Istanbul-Izmit-Bursa-Pamukkale-Kusadasi-Izmir-Assos-Canakkale / Seven Chuches of Asia Minor Private Tour / 7Days 6Nights(TMPL-3001)

Day 01 Istanbul (-,L,D)
A guided walking tour through the old city first visiting Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Cathedral consecrated on St. Steven’s Day, 26 December 537. Following the fall of Constantinople in 1453 it was converted into a mosque and the magnificent mosaics were painted over. Since becoming a National Museum in 1933 many of the mosaics have been uncovered and can be admired during the visit. Next on our itinerary is Sultanahmet Camii, better known as “The Blue Mosque”. It was built in 1619 and is so named due to the interior decoration of 21,043 blue Iznik tiles. The Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman sultans, covers a large area overlooking The Golden Horn. The tour concludes with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, a covered complex of alleyways and 4000 shops of all descriptions. Overnight in Istanbul

Depart for Bursa, an old city at the foot of Mount Uludag (Olympus), and the first seat of the Ottomans. After taking a short cut by crossing the Izmit Gulf by ferry we stop by the ruins of St. Sophia, in Nicaea. It was here that the first Ecumenical Council was held in 325 AD under Emperor Constantine to codify the faith. To this day the Nicene Creed, is the only creed of the Christian church, common to all sects. We drive round Iznik Lake to Bursa where we visit the ornate Mausoleum of Sultan Orhan and the Orhan Camii, the first ottoman mosque which was erected in 1413. Overnight in Bursa

Drive to Pamukkale via Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia an early morning departure passing through the modern town of Akhisar, on the site of the old Lydian city of Thyateira. This was one of the towns where Christianity spread rapidly and it was one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. In the New Testament (Rev 2; 18-29) In our visit to Sardis, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia, we will see a Roman era Synagogue, a well preserved gymnasium and other ruins(Rev 3: - 6 ). Following the visit to Sardis we pass through Philadelphia an ancient town rebuilt by Tiberius following two devastating earthquakes in 17 and 23 AD. Christianity took hold later than in the other towns and in the early days many Christians were martyred. Philadelphia is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation (3: 7-13) finally we arrive at Pamukkale where we will see the fascinating limestone formations and cascades. Adjacent is the ancient city of Hierapolis, the home of St Philip, the apostle. Overnight stay in Pamukkale

Morning visit to Laodicea, situated seven kilometers from Pamukale and the last of the seven churches of Asia Minor. It was the last residence of Cicero and only the ruins of an amphitheatre, the baths and nymphaeum can be seen. It was also addressed by St. John in the Book of Revelation (3:14-22). We continue to Selchuk (Ephesus) for a guided tour of the most important and largest ancient city in Asia Minor and having one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; the Temple of Artemis. It was the home of St. Paul for three years. We will walk down marble paved streets to the library and the theatre in which St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. Next, visit Basilica of St John “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. We will also visit the Basilica of St. John and a mosque, part constructed with stone from the Temple of Artemis. Overnight in Kusadasi

From Ephesus we drive north to Izmir built on the site of the ancient city and port of Smyrna which also boasted one of the seven churches mentioned in the Apocalypse Church of St.Policarp. Drive along the Aegean coast line to the hilltop city of Pergamum, another of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. The description in Rev2:12-17. At Pergamum we will visit the steepest theatre in the ancient world, the Temple of Trajan, the podium of the Altar of Zeus and the market place (agora). From Pergamum we drive to Assos, an ancient city dominated by its acropolis. Overnight in Troy

In the morning we have a conducted tour of Troy, that most famous of cities, written about by Homer in the Illiad and Odyssey in the 9th century BC. Afterwards we cross the Dardanelles to Europe en route for Istanbul. Tonight we have fare well dinner. Overnight in Istanbul

After breakfast transfer to airport and flight back home…