DAY 1 ARRIVE TO HATAY (ANTAKYA)
Flight to Antakya. Landing in Antakya. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight Antakya
PAUL IN ANTIOCH:
The name Antioch originates from Antioch, the father of Seleucus I, who was a contemporary of Alexander the Great. Due to its strategic location on the border of Anatolia and the Middle East, Antioch hosted many civilizations. After Rome, Alexandria, and Ephesus, Antioch was the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire. This became the starting point for Paul’s travels.
After his conversion to Christianity, the Holy Spirit visited Paul and Barnabas and instructed them that their mission was to spread the name of Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of Paul’s years of travel. On their first voyage, Paul and Barnabas traveled from Antioch in 46 AD by boarding a ship from Seleucia Peria (Samandag) to Cyprus. The starting point for his second and third voyages was also Antioch.
Places to visit:
Peter's Cave Church: Located in northeastern Antioch and is the oldest church in the world. There Peter and Barnabas prayed with Paul. Peter was considered the head of the church. The first Christian encounter was in this cave. For the first time in history, the name Christian was used here for the community of this church. Today there are remnants of mosaics from the 5th century AD. To the left of the altar is a tunnel and it is believed that this facilitated the escape of church members during the persecution. The church was expanded by a few meters in the 11th century. In 1863, Pope Pius IX. He restored the church with the help of Napoleon III. 1963 Pope Paul IV confirmed it as a pilgrimage site for Christians. Every year on June 29, a religious ceremony is held in the church, attended by people coming from different places.
Samandag: Simon Monastery was built on the highest peak of Samandage in memory of Simon, who patiently spent many years on top of a 13 meter high pillar. The name Samandag comes from the Arabic word Simon, Sam, so the name literally means Mount Simon.
DAY 2 ANTAKYA-TARSUS-KIZKALESİ 310 KM
Visit Antioch, the place where the followers of Jesus were first called by Christians Here we will visit the church of St. Petra, a cave church where the first Christians secretly met. In the new Antakya Archaeological Museum we will see one of the richest collections of mosaics in the world.
After lunch departure to Tarsus, home of the Apostle Paul. There we will visit the Roman baths and see the remains of an ancient bridge over the river Cydnus. The next visit is Cardo Maximus Street of Roman Tarsus, followed by Donuktaş, one of the largest temples of the ancient world. After that we drive to the town of Kız kalesi. Dinner and overnight Kızkalesi.
PAUL IN TAR
Tarz is Paul’s birthplace. Tarsus is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Places to see are:
- PAUL'S CHURCH; Today it serves as a museum of monuments, Paul’s Church is located in Ulu Mosque district. The church dedicated to Paul was originally built in the 11th and 12th centuries and was extensively renovated in 1862. The frescoes feature Christ and four evangelists with angels on the roof. The church hosted the "Symposium and Ceremony of St. Paul", organized by the Vatican between 1992 and 93.
- PAUL'S GOOD; The ancient fountain from the courtyard of Paul's house is located in Kizilmurat district near Cumhuriyet Meydani (Republic Square). The water level never drops and they believe the water is healing.
- ANCIENT ROAD; The road that Paul used on his travels and when he lived in Tarsus is an ancient basalt stone road that has been preserved to this day. It is located in Cumhuriyet Meydani, 300 meters south of the well yard. If we step on this ancient road, we can travel back in time to the years when Paul lived.
DAY 3 KIZKALESİ-SİLİFKE-ALAHAN-DERBE-KONYA 300 KM
After breakfast, we drive through the Cilicia Gate to Mount Taurus and continue to the derby, which Paul visited three times. Paul and Barnabas talked in the derby and won many converts and continued the ride to Konya. Dinner and overnight in Konya.
PAUL IN LISTRA (HATUNSARAY) AND DERBY
When he came to Lystra, Paul performed a miracle by endowing a man who had been mutilated from birth and had never walked, the ability to walk. The people of Lystra were enthusiastic about the miracle and attributed the names of the pagan gods to the names of the Pagans and Barnabas because they assumed that they were gods. They wanted to organize ceremonies in front of the city gates and sacrifice animals in their honor. When they heard this, Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes and walked among the people, saying, "We are people like you, and we have brought you good news. Leave empty gestures like this, and address the only God who created everything." "and thus prevent the victim. However, anti-Christian elements outside the city put the people on the list on their side and stoned Paul. Despite the severe injuries he suffered, he did not stop to recover, but went to Derb with Barnabas, where he managed to convert many people to Christianity with his words. The derby was the last stop of the first trip. Paul also visited Lystro and Derb on his second trip. In Lystra he found one of Timothy's greatest advocates, who kept him close and with him
PAUL IN ICONIA (KONYA)
After leaving Jalvec and before crossing the sultan's mountains, Paul and Barnabas arrived in Konja along the eastern trade route and the royal route through Ilgin-Ladik. Konya was a place where they had a lot of moving speeches and where they managed to convert a lot of people to Christianity. Most important among these people was St. Tekla, who was greatly affected by Paul’s sermons and became one of the most prominent missionaries of Christianity. She was the first martyr. While one group supported Paul, another group was against him. When Paul heard that another group was planning to attack them, Paul and Barnabas fled from Konya to go to Lystra and Derb.
DAY 4 KONYA-YALVAÇ-EĞRİDİR-ANTALYA 360 KM
Early on, we headed towards Yalvaç, the site of the Roman colony of Pisidian Antiochia. Paul visited this city on his three missionary journeys. His first recorded sermon in Acts 13 spoke of the gathering of Jews and the pious in the synagogue. We will also visit St. Paul’s Room at the Yalvaç Museum. We will then take a picturesque drive through the Turkish lake country before descending over Mount Taurus to the plains of Pamphylia. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.
PAUL IN PSYDIAL ANTIOH (YALVAC)
Paul visited Psidian Antioch twice during his first voyage. Paul’s speech affected so many people that they wanted him to address them again. During the next sermon, almost the entire population of Psidian Antioch gathered to listen to him. As a result, many people converted to Christianity. Some opponents of Christianity in the city, however, became angry with the newcomers and began to persecute Paul and Barnabas, and the two of them were driven from the city limits. Despite this support, Paul achieved his purpose and left many new believers behind by going to Iconium (Konya).
In Psidian Antioch, you can see the ruins of Paul’s Church, built in 325, on the site of the synagogue where Paul first preached. This is said to be the first church dedicated to Paul. The floors are covered with remarkable mosaics. Among the mosaics we find the name of Bishop Optimi, who in 381 attended the Ecumenical Council in Istanbul. When Paul visited Psidian Antioch in the 1st century, it had about 70,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire. Today you can also see the Temple of Augustus, the Theater, the Monumental Fountain, the Roman Baths and the Yalvac Museum
DAY 5 ANTALYA-PERGE-MYRA-PATARA- KALKAN 280 KM
We begin with a visit to Perga, who visited Paul and Barnabas on his first journey (Acts 13: 13-14). There we will see its well-preserved stadium and a colonnade street divided by a water canal. After that, we start with a nice drive along the Mediterranean coast along the ancient towns of Phaselis and Olympos. We will visit Myra with its beautiful Roman theater and Lycian tombs. Myra is best known as the city of St. Nicholas, where he was bishop in the fourth century AD. After visiting the Church of St. Nicholas, we take a short drive to Andriaca, where Paul changed ships on his way to Rome (Acts 27: 5). There we will visit the new Museum of Lycian Civilizations and the newly opened Jewish synagogue. Dinner and overnight at Kalkan.
PAUL IN DEMR
Demre was the first port Paul boarded on his way to Rome.
Santa Claus was born in Patara, but was a bishop in Demre. Saint Nicholas did his best to help all people, not just children, as they believe today. The Christmas tradition of gifting stems from leaving gifts at the doorsteps of poor families in 270 AD.
DAY 6 KALKAN-PAMUKKALE 280 KM
We will first visit Patara with a restored building and an ancient lighthouse. Paul replaced the ships here on the third voyage (Acts 21: 2). We will then drive back across the Taurus Mountains to Laodicea, one of the seven churches of Revelation (Rev. 3: 14–22), and address Paul (Col. 4: 13-16). We will then drive to the unexcavated sites at Colossae at the foot of Mount Honaz, where Paul wrote to the Colossians and Philemon. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
DAY 7 PAMUKKALE-EPHESUS-MERYEM ANA-KUŞADASI 210 KM
In Hierapolis, we will take a walk through its extensive necropolis, and then see the well-preserved theater and Philip’s Martyrdom and Basilica. Later in the west through the fertile Meander Valley we will visit Magnesia on the Meander past Tralles. The churches in these cities, which Ignatius later addressed in the early second century AD, were probably established in the time of Paul at Ephesus.
Today we will probably have the highlight of the tour for most of the group when we visit the impressive biblical city of Ephesus. You will take a walk that begins in the upper city of the state of Agora and then descends to the famous Celsus and Tetragonos Agora libraries. With a slight bend you will see on the terrace the excellent huts in which the rich and famous citizens of Ephesus lived. The city tour ends at the theater, where 24,000 citizens exclaimed "Artemis is great!" in a disorder that began in response to Paul's ministry there (Acts 19: 1-20: 1). We will stop briefly and see the remains of the Temple of Artemis, once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the afternoon you will visit the church of St. John, where tradition says that the apostle and revelator were buried .. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
PAUL IN EPHESUS
Paul’s first visit to Ephesus was during his second journey. Here Paul entered the synagogues and spoke on various topics. When the Ephesians asked him to stay longer, he replied, "If it is God's will, I will return to you." On his third journey, Paul lived in Ephesus for three years, 53-56. He explained God’s commandments to Ephesians, Galatians, and other communities with his epistles appearing here in the Bible. He spoke in synagogues. He did many miracles. The effect of these miracles greatly improved the reverence in which Jesus and Paul were. The followers of the pagan goddess Artemis were not happy and did not allow Paul to speak at the Great Theater in Ephesus. Paul went to Macedonia to attract new disciples. When he returned from Macedonia, he called the city elders of Ephesus in Miletus and told them with a heavy heart and tears how he had served God and continued to spread the word, inspiring all trials and tribulations. But he told them he had to go to Jerusalem.
Ephesus is an important place in terms of Christianity. In Ephesus, one of the seven churches of Revelation was the third ecumenical council in 431 AD. The author of the Gospel, John the Evangelist, was given the task of transmitting the messages of the first seven churches that lived here in Ephesus.
Paul & Thecla Cave: A cave carved into the rock is located on the northern slopes of Mount Bulbul. It consists of a hallway measuring 15 x 2 meters and a room connected to this corridor. Paul and Thecl are depicted in front of the entrance. There is an inscription that reads, "God, help your servant Timothy | and other inscriptions praying to Paul.
Church of John: John the Evangelist came to Ephesus with the Virgin Mary. Emperor Domitian wanted to be executed, but avoided any attempt to kill him by a miracle. After spending some time in exile, he came to Ephesus and is said to have died there. For this reason, the first tomb dedicated to him was built here in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. In the 4th century AD, Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora built a church on his grave, built by Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
DAY 8 KUŞADASI-İZMİR AIRPORT 80 KM
Just until the transfer. Departure to the airport. Flight from Izmir