Apostle Paul’s Missionary Journey and St. John’s Book of Revelation 12 days (excluding Patmos)
Arrive in Athens, where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
In the morning, admire the architectural miracles of ancient Athens, as you follow your guide to the world-renowned Acropolis to see the Propylea, the Erectheum and the Parthenon. Visit Mars Hill where Paul delivered his speech on the “Unknown God”. View the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. During the bus tour, you see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and Neoclassical buildings of Athens like the National University, the National Library and the Academy. Then, you continue your trip to Ancient Corinth. This is the once glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla and spent a year and a half preaching the Gospel. You visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth. Then you drive to Cenchreae, the little harbor Paul sailed back to Asia from ending his second missionary journey. Back to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Your journey in the mainland of Greece begins with a drive from Athens to Kalambaka, central Greece. Here you find scenery of unique and striking beauty: perched on top of huge granite pinnacles, you see the ageless Meteora Monasteries full of treasures of Christian art. Visit one of them and drive to your hotel in Kalambaka for dinner and overnight.
This morning you get a taste of the beautiful countryside of Central and Northern Greece as you drive from Kalambaka to Veria, where you visit the Bema of the Apostle Paul. Continue to Thessaloniki and get acquainted with the city of Jason and Paul. See the White Tower, the Rotonda, the Roman Arch of Galerius, the Byzantine Acropolis and visit the most famous church of Thessaloniki, the Basilica of St. Demetrius. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.
Follow the route of the Via Egnatia and visit the area of Amphipolis, like Paul and his companion, to see the famous funerary Lion of Amphipolis and the site of Philippi. There, you visit the Baptistery of Lydia near the river, where Paul baptized her. Lydia was the first convert of Paul on European soil, followed by the jailer. Also visit the ruins of the Forum of Philippi, the Christian Basilicas, the “Prison of Paul” and the Theater. Drive to Kavala (Neapolis), a picturesque city-port, and view the Byzantine Castle and the Roman Aqueduct. Dinner and overnight in Kavala.
Depart from Kavala and drive through the Greek part of Thrace, passing by the towns of Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis. Arrive at the border between Greece and Turkey and cross over to the Turkish part of Thrace. Your final destination is Istanbul (Constantinople), the city which straddles two continents. The capital of the Byzantine Empire for more than one thousand years and of the Ottoman Empire for more than five hundred years, Istanbul is famous for many beautiful places and museums, which you will have the opportunity to see the next day. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Begin your “Istanbul City tour”. The tour starts with the Blue Mosque, the most splendid mosque in the city, distinguished by six slender minarets and an interior decorated with blue Iznik tile. The tour continues with a walk through the Hippodrome, the center of Byzantine civic life housing three ancient monuments. The Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. Visit Aghia Sophia (Divine Wisdom), one of the greatest churches in the world, built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. After the conquest of the city in 1453, it was transformed into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror and in 1934, it was transformed into a museum by Ataturk. In the afternoon visit the famous Topkapi Palace, where the rich collection of Ottoman Treasures can be seen. The palace with a base area of 700.000 sq m is spread over the promontory called the Seraglio Point, from where you can view the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. This legendary maze of buildings was the residence of the Ottoman sultans and the administrative heart of the Empire. Nowadays, it is one of the world’s greatest museums. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.
Early in the morning, you fly to Izmir. From Izmir airport, you visit St. Polycarp’s Church and, afterwards, you drive north to Pergamum, which was one of the principal political and cultural centers of the Hellenistic and Roman world, as well as one of the Seven Churches. Among the impressive structures of this city, dating back to 399 B.C., you can see the Altar of Zeus, the Temple of Dionysus and the Library which was surpassed only by the one found in Alexandria. The Asclepieion of Pergamum was a famous health center, where methods of treatment included blood transfusions, music therapy and meditation. On the way back to Izmir, visit the city of Thyatira to see the remains of the Church. This was one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation. Dinner and overnight in Izmir.
Departure for Sardis, which holds a prominent place in the heart of the Christians as one of the Seven Churches and houses the 3 rd century A.D. Synagogue, Gymnasium, Temple of Artemis and, of course, the Church. The next visit on the itinerary is Philadelphia, another one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation, which was an important Christian center during Byzantine times. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
Drive on to Laodicea, where the remains of the city are found on a flat-topped hill. Christianity came to the area during the time of Paul, brought by Epaphras of Colossae. Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation, became the seat of a Bishop and hosted an important Ecumenical Council in the 4 th A.D. Highlights are the Water Tower, Stadium and the Council Chamber. The next stop will be Aphrodisias, a city dedicated to the Goddess of Beauty and Love. Known as a center of art, science, sculpture and festivals, this city boasts well-preserved ruins among which the Theater, Stadium, Baths and the “Bishop’s Palace” are but a few. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
In the morning, you drive to the ancient city of Ephesus, where Paul spent three years during his 3 rd missionary journey. The impressive remains of Ephesus include the Agora, the Theater, the Stadium, the Library of Celsius, the ruins of the Temple of Diana (one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”) and many more. Later, you will be transferred to Izmir airport and you will board your flight to Athens. Arrival in Athens and check-in at the hotel for your farewell dinner and overnight.
Fly back home with a new insight into Paul’s life and teachings.