biblical tour itineraries in Turkey
Biblical Sites Tour Itinerary Route
Istanbul Ankara Cappadocia Tour 6 Days - Istanbul Western Turkey Tour 7 Days - Classical Western and Central Anatolia Tour 10 Days - Western Turkey Cappadocia Tour 11 Days - Eastern Turkey Cappadocia Tour 11 Days - Western Turkey Blue Voyage Cappadocia Tour 15 Days - Complete Central, Mediterranean And Western Turkey Tour 31 Days - Eastern Turkey Tour 15 Days - Biblical Sites Tour 17 Days - Archaeology Tour Turkey 26 Days - The Grand Tour Of Turkey 30 Tour Days - Abkhazia Tour - Some Custom Tours Performed
Arrival in Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Transfer to the hotel in
the Old City, where some of the houses remain as they were 100
years ago. After a brief introduction, we will begin our tour by
visiting the ancient Hippodrome where horse races took place in
the ancient Roman times. Blue Mosque which is among the
most beautiful examples of the Ottoman architecture is next.
Day 4. Istanbul - Ankara; Today is the day we will drive to Ankara 465 km from where you will be staying. After a drive of approx. 5 hours we will arrive at Ankara and visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations located in an ancient Caravanserail, built in the 15th century. Here I will give you an in depth historical and archaeological information based on my historical perspective of Asia Minor. Being located between Asia and Europe Asia Minor served as a bridge to many civilizations going principally from East to West and West to East and therefore it is the center of the world's history. After this visit we will proceed to the Mausoleum of Ataturk the national father and the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey and will be introduced to the recent history of modern Turkey.
Day 5. Ankara - Hattusa - Cappadocia; Early departure to the ancient Capital of Hittites. This mysterious, megalithic civilization using iron tools, immigrated from Caucasus and ruled over Asia minor for about 500 years. Visit of the site. The Great Temple, Lions Gate, Ground Gate and King's Gates along the city walls, the old palace of the Hittite Kings. Proceed to Yazilikaya where we will see an impressive size open air temple carved out of hard rocks. Here we will see a parade of relieves of some of the most important Gods of the Hittite pantheon. After this visit we will proceed to Hacibektas, a beautiful small town on our way to Cappadocia. Here we will come across the holy Monastery of Haci Bektas who was a philosopher and a poet of the Medioval ages. In this ancient Monastery among the tombs of derviches and many wonderful objects we will also see the "keskul" (beggers cup) used by future derviches forced to beg food from people in order to defeat their pride. Other instruments such as pazarci masasi, nefir, teber, mutekka were also used by derviches and I will explain you one by one what those were. After these visits we will get to Bayramhaci hot springs and relax before we arrive at Cappadocia.
Day 6. Cappadocia; Cappadocia, nature and man competed in creating some of the most unusual and most beautiful in the world. Enjoy the landscape like moon with endless formations created by the nature. The colors of the frescoes of these hundreds of years old churches are just as vivid as the colors of the rugs woven in the area. St. Paul visited the region, called Caesarea, on his 1st Missionary Journey. As you will visit the colorful "churches" of Cappadocia and admire the surrounding forms of this thrilling art buried in nature, it becomes easier to imagine how the ideas and teachings of St. Paul sprouted into life and affected the Cappadocians for thousands of years. We will start visiting Cappadocia by the old village of Sinassos. Meet local people there who used to live in Macedonia before the migration of 1923. Here we will visit the Church of Ayos Vasilios and take a walk by the Gomeda Valley. Continue to Damsa dam and arrive to Cemil village where we will see an old Chruch dating from 1914. Keslik Monastery located in the rocks will be our next stop. This old abandoned Monastery was once inhabited by Monks whose aim was to continue their existence in that pagan world of Romans of that time while trying to spread Christianity in the region. Soganli Valley (Valley of Onions) is another Valley where Christian Monks used to live. Here we will drive off road to reach the old St. Barbara church at the end of a dead end earth path. This church located at some of the most quiet places of Cappadocia is named St. Barbara and is decorated with beautiful frescoes showing important personalities and events of the Bible. Drawing pictures of Bible on the interior walls of the churches was one of best ways to spread the Christianity as most people were illiterate at that time. After we leave here we will see the underground city of Mazi where Christians of the first through fourth century had to hide away from their enemies. The same underground cities were used to hide from the Arab invaders from 7th to 10th centuries. In spite of the presence of a whole enemy army on the ground, Christians still felt safe as their security measures in these underground cities and their connections to the rest of underground Cappadocia with a series of hundreds of kms of tunnels, made them the best places to take refuge. In this amazing region we will also visit the locals in their natural homes, carved out of the peculiar land formations in the volcanic ash, some of them called Fairy Chimneys. Then we will drive to Kizilvadi (Rose Valley) and discover this fabulous place which offers fantastic views. Rose valley houses also some of the most impressive churches of the area. On our way back we will watch the sun set from an amazing high view point.
Day 7. Cappadocia; Today is the day we will see the most interesting areas in Cappadocia. Pasabag, Zelve Valley, Goreme Valley and the most beautiful rock dug churches of the area. Among those beautiful churches we will see churches like; the Apple Church, the Snake Church, the Church With Sandals, the Buckle Church each one decorated with frescoes. We will also visit a village where women weave rugs and will learn about this disappearing beautiful art of hand made Turkish rugs all made with the unique double knotting technique. In the morning we will go for an easy hike to Zelve Valley to see the 10-11th century churches, monasteries and houses carved in the rocks. Today we will also see Kizilirmak (Red River) in Avanos and pass across this largest and longest river of Turkey walking on a suspended pedestrian bridge. In Avanos we will also have the opportunity to see the traditional pottery making before we proceed to Sarihan Caravanserail, built in 13 th century to accommodate karavans at the time of the Seljukian Empire.
Day 8. Eskigumus monastery - Antioches On Orontes; Proceed to Anthioch, birthplace of St. Paul. At Nigde, we will visit the Eskigumus monastery and see the oldest known Madonna and the Child scene on a wall of a 1,100 year old church. We will continue to where St. Gregory was born and established the oldest monastery on earth. In the beauty of the Monastery Valley, one can imagine the monks contemplating to find the best way of passing the word of God to the idol worshippers of the region. We will drive through the Cilician Gates, just like Paul and Barnabas did on their first journey into Galatia "to deliver unutterable expressions into a strange land" (II Cor 12:2-4). Antioch of Cilicia (Antakya) is where St. Stephan and Barnabas organized the first followers of Christ. This is also where St. Paul met Barnabas for the first time, after his epiphany on the road to Damascus, and his proselytizing work in Namibia and in Damascus. St. Peter also traveled here from Jerusalem to resolve the disputes between the Jerusalem fathers and the "Greek School" led by St. Stephan. This is also where the followers of Christ were called Christians for the first time. We will visit St. Peter's Church and the mosaic Museum which reveals the wealth and grandeur of the Roman city at St. Paul's time.
Day 9. Harbiye - Titus Channel - Tarsus; Today we will visit to the ancient town of Harbiye on the way of Yayladag. In Harbiye, wealthy Romans had houses decorated with beautiful mosaics, now displayed in the museum of Antakya. Proceed to Samandag where we will find the ruins of Seleucia Pieria, ancient city founded in 300 bc by King Seleucus I, at the foot of the Samandag mountain, by the Mediterranean, north of the mouth of the Orontes River. The city was the seaport of Antioch and rose to great prominence during the wars between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies of Egypt for possession of Syria. The Romans officially recognized the independence of Seleucia about 70 bc. Titus channel was built by the emperor Titus in his short reign from 79 to 81 to protect the ancient city of Seleucia Pieria from being flooded. After this visit. we will drive to Tarsus the birth place of St. Paul. We will see the foundations of the house where he was born and the famous well of the courtyard of the house where St. Paul was born. We will also visit the holy place of Prophet Daniel recently discovered underneath the main boulevards of the city center. The tomb of an oriental doctor Lokman Hekim, who had a deep knowledge about plants and remedies for several diseases. Handicraft center and the mosque of Hz. Bilal who was the first to chant the prayer and an historical Turkish bath with a statue of Sahmeran king of the snakes in front of it, are all located in this area.
Day 10. Anamurium - Antalya
Today we will driver towards East and pass by places like Kanlidivane, Cennet Cehennem. The ancient town of Anamurium is also on our way to Alanya. In Alanya we will see the red tower built as part of the castle on the high cliff rising above the town, the ship arsenals of Seljukian Turks. From here we will take a small boat to go around the peninsula on which rises the cliff. There are amazing caves opening to the sea from around this peninsula with crystal clear waters allowing one to see all the way to the bottom of the sea. Phosphorescent Cave, Pirate Cave, Damlatas cave are some of them. We will end our boat trip on the sand beach of Kleopatra. Overnight in Alanya.
Day 11. Aspendos -Perge - Antalya; Today we will visit the ancient cities of Aspendos and Perge, through which St. Paul and St. Barnabas passed on their way to Antioch of Pisidia, during Paul's first Journey. In Aspendos we will see the best preserved Roman theater and in Perge our highlights will be the, Stadium and the theater, the Hellenistic gate, the Roman Baths, the Agora, the pillar of Artemis Pergeia, the waterways and the monumental fountain at the end of the way. In Antalya we will see the Hadrian gate built in the fortress walls to honor Emperor Hadrian, the fortress and the old port which now provides shelter for local yachts and boats. Overnight in Antalya.
Day 12. Thermessos - Laodicia - Hierapolis; After breakfast, we will drive to Pamukkale (Hieropolis), the
most unusual natural phenomenon of Turkey, formed of snow-white
calcite deposits, cascading down hundreds of feet and washed by
mineral-rich hot springs. On the road to Pamukkale, we will
visit the nomads in their black goat hair tents. These Turcoman
nomads have been leading a life which has not changed much since
they had left Central Asia in the 10th Century. In their Islamic
ways can be traced all the way back to the Shamanism of Central
Asian steppes, from where Turks have originated more than two
thousand years ago. It will be another experience to see how
culture determines the way religions are practiced. We will
visit the ancient
Day 15. Sardis - Thyatira - Pergamon; Proceed to Pergamon via Sardis capital of the old Lydian
Empire, where you will see a magnificent Synagogue built by
Jewish communities. St. Paul had his
first attempts to convert people among Jewish communities there.
But he could well be lynched in this Synagogue where Jewish
returned him brutally thinking they were the only elite people
of God. This recently restored Synagogue is
located near the Gymnasium and the very majestic start of the
king road with big marble slabs connecting Sardis to Susa in
Persia. Several shops can be seen at the corner of this area. In
Sardis we will also see a pseudo dipteros Artemis
temple built with Ionic capitals. (Pseudo
dipteros means fake dipteros temple. Dipteros
Temple means a colossal size temple with two
column ranges, like the Apollo temple in Didyma)
Looking at it from a distance a stranger thinks
it is a huge glorious dipteros temple while it
is just a illuding peripteros. The temple was
dedicated originally to the cult of Kybele but
transformed lately to a church.
Meanwhile I will tell my guests the sad story of Kroisos mentioned by the father of history
Herodotes. While visiting this marvelous site we will have the opportunity of
looking at the ancient river of Pactolus which
brought gold to Kroisos and the gold workshops
where the gold was melted and worked. Ruins of Sardis are at a distance of 74 kms from
Thyatira (Akhisar) where one of the seven churches of the book
of revelation together with Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Sardis,
Philadelphia and Laodicea was located. We will see the ruins of
the site and proceed to Pergamon. We will reach the Acropolis of
the ancient Pergamon after a scenic drive of 122 kms. and we can
cover this in about 1.5 hours. We
will have an in depth detailed promenade here in
this magnificent Acropolis situated high above a
plain with a unique panoramic view. We will visit
the palaces of Pergamon kings, the remains of
the Great Library where more than 200000 volumes
and manuscripts made of papirus and parchment
paper (pargamena) which was first produced in
Pergamon. We will see the Temple of Trajan, the
Athena temple and the very narrow and steep
theater on the hillside which could seat up to
10,000 people. The stylish Dionysus temple and
it's steps heighing 4.5 meters. The ruins of
Zeus Altar which was one of the seven wonders of
the world in the Hellenistic period. After our
visit in Acropolis we will descend down to
Asclepion, which was known as one of the first
places of medical science in the ancient world
together with Epidauros in Greece. Galen who was
born in Pergamon in 129 AD became a notorious
physician of his time and treated his patients
here. Here I will tell you how the doctors
treated their patients here with natural ways.
Overnight in Pergamon.
Day 16. Assos - Troy - Gallipoli; We drive all the way around the Bay of Edremit, enjoying the coastal scenery, then visit the Temple of Athena, in Assos. (Act -20) Proceed to Troy and visit the legendary town of Homeros. Several ancient cities have been excavated here, but the site's real romance comes from the decade-long Trojan War, in the thirteenth century B.C.E. The face that launched a thousand ships, the Achilles heel, the wooden horse -- all of it happened here, in Homer's telling of the war in the Iliad. This legendary city of Homer and the beautiful Helen has nine principal levels of occupation covering a period of more than 3000 years. You will see a reproduction of the Trojan horse, the museum, city walls dating from the time of Trojan war, Schiliman's Trench and more. After Troy we will pass across the Dardanelles by ferry and explore the battlefields of Gallipoli. The Museum, Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, Trenches, Chunuk Bair and Turkish and Anzac memorials and the cemeteries. In Anzac Cove you will also see a memory stone on which you will read the words of Ataturk. "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours. ... You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well." After our sad tour in this battlefield we will overnight in Gallipoli.
Day 17. Gallipoli - Istanbul; We will drive back to Istanbul along the Marmara Sea. It is a drive of approx. 300 kms. going through Tekirdag a famous town for the production of the national drink of Turkey called Raki. Arrival to Istanbul transfer to the location of your choice and end of my services.
Noah: the flood - mount Ararat Abraham