Introduction to Turkey
In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John discusses the seven churches of Asia Minor. He writes during a time of persecution for Christians when he has been exiled to the Island of Patmos to carry out his missionary work. Here there are written messages to seven of the most prominent churches of the Roman Province of Asia, which are now located in western Turkey. When we use the world “church” we mean a group of Christians, not a building.Therefore on a tour of the seven churches we are not looking for remnants of church structures. However, a visit to the impressive excavations of the sites of the ancient Roman cities where these seven churches existed is very moving. These sites show marks of the passing empires and cultures of the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Selcuk Turks, Ottomans and the modem Turkish Republic. A visitor to these ancient places finds remains of massive pagan temples, beautiful Muslim mosques, as well as many Christian church buildings. The seven cities mentioned in Revelation form what the Rev. John Stott calls “an irregular circle.” Sailing from the island of Patmos, to which John had been banished, he would arrive at Ephesus. He would then travel north to Smyrna and Pergamum, southeast to Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia, and finish his journey at Laodicea. The Church and followers of Jesus Christ were persistently persecuted by the emperor and his deputies. There was an intellectual struggle against the worship of idols and false cults and morally through an effort to bring forth new ideas and challenge the unethical standards that existed in society. As we look around the world today, persecution is still prevalent and the same pressures felt during this time still exist; therefore the messages in these letters are also for the Church in the world. In each of the seven letters, which follow, the risen Christ lays emphasis, either in rebuke or in commendation, of one particular characteristic of an ideal church. Put together, these characteristics constitute the seven marks of a true and living church.
This tour is available for groups of 15 or more pilgrims
Please contact us directly for further details
UK / Istanbul
Fly from the UK to Istanbul. We will be met on arrival by our coach and guide after the customs and baggage claim. Transfer to your hotel in Istanbul for check in. In the afternoon we will take an afternoon boat tour along the Bosphorus visiting both the Asian and European shores of Istanbul. Dinner and overnight stay at our hotel in Istanbul.
After breakfast we will have a full day tour of Istanbul including; the Roman Hippodrome Square, Blue Mosque with its beautiful blue tiles, St. Sophia Church, built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, one of the world’s greatest architectural marvels and a designated World Heritage site. We will also visit the Topkapi Palace, the Imperial Residential Palace of the Ottoman sultans between the 16th and 19th centuries and the oldest and largest of the remaining palaces in the world. Its displays include priceless world-class collections of jewellery, porcelain and costumes of the sultans. Lunch is free in Istanbul (not included). In the afternoon you will have some free time to walk around and explore. We would recommend a visit to the Old Bazaar, one of the oldest and grandest covered markets in the world. Return to our hotel in Istanbul for dinner and overnight stay.
Istanbul / Troy-Alexander / Troas / Assos
(Acts 16:8-11; 20:5, 6, II Tim. 4:13 II Cor. 2:12)
This morning we will check out of our hotel, leave Istanbul and drive to Çanakkale. We will cross the Dardanelles Strait by car ferry. Proceed to Troy to see the legendary city and the replica of the Wooden Horse. We will then drive to Alexandria Troas founded by Alexander the Great. Paul visited here at least twice. We will then drive to Assos, the Hellenistic city where Paul rejoined his companions. Check in, dinner and overnight stay in Assos.
Pergamum / Izmir
Pergamum (Rev. 1:11; 2:12)-Thyatira (Acts 16:14, Rev. 1:11; 2:18-24)-Smyrna (Rev. 1:11; 2:8)
In the morning we will depart for Pergamum. Visit the Acropolis with the steepest theatre of the ancient world and the Temple of Trajan. We will then visit the Red Basilica which was an Egyptian Temple, later converted to a church in the 1st century. It is also considered as one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. We will then continue to Izmir for check in, dinner and overnight stay.
Sardis / Philadelphia / Pummakale
(Rev. 1:11; 3:1-4)-Philadelphia (Rev. 1:11; 3:7)
In the morning we will check out of our hotel drive to Salihi (Sardis) the capital of ancient Lydia where first coin of the world was invented. Visit the magnificent synagogue, and Alasehir (Philadelphia), whose martyrs suffered with Polycarp in the stadium Smyrna. This is the youngest of the seven churches and remains of an early church are still evident. Continue to Pamukkale, a celebrated spa resort where you stay overnight. Pamukkale means “Cotton Castle”, a reference to the dazzling white petrified cascade of stalactites that flow over a plateau into a series of thermal basins and pools. Check in, dinner and overnight stay at your hotel in Pamukkale.
Pamukkale / Hierapolis / Laodicea / Kusadasi
(Laodicea (Col 2:1; 4:13-16, Rev. 1:11; 3:14)-Colossae (Col.1:2)
This morning we will visit the thermal basins and pools in Pammukale. We will then check out of our hotel and proceed to visit ancient Hierapolis, which stands close to the thermal pools. Founded in the 2nd century BS it was also a spa resort in its day. Following the acceptance of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine and his establishment of Constantinople as the ‘New Rome’ in 330 AD the town was made bishopric. As the place of St Philip’s martyrdom in 80 AD, Hierapolis with its several churches became an important religious centre for the Eastern Roman Empire. Here, you can see the remains of the thermal baths, a Christian Basilica and theatre; if you wish, you can also climb up to the site of the Martyrdom of Philip, dedicated to the Apostle martyred in AD 80. Leaving Pamukkale, we will travel to Denizli (Laodicea), once the home of Philip the Evangelist and another of the seven churches of Asia listed by John the Divine. Your destination is the picturesque resort of Kusadasi where you spend 2 nights.
Kusadasi / Ephesus / Miletus / Kusadasi
(Acts 18:19-24; 19:1-35; 20:16-17; 21:29, 1 Cor.15:32; 16:8, I Tim. 1:3 II Tim. 1:18; 4:12, Rev. 1:11, 2:1)
In the morning, we will proceed to Ephesus; one of the wonders of the world. Ephesus is the breath-taking Greco-Roman city visited by St. Paul on his second journey, and his home for more than two years whilst travelling in Asia Minor on his missionary work. Paul came to this cosmopolitan city around the year 53 and it was already home to a small Christian community. It was in Ephesus that Paul wrote his First Letter to the Corinthians. While in Ephesus Paul tended to new converts and tried tirelessly to make more. In time, Paul’s passionate preaching became to make waves in Ephesus, particularly among the Artisans who crafted miniature versions of Artemis and her temple for sale to Pilgrims and tourists. When the silversmith Demetrius heard there was a man in the city saying that Gods made by humans were not Gods at all and should not be worshipped, he realized that his livelihood was at stake. Demetrius and his fellow artisans marched to the amphitheatre shouting, “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!” They found some of Paul’s followers and hustled them along with them, creating a scene that threatened to turn violent. City officials intervened and Paul was forced to leave Ephesus. The marble streets are still scored by chariot wheels, the great library was a leading seat of learning and the magnificent amphitheatre (its interior is currently closed to visitors) is where St. Paul preached against the cult of Artemis. After our visit, we will then return to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Kusadasi / Izmir / UK
In the morning we will check out of our hotel in Kusadasi and proceed to Izmir for our return flight to the UK.