GUARANTEED DEPARTURES: Seven Churches of Revelation in Asia Minor

Tour Code :PER081RLG
City :ANATOLIAN TOUR
Tour Name :Seven Churches of Revelation in Asia Minor
Tour Dates :12-19 NOVEMBER 2016
Duration :7 Nights | 8 Days
Available Languages :EN

IZMIR (1) - KUSADASI (2) - PAMUKKALE (1) - IZMIR (1) - ISTANBUL (2)

GET 7% DISCOUNT ON LAND SERVICE IF BOOKED UNTIL 25 AUGUST 2016

WE GUARANTEE TO OPERATE THIS TOUR WITH MINIMUM 15 PARTICIPANTS         

Turkey is home to the Seven Churches of Asia, where the Revelations to John were sent. 
...I was caught up in spirit on the Lord's day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, 'Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  (Rv 1:10-11)

Day 1 | SATURDAY | IZMIR | 1 Night

ARRIVAL IN IZMIR

Arrival of the guests in Izmir and make your own way (optional: book your complementary transfer with us) to the hotel where you meet up with your travel companions

Meal (s): Dinner
Hotel (s): FC* (see hotel class key below)

Day 2 | SUNDAY | IZMIR | KUSADASI | 2 Nights

MORNING MASS AT ST.POLYCARP CHURCH | VISIT OF PERGAMUM| DRIVE TO KUSADASI

Buffet breakfast at the hotel and drive for a Mass to the Saint Polycarp Church, the oldest church in Izmir that symbolizes the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. Saint Polycarp was martyred at age 86 in 155 AD at Kadifkale by the Romans. According to tradition, when they tried to burn him at the stake the flames wouldn’t touch him so they finally stabbed him to death. The church was reconstructed in 1620.

Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (ca. 69 – ca. 155) was a second century bishop of Smyrna. He died a martyr when he was stabbed after an attempt to burn him at the stake failed. Polycarp is recognized as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. 
It is recorded that He had been a disciple of John. This John may be identified with John the Apostle, John the Presbyter, or John the Evangelist. With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. His sole surviving work is his Letter to the Philippians.

After the Mass, drive to Bergama to visit the site of ancient Pergamum, once a capital of the Kingdom of Pergamum and an important center of the Hellenistic Civilization which became a part of Roman Empire. 
Pergamum was home to a library said to house approximately 200,000 volumes and is credited with being the home and namesake of parchment (charta pergamena). Prior to the creation of parchment, manuscripts were transcribed on papyrus, which was produced only in Alexandria. When the Ptolemies stopped exporting papyrus, partly because of competitors and partly because of shortages, the Pergamenes invented a new substance to use in codices, called pergaminus or pergamena (parchment) after the city. This was made of fine calf skin, a predecessor of vellum.
 
See the stunning Acropolis of the Hellenistic city perched 1000 feet above the town. Remains include the Altar of Zeus, palaces, the Temples of Trajan and Dionysus and the world’s steepest amphitheater. The Temple of Zeus was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The German engineer, Carl Humann, brought the altar now known as the Altar of Pergamum to Berlin.

Continue to Asklepion, a famed ancient medical center built in honor of Asclepius, the son of Apollo and the god of healing and health. Among the types of therapy practiced here were mud baths, sports, theatre, psychotherapy and use of medicinal waters.  It was also the world's first psychiatric hospital.  Here the great physician named Galen laid down the basic rules for all the doctors who would come after him for centuries.

Later, see the Red Basilica, huge brick edifice built in the 2nd century as a Roman temple to the god Serapis and later converted into a Byzantine church.

Drive to the hotel in Kusadasi for dinner and overnight

Meal (s): Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel (s): FC* (see hotel class below)

Day 3 | MONDAY | KUSADASI

HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY, EPHESUS OPEN-AIR MUSEUM, ST.JOHN BASILICA, GROTTO OF SEVEN SLEEPERS

Breakfast at the hotel and drive to the House of Virgin Mary, now a Chapel. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Mary preferred this remote place rather than living in crowded place. 
The peaceful site is sacred to both Christians and Muslims, and is visited by many tourists and pilgrims. 
The spring that runs under the Virgin's House is believed to have healing properties, and many miracles have been reported. Inside the house are crutches and canes said to be left behind by those who were healed by the sacred spring.

Later, visit Ephesus (open-air museum) that was one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation and remains a sacred site for Christians due to its association with several biblical figures, including St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary. The Gospel of John might have been written here. 
The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), which was destroyed by the Goths in 263. It is also the site of a large gladiator graveyard. Also see the Library of Celsius, Terrace Houses, Colonnade Street, ancient Agora and the Theater of Ephesus. 
The emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected a new public bath. The town was again partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614. The importance of the city as a commercial centre declined as the harbor slowly filled with silt from the river. 
The Church of Mary is a church of great historical significance located inside Ephesus. It is also known as the Double Church, because it is thought one aisle was dedicated to the Virgin and the other to St. John; and the Council Church because the Council of Ephesus is believed to have been held here.

Near Ephesus there is a Grotto of the Seven Sleepers. The Seven Sleepers were seven young men who had been walled up in a grotto during the persecutions under Decius (c.250). They fell asleep, miraculously waking up around 435 in the time of Theodosius II. The seven men wandered into the city of Ephesus, amazed at all the churches and the freedom of worship for Christians. The Sleepers later died naturally (and permanently) and were buried in the grotto in which they had slept. 

The Basilica of St. John was a great church in Ephesus constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the apostle, evangelist (author of the Fourth Gospel) and prophet (author of Revelation). Legend had it that John wrote his gospel in Ephesus at the request of other disciples, and then died in the church named for him on Ayasoluk Hill. Later legends developed that he was not really dead, but sleeping, and dust could even be seen moving above his grave as he breathed. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Meal (s): Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 | TUESDAY | KUSADASI | PAMUKKALE | 1 Night

LAODICEA, COLOSSAE, HIERAPOLIS, DRIVE TO PAMUKKALE

After breakfast, drive to Pamukkale and first stop will be at Laodicea, which was the smallest among all Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Laodicea, modern Eskihisar (means “Old Castle) was on the crossroads between the important Ionian cities of that time. This helped the city to claim a big wealth due to the existing high volume commercial activity in the region. There was a rich and influential Jewish community long before the Christian era. But, most of the locals were respecting Zeus more than any other god.
Laodicea means both “people’s opinions” and people judged.

Continue to Colossae, also known as Chonae or Kona, an ancient city of Phrygia. Its biblical significance lies in the fact that the book of Colossians was addressed to the church here (Col 1:2) and that Philemon lived in this city. 
It flourished as a trading town until eclipsed by neighboring Laodicea. The area around Colossae was famous for fantastic theological theories in early Christian times. Although Paul himself never went there, he addressed his epistle to the Colossians (New Testament letter) through his fellow worker, Epaphras, who lived at Colossae. 

Later, drive to Hierapolis, which name means sacred city, was believed by the ancients to have been founded by the god Apollo. It was famed for its sacred hot springs, whose vapors were associated with Pluto, god of the underworld. In the first century it was part of the tri-city area of Laodicea, Colossae, and Hierapolis.  This connection between the cities lies behind Paul’s reference to Hierapolis and Laodicea in his epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:13).  Before 70 A.D. Phillip (either the apostle or the evangelist) moved to Hierapolis, where he was believed to have been martyred. 
See the Column Street and Byzantine Gates, the Temple of Apollo, the Theatre, and the Necropolis. 

You can also enjoy swimming in the Cleopatra Pool, the mineral water sources from the thermal springs of Cal Mountain. It is collected in a pool, known as the Sacred Pool of ancient times, where you can swim amidst the historical remains of Hierapolis. The Sacred Pool is warmed by hot springs and littered with underwater fragments of ancient marble columns. Associated with the Temple of Apollo, the pool provides today's visitors a rare opportunity to swim with antiquities! 
Note: the entrance fee to Cleopatra Pool is not included to the price and should be paid locally, at the spot (approx. €10. - per person)

Arrive at the hotel in Pamukkale for dinner and overnight

Meal (s): Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel (s): MF* (see hotel class key below)

Day 5 | WEDNESDAY | PAMUKKALE | IZMIR | 1 Night

PHILADELPHIA, SARDIS, THYATIRA, DRIVE TO IZMIR

Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Izmir. On the way, the first visit will be to the ruins of an ancient city of Philadelphia, which was the sixth of the Seven Churches of Revelation (written around 100 AD). In Revelation 3:12, the believer who overcomes is compared to a pillar in the temple of God.
Continue to Sardis, known biblically as the home of the church that received the fifth of letters to the seven churches in Revelation. Sardis was the capital of the Lydian empire and one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. The city was home to the famous bishop Melito in the 2nd century.
Next visit will be to Thyatira. Christ praised the church for its love, faith, service and perseverance. The range of praise regarding Thyatira’s spiritual status was perhaps the widest given to any of the seven churches. It was the only church that is said to have improved its spiritual condition (Rev. 2:19). Nowadays, there is only one very small and old church in the middle of the cemetery and very little Christian population. Arrive in Izmir and at the hotel for dinner and overnight

Meal (s): Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel (s): FC* (see hotel class key below)

Day 6 | THURSDAY | IZMIR | ISTANBUL | 2 Nights

IZMIR SIGHTSEEING, FLIGHT TO ISTANBUL

Breakfast at the hotel, check-out procedure and departure for Izmir sightseeing that includes: Temple of Athena - The excavations at Bayrakli have unearthed a temple dedicated to Athena and the wall of the Ionian city, which flourished there between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C. has also been uncovered. 
Pagos - On Kadifekale (Mt. Pagos) stands the impressive ruin of a castle and its walls which were built by Lyimachus in the reign of Alexander the Great, and which still dominate Izmir today. The castle offers an excellent vantage point to enjoy a magnificent view of the Gulf of Izmir. 
The Agora, or marketplace, in the Namazgah Quarter was originally constructed during the rule of Alexander the Great. What remains today, however, dates from the rebuilding under Marcus Aurelius after a devastating earthquake in 178 AD. 
Clock Tower - The symbol of Izmir, the Saat Kulesi, or Clock Tower, stands in the heart of the city at Konak Square. It was a gift from Sultan Abdulmecit, and was built in 1901 in an elaborately decorated late-Ottoman style. 
Jewish Quarter - The old Asansor quarter, filled with old restored houses, is also known as the Jewish quarter. Dario Moreno Sokagi is the main pedestrian street to the Asansor itself, which is an elevator that was built in the 19th century. At fifty-one meters in height, it provides access between the lower and upper streets. Situated on the upper side, the Asansor restaurant offers a beautiful view of Izmir. 
Roman Aqueducts - The Sirinyer and Yesildere Aqueducts, two examples of Roman engineering spanning the Meles River, supplied Izmir’s water throughout the Byzantine and Ottoman 

Transfer to Izmir airport (ADB) for a short flight to Istanbul. 
Upon arrival transfer to the city and hotel for free afternoon, dinner and overnight

Meal (s): Buffet Breakfast, Lunch (box), Dinner
Hotel (s): FC* (see hotel class key below)

Day 7 | FRIDAY | ISTANBUL

MASS AT ST. ANTONIO CHURCH, HIPPODROME, HAGIA SOPHIA, TOPKAPI PALACE, ST. IRENE CHURCH, LITTLE HAGIA SOPHIA MOSQUE

Breakfast at the hotel and drive to the Morning Mass at St. Antonio di Padova Church (Monday through Saturday starts at 08:00 am; on Sunday starts at 10:00; in English), a basilica and the largest church of the Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul

After the Mass, start visits of the sacred Christian sites of Constantinople. 
Hagia Sophia (closed on Mondays); the church of Holy Wisdom is undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural creations in the world. Rebuilt by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian circa AD 535, it was transformed into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453 and is now a museum. 
Then visit Topkapi Palace Museum (closed on Tuesday) and see exhibits of Christian relics: the Moses’ rod, a piece of St. John the Baptist's skull and a section of his forearm, enclosed within a solid gold model, the King David’s sword, Joseph’s turban, the grain gage of Abraham. 
Within the premises of the palace there is another masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, the Church of St. Irene, which ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Constantinople. Roman emperor Constantine I commissioned the Hagia Irene church in the 4th century. It was burned down during the Nike revolt in 532. Emperor Justinian I had the church restored in 548. It served as the church of the Patriarchate before Hagia Sophia was completed in 537. 
This Great Palace of the Ottoman Sultans is the most extensive and fascinating monument of Ottoman civil architecture in existence. In addition to its architectural and historical interest, it contains as a museum, superb and unrivalled collections of porcelains, amour, fabrics, jewels, illuminated manuscripts, calligraphy and many objects of art formerly belonging to the Sultans. Topkapi was built between 1459 and 1465 as the seat of government of the newly installed Ottoman regime. You will also see the Treasury section.

Then, visit the Church of Saints Sergius & Bacchus. Begun in 527 by Emperor Justinian, the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus was an early experiment in Byzantine architecture, with a large central dome supported by an octagonal base. The church is now a mosque called Küçük Ayasofya Camii (Little Hagia Sophia Mosque), named for its resemblance to the much larger Hagia Sophia built a few years later. The architecture of the building survived fully intact from the Byzantine era. So too did the Greek dedicatory inscription around the central nave.

During this tour you will also have change to stroll through the former Imperial Hippodrome, evidence of the illustrious past that imbue the entire area with a sense of history. 
Monuments decorating the Hippodrome include the 3500-year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius, brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius in 390 AD; the spiral bronze base of a three-headed Serpentine Column brought from Delphi in Greece; the German Fountain donated in 1900 to the Ottoman Empire by the German Emperor Wilhelm II after his visit to Istanbul in 1898.

Then, spend some time at Istanbul Grand Covered Bazaar, a labyrinth of over 4,000 little shops, occupying 30.7 hectares, is everything one dreams an oriental market could be and indeed one of the most fascinating and irresistible attractions of Istanbul. Established by Mehmet the Conqueror in mid- 15th century, it is a small city in itself. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight

Meal (s): Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 | SATURDAY | ISTANBUL | DEPARTURE

BOSPHORUS CRUISE | EGYPTIAN MARKET, GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE, ST. SAVIOUR IN CHORA CHURCH

Morning Prayer and breakfast at the hotel, check-out procedures and depart to the nearest pier to take 1h30m min cruise on the Bosphorus (depending on the group size, if more than 20 pax, a private boat can be used) by the regular touristic boat. 
One of the world’s most eulogized stretches of water, the Bosphorus is a source of pride for Istanbul’s residents and of admiration for its visitors. The 30-km strait divides Europe and Asia and connects the Marmara and Black Seas (only way in/out to/from Black Sea) is one of the city highlights. The Bosphorus has, for all ages, been the subject of legend and art. A striking feature of Istanbul, the Bosphorus coast is lined by “yalıs” (old Ottoman wooden residences) flirting with the sea each with a tale of their own, marble palaces, sultans’ summer residences, gardens etc. The cruise will provide a taste of the Bosphorus that won’t leave your buds for a long time to come.

After disembarkation, a short visit to Spice Market, also known as Egyptian Bazaar, built in 1665. Spices, dried fruits, cheeses, sausages, jams, nuts and seeds, locum (Turkish delight) and other edibles fill most of the shops.

Next, you will see the residence of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople who is recognized as the first among equals of all Orthodox spiritual leaders. 
Constantinople has been the center of the Eastern Christian Church since Constantine moved the Roman capital there in the 4th century. The Patriarchate complex includes the Authorization Offices, the Patriarchate Library, the financial offices, the public enterprises of Patriarchate and the Patriarchate Cathedral Church of Saint George.

The last visit will be to the Kariye Museum (closed on Wednesday), also known as St. Savior in Chora Church. This 11th Century church of St Saviour in  Chora is after St Sophia, the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul. Inside the walls are decorated with superb 14th century frescoes and mosaics.
Return to the hotel to collect your luggage. 
Bid a fond farewell to this wonderful country as your memorable holiday comes to an end.

Tonight, either make your own arrangements or choose extension of our services (i.e. hotel booking, transfer, extension tour packages, etc.)

Optional: transfer to the airport for your outbound flight

Meal (s): Buffet Breakfast

INCLUDES

- 7 nights of accommodation at the hotels of featured category with a buffet breakfast daily 
- 5 dinners at the hotels outside of Istanbul (all drinks are excluded) 
- 6 lunches at the local Turkish touristic restaurants during the tours (all drinks are excluded) 
- Transportation by fully air-conditioning, non-smoking vehicle throughout 
- One Way Airport Transfer to/from domestic flights in Izmir & Istanbul 
- Professional English-speaking guide through the itinerary 
- Entrance fees to the museums featured on the itinerary

EXCLUDES

- Any personal expenses 
- Meals unless specified above and any kind of drinks except for tea/coffee/juice at the hotels for breakfast 
- Airport transfers on the first and the last day of the trip 
- Tips and gratuities 
- Optional activities costs 
- Turkish visa fee 
- Travel and Health insurance

NOTES

Airport Transfers 
Pera-Kaktüs Travel pleased to offer complimentary airport transfers at any time either on the first or last day of the holiday or on other days in conjunction with pre- and post-trip accommodation booked through Pera-Kaktüs Travel. Note that flight times must be provided to Pera-Kaktüs Travel no fewer than 21 days before flight departure.

Disclaimer 
- These prices are LAND-ONLY. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however prices and itineraries are subject to change, please confirm all details and final cost at time of booking. 
- For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Term & Conditions page. Conditions can be found in the footer under Information. 
- Early Payment Discounts are not available on every Pera - Kaktus Travel trips; some trips may be excluded. Book early to avoid disappointment as the number of seats available at discount prices are limited. The Early Payment Discount icon will be indicated on the "Pricing and Availability" page of the selected trips where this Early Payment Discount is applicable. 
- This itinerary is operated with min 15 participants 
- If you are a travel agency having a group and wish to make any changes to the itinerary, we are happy to help you customize your travel. Please simply let us know the amendments that you would like to make and we will gladly assist.

Important To Know: 
- On Mondays, when Hagia Sophia is closed, we visit the Yerebatan Museum (the Underground Roman Cisterns), built by Emperor Justinian in 532, possibly as an enlargement of an earlier cistern of Constantine. The vast awesome columned cavern was the water source for both the Grand Palace of the Byzantine and for the Ottoman’s Topkapi Palace. It is 140 meters long by 70 meters wide with 336 columns. 
- In winter the Dolmabahçe (Bezm-i Alem Valide) Mosque is visited instead of the Yildiz Royal Gardens 
- Harem Section of the Topkapi Palace is not included into the program. Should you wish to visit it, you may do so during the free time your guide will give you 
- While visiting mosques, please cover your shoulders, knees & women, additionally, heads 
- Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, during Ramadan Festivities (5-6-7 July 2016), Kurban Festivities (12-13-14-15 September 2016), National Republic Day (29 October 2016), and will be replaced by other authentic shops. 
- Spice (Egyptian) Bazaar is closed during Ramadan Festivities (5-6-7 July 2016) & Kurban Festivities (12-13-14-15 September 2016) 
- Other languages are available with an extra fee upon request

*Hotel Class Key 
- ST = Superior Tourist (3*), MF = Moderate First Class (classic boutique, ranked as 4*), FC = First Class (4*), SF= Superior First Class (5* classic), MD = Moderate Deluxe (5* Deluxe), and D = Deluxe (5* Boutique or Luxury) 
- Hotels are subject to change. 
- Twin-share option is not available for trips unless you travel with your own partner or travel companion.

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Kaktüs Tourism Travel Agency - Pera Air and Tourism
Cumhuriyet Mah. Nakiye Elgün Sok. No: 22 Osmanbey Apt. D.1 Şişli 34380 Istanbul / Turkey
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