Day 1 Istanbul / Izmir
You will be picked up from your hotel in Istanbul and transferred to the airport where you will fly to Izmir.
Upon arrival in Izmir you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 2 Pergamon – Thyatira – Smyrna
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel.
The first of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor on the tour is the Church of Pergamon. Here we see the Altar of Zeus, which is mentioned as the Throne of Satan in the book of Revelations, as well as the Acropolis and the Red Court, and the impressive 10,000 seat theatre which has the steepest seating of any ancient theatre, as well as the library which was foremost in the world and was long a rival of the equally famous Library of Alexandria in Egypt. It was estimated to contain over 200,000 volumes.
Our next stop is the Church of Thyatira, in present day Akhisar. This was a commercial city famous for purple dyes with strong links to Sardis and Troy.
In the afternoon we return to Izmir to visit the Church of Smyrna. We ascend to Mount Pagus where we visit the Citadel of Lysimachos, commander of Alexander the Great, erected in the 4th century BC. We will also see the Clock Tower.
You will then be dropped back to your hotel in Izmir.
Day 3 Sardis – Philadelphia – Laodicea
After brakfast, check out and depart for Sardis.
Our first stop today is the Church of Sardis, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia. Here we can see the Greek gymnasium, the Persian Road, some ancient Lydian houses and the reconstructed synagogue.
The next church we visit is Philadelphia Church at Alasehir, which is the youngest of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. We see the remains of a Byzantine basilica built of brick and some 11th century frescoes.
We then head to the white cliffs of Pamukkale, where hot mineral water bursts out from the earth and cascades over steep cliffs forming pools, channels and stalactites. The therapeutic waters were known to the founders of Hierapolis and of Laodicea in 190 BC.
We will then continue to Hierapolis, where St. Philip was martyred in 1AD. We can explore this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site with its necropolis, hot springs and the Avenue of Tombs.
Our final stop for the day is Eskihisar, which is the site of the Church of Laodicea. Here we can explore the ruins of the the ancient theater, the remains of basilica and ancient stone water pipes. We visit the Gate of Domitian, the Arcadian Way, the Temple of Apollo, the Plutonium and the Necropolis.
In the evening, you will check into the hotel in Pamukkale.
Day 4 Ephesus
Breakfast, check out and depart for Ephesus.
Today we will explore Ephesus, the most important of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. It is thought that the Gospel of John was written here. In Ephesus we will visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, as well as the House of the Virgin Mary and the great library of Celsus. Stroll along marble streets lined with stately public buildings including the Baths of Scholastica, the Temple of Hadrian and the Theatre.
In the afternoon, you will be taken to Kuşadası to check into your hotel.
Day 5 Izmir / Istanbul
Pick up from your hotel and transfer to Izmir airport, for your flight back to Istanbul.