Day 1: Departure USA
Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history with an overnight flight to Greece. Prepare yourself for a life-changing experience. Get some rest on the flight…Tomorrow you will be walking where the apostles walked!
Day 2: Arrival Thessaloniki
Arrive Thessaloniki,meet and transfer to our hotel. Dinner and accommodation at Thessaloniki.
Day 3: Thessaloniki to Alexandroupolis through Berea and Philippi
Tour Thessaloniki the places Paul lived and preached. Continue to Veria-Beroia,Paul s Bema, walk the jewish quarter and continue to Philippi. Stop near the harbor of Kavala (biblical Neapolis), St. Paul’s gateway to Europe – a busy port with striking castle and an imposing aqueduct built by Suleyman the Magnificent. See the Greek Orthodox seaside church (Agia Sofia) that marks Paul’s landing spot. From here we will drive to Philippi – As a prosperous Roman colony, Philippi had a spacious forum and Agora and a theater, which was also a gladiator arena. Nearby there is a crypt, which has been honored since the fifth century as the place of St. Paul’s first imprisonment, where Paul and Silas sang hymns and an earthquake set them free. Philippi is the place where the Apostle Paul arrived on the mainland of Europe in response to the vision of a Macedonian he saw at Troas. Here in Philippi St. Paul first preached the Gospel in Europe. Visit Lydia Springs, the Baptismal Site. Outside the ancient city, the River Gangites still flows through quiet countryside, where St.Paul addressed his first European congregations and the businesswoman, Lydia – a “seller of purple,” who was the first to be baptized. There is a fine chapel commemorating this event. Later we drive on to the beautiful seaside town of Alexandroupolis for dinner and o/n.
Day 4: Border Crossing to Istanbul and Tour
After breakfast, cross the Greek/Turkish borders and drive to Istanbul (formerly called Constantinople). Start exploring the city that connects East and West;Visit Hagia Sophia ,Blue Mosque. Dinner and Overnight in Istanbul.
Day 5: Morning Tour Istanbul and Afternoon to Canakkale
More tour of Istanbul this morning ;after lunch cross Dardanelles and drive to Canakkale. Dinner and Overnight in Canakkale
Day 6: Troy(Troas) and Pergamum
Visit ancient Troas (Troy), the perfect place to brush up on Homer’s Trojan War and Biblical Troas where Paul had the Vision. Our journey today continues on the road to the ancient city of Pergamum. See the Red Basilica which housed the 1st Century Christian Church referred to by John in revelation. Visit the Acropolis of Pergamum designed to imitate the one in Athens and the Asclepeion Temple once dedicated to the Greek god of healing. Revelation 2:12-17 records the letter written to the Christian church of Pergamum; verse 13 of this passage speaks of “Satan’s seat” being here (Pergamum was a center of idolatry). Paul was not allowed to preach here. Proceed to Smyrna, Izmir for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Churches of Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia
After breakfast we take a short tour of Smyrna,see St Polycarp and continue for the visit of Thyatira; was once a busy trading center and famous in dyeing of purple clothes. Thyatira is one of the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelations tolerated the false prophetess, Jezebel (Rev. 1: 11; 2: 18-29). Sardis, another of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Jesus told Sardis, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead”(Rev. 3: 1-6). Coins were minted and the dyeing of wool originated in Sardis. They will be impressed by the massive scale of the Temple of Artemis, by the white marble Royal Road, by the gymnasium, and by the synagogue. Then visit the site of Philadelphia also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation Rev. 3: 7-13). Christ told those who overcame that He would write upon them “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem.” (Rev.3: 12). Drive to Kusadasi, dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
Day 8: Ephesus Tour, Cruise Embarkation and Afternoon in Patmos
Visit the most impressive biblical site of our trip:Ephesus where Paul first came on his 2nd journey (Acts 18:19-21). Ephesus was one of the most beautiful cities of ancient world and its former glory can still be appreciated today from its well- preserved streets, temples, fountains, public baths, terraced houses and theatres. Paul returned to Ephesus on his 3rd journey, staying and preaching for a period of about two years, where “special miracles” were wrought (Acts 19:120, 20:20).. Embark our cruiseship, sail by noon. Early afternoon arrival on the island of Patmos; considered a holy island for the Christian religion. It was here in Patmos where John the Divine, while in exile, wrote the Apocalyptic Revelations, which constitute the last part of the New Testament. Disembark and meet with our Guide and bus for the Shore excursion on Patmos Island. The tour takes you to the monastery of St. John, which still keeps its character of a medieval fortress. Inside the walls you will be able to admire the Byzantine wealth of the Christian Orthodox religion while from its high ground you will have the most stunning panoramic view of the luminous sea. After the visit of St. John Monastery we proceed to the Grotto – the Holy Cave of Apocalypse where St John is said to have had the vision of fire and brimstone and dictated the book of Revelation. Return to the Port of Patmos – free time. Sail.
Day 9:Island of Rhodes and Option Excursion to Ancient Lindos
Day 10:Heraklion & Santorini
Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. Take an optional tour to Heraklion and the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. This afternoon visit the island of Santorini which is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. The town of Thira where white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques cling to steep cliffs, is accessible by foot path, cable-car or mule. You may choose to take an optional tour of sailing around an active volcano crater and swimming in the water heated by hot springs or enjoy this lovely island on foot. Again we return to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.
Day 11:Tour Athens and Corinth
This morning, after breakfast disembarkation and you will enjoy a City Tour of -Athens – the birthplace of democracy. See Constitution Square (Syntagma), the House of Parliament, the memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the University, the Academie and the National Library. Driving down Herodes Atticus Street and the Avzones in their picturesque uniforms and the Presidential Palace. On your way to the Acropolis you will see the Panathenaic Stadium (where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896), the Temple of Olympia Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. On the Acropolis mount, you will visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: The Propylee, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion and finally the Parthenon – the monument that “puts order in the mind” and “is harmony between material and spirit”-In the afternoon we will visit Corinth, where St. Paul arrived in A.D. 50-51 to preach Christianity. Stop at the archeological site housing many statues and artefacts. The site includes the Temple of Apollo; the Roman Agora; the Bema Courthouse, where his enemies brought the Apostle before Gallio; the pavement inscription of Erastus; the Roman Lechaion Road and the lower Fountain of Peirene. It was in Corinth that St. Paul wrote First Thessalonians and also, most likely, his Epistle to the Romans. Also, it was here that Paul encountered a multiple of problems in the congregation that seem to continue in today’s churches. Dinner & overnight at our hotel in Athens.
Breakfast at our Hotel and transfer to the airport in time for our morning flight home.