A visit to Turkey and Greece is a wonderful extension to a Bible Lands tour, giving a deeper appreciation for the birth of the Christian church and it’s spread through Asia Minor. Books of the Old Testament that have their roots in this part of the word are Acts, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation. Join us as we delve into the world of Paul and the early Christians, and gain a deeper appreciation of how churches today echo the struggles of churches such as those in Corinth and Laodicea.
An added bonus of this tour is visiting the heartland of the human quest for spirituality – we visit the ruins of Delphi, the ancient centre of mystical religion, and the monasteries built by monks reaching for the heavens in Meteora.
This tour also has the option of a two day add-on excursion to Patmos.
Tour commences at Athens International Airport, Greece, and concludes at Izmir International Airport, Turkey.
Prior to the Israel & Jordan Worship Tour
This morning we arrive at Athens International Airport, where we are met by our local tour guide. We commence a sight-seeing tour of this ancient city dating back to more than 700 years before Christ. We visit the centre and then proceed to the Acropolis, ascend Mars hill and view the Agora (the ancient market place where Paul spoke to the Athenians).
Later today we head to the ancient ruins of Corinth, the place of the church to which Paul wrote at least four letters, and where he lived and worked for two years. We see the remains of first century shops, the agora where Paul’s trial by Gallio took place, and the temple of Apollo among other sites.
Leaving Athens we head to Delphi, the place that was considered the centre of the Ancient world. This fascinating place was once the heartland of pagan worship, famous for it’s oracle, an elderly priestess through whom the gods spoke, and the Temple of Apollos.
After our visit here we head north to Kalambuka, the home of the monasteries in the sky, Meteora.
Today is a real highlight—the Meteora Monasteries perched on top of cliffs looking as if they are suspended in mid-air. They were built in the 1500’s by monks who wanted to be closer to God. We enjoy Sabbath worship in the grandeur of this place, and then explore some of the monasteries.
Leaving Meteora we head further north to Veria, the Biblical city of the Bereans whom Luke commended for their study of Scripture. This afternoon we arrive at Thessaloniki, a city where Paul preached and to whom he wrote two letters. We visit the Acropolis, the monument to Alexander the Great and other ancient sites.
Saying goodbye to Greece, we cross into Turkey. We place Biblical history on hold and visit a site of much significance to Australians—Gallipoli, where we pay respects to countrymen who fought and died here for our freedom.
Leaving Gallipoli behind we head to Istanbul. This afternoon we have some free time to shop and explore this fabulous ancient city.
Today we have a full sight-seeing tour of Istanbul—firstly named Byzantium after king Byzas in the 7th century BC, and then renamed Constantinople after Constantine in 4th century AD. It was renamed Istanbul in 1930. We explore sites such as the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.
After breakfast we head to the airport where we board our flight for Izmir, which encompasses the ancient city of Smyrna. Here we visit the ancient ruins of our first Revelation city—noted as the poor and persecuted church which refused to worship the Roman Emperor. We explore the Agora which still has remnants of structures from Roman times before heading to the second Revelation city—the acropolis of Pergamon (Bergama), with its temples and altars.
First stop today is Thyatira (Akhisar) where not much of the city remains, and then Sardes (Salihli) with its massive Temple of Artemis, the white marble Royal Road, gymnasium and synagogue. Last is Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love that endured patiently. This evening we arrive in Pamukkale, where we welcome the Sabbath.
Today we start at Laodicea, the church that was chastised for being lukewarm and too comfortable with the world. Morning worship will be here as a reflect on what the word ‘Laodicea’ has come to mean today. After worship there are many acres of ruins to explore.
After lunch we visit Hierapolis (modern day Pamukkale) which was mentioned in the book of Colossians. Here we visit the hot water springs with their shallow pools of calcium rich water and their snowy white waterfalls of white stone, one of the natural wonders of Asia.
Leaving Pamukkale behind we head to Ephesus, where we have a whole day to explore. Once a bustling port town of 250,000 people, it was the place where the church lost its first love. It was also visited by Paul, and was the place of the riot mentioned in Acts. Today it is a huge city of ancient ruins to explore, complete with streets, arches, amphitheatre, temple and many ruins.
This evening we return to Izmir, our last night in Turkey.
This morning we head to Izmir International airport where we head on to Amman in Jordan for the Israel & Jordan Tour, or make our way home.