From Antioch to Nicaea: 17 Days

Antioch_to_Niceae

We will enjoy touring through perhaps the most surreal landscape on earth. Thousands of years of erosion of the earth have formed the so-called Fairy chimneys. Following the footsteps of Paul, the first Christians came to settle in the natural grottoes where they created rock carved churches and under ground cities, and painted the churches with important narratives from the Bible in luminous colors.

 


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TRIP ITINERARY

Day 1 Flight Day
We depart en route to Istanbul with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

Day 2 Istanbul
Upon our arrival we are met by our Eon Tours representative who will accompany us throughout our tour. We are escorted to our private motor coach, which will transfer us to our hotel for the overnight. Dinner is served at a local restaurant.

Day 3 Istanbul
After breakfast we unfold Istanbul’s rich quilt of cultures, Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam, the main fabrics. We begin at Haghia Sophia, at one time the premier church in Christendom, later a mosque and now a museum. Nearby are the Roman Hippodrome and the Ottoman Blue Mosque. We end our day in the otherworldly underground cistern.

mosaics_turkey

Day 4 Antakya
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our early morning flight to Adana. We will drive to the city of Tarsus, the birth place of Paul (Acts 9:11, 30; 11:25, 21:39, 22:3, 25-29). After lunch in Tarsus we drive to Antakya via the Issus Plain where Alexander the Great defeated King Darius. We will visit the Grotto of Peter in Antioch (Acts 6:5; 11:19-27; 13:1-3; 14:26; 15:1-2, 22-35; Gal. 2:11; II Tim. 3:11) and explore the old city of Antioch in the afternoon.

Day 5 Antakya
We will start our day by visiting Antakya Mosaic Museum which reflects the grandeur of Roman Antioch, one of the four great cities of Roman Empire. After lunch we will drive to Seleucaea ad Pieraea (Acts 13:4). We will walk through the Titus Tunnel and visit Roman tombs carved into the cliffs. We end our day in the Monastery of Simon the Stylite at the top of Samandag.

Day 6 Cappadocia
We will drive via Syrian and Cilician Gates on our way to Cappadocia (Acts 2:9; 1 Pet. 1:1). We follow the track of the ancient travelers including the early Christian Missionaries from Antioch and Jerusalem. We will visit Eskigumus Monastery and its matchless frescoes depicting young Mary and infant Jesus. We will end our day in the labyrinths of the Underground City where early Christians took refuge during the severe persecutions.

Capadoccia_turkey

Day 7 Cappadocia
Today we will enjoy touring through perhaps the most surreal landscape on earth. Thousands of years of erosion of the earth have formed the so-called Fairy chimneys. Following the footsteps of Paul, the first Christians came to settle in the natural grottoes where they created rock carved churches and under ground cities, and painted the churches with important narratives from the Bible in luminous colors. Today we explore the Goreme Monastery, Zelve Valley, Uchisar Village, Cavusin Village and Avanos where the Cappadocian fathers formulated their Trinitarian theology.

Day 8 Konya
We follow the route once used by caravans on the Silk Road. We will visit and 13th Century caravanserai in the morning. At noon we will arrive in Konya, known as Iconium in antiquity. Iconium (Acts 13:51; 14:1-6, 19; 2 Tim. 3:11) was a stop on Paul’s first missionary journey, and a “site” of apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla. We visit the Church of Paul and Mevlana Museum, burial site of Rumi, famous Sufi poet and founder of Whirling Dervishes.

historical_site_turkey

Day 9 Antalya
Our first stop today is Yalvac, known as Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14-52; 16:2; 2 Tim. 3:11). This is an important city in Paul’s first journey where he gave his first recorded sermon. Pisidian Antioch was a Roman Colony with an Imperial Cult center dedicated Augustus. Crossing the Taurus mountain range, we continue to Antalya by following the route of Paul’s journey. The city of Antalya sits on sheer cliffs above the blue Mediterranean with a green plateau stretching behind the city to magnificent pine forests. Antalya Archeological Museum is our last visit before checking in our hotel.

Day 10 Antalya
Today we visit Perge, a reconstructed Hellenistic city, with a marvelous city plan, including baths, temples, an agora and a theater; a site of Paul’s preaching (Acts 13:13-14; 14:25). We continue to Aspendos, the site of the best preserved Roman Theater in Asia Minor. We will enjoy our free afternoon by strolling through the streets of the old harbor of Antalya, known in the ancient time as Attalia (Acts 14:25).

Day 11 Pamukkale
We will drive to the ancient city of Aphrodisias, where the Romans dedicated massive monuments to Aphrodite. In Aphrodisias, archeologists unearthed an inscription which proves the existence of God-fearers mentioned in the Bible. We continue to Laodicaea, one of the seven churches in the Revelation of John (Rev. 3:14-22; Col. 2:1; 4:13-16). We drive to Hierapolis (Col. 4:13) via the Lycos Valley (Letter to the Colossians and Letter to Philemon) and onto to Pamukkale, famous for its wonderful mineral baths.

Day 12 Izmir
We will drive to the town of Selcuk through the valley of the River Maeander. Our focus today is Ephesus (Letter to the Ephesians, Revelation 1:11; 2:1-7; Acts 18:19-28; 19:1-41) the most impressive archeological site in Turkey. Paul spent two years in Ephesus between ca 52 and 54. From Ephesus, he wrote letters to Galatia, Philippi, and Corinth. Our excursion visits the great theatre (Acts 19:29), the site of the scene of the riot from which Paul escaped. A short walk from the theatre we will see the Council Church where they held the Third Ecumenical Council in 431. Plus we see the Temple of Artemis (Roman Diana), one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We also visit the Selcuk Museum, the Basilica of John and the House of Mary. We will drive to Izmir, ancient Smyrna (Rev. 1:11; 2:8-11) in the afternoon.

Day 13 Ayvalik
In Sardis (Rev. 3:16) we visit the Temple of Artemis, Roman bath and the biggest Jewish Synagogue of Asia Minor. Passing via Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29; Acts 16:14), we arrive in Bergama. We visit the acropolis of Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17) and the altar of Zeus described as “the throne of Satan” in the Book of Revelation. We continue to the Asclepion, the ancient healing sanctuary of Asclepius and Apollo.

tiles_turkey

Day 14 Bursa
We will drive along the Aegean Coast overlooking Lesbos Island. We will visit Assos (Acts 20:13-14) where Aristotle taught for three years before he became the tutor of Alexander. Alexandria Troas (Acts 16:8-11; 20:5-12; 2 Cor. 2:12-13; 2 Tim. 4:13) is our next stop. Paul traveled through this city between Macedonia and Asia Minor and once preached until morning (Acts 2:10). We visit legendary Troy on Dardanelles and continue to Bursa..

Day 15 Istanbul
In Bursa we visit Ulu Mosque and Kozahan Bazaar from the 14th century, where you can purchase finest silk items in Turkey. We continue along the Iznik Lake to Nicaea. We visit the church of Haghia Sophia in Nicaea where they held the First Ecumenical Council to formulate the Nicaean Creed in 325 and the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787. We take ferry boat from Yalova to Istanbul and cruise on the Sea of Marmara.

Day 16 Istanbul
We begin with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman sultans and their households. Then we continue to Kariye Museum where the superb mosaics and frescoes decorate the walls of 14th century church just before the fall of the city to Turks. Later we visit the famous covered bazaars to meander among the thousands of shops. It is time to bargain.

Day 17 Departure
We transfer to the Istanbul Airport and fly back to home.

 

TRİP COST

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ROUTE MAP

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CLIMATE

 Average air temperatures in Fahrenheit (and Celsius) and number of rainy days by month along the route (Istanbul and Antalya)

  May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
IstanbulMaximum70 (21)
77 (25)
84 (29)
84 (29)
77 (25)
68 (20)
Minimum52 (11)
59 (15)
64 (18)
64 (18)
54 (15)
53 (12)
Wet Days
8
5
4
5
6
10

 May
JunJul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Marmaris68 (20)
72 (22)
75 (24)
79 (26)
77 (25)
73 (23)
Antalya70 (21)
75 (24)
81 (27)
82 (28)
81 (27)
77 (25)
Wet days8
5
4
5
6
10

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