at a local restaurant on the way to Philadelphia. Then you will visit Philadelphia, one of the Seven Churches (Revelation 3:7-13), which was referred to as the ‘New Jerusalem’ in the Book of the Revelation, to visit the remains of the Cathedral there. At the end of the day you will arrive in Pamukkale and check-in to your hotel. You will have time to relax in the thermal pool and benefit from the health source water, containing many minerals.
DAY 5: KUSADASI
After breakfast, you will meet your guide in the hotel lobby and depart for another adventure. Hierapolis, which was a cure center (founded 190 BC by Eumenes II, king of Pergamum). Hierapolis is among the cities of the ancient world in which the grid-plan was applied. The Necropolis is the largest ancient cemetery in Anatolia with approximately 1,200 graves. The Theater is a 2C AD building in Roman style with many relief’s depicting scenes representing the Emperor Septimus Severus and from the life of dionysus. In the 3C AD, it was thought to be restored during the reign of Septimus Severus. Lunch is suggested in a local restaurant in Pamukkale. Then, you will drive to Laodicea one of the Seven Churches (Revelation 1:11) of Asia Minor. The ruins are spread over a large area. The stadium is visible. One of the two theatres is in better shape, with many of its upper tiers of seats remaining, though the bottom ones have collapsed. Next, you drive to Colossea, St. Paul wrote The Epistle to the Colossians, the 12th book of the new testament to the church at Colossea. An earthquake destroyed the city in 60 A.D. The ruins of the church can be seen.
DAY 6: PATMOS
After breakfast, you will be transferd to the port to embark your private boat. You will sail from Kusadasi to Patmos, and enjoy the blue waters of the Aegean. The island of Patmos, home of the sacred cavern of the Apolcalypse where St.John was inspired to write the Book of Revelations. Cracks in the wall of the cave are said to have appeared when he heard the voice of the Lord. The Monastery was built on one of the highest points of the island, and houses not only priceless paintings and icons, but also one of the best collections of historical Christian documents in the World. The library contains some three thousand antique books, a thousand of them hand written between the sixth and eighteenth centuries. Lunch will be served on board your private boat. At the end of the tour, you will embark your private boat and sail back to Kusadasi.
DAY 7: KUSADASI
The day will begin with a drive to Ephesus, the ancient ruins famous throughout the ancient world for its Temple of Artemis. The Great Theatre, dates back to the Hellenistic period. In the 1st century AD it was succesfully reconstructed, expanded by the Romans until it reached the seating capacity of 25,000. This is also the place where St.Paul preached. The acoustics today are as excellent as they were then. Marble Road, runs between the Library of Celsus and the theater and is a part of the sacred walk way. Then, proceed to the Celsus Library, The library is the best preserved structure of its kind. The inscription on the side of the building’s front staircase says that the library was build by Julius, in his father’s honour, after his death. His father, Celsus was the Roman governor of Asia Minor early in the 2nd century AD. Next visit will be the spectacular Terrace Houses (Villas) located on top of the hill within the City of Ephesus. They were inhabited by wealthy Ephesians, and are finely decorated with mosaics and frescos. The Terrace Houses were brought to light in excavations carried out since the 1980s. Along with those in Pompeii, they constitute some of the most vivid examples of Roman domestic architecture to survive to the present. Next visit in Ephesus is the Hadrian Temple, It was dedicated in 118 AD to Hadrian, Artemis, and the people of Ephesus but greatly reconstructed in the 4th century. This impressive Corinthian style temple has beautiful reliefs on the porch. According to the belief of Ephesians, the Medusa head on the porch, would protect the city from its enemies. Lunch is suggested at Artemis Restaurant, which was once a school located near the old Greek village of Sirince, where you can taste traditional cuisine. Then you will visit the Basilica of St.John. John and the Virgin Mary went to Ephesus between 42 and 48 AD and lived there. Three hundred years after the death of Saint John, a small chapel on the Ayasuluk Hill was constructed over his grave in the 4th century AD. This church was replaced in the 6th century AD by a huge basilica built by the Emperor Justinian, the impressive ruins of which are still visible. At the end of the day you will fly back to Istanbul.
DAY 8: After your breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Ataturk Airport for your international flight home with memories for a lifetime.