Dr. George Gunn Shasta Bible College Greece & Turkey Tour
Custom Bible Teaching Tours
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Day by Day
saturdaySan Francisco, Istanbul
Today we will meet at San Francisco International airport for our connecting flights to Istanbul via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
Today, we will arrive in Istanbul and board our domestic flight to the city of Antakya. Upon arrival to the Antakya Airport, we will be transferred to our hotel. Dinner and Overnight in Antakya.
After enjoying our breakfast, we will depart from the hotel bound for the city of Antakya (Antioch), an important seat of early Christianity. Here, we will visit the Mosaic Museum to see the second largest collection of classical and Roman mosaics
in the world. Afterwards, we will head to one of the oldest churches in Christianity, the Church of St. Peter. This church is actually a cave carved into the side of Mount Starius where many believe the first Christians worshipped. Before returning to our hotel, we will see Selucia Pieria, the ancient port of Antioch from which the Apostle Paul and Saint Barnabas embarked on their first missionary journeys as chronicled by Acts (Acts:13:4). Dinner and Overnight in Adana.
tuesdayAdana, Tarsus, Konya
This morning, we will drive to the dusty provincial town of Tarsus. Once the capital of the province of Cilicia, Tarsus was the site where Mark Antony and Cleopatra first met, and is the birthplace of Paul the Apostle. According to Acts, Paul was born “Saul
of Tarsus” but was brought up in Jerusalem and became “Paul the Apostle” after his encounter with Christ (Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3). Here, we will visit the well of St. Paul and the Gate of Cleopatra. Next, we are off to the town of Karaman to visit the largely unexcavated site of Derbe, a town Paul the Apostle visited on his missionary journeys with Saint Barnabas. Afterwards, we travel to Konya via Aksaray along the Silk Road. First, we reach ancient Iconium, where Paul the Apostle and Saint Barnabas invested much of their missionary efforts preaching the Gospel despite persecution from the community. According to Acts, they spoke boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders (Acts 14:1-3). Then, we will head to Konya’s city center and visit the Mevlana Museum, which houses the tomb of the great 13th-century Persian poet and founder of the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, Jalāl ad-Dīn Mu ammad Balkhī. Popularly known as Rumi in Western countries, meaning “Roman” in Arabic, his followers and Muslims alike call him “Mevlana”, meaning “our master”. Dinner and Overnight in Konya.
wednesdayKonya, Lystra, Antioch Pissidia, Pamukkale (Hierapolis)
After breakfast, we drive south of Konya to ancient Lystra where Paul the Apostle preached the gospel after persecution drove him from Iconium. Afterwards, we will continue on to Yalvac to visit the remains of the ancient city of Antioch in Pisidia. Located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Central Anatolian regions, Antioch in Pisidia was a capital city for many different cultures, and was an important site of early Christianity in Anatolia. Here, Paul the Apostle gave his first recorded sermon to the Gentiles and visited the city on each of his missionary journeys (Acts 13:13–52). Then, we drive to Pamukkale (Hierapolis) for dinner and overnight.
thursdayPamukkale, Hierapolis, Laodicea, Philadelphia, Sardis, Izmir (Smyrna)
Today, we will visit Pamukkale, “Cotton Castle”, and dip our feet in the thermal watersthat flow down the hilltop’s unique white travertine terraces. Here, we will also visit the archaeological remains of Hierapolis, a significant site of early Christianity
thanks to Paul’s missionary efforts here (Colossians 4:13). Because the city sits atop the travertine cascades of Pamukkale (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Hierapolis became a healing center wherein the site’s thermal pools were used to treat various ailments. Today, we will stroll among a number of important ruins including well-preserved Roman structures like the town theatre and Temple of Apollo before continuing on to Laodicia. This city was one of the Seven Churches that the Apostle John chastised the inhabitants for being lukewarm (Rev. 3:14-22). Here, we will see the site’s well preserved stadium, gymnasium, and theatres, giving us insight into this city’s former prominence. Afterwards, we will head to the modern town of Alasehir and visit the site of ancient Philadelphia, the church which received God's highest commendation (Rev. 3:7-13). Next, we will explore
Sardis, a powerful ancient city located along an important highway and among the fertile plain of Hermus (Geldiz River). Though Sardis was a strong and wealthy city with a reputation for being alive, God announced that it was actually dead (Rev. 3:1-6). Here, we will explore the white marble royal way, the massive Temple of Artemis, the large gymnasium, and the famous synagogue. Annual archaeological expeditions sponsored by Harvard and Cornell Universities have unearthed over eighty Greek and seven Hebrew inscriptions as well as numerous mosaic floors revealing this synagogue as one of the most significant
synagogues of antiquity. Afterwards, we will drive to Izmir. Dinner and Overnight in Izmir.
fridayIzmir (Smyrna), Ephesus, Izmire, Istanbul
This morning, we will visit the archaeological remains of the ancient city of Smyrna. Smyrna was one of the Seven Churches that the Apostle John relays the promise from God: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10). Here, we will see what remains of the Agora, the ancient market place that was built in the 4th century BC to the north of Pagos (Kadifekale). Afterwards, we are off to explore Ephesus. Located in the modern town of Selcuk, ancient Ephesus is one of the most well-preserved archaeological sites in Turkey. Originally an ancient Greek Ionic city built in the 10th century B.C., Ephesus grew to become the largest metropolis and capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor. This political influence and the city’s large Jewish community attracted the attention of the apostles, including Paul. Here, he carried out his mission for two years and was Bishop of the Ephesian Church before he was exiled to Patmos. Today, we will walk on the Marble Road passing numerous historically rich sites including the Temple of Artemis (Diana), the fountain of Trajan, and the Temple of Hadrian. We will also see the Library of Celsus, which adorns the site’s most impressive square, and sit in the theater (the largest surviving from the Roman period). This massive theatre (capable of entertaining up to 25,000 spectators) was the scene of an uprising provoked by a merchant named Demetrius against St. Paul and his teachings (Acts 19:23). Before returning to our Izmir Airport, we will stop at the ruins of St. John’s Basilica. Constructed by Justinian I in the 6th century, this basilica stands over the believed burial site of John the Apostle. Drive to the Izmir Airport where we board our flight to Istanbul.
After enjoying our Turkish breakfast, we will depart from our hotel and begin our tour of the historical highlights of Istanbul. First, we will stroll through Hippodrome Square, the former sporting and social center of Constantinople that hosted chariot races during the Roman period. Afterwards, we are off to witness the incredible majesty and splendor of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque.
Popularly known as the Blue Mosque, this 17th century Ottoman sanctuary is adorned with six minarets and more than 20,000 hand-painted Iznik tiles. And then we will walk directly across from the mosque to visit the domed masterpiece of the Hagia Sophia before we head to Topkapi Palace. Located on the very cape of the peninsula where Constantinople was founded, Topkapi Palace is the former abode of Ottoman Sultans and still houses their legion of treasures, including an extensive
collection of royal jewels. Then, we will end our day with an evening of shopping at the Grand Bazaar, the massive covered market that houses a labyrinth of streets lined with shops selling jewelry, leather products and many other handcrafted
souvenirs. Return to the Istanbul airport where we board our flight to Thessaloniki. Upon arrival we transfer to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
sundayThessaloniki, Philippi, Kavala (Neapolis)
Full-day tour along the ancient route of Apostle Paul to Amphipolis (Acts 17:1). Journey to ancient Philippi, which was named after the father of Alexander the Great. This busy Roman colony boasted a great library and theater. In Philippi, Paul preached, established the first church in Europe, to whom he wrote one of his epistles while imprisoned in Rome (Acts 16:11-40; Philippians). It was in this area that Paul met Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She and her household accepted Christ and were baptized in the nearby river (Acts 16:11-15). Next, continue to Kavala, ancient port of Neapolis (Acts 16:9-11). Return to our hotel for dinner and
mondayThessaloniki, Veria (Berea), Kalambaka
This morning, we will tour the city where we will see the White Tower, the Arch of Galerius, the churches of St. Demetrius and St. Sophia, and the Roman Forum .Then we will drive to stop in Veria (Beroea of the New Testament), where Paul and Silas were sent by friends after being accused of treason in Thessalonika (Acts 17:5-15). Visit the BEMA OF APOSTLE PAUL, where Paul is said to have stood and preached the Gospel to the local community. Continue to Kalambaka. Dinner and overnight
tuesdayKalambaka, Meteora, Athens
In Meteora, visit the hanging monasteries situated atop vast rocks from the 14th century, one of the most breathtaking sites in the world. Inside the monasteries, discover many historical and religious treasures. Continue to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Today we will drive to Corinth to visit of the place where St. Paul worked for 18 months with tent makers Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:1-18). Here he had met Silas and Timothy and gave his whole time to preaching the message, testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.We will have a short stop at the handmade Corinth Canal connecting the Aegean with the Ionian Seas. Continue to Athens to visit the Acropolis, Parthenon, Areopagus, and Mars Hill where St. Paul delivered his wellknown sermon (Acts 17:15-34). Here, in the city council, St Paul had proclaimed ”God who made the world and everything in it, Lord of heaven and earth." You will
also have a panoramic tour to see the Parliament House, the Academy, Omonia Square and Panathenaic Stadium. You will have some free time in Plaka area, the ancient city of Athens . Dinner and overnight .
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight back home. We arrive back in the U S and transfer to our flights home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading.