ISRAEL & TURKEY- THE TWO HOLY LANDS
Ephesus • Laodicea • Phidelphia • Thyatira • Pergamon • Galilee • Jordan River
HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR TOUR
- Roundtrip airfare from New York
- First Class Hotels, Breakfast and Dinner Daily
- Deluxe, air-conditioned Motor coaches
- Visits to Major Biblical Sites
- Comprehensive Sightseeing per the Itinerary
- Professional, Bible-trained Guides
- Ride in a replica of ancient Wooden Boats on the Sea of Galilee
DAY 1 —USA • TURKEY
Depart from the USA on our flight to Istanbul. Meals and overnight on board. After dinner relax and enjoy the on-board entertainment.
DAY 2 — ISTANBUL • IZMIR
Arrive Istanbul and connect on a flight to Izmir. Upon arrival in Izmir we will be met by our Tour Director/Guide and transferred to our hotel in Izmir, the third biggest city of Turkey, on the Aegean. In the evening we will be visiting the Church of St. Polycarp, which was originally founded as a gift by the stern Cardinal Richelieu in 1625. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 3— IZMIR/Ephesus/Hierapolis/PAMUKKALE
Today we visit Ephesus where St. Paul preached for over two years. He had to leave Ephesus following the famous riot agitated by the Silversmith Demetrius who was concerned that the advent of the new religion would hurt his trade of selling silver statues of Artemis. Visit Ephesus archaeological site where you will see the great theater, Celsius library and the fabulous Curetes Street. Also, we will visit the Basilica of St. John. Later we will continue on to Pamukkale, which means “Cotton Castle”, fantastic dazzling white limestone terraces formed by travertine deposits from hot water springs running over the chalk cliffs. We will then visit the ruins of Hierapolis, located right over the travertine terraces, and which was a fashionable spa center in Roman times. The curing effect of springs drew many people here. Visit the temple of Apollo, a breathtaking theater, the fascinating necropolis and some church ruins. We end our day by checking into our hotel in Pamukkale.
DAY 4— PAMUKKALE •Laodicea/Philadelphia/Sardis/Thyatira •DIKILI
Start the day by driving to Laodicea, a vast Roman colony, which stood at the junction of two important main roads which then prospered from trade and banking. Laodicea was one of the Seven Churches addressed by John in the Book of Revelation. Here we see the recently excavated town and its theater. From here we will continue on to Alasehir, ancient Philadelphia, the first of the Seven Churches. We will see part of the city walls and the remains of the early church. Our last visit of the day will be at Salihli, ancient Sardis, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia. The Temple of Artemis and the restored Gymnasium testify to the city’s past splendor, as does the important 3rd century AD synagogue. We will then continue on to Thyatira, which is one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Although the ancient history of Thyatira compared to the other cities in western Anatolia was insignificant, the letter of John to the Church here is the longest. This letter of John informs us that the Church at Thyatira tolerated the activities of a woman whom he calls “Jezebel”. It is not known if this is a real name or not; but the implication is clear. Dinner and overnight in Dikili.
DAY 5— DIKILI • PERGAMON • TROY •CANAKKALE
After breakfast we leave for Pergamon, modern Bergama. Pergamon was one of the Seven Churches, which John addresses in the Book of Revelation. He calls the city the throne of the devil as most probably the city had strong pagan cults. The famous Altar of Zeus, Trajan’s Temple, the Temple of Isis and Serapis and the Temple of Athena were located here. The city boasted an outstanding library that rivaled that of Alexandria in importance and a famous school of sculpture. We will visit the Acropolis where there is a great Hellenistic theater and Trajan’s Temple. Also we will visit Asclepion, which was a sanctuary and a healing center built in the name of the god of healing, Asclepius. After visiting the Homonym Church, which is also known as the Basilica of St. John, we will continue onto Canakkale, en route visiting the legendary city of Troy, the site of the Trojan War. Dinner and overnight in Canakkale
DAY 6— CANAKKALE • ISTANBUL
Early this morning we leave for Istanbul by crossing the Dardanelles Straits by ferry. We will drive through the Gallipoli Peninsula, scene of fierce fighting in WW1. Upon arrival in Istanbul, ancient Constantinople, the only city in the world that spans two continents, we visit the Hippodrome, the former center of sportive and political activities of Constantinople. We then visit the legendary Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), the most famous religious site both in the Turkish and in the Islamic worlds, and the only mosque with six minarets. The interior is decorated with famous Iznik tiles. From here we will walk to St. Sophia Museum, built between 325-360 AD (the first church), the largest imperial church in the city, and where the 5th Ecumenical Council took place. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul
DAY 7—ISTANBUL • TEL AVIV • CAESAREA • MEGIDDO • TIBERIAS
This morning we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. Arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and meet our guide who will welcome us to the Land of the Bible and escort us throughout our stay in Israel. Israeli guides are legendary for their knowledge and dedication. Ours will instruct us on the many sites we will visit and their relationship to the religion, history, archaeology, culture, and modern life in Israel. Today we pass through the fast growing towns and farms of the Plain of Sharon enroute to Caesarea, site of major events in the lives of Peter and Paul. It’s on to Megiddo, inspiration for James Michener’s “The Source”, and prophesied site of Armageddon. Archaeological digs reveal 20 layers of civilization, including fortifications of King Solomon and the water tunnel of King Ahab. Megiddo provides a magnificent view of the fertile Jezreel Valley, at the crossroads of the ancient Via Maris. We drive through the Jezreel Valley to Sepphoris, the former Roman capital of the Galilee and the famous seat of the Sanhedrin, the ancient Jewish ruling council, in the second century C.E. Sepphoris is comprised of a Crusader fortress, a Roman amphitheater and numerous impressive mosaics. Continue through the rolling hills of the Galilee to Nazareth, site of Mary’s Well, and Cana, site of His first miracle, before arriving in Tiberias. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
DAY 8—SEA OF GALILEE
This day alone is worth the trip! We are now literally walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We will take a most memorable boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, in a replica of the ancient wooden boat used in Jesus’ day. We will visit an ancient boat believed to be from Jesus’ time found in the Sea of Galilee in 1986. We walk into old Capernaum with the ancient synagogue; on to the site of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (Tabgha), the Sermon on the Mount and the Mount of Beatitudes. You will have an opportunity for a lunch of St. Peter’s fish (optional.) In the afternoon we will journey north to Caesarea Phillipi (Banias Spring) where Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16.) Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Tiberias.
DAY 9—NORTHERN GALILEE
Today we will journey to Hazor originally conquered by Joshua in the 13th C.B.C. King Solomon began reconstruction here and King Ahab erected a magnificent palace here as well. Proceed to the mystical city of Safed, high up overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Walk the quaint cobblestone streets and visit the famous artists quarter. Return to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
DAY 10—JORDAN VALLEY • JERUSALEM
This morning we will visit the Jordan River and have the opportunity for a baptismal service. Drive along the Jordan Valley to Beit She’an to see the expansive excavations taking place at this ancient Roman Decapolis city. Stop at Gideon’s Spring where Gideon selected his soldiers to do battle against the Midianites. Continue driving south to Jericho, oldest known walled city, for a view of Mt. Temptation and Mt. Nebo, from where Moses looked upon the Holyland. It’s now time to “go up” to Jerusalem. We will enter the city as pilgrims did since ancient times to fulfill the words of the prophet “I was glad when they said unto me: ‘Our feet shall stand within thy Gates, O Jerusalem’ ” (Psalms 122:1-2.) Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 11— JERUSALEM • BETHLEHEM
Start the day with a magnificent view of the Old City from the top of the Mt. of Olives. Take the “Palm Sunday Walk” to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of All Nations and drive across the Kidron Valley. Enter the Old City through St. Stephen’s Gate (Lions’ Gate) to the Moslem Quarter, visit the beautiful Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda, Pilate’s Judgment Hall, and the Ecce Homo Arch. Walk along the Via Dolorosa, into the Christian Quarter, and see the Stations of the Cross. Drive to Mt. Zion to see the House of Caiaphas and the Upper Room of the Last Supper. We will visit Bethlehem and see Manger Square, the Church of the Nativity, and view Shepherds’ Fields and the Fields of Boaz and Ruth. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 12— MASADA • DEAD SEA • QUMRAN
Depart to Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on Earth, where we ascend by cable car to visit the remnants of Herod’s Palace and where in 73 A.D. the Zealots made their last stand against the might of Rome. Visit Ein Gedi, fabled Spring of David, and proceed to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. Time permitting, we will go for a swim, rather a “float”, in the salted waters of the Dead Sea. Return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 13— JERUSALEM
We will begin the day with a visit to the reconstructed Jewish Quarter, walk through the Cardo, the original Roman street and see the amazing remains of the massive wall built by King Hezekiah. See the important excavations taking place at the Western Wall and the Southern Temple Staircase. We have an opportunity to observe Bar Mitzvah Ceremonies at the Western Wall (Mondays and Thursdays only.) On to the Temple Mount, where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac. See the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque that now stands there. Visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and continue on to the scale model of Jerusalem as it looked in the first century A.D. End the afternoon at Golgotha (Gordon’s Calvary) and the empty Garden Tomb. Special time is planned for worship, communion, meditation and inspiration. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 14— MASADA • DEAD SEA • QUMRAN
Today is at leisure for shopping and relaxing. Some may choose to investigate the recent tunnel excavations at the Western Wall, the Jerusalem Museum at Jaffa Gate, or the Bible Lands Museum. The Jerusalem Museum located in David’s Citadel inside Jaffa Gate, tells a fascinating story of the world’s 3 monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as they developed in Jerusalem over the centuries. This evening we will share in a Farewell Dinner and the presentation of a certificate of Pilgrimage to each tour participant.
DAY 15— ISRAEL • USA
Today we transfer to the airport. Our guide will assist us with check-in procedures. Depart on our flight to the USA. We arrive home today with wonderful memories of a visit to the Land of the Bible!
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