Day 1: Arrive Istanbul (October 10)
Coordinate your flights to arrive in Istanbul by mid afternoon and meet the “TUTKU-PRINCIPIA” team for a transfer to the hotel followed by a welcome meeting and included dinner and overnight. For those arriving a day earlier, an optional guided afternoon tour is available to the Basilica Cistern with a walk through Sultanahmet area and the Grand Bazaar (additional $60 per person). (D)
Day 2: Istanbul (October 11)
Our day in Istanbul begins with Hagia Sophia, the world famous 6th century church. See the Blue Mosque which was built in the 17th century. Located nearby is the Hippodrome which once stood in the heart of the Byzantine city of Constantinople and originally held up to 100.000 people. Enjoy an afternoon walk to Hagia Irene, considered the first church completed in Constantinopolis. Finish the day in the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul. Back to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Day 3: Istanbul (October 12)
The day begins with a morning visit to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar followed by a relaxing Bosphorus cruise. Enjoy lunch on the shores of the Bosphorus and transfer to Istanbul airport for a late afternoon flight to Izmir. Transfer to the hotel for dinner, a Christian Science testimony meeting, and overnight in Izmur. (B,D)
Day 4 : Pergamum-Thyatira-Izmir (October 13)
After breakfast, drive to Pergamum, the famous capital of its own kingdom. Pergamum was the third of the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. Visit the Asceplion ancient healing center, the Acropolis to explore the highlights of the ancient city, the Trajan temple, steepest theater of the ancient world, and the location of the Altar of Zeus. After Pergamum, if time permits, proceed to Thyatira, which was the fourth of the Seven Churches, and its letter is the central and the longest of the seven letters. See some remains of the ancient city and the recently restored Roman colonnaded street. After the short visit, drive back to Izmir for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Day 5: Smyrna-Miletus-Priene-Kusadasi (October 14)
After breakfast we visit Smyrna agora and then drive to Miletus with its four harbors and well-preserved theater originally built in the Hellenistic period and expanded in Roman times. Paul made a farewell speech here to the elders of Ephesus on the return leg of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:17-35). We will also enjoy a brief visit to its small but informative archaeological museum. After lunch, we'll drive to Priene, the best-preserved Hellenistic city in Turkey, with a visit to the Jewish synagogue, famous theater, and other remains. Drive to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Day 6: Laodicea-Kusadasi (October 15)
After breakfast, we proceed to Laodicea, which was a major city in Roman times, as is clear not only from the size of the ancient site but also its two theaters, aqueduct, and major street lined with shops. Drive to Hierapolis, where you will walk through its extensive necropolis, then see its well-preserved theater, antique pool, and Philip's Martyrium and basilica. Return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Day 7: Ephesus-Kusadasi (October 16)
Visit the most spectacular archaeological site of Turkey. Paul visited this city only briefly during his second missionary journey but returned during his third missionary journey for a much longer period. Some years later Ephesus served as the home base for the apostle John’s ministry. Explore the Bouleuterion marble streets, terraced houses, Library of Celsus, Great Theater, Temple of Artemis, and more. Visit the Basilica of John and the Ephesus Museum. Dinner together and overnight in Kusadasi. (B,D)
Day 8: Kusadasi (October 17)
Embark the Celestyal Olympia Cruise for an Iconic Aegean Tour. Sail for Patmos. Enjoy an excursion to the Cave of Revelation and the Basilica of John. (B,L,D)
Day 9: Rhodes Excursion-Medieval Rhodes (October 18)
Visit the Acropolis of Lindos and the citadel of knights. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Heraklion (Crete) - Santorini (October 19)
Explore Heraklion (Crete) and Santorini. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Athens (October 20)
Arrive early in Athens. After breakfast, disembark for a classical Athens excursion. We’ll enjoy a farewell dinner together and overnight in Athens. (B,D)
Day 12: Transfer to Athens Airport (October 21)
Depart for the U.S. or proceed with the optional Athens extension program.
OPTIONAL TWO-DAY POST TOUR EXTENSION:
Day 12: Athens-Corinthian Canal-Cenchrea-Corinth (October 21)
After briefly stopping at the Corinthian Canal, we proceed to nearby Cenchrea, one of the two harbors of the Ancient Corinth from where Paul sailed on more than one occasion (Acts 18:18) and which was also the home of another early church and an influential Christian woman, Phoebe (Romans 16:1). We then go to Corinth, the place where Paul ministered for 1.5 years (Acts 18:1-18) and would later write at least four letters, two of which have survived (1& 2 Corinthians). The city is located on the slopes of Acrocorinth, a towering mountain rising 1,886 feet above the sea and crowned in ancient times by the temple of Aphrodite. Extensive ruins of Corinth are visible today, including temples, water fountains, shops, various public buildings, the largest Agora (“Marketplace”) in the ancient world and the Bema, where Paul likely met before the governor Gallio (Acts 18:12-17). The Corinthian Museum contains many significant artifacts, several of which have a direct link to events, items and people mentioned in the New Testament. dinner and overnight in Athens. (B,D)
Day 13: Athens (October 22)
Enjoy a half day tour of Athens, where you will visit the Plaka and the new Acropolis Museum which explains the history of this world famous place. Enjoy a free afternoon for shopping and exploring. Dinner and overnight in Athens. (B,D)
An optional add-on tour includes Delphi. Located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, Delphi is the home of the Sanctuary of Apollo and the world-renowned "Delphic oracle." Other impressive ruins found here include the Temple of Athena, a well-preserved theater that seats 5,000 people, an athletic stadium seating 7,000, a gymnasium for physical training, various stoas, and treasuries. It is with good reason that Delphi is widely acknowledged as the most spectacularly beautiful ancient site in Greece. We will also visit the Delphi Museum, whose impressive collection includes an inscription concerning the governor Gallio (Acts 18:12), which plays a crucial role in establishing the chronology of Paul's life and ministry. We end the day with a drive back to Athens (B,D). The optional tour is $30 per person.
Day 14: Transfer to Athens Airport (October 23).
Depart post tour for the return flight back to the U.S.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
(Itinerary is subject to change)
* There are three included excursions with the cruise. They cannot be substituted or changed; however, additional excursions can be added through TUTKU tours.