Biblical Turkey

   Turkey is referred to as the Other Holy Land as it has more Bible sites than any other country in the Middle East. Although Turkey is seculer mation, most of its inhabitants are followers  of Islam. Many visitors are therefore suprised to discover the country’s rich history of Christianty. Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus. Saint John is buried near Ephesus. The Virgin Mary lved out her last days within sight of Ephesus. The biblically referenced seven churches of Asia Minor.

     Although Turkey is seculare nation, most of its inhabitants are followers of Islam. Many visitors are therefore surprised to discover the country’s rich history of Christianity. Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus and traveled across much of Turkey. Saint John is buried near Ephesus; many believe that Saint Luke’s arrive is also there. The Virgin Mary lived out her last days within sight of Ephesus. She may be buried there. The biblically referenced, seven churches of Asia Minor, where Paul preached, are all in Turkey; as is St. Peter’s rock   church at Antioch. And finally, such places and hundreds of carved rock churches in Cappadocia provide Christian scholars with a treasure of information about Christianity’s first days.

The orient in the steps of St. Paul

Church Saint Peter Antakya


Footsteps of St. Paul

  • Day 1: ARRIVE Istanbul

Arrival at Istanbul and transfer to your hotel.  

  • Day 2: Istanbul / Adana

After breakfast, early check-out for a full day visit of the city, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque famous for its interior tiles from Nicea (Iznik); Byzantine Hippodrome where once horse and chariot races took place; the Church of St. Savior in Chora, representing best examples of the Byzantine mosaic art with scenes from the life of Blessed Virgin; Topkapi Palace with its magnificent exhibitions of the treasury, silverware, costumes etc; and the Chora Church, one of the first churches of the Byzantine Empire famous for its golden frescoes. Transfer to airport for the flight to Adana. Transfer to your hotel. 

  • Day 3: Adana / Antakya / Samandagi / Adana

In the morning a coach ride to Antakya (Antioch); the city where the disciples were called “Christians” for the first time (Acts 11:26). Visit to the St.Peter’s Church – one of the first Catholic Churches in the world; Antakya Museum of Mosaics, the most impressive one of this kind in the Near East. In the afternoon, a brief coach ride to Samandagi (Seleucia Pereira), the port from where Paul and Barnabas sailed to Cyprus on their first journey (Acts 13:4). Return to Adana.  

  • Day 4: Adana / Tarsus / Cappadocia

Breakfast and early departure for Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul. Arrival and a visit to St. Paul’s house which exists today. Then proceed to Cappadocia.  

  • Day 5: Cappadocia

Full day tour of the region to visit Goreme Open Air Museum with chapels and churches carved out of soft rock, famous for the well-preserved frescoes. In the afternoon, visit Pasabag Valley, a site most famous with its troglodyte dwellings; then the underground city of Ozkonak, which was built by early Christians fleeing from Roman persecutions. 

  • Day 6: Cappadocia / Konya

In the morning, depart for Konya (Iconium) where Paul and Barnabas were threatened by being stoned (Acts 15:5). Visits to St. Paul Church.

  • Day 7: Konya / Yalvac / Antalya

Departure for Antalya. On the way, a visit to Yalvac (Pisidian Antioch), a town where St. Paul stayed for quite a long time and used it as a base while spreading Christianity in the region (Acts 13:14-50). 

  • Day 8: Antalya / Perge / Aspendos / Antalya

In the morning, a visit to Perge, where St. Paul and Luke stayed long enough to preach and talk with people on their return from Antioch (Acts 14:25). Then a visit to Aspendos, one of the most well preserved ancient sites in Turkey. Then a short city tour in Antalya (Attalia), from where they went back to Antioch to complete the first journey. City tour includes, the Hadrianus Gate and the Groove Minaret Mosque. 

  • Day 9: Antalya / Colossae / Hierapolis / Pamukkale

In the morning dive to Colossae which Paul did not visit but sent a letter saying “to the Saints and faithful brothers of Christ who are at Colossae; grace be on you, and peace from God and Jesus Christ” (Colossians 1:2). Then continue to Pamukkale to visit Hierapolis, the center of Epaphra’s work (Colossians 4:13) when Paul was writing to strengthen his preachment. A visit to the white chalk cascades of Pamukkale.  

  • Day 10: Pamukkale / Ephesus / St. Polycarpos Church / Izmir

Early departure for Ephesus, visits here include the House of Virgin Mary; the Basilica of St. John; and the antique city of Ephesus, where St. Paul stayed and taught for two years (Acts 19:10), and where he promised on his second journey, “I shall come back to you if it is God’s will” (Acts 18:21). Proceed to Izmir and visit the St. Polycarpos Church. Izmir.  

  • Day 11: Izmir / Pergamum / Alexandria Troas / Canakkale

Early departure and drive to Pergamum; visit the Asklepion Sanctuary and the Acropolis including the Altar of Zeus, which is said to be “the place where Satan has his throne” (Revelation 2:13); the Trojan Temple; the world’s steepest theater; and the Red Basilica, which was originally a center of pagan worship and afterwards used as a church dedicated to St. John. Continue to Alexandria Troas where Paul is said to have visited at least twice; first when he and Timothy had wanted to go in to Bythinia but were prevented by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:8) and the second time on his way to Jerusalem when he preached 12 hours without stopping (acts 20:11). overnight  in Canakkale.

  • Day 12: Canakkale / Troy / Istanbul

After breakfast, a visit to the world famous ancient city of Troy including its various layers of civilizations. Then a short ferry ride across Dardanelles and continue to Istanbul. 

  • Day 13: DEPART Istanbul

Transfer to hotel or Airport.

Jewish Footprints Traces of Judaism

Istanbul Ashkenazi Synagogue

Etz Ahayim Synagogue

Sardis Synagogue in Manisa

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  • Day 1: Istanbul

Arrival and transfer to your hotel. 

  • Day 2: Istanbul

After breakfast, drive to the old Jewish neighborhood of Galata; visiting Neve Shalom Syngouge, Ashkenazy Synagouge and Zulfaris Jewish Museum and continue to Bet-Avraam Synagouge. 

  • Day 3: Istanbul

After breakfast,  drive to Asian side for visiting; Kusguncuk Snagouge than drive to Usküdar to visit Hemdat Israel Synagogue, drive to Beylerbeyi Palace, o former summer residance of the Ottoman. Drive to via suspension bridge to Ortaköy to Ortaköy Etz-Chaym Synagogue.

  • Day 4: Istanbul – Izmir

After breakfast,   Drive to Balat neighborhood where the expelled Jewish Community from Spain settled in 1492 visit; Ahrida Synagogue, Or-ahaym Jewish Hospital. Drive along the golden horn afterwards, visit the Roman Hippodrome, Blue Mosque and St. Sophia, Afternoon flght to Izmir. 

  • Day 5: Izmir

After breakfast, drive to Jewish Quarter in Izmir. See the Senora Synagogue, Bikur Holım and Bet Israel Synagogue, Continue drive to Sardes the capital of ancent Lydia for visit one of the world’s oldest Synagogue. 

  • Day 6: Ephesus – Kusadası

After breakfast,  Explore the ancient city of Ephesus. 

  • Day 7: Miletus – Didyma – Priene – Kusadası

After breakfast,  Visit the Ionian sites and see the synagogue at the sites. 

  • Day 8: Pergamum – Bursa

After breakfast, Visit Pergamon also see the Red Basilica and the gravestones whose inscriptions are in Hebrew. Continue to Bursa where Jewish people first settled 2100 years ago.

  • Day 9: Bursa – Istanbul

After breakfast, spledid monuments from Ottoman periods, visit the 15th. Century Yerusch Synagogue the drive to Istanbul.

  • Day 9: Bursa – Istanbul

After breakfast, transfer to airport.

The Seven Churches of Revelation

     The Seven Churches mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelations (The Apocalypse) are all found in Turkey and each was a founding community of Christianity.

The seven churches are named for their locations. The Book of Revelation provides descriptions of each Church.

  • Ephesus (Revelation 2:1–7): known for having labored hard and not fainted, and separating themselves from the wicked; admonished for having forsaken its first love (2:4)
  • Smyrna (Revelation 2:8–11): admired for its tribulation and poverty; forecast to suffer persecution (2:10)
  • Pergamum (Revelation 2:12–17): located where ‘Satan’s seat’ is; needs to repent of allowing false teachers (2:16)
  • Thyatira (Revelation 2:18–29): Kknown for its charity, whose “latter works are greater than the former”; tolerates the teachings of a false prophetess (2:20)
  • Sardis (Revelation 3:1–6): Admonished for – in contrast to its good reputation – being dead; cautioned to fortify itself and return to God through repentance (3:2–3)
  • Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7–13): Known as steadfast in faith, keeping God’s word and enduring patiently (3:10)
  • Laodicea, near Denizli (see Laodicean Church) (Revelation 3:14–22): Called lukewarm and insipid (3:16)

Kariye Mosque

The House of Virgin Mary

Thyatira Basilika

The Zero Point of Human History Göbeklitepe
The First Temple of the World

  Göbeklitepe, which was the first temple built in the time of hunter and gatherer human societies, which was far from the concepts of settlement and agriculture, before the city life, is shown as the “biggest archaeological discovery” of recent years. The temple, which has not yet found an answer to how it was designed about 12 thousand years ago, draws all the attention as it was built about 7,500 years before the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge in England.

This fascinating historical site located near Şanlıurfa is one of the most important discoveries in the history of archaeology. Göbeklitepe’s location, dimensions, dating, and monumentality of its structures indicate that the site was a unique sanctuary built during the Neolithic Period, 11,600 years ago. It is truly astonishing that people built structures that required such advanced technical and architectural knowledge at a time when they were still living as hunter-gatherers. Some of the most incredible finds in Göbeklitepe are the T-shaped monumental pillars measuring 5 meters in length and 40 tons in weight. Around 10-12 of these mysterious pillars were arranged in a circular plan and were built with stone walls between them. Some of these obelisks have reliefs of animal figures such as snakes, foxes, wild boars, and birds, while some have reliefs of human limbs, such as arms and hands, and are therefore thought to be stylized human figures. There are many more mysteries waiting to be revealed in Göbeklitepe, which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.