12 Days The Holy Land with Turkey (7 Churches)

DAY 01: USA - THE HOLY LAND.  Depart North America aboard our trans-Atlantic jet bound for The Holy Land. Dinner and breakfast will be served in-flight.

DAY 02: TEL AVIV.  Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we will be met and transferred to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 03: TEL AVIV / HAIFA / GALILEE.  Enjoy city sightseeing before we drive along the coastal plain of Caesarea, the provincial capital of the Roman Procurators.  Visit the ruins of the fortifications, harbor, moat and amphitheatre.  Continue to Haifa for a view of the bay and lunch.  Proceed to Mt. Carmel, Bahai Temple and Gardens.  On to visit Nazareth.  We will see the Church of the Annunciation, carpentry shop and Mary’s Well.  Continue to Tiberias for dinner and overnight by the Sea of Galilee.

DAY 04: GALILEE / CAPERNAUM / JERUSALEM.  Morning devotional service on the Sea of Galilee.  We then board our motorlaunch for a cruise across the Sea of Galilee to visit the ruins of Capernaum, the ruins of the House of Peter and the synagogue.  View the Mt. of Beatitudes – site of the Sermon on the Mount.  Visit Tabgha (the chapel dedicated to the multiplication of the loaves and fishes).  After lunch we depart via Mt. Tabor, the traditional site of the Transfiguration, to Ein Dor past Nain to Megiddo.  Here we visit Solomon’s Stables, the famous tower and secret passages.  Continue to Jerusalem to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 05: JERUSALEM.  Drive to the top of the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem.  Visit the chapel of the Ascension, the church of Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit. Walk along Hosanna Road to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Visit the Church of the Nations which stands on the Rock of the Agony.  See the Pillar of Absalom, the Eastern (Golden) Gate and the Pinnacle of the Temple.  Continue to the Gibon Spring, Pool of Siloam and Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  After lunch, drive to Mt. Zion.  Visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu – on the site of Caiphas House – the Upper Room, the Tomb of King David and the Dormition.  Continue to tour the new part of Jerusalem, the Hebrew University, the Shrine of the Book that houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ein Karem – birthplace of John the Baptist – Kennedy Memorial and the Model City at the Holy Land Hotel.  Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 06: MASADA / QUMRAN / JERICHO / JERUSALEM.  This morning we drive via the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea – the lowest point on earth.  A beautiful new road takes us south along the shores of the Dead Sea to Masada, truly a remarkable piece of history.  On the way we view Ein Fescha, a green oasis in the middle of the desert. Then ascend to Masada by cable car to visit the magnificent ruins of the fortress where from 70-73 A.D. the Jewish defenders made the last stand of the Judean revolt against Rome and where the remains of store houses, cisterns and a 6th century Byzantine church are still on view. After lunch at Ein Gedi we return along the Dead Sea to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.  Visit the remains of the community center of the Essenes and the Caves of the Scrolls.  Then we proceed to Ancient Jericho where the walls came tumbling down and a commanding view of the Mt. of Temptation and Elisha’s Fountain.  Continue to Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem.

DAY 07: JERUSALEM / BETHLEHEM.  View the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives from the Eastern Gate as you start a walking tour to the Old City of Jerusalem entering through St. Stephen’s Gate to the Pool of Bethesda and Saint Anne’s Church, the Ecce Homo Arch (Behold the Man), the Lithostrotos and the Via Dolorosa.  Continue to the Temple Area of Mt. Moriah.  Visit the Dome of the Rock, El Aksa Mosque and the Wailing Wall.  Walk through the Old City bazaars to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  View the Tower of David and the Citadel as you leave the Old City through Jaffa Gate.  After lunch visit the Garden Tomb and Golgotha -Place of the Skull.  Onward to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and the birth place of Jesus, observing Rachel’s Tomb, the Shepherd’s Field and the Field of Boaz.

DAY 08: JERUSALEM / JOPPA / TEL AVIV / ISTANBUL.  Today we drive to ancient Joppa on the Sea is where Jonah set sail, and where Peter raised Dorcas from the dead.  Joppa was the home of Simon the Tanner.  After lunch, we depart for the Tel Aviv airport for our flight to Istanbul, Turkey.  Upon arrival we are met by our guide and driver and transferred to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 09: ISTANBUL / IZMIR.  The bejeweled capital of Istanbul sits between two continents, and is home to 450 mosques. You’ll visit the famous Blue Mosque, with its six minarets and sparkling interior.  You’ll visit the Topkapi Palace, once home to royal Sultans.  Inside you’ll see the fabled jewels of the Treasury, delicate displays of Chinese porcelain in the Kitchen Quarters and the provocative Harem Quarters.  Walk through St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) which, for 1000 years, was the largest church in Christendom.  Built by Justinian (532-537 AD), the church has 107 columns, fossil imbedded white marble floors and beautiful glass mosaics.  Today, it is the Museum of Byzantine Art.  Catch a whiff of cinnamon, cloves, thyme and other exotic spices as you explore the Grand Bazaar.  Over 4000 shops sell everything from herbs to gold.  This afternoon, you’ll fly to Izmir, the third largest city in modern Turkey. Upon arrival visit Izmir, long a center for Jewish and Christian communities.  In Paul’s day, the town was known as Smyrna.  It was one of the Seven Churches of Asia (Rev 2:8-11).  You’ll see the Agora, the colonnaded commercial center where Roman statues can still be seen.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 10: IZMIR / EPHESSUS / HIEROPOLIS / PAMUKALLE. After breakfast we drive to Ephesus, one of the Seven Churches of Asia (Rev 1:11).  In ancient days, Ephesus was a bustling port town of 250 thousand, graced with wide, colonnade bordered streets.  Today the major streets of ancient Ephesus have been excavated.  You’ll view the Library and the huge Agora.  The Temple of Artemis was declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Today, only a single column remains to mark the site.  You’ll visit the Basilica of St. John, traditional site of his grave.  From the basilica, you’ll enjoy a commanding view of the area.  You’ll visit the Museum of Ephesus for an up close look at artifacts from the ancient city.   We continue to Hierapolis, blessed by hot mineral springs and some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Asia Minor.  Christianity came to Hierapolis via Paul (Colossians 4:13).  The ruins cover more than a mile.  You’ll see the impressive amphitheatre with seats still in perfect condition.  Today, the area is known as Pamukkale, meaning the “Cotton Castle”.  It is named for the limestone-laden hot springs which cascade from one white-edged terrace pool to the next.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 11: PAMUKKALE  /  IZMIR / ISTANBUL.   Today we’ll see the City Gates, column-lined streets and arches which have stood through time and earthquake. Visit the terraces and see the glistening pools and cascades.  Continue to the Izmir airport for our flight to Istanbul.  Dinner and overnight.

DAY 12: ISTANBUL / NORTH AMERICA.  Morning departure from Istanbul to North America – the end of a most enjoyable journey.