1. Eight Day Turkey Tour: Seven Churches of Asia
Turkey, in antiquity known as Asia, was home to seven wondrous churches. It didn’t refer to an actual building, but rather seven Christian cities in Western Anatolia, which now lie in ruins. Visit these ancient places and walk the same steps that the world’s earliest Christians did. Before that, you’ll see all of Istanbul’s major sites, including the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia. Then you’ll travel to Izmir and start your tour of ancient Christianity, seeing many Roman ruins along the way. Soak in the thermal baths at Pamukkale, just as tourists have done for centuries – it was founded, after all, as a resort town by the Ancient Romans. Each step along the way, your expert guide will be there to provide you with context and information regarding each of these wonderful cities. Detailed Itinerary: Day 1: Arrival Arrive in Istanbul and enjoy a comfortable transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Istanbul. Day 2: Istanbul Tour Explore Istanbul and visit the historic old town. Then visit the Hippodrome, Istanbul’s first sports stadium, and the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque). Then visit the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace and a traditional bazaar. Day 3: Istanbul - Izmir Visit the Grand Bazaar before touring the port of Istanbul and seeing the Cistern of Istanbul. Flight to Izmir. Day 4: Pergamon – Thyatira – Izmir Explore the Pergamum Acropolis, and visit the Ancient Roman health center of Asklepieion. See the Red Basilica and continue on to Thyatira and back to Izmir. Day 5: Izmir – Sardis – Philadelphia – Laodicea – Hierapolis Visit the Sardis Church and ruins of the Temple of Artemis, then travel to Philadelphia Church. Then to the Roman resort of Pamukkale with its therapeutic thermal baths and the Cotton Castle. Finally, head to the Gate of Domitian, and the Nymphaion. Day 6: Ephesus – Kusadasi See the Basilica of St. John the Apostle. Then head to the ancient city of Ephesus and its Archeological Museum. Day 7: Izmir to Istanbul Relax in Kusadasi and flight back to Istanbul. Day 8: Departure Airport transfer in time for your flight.