Monday, May 23, 2011: Depart North America for Turkey.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011: Arrive Turkey. Air and bus transfers to Goreme, the main site in the region of Cappadocia. Relax, dinner and overnight in our hotel.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011: We will begin our pilgrimage in Cappadocia, the heart of the early church, and a site of spectacular ruins and history. Today we will visit the open-air archaeological park to see the ancient churches carved into the rock, to examine the ancient fresco paintings, and to discuss and learn about the development of Christian theology, including the creeds of the Church. We will also tour one of the ‘underground cities’ of the region, a place of refuge for early Christians fleeing persecution.
Thursday, May 26, 2011: Today, we drive to modern-day Konya, home of the ‘whirling dervishes’. We will visit their centre and the local museum before ending the day in the town of Yalvac, ancient Antioch of Psidia.
Friday, May 27, 2011: We begin by touring the ruins of ancient Antioch of Psidia, where Saint Paul began to spread the Gospel to the wider world (Acts 13). From there, we continue on to the ancient spa town of Heliopolis, modern-day Pammukale, and a UNESCO world heritage site. On the way, we will stop and visit ancient Colossae and Laodicea, famous from the Letter to the Colossians and the Book of Revelation. We will have free time today to visit the spa and Turkish baths and pools at our hotel.
Saturday, May 28, 2011: Our tour of some of the “seven churches” of the Book of Revelation (Rev 3) takes us to the ruins of Sardis, including some spectacular Roman buildings, a temple dedicated to Artemis, an ancient Synagogue and a Byzantine church. We will continue on towards the Mediterranean coast and spend the night in the modern-day resort town of Kusadasi, close to the ancient city of Ephesus.
Sunday, May 29, 2011: Visit Ephesus, one of the greatest ruins of the ancient Roman world, and a significant site for Saint Paul. In addition to an extensive tour of the ancient city, we will also be visiting the Basilica of Saint John and the ruins of the Temple of Artemis of the Ephesians, one of the ‘seven wonders of the ancient world’. As it is Sunday, we will celebrate the Eucharist in the ruins of the ancient church of St Mary the Virgin at Ephesus, site of the great Council of Ephesus (431).
Monday, May 30, 2011: Today we travel to the Greek island of Patmos by private boat from Kusadasi, Turkey. There, we will visit the Monastery of Saint John and the Cave of the Apocalypse where the revelations to John took place (Rev 1:9-10). We will also enjoy lunch and free time in the Greek harbor town of Skala.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011: From Ephesus, we will continue northward to Bergama, ancient Pergamum. En route, we will visit one of the few active Christian congregations in Western Turkey. Once in Bergama, we will see the Acropolis, the Askelepion (Temple of Healing), and other ancient temples. Following our visit, we will drive on to Bursa, Turkey’s fourth largest city, known for its parks and silk production.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011: After a morning tour of Bursa, we continue on to Iznik, formerly Nicaea, site of the first ecumenical council of the Church in 325, and the place associated with the Nicene Creed. There, we will visit the site of the ancient palace complex (where the Council of Nicaea was held) and the ruins of the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom. From Iznik, we journey to Istanbul. We will enter the city along the Bosphorus, with a boat cruise past the city’s many minarets.
Thursday, June 2, 2011: Tour Istanbul: Our day begins with a walking tour of the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, and the famous Hagia Sophia, followed by an afternoon visit to the Chora Church. We will finish our day with some free time in the Istanbul, a trip to the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar, and a relaxing evening to enjoy the city. Dinner today is on your own.
Friday, June 3, 2011: Free day in Istanbul. Walk through the ancient streets, visit the Topkapi palace or other sites, shop and relax. In the evening, we will gather together for a final celebratory meal, a traditional Turkish feast. Lunch today is on your own.
Saturday, June 4, 2011: Departure. Travel from Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport to North America on our return home.
Accommodations and Meals:
Your pilgrimage fees include all accommodations and most meals.
The accommodations will all be 4 or 5 star, depending on availability. The only exception to this is in the town of Yalvac (Antioch of Psidia), where the best hotel in the region is 3-star.
All meals are included, except dinner on June 2 and lunch on June 3. This is to give you some flexibility with your free time, and to give you the option of getting to know Istanbul and to make your own decisions regarding what, where, and when you eat. On other days, we will be traveling together as a group during mealtimes. Most meals will be ‘buffet-style’, with plenty of choices and opportunities to test the local cuisine. We can accommodate almost all dietary restrictions, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Registration, Fees, and other information:
The total cost for the pilgrimage from Edmonton, Canada is $5425 Canadian, double occupancy. Other departures are possible; please contact the pilgrimage leaders for details.