12 Day 7 Churches and Passion Play


DAY 01: U.S.A. / ISTANBUL.  Tour members will gather at the ticket counter at the airport two hours prior to their departure to Europe.  Dinner and breakfast will be served in-flight.

DAY 02: ISTANBUL.  Meet on arrival at Istanbul's new airport and transfer to the hotel for time at leisure before dinner and overnight.

DAY 03: ISTANBUL.  Full day city tour of the mosque of Suleiman the magnificent, Hippodrome, the Blue mosque, St. Sophia and the Topkapi Palace.  Return to hotel for overnight.

DAY 04: ISTANBUL / IZMIR.  Morning departure to Izmir, the third largest city in modern Turkey, long a center for Jewish and Christian communities.   It was one of the Seven Churches of Asia (Rev 2:8-11).  This area which once was thick with ancient Greek settlements, today only Izmir remains. Called Smyrna by the Greeks, it was a vital trading post that was often ravaged by wars. Our tour will include the Agora, Velvet Castle and its colorfulbazaar, and the Church of Smyrna. Here was located one ofseven churches and Polycarp, the noted bishop of the church of Smyrna, was martyred here about 169 AD.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 05:  THYATIRA / SARDIS / PHILADELPHIA / PAMUKKALE.  The ancient city of Thyatira is occupied by the modern town of Akhlsar meaning "White Castle" named from the ruins of an old castle. Because of modern occupation not much from its ancient archaeological remains can be seen. Continue to Sardis, an ancient political and cultural center. It was here at Sardis that one of the seven Churches was founded. Recent excavations at Sardis have brought to light a well-preserved temple of Artemis along with a series of Lydian tombs, as well as later-date monuments, notably a gymnasium and synagogue as well as several Byzantine shops.  Continue to Philadelphia; which means "brotherly love". The city achieved its fame as one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. There is not much to see from the early days of the city except some ruins of city walls and a basilica. Continue to Pamukkale for overnight.

DAY 06:  LAODICEA / EPHESSOS.  Drive to Laodicea; in the Roman period it was the metropolis of Asia. During the early Christian period it prospered and an important council was held here in the 4th century AD in the name of Christianity.  We see the remains of a stadium, a water tower, a gymnasium and baths. The water carried to Laodicea came from hot springs so that it was lukewarm by the time it reached the city. Evidently this was known by John in Revelation he accuses the people of Laodicea of being only lukewarm Christians.  Continue to Ephessos, capital city of Roman Asia Minor and an important city of its time. St. Paul preached here and was brought to trial in the Great Theater. Visit the Basilica and tomb of St. John and drive to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.

DAY 07: KUSADASI / PERGAMUM / CANNAKALE.   Departure to Pergamum to visit the asclepiad, the medical center of the ancient world.   Continue to Cannakale for dinner and overnight.  

DAY 08: CANNAKALE / TROY / BURSA / ISTANBUL.    This morning we visit the ancient city of Troy, with its' 4000 years old history which recalls the epic struggle of the Iliad.  Continue on to Bursa to visit the historical Islamic monuments, the first capital of Ottoman Empire. Drive to Istanbul for dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 09:  ISTANBUL / MUNICH.  Transfer to the airport for your flight to Munich, Germany.  Upon arrival we are met and drive to Linderhoff and Linderhoff's Castle - built by mad King Ludwig - a dazzling castle set high in the Bavarian Alps. Then on to Oberammergau, home of the world-famous Passion Play which is performed once every ten years. Dinner and overnight. 

DAY 10:  PASSION PLAY.   The entire day is devoted to attending a performance of the world famous Passion Play which is held once every ten years in this charming small Bavarian village.  Dinner and overnight.

DAY 11: OBERAMMERGAU / MUNICH.  This morning we return to Munich. Our sightseeing tour of Munich includes the gothic Rathdus (town hall) with its famous glockenspiel, the awesome twin-spired Frauenkirche, Marienplatz, imperial residence Alte Pinakothec and other principle places of interest.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 12:  MUNICH / NORTH AMERICA.  After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our return the United States of America.  The end of a most enjoyable journey.