Ephesus Tour from Izmir Port
Start/End :Everyday / All year around / Private basis
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Arrival in Istanbul, former capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, Turkey's largest metropolis and its commercial hub. Your private driver will greet you at the airport and transfer the hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you will visit to the Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşı, literally “Egyptian Bazaar”) that draws its name from the Ottoman-ruled districts in Egypt that provided the revenue to build the structure in 1660, where you will experience the smells of cinnamon, cloves and thyme rising from every store. We will then embark a ferry for a scenic excursion up the Bosphorus, the natural waterway that divides Asia from Europe. Lean back and enjoy the view of city's dramatic skyline, filled with Ottoman palaces, citadels, centuries-old mansions on both the European and Asian shores with two magnificent suspension bridges.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Istanbul
- Transfer to Airport
- Guided Tour of Spice Market & Bosphorus Cruise
Begin the day by exploring the Topkapı Palace, where was the imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans for more than 400 years, now houses the priceless collections of porcelains, jewelery, calligraphy, holy relics, and many masterpieces of art. The next stop on your tour will be one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia (literally the Church of “Holy Wisdom”), built in 537 A.D. and converted into a mosque in 1453 right after the conquest of Constantinople by Ottoman Turks. Wander slowly through the masterpiece to take in the amazing mosaic scenes of the Virgin Mother, Jesus, the saints, many biblical narratives. After lunch, we will visit the Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque), an early 17th century building, beautifully crafted blue Iznik tiles adorn the interior with its wonderfully curvaceous exterior featuring a cascade of domes and six slender, fluted minarets. The Hippodrome was first constructed in 200 A.D. by the emperor Septimus Severus. It was the focal point of civil activities. The ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II are also visited. En route to the Grand Bazaar, we will stop at the sixth-century charming and mysterious Underground Cistern, constructed using 336 columns, many of which were salvaged from ruined temples and feature finely carved capitals. The atmosphere and mystic music will amaze you at once. The Grand Bazaar itself is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the World. With sixty-one covered streets, more than three thousand shops.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Istanbul
Early morning, you will transfer to airport for a domestic flight to Adana(Que valley 1Kings 10:28), ancient Cilicia. From there, we head to Tarsus, the birthplace of St Paul. Highlights include St Paul’s well and Cleopatra’s Gate. We continue on to Antioch at Orontes and stay the night there. (2 hours driving)
Tarsus was the birthplace of the apostle Paul (Acts 9:11; 9:30;11:25;21:39; 22:3). Situated about 18 km from the Mediterranean Sea, Tarsus prospered (Acts 21:39, “no mean city”). It had long been established as a coastal center. The influence of Greek education and civilization made Tarsus a center of intellectual life. From 170 B.C. a community of Jews lived in Tarsus, stimulating economic growth. These Jews were granted rights equal to those of the Greek inhabitants of the city. Following Paul’s conversion and initial ministry in Damascus and Jerusalem, he was sent from Caesarea to Tarsus to escape death at the hands of his Jewish opponents (Acts 9:30). Barnabas went later to Tarsus to enlist Paul’s help in teaching the Gentile converts at Antioch (Acts 11:25-26).
- Overnight at a Hotel in Antioch
Today, we journey east to Antakya, ancient Antioch. Antioch is thought to have been founded in 300 BC. St Peter was the first to preach here, followed by St Paul and Barnabas whose extensive efforts proved to be very fruitful for Christianity. Highlights include the museum which houses a superb collection of mosaics from Antioch, Daphne and Seleucia Pieria. St Peter’s Grotto, the cave church, came to be known as the meeting place of the early Christians. The most interesting monument here is the Tunnel of Titus, which is a tremendous canal dug for the purpose of diverting waters from the Orontes River. Another highlight is the rock tombs with their impressive facades pertaining to the Hellenistic period.
Antioch is a city in southeast Turkey (modern Antakya), about 19 km east of the Mediterranean Sea. In New Testament times the city enjoyed an international population of Romans, Greeks, Syrians, Jews, and possibly others. Luke records that some of the persecuted believers moved to Syria (Acts 11:19-20) and started a church. When the Jerusalem church heard this news, it sent Barnabas, who exhorted the believers to remain faithful to the Lord (vv 22-23). Upon enlisting the help of Paul, the two taught in the city for about one year (v 25-26). The followers of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11: 26).
Antioch was the home base of Paul’s missionary activities. Three times the local church sent him away to teach (Acts 11:26; 6:5; 11:19; 11:20;1 1:22; 11:27; 13:1-3; 13:14; 14:19; 14:21; 14:26; 15:22; 15:23; 15:30; 15:35; 18:22; Galatians 2:11; 2Timothy 3:11). When the decision of the Jerusalem Council regarding the salvation of Gentiles was relayed here, it was received with joy (Acts 15:30-31). Here also, Paul felt compelled to rebuke Peter for his intolerant behavior towards Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11). Antioch was very important during the initial spreading of the gospel, located as it was along the road from Jerusalem to Rome. It was notorious for its wealth and luxury. In Roman times, the city continued to thrive with artistic, scientific and commercial activities. Though the church was exposed to the temptations of wealth and pleasure, not to mention the allure of the cults of Artemis and Apollo, it grew. Strolling through the ancient city, you cannot help recalling that Paul.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Antakya
- Guided Tour of Antioch
After an early breakfast, we drive north to Cappadocia. Our first stop is Derinkuyu, an underground city carved into soft rocks resembling a huge labyrinth of tunnels, rooms, kitchens, wine cellars and passageways. A huge chimney ventilates this 8-level dwelling, which was used by Christians hiding from their Roman and Byzantine persecutors. Their colourful frescoes remain as vibrant as when they were first made. Further on, we come to Cappadocia, which reminds the visitor of a village out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. (5 hours driving)
Residents of Cappadocia were included among the Jewish pilgrims at the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2:9). Christianity spread into the region primarily along the route from Tarsus through the Cilician Gates. In his first letter (1 Peter 1:1) Peter addressed Christian converts from Cappadocia. The capital of the province, Caesarea (modern Kayseri) became a leading center of Christianity. In the early years of the first millennium, groups of Christians fleeing from Roman persecution began moving into the inaccessible wilds of Cappadocia seeking refuge.
There are said to be more than a thousand churches and chapels in Cappadocia. The variety and artistry of their architecture, layout, and decoration are fascinating and amazing. The whole panoply of religious architecture – basilicas with single, double, or triple naves, cruciform plans, vestibules, aisles, apses, domes, columns, pillars, and more – can be found in these churches, and all had been hollowed out of the stone. Many of the churches are decorated with painstakingly executed frescoes. Since it might be necessary to lie low for extended periods of time, these troglodytic dwellings eventually became subterranean cities that included sources of water and places to store food and wine. Cappadocia is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Some Christians, which arrived in Turkey from Jerusalem via Antioch (Antakya) and Caesarea (Kayseri) in the 2nd century, settled down in the area now called Derinkuyu. Finding the soft volcanic tuff easy to carve, they began expanding the natural caves, linking them together and in addition to dwellings, created chapels, churches and monasteries.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Cappadocia
- Guided Tour of Cappadocia
In the morning, we visit the Valleys of Goreme to explore the unusual troglodyte dwellings, remains of the early churches comprising complicated rooms hollowed out of the cones of volcanic ash and decorated with scratched frescoes. We will visit the Apple Church, the Church of Sandals, and the Church with a Buckle in Goreme. Next stops are Ortahisar and Avanos. Dinner and overnight in Cappadocia.
Visit the Goreme region (ancient Cappadocia). The town of Goreme is set in the middle of a valley of rock cones and fairy chimneys. Known in Roman times as Cappadocia, Goreme is one of those rare regions in the world with a spectacular surrealistic landscape of capped pinnacles and fretted ravines in colours that range from warm reds and golds to cool greens and greys. Dwellings and churches have been hewn into the rocks dating as far back as 4,000 B.C.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Cappadocia
- Guided Tour of Cappadocia
Following an early breakfast, we drive to Pisidian Antioch (Yalvac). During Paul’s time, the population was made up of Jews, Romans and Greeks. Very little is left of Pisidian Antioch today. Thereafter, we proceed to Pamukkale and stay the night there. (8 hours driving)
“So after they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them , they went to Iconium.” Acts13:51; 14:1; 14:19; 14:21; 16:2; 2Timothy3:11
Paul and Barnabas visited this city in Phrygia near the border of Pisidia (Acts 13:14) on his first missionary journey, after his ministry in Cyprus, around 46 A.D. Preaching first to the Jews on the Sabbath in their own synagogue, he succeeded in securing an initially favourable reception (v 43). The next meeting was less friendly, however, because of the jealousy of the Jews over the number of people attending. The Jews managed to have Paul and his company evicted from the city, though they were unsuccessful in their attempt to block Gentile conversion (vv 48-51). Paul may have revisited the city on his second and third journeys (16:6; 18:23). Much of the ancient city has been preserved.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Pamukkale
- Guided Tour of Pisidian Antioch
In the morning, we visit Hierapolis, which was founded by Pergamon King Telephons and named after his wife, Hiera. During the Byzantine period, the city became the seat of diocese with a large Christian Church dedicated to St Philip, who was martyred there in 80 AD. Highlights include the Roman Baths, the Theatre and the famous white calcium cascades of Pamukkale (the white “Cotton Castles”). Then we visit Laodicea, where we find here two Theaters, a large Stadium, a Water Tower and an Odeon. The city is named by Antiochus II in honor of his wife, Laodicea. St. Paul wrote a letter to the church here (Acts:4:16). Next on our itinerary is Philadelphia which was an important Christian centre during Byzantine times. We will see the Basilica and several interesting mosques. Than we drive to Sardis whose history dates back to 12th century B.C. Sardis felt the influence of Christianity very early and was included in the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. During the Byzantine times it was the seat of a bishopric. Highlights will be a Synagogue, Gymnasium, Byzantine Church and the Temple of Artemis. (4.5 hours driving)
Hierapolis is 19 km north of Laodicea and 19 km northwest of Colossae. It stands along the ancient roadway connecting Laodicea to Philadelphia and Sardis to the northwest. The city may have been reached by Paul’s ministry impact from Ephesus (Acts 19:10), but more likely came under the evangelistic preaching of Epaphras. Epaphras, who was imprisoned with Paul had ministered to this city (Colossians 4:12-13). Hieropolis was also the city where Philip was martyred.
Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale “Cotton Castle”) is a natural wonder of mineral-rich waters cascading over travertines formed through the centuries and is set amid historic ruins. The hot springs have been used since Roman times for their therapeutic powers. The thermal pools as well as the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis are situated on a plateau. Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Laodicea, the last of the seven churches of Revelation (Revelation 3:14-22), is 10 km across the valley from Pamukkale’s hot springs. It is about 177 km east of Ephesus and 97 km south-east from Philadelphia in the Lycus Valley. It is part of the tri-city area with Hierapolis and Colosse, all within 18 km of each other. The modern city of Denizli is about 8 km away.
Colossians 4:16; 2:1; 4:13; 4:15; Revelation 1:11; 3:14;
Epaphras laboured in the Christian congregation of Laodicea, which was closely lined with the congregations of Hierapolis and Colossae (Colossians 4:12-16). Paul himself did not visit the congregation in Laodicea (Colossians 2:1).
Philadelphia, the sixth of the seven churches of Revelation (Revelation 3:7-13 ), is a city of Lydia, located about 45 km south-east of Sardis and 120 km east of Smyrna.
Sardis, the fifth of the seven churches of Revelation (Revelation 3:1-6), is about 64 km south of Thyatira and about 80 km east of Smyrna. The ruins of ancient Sardis, once the capital of the Lydian realm of Croesus, lie on the Sart Cayu (Pactole River) plain. The world’s first coins were minted here. The modern city of Salihli is just a few kilometres away.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Şirince
- Guided Tour of Pamukkale - Laodicea - Philedelphia - Sardis
Following an early breakfast, we drive to the famous city of Ephesus, one of the world’s finest archaeological sites. Our tour will begin with the Basilica of St John “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. The Temple of Artemis, considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Antiquity, was located here. Highlights include the Library of Celcius, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Theatre. We will also stop by the House of Virgin Mary (on top of Mt Coressos). She was believed to have spent her last years in this area. On 18 August 1961, Pope John XXII proclaimed this place to be sacred. (1 hour driving)
Ephesus (Efes) is the first of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2-3 (Revelation 1:11, 2:1-7). Today Ephesus is a seaport in West Turkey near the Aegean Sea, about 5.5 km south of the Cayster river, opposite the island of Samos. Paul visited Ephesus on two different occasions. He passed through the city on his second missionary journey in A.D. 52 following his stay in Corinth (Acts 18:19-21), and returned on his third journey in A.D 54 (Acts 19:1-41). Paul suffered many trials and tribulations in Ephesus, leading finally to his imprisonment.
Acts 18:19; 18:21; 18:24; 19:1; 19:17; 19:26; 19:35; 20:16; 20:17; 1Corinthians 15:32; 16:8; Ephesians 1:1; 1Timothy 1:3; 2Timothy 1:18; 2Timothy 4:12;
Luke describes a moving farewell scene between Paul and the Ephesian elders at the end of his third journey, when he stopped at nearby Miletus en route to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16-37). Extensive excavations have facilitated the restoration of old Ephesus, the most impressive archaeological site in Turkey. From the harbor a 10-metre wide marble-paved and pillar-lined street led into the interior of the city. Paul would have approached the city through this street, entering it through the northern gate, called the Magnesian Gate.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Şirince
- Guided Tour of Ephesus
On our way to Assos, we will visit to Thyteria to see the remains of the church. This was one of the principle towns where Christianity spread quickly. Then we will stop by hauntingly beautiful Pergamum which rises high on a hill as one nears the city of Bergama. Highlights will include the Altar of Zeus, Temple of Trojan and the Theater. (4 hours driving)
Smyrna, the second of the seven churches of Revelation (Revelation 2:8-11), is today called Izmir. In the first millennium B.C., Smyrna ranked as one of the most important cities of the Ionian Federation. Today, Izmir is Turkey’s third largest city and second most important port. It is about 80 km north of Ephesus. Its airport serves most of the Aegean holiday resorts.
Pergamum or Pegamos, the third of the seven churches of Revelation (Revelation 2:12-17), is 104 km to the north of Smyrna. The city was once a great center of culture. It is surrounded with beautiful groves of olives and figs. The ancient ruins of Pergamum are situated on top of a steep hill 1,000 feet above the plain, where the modern city of Bergama is located.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Assos
- Guided Tour of Thyatira - Pergamon - Assos
We leave for Troas and Assos before heading towards Bursa. Troas was a busy port situated on the north-west coast of Asia Minor. Recent excavations revealed a dozen different cities covering 3000 years of human occupation. Next we visit Assos, where St Paul preached. It is perched high on a cliff overlooking the Aegean and the Island of Lesbos and is breathtaking. (4 hours driving)
Assos is 87 km south of Canakkale. Sending his companions ahead by boat around Cape Lectum, Paul took the road from Troas to Assos, a distance of about 32 km. Because the trip by land was shorter than the voyage by sea, Paul was able to stay longer in Troas before rejoining his friends at Assos (Acts 20:13-14)
Paul had a vision at Troas during his second missionary journey and was called to Macedonia (Acts 16:8-13). He later described the experience as “a door opening in the Lord” (2 Corinthians. 2:12). Years later he returned to Troas from his more than two years’ stay in Ephesus (Acts 19:8, 10) towards the end of the Third Missionary Journey, before continuing on to Assos. During the stay at Troas, the fallen Eutychus was resurrected (Acts 20:7-12). The team took the boat around Cape Lectum to Assos, but Paul chose to journey the 30 km on foot, perhaps desiring a rare time of solitude. It is believed that Paul and Luke met here. Some suggest that Paul’s urgent request to return a cloak he left in Troas (2 Timothy 4:13) may have reflected that Paul’s departure from the city was hurried.
- Overnight at a Hotel in Bursa
- Guided Tour of Troas Assos - Bursa
After breakfast, we leave Bursa and drive to Iznik, formerly known as Nicea. The city was founded around 1000 BC. In 325 AD, the First Ecumenical Council was held here for the purpose of condemning the heresy of Arianism. The Seventh Ecumenical Council was also held here in the St Sophia Church, which we will visit. The church was built in the 4th century and has a mosaic floor which dates to the 6th century. All gates and walls date from the Byzantine times. Later we proceed to Istanbul. (2.5 hours driving)
- Overnight at a Hotel in Istanbul
- Guided Tour of Iznik (Nicea) - Istanbul
Tranfer to airport
- Transfer to Airport