Join Ben & Ann Witherington on a 14-day Turkey Cradle of Christianity tour, starting at $4,548* from New York, NY, departing on July 16, 2022. Journey to places such as Istanbul, Izmir, Ephesus, Sardis, Laodicea, Cappadocia, and more!
*Prices reflect a 4% cash discount
- All Inclusive Pricing
- Breakfast and Dinner Daily
- Deluxe A/C Motor Coaches
- Entrance and Program Fees
- First Class Hotels
- Fuel Surcharges and Gov't Taxes
- Guided Tours
- International Airfare from NY
- Overseas Transfers
- Study Guide
- Visas (U.S. Citizens)
Day 1 July 16 – Depart USA
Depart the US on your international flight to Istanbul.
Day 2 July 17 - Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul and begin your tour by exploring Hagia Sophia, the former Greek Orthodox Christian cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque, and now a spectacular museum. Built in AD 537, it was famous for its massive dome. Known as the Blue Mosque because of the beautiful blue tiles, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque remains a functioning house of prayer to this day; you’ll notice the culmination of two centuries’ worth of architecture, Ottoman and Byzantine. Be prepared to take your shoes off and wear mosque-appropriate clothing when entering. Then walk through history, thousands of years old, when you come to the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, a cluster of three museums that house approximately one million artifacts, including the tomb of Alexander the Great and the Kadesh Treaty.
Day 3 July 18 - Istanbul
Continue your time in Istanbul with a visit to Chora Church, originally built right outside the city walls of ancient Constantinople. Today Chora Church is one of the most remarkable remnants of the Byzantine Empire with exquisite mosaics depicting the infancy of Christ, miracles of Christ, the journey of the Magi, and much more. Explore the underbelly of Istanbul within the Basilica Cistern. This massive water temple carved from the earth in 532 AD holds busts of Medusa and the iconic Column of Tears. Enjoy a look at modern Turkish culture when you explore the Grand Turkish Bazaar, first established in 1461. Peruse intricate textiles, beautiful light fixtures, world famous carpets, aromatic herbs and spices, and much more. End the day with a boat ride on the Bosporus, a narrow strait that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.
Day 4 July 19 - Izmir
Take a morning flight to Izmir, which is ancient Smyrna. Before checking in to your hotel, enjoy a bus tour of Pergamum. This city, most favored of the Seven Churches of John’s Revelation, was praised for its forbearance during hard times. As you pass through the Royal Gates, you will enter one of the great centers of classic Greek culture. You will see the foundations of the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Athena, and the ruins of the Library which once held 200,000 parchment volumes. You will also see the remains of the Temple of Trajan, the Grand Theatre, the Gymnasium, and the Health Center (Aesclepion).
Day 5 July 20 - Ephesus
Travel south to Selcuk and tour Ephesus, where the apostle Paul spent three years of his ministry. Visit the Agora and the Library. Stroll through the great theater where Paul witnessed faithfully for Christ. Not far away is the stadium where chariot races and gladiatorial combats were held. View the terrace houses which give a true impression of the ancient lifestyle of the rich. Travel to the Basilica of St. John, believed to be built over the remains of the Apostle John. Modeled after the now lost Church of the Holy Apostles, this basilica was originally built in the 6th century, during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. Enjoy a visit to an authentic Turkish carpet factory before making your way to your hotel in Kusadasi.
Day 6 July 21 - Sardis
Journey north to tour Sardis, the ancient capital of the Lydian empire. This city was a central location for trade and was exhorted to wake up and be strong by John in his Revelation. You will be impressed by the massive scale of the Temple of Artemis, white marble Royal Road, gymnasium and synagogue. Continue to Aphrodisias, built around the Temple of Aphrodite. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded as a city-state in the early 2nd century BC, portrays its cosmopolitan social structure, with inscriptions from Greek, Roman, Carian, Pagan, Jewish, and Christian cultures found among the site’s 2,000 surviving inscriptions. Then travel to Denizli to check in to your hotel.
Day 7 July 22 - Laodicea
Laodicea, home of the “lukewarm” Christians, has many acres of ruins which include the stadium and columned streets. Continue on to Hierapolis, known for its hot mineral springs and some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Asia Minor. Christianity came to Hierapolis via Paul. Today, you will visit the area known as Pamukkale, which means “Cotton Castle,” inspired by the ivory web of cascading limestone-laden thermal pools. Overnight in Denizli.
Day 8 July 23 - Antioch of Pisidia & Iconium
Antioch of Pisidia is one of these archaeological sites that enchant visitors with their glorious past. The city was founded in the Hellenistic period by Antiochus I Soter. The name "Antioch" was often used by Antiochus I when founding new settlements and renaming the already existing towns. He founded as many as 16 new Antiochs in Asia Minor and the Middle East. The term "Pisidian" is frequently added to its name, to distinguish this particular city from other Antiochs. Tour the ancient city of Iconium, now modern Konya. Iconium was one of the principal cities in the Roman province of Galatia and on the main trade route from Ephesus to Syria. Paul and Barnabas, after being forced to leave Antioch, preached in the city and synagogue of Iconium and led many Jews and Greeks to believe in Christ.
Day 9 July 24 - Cappadocia
Travel to Cappadocia and visit the Mevlana Museum, The resting place of Rumi (Mevlana), built in ca. 13th century and expanded until 19th century, famous for its turquoise tiled tower and exquisite examples of Ottoman calligraphy and inscriptions that it holds. Enjoy a panoramic tour of Cappadocia before settling into your cave hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 10 July 25 - Cappadocia
Take an early-morning optional balloon ride depending on the weather conditions. Visit the Göreme Open Air Museum. Orthodox monks carved out the soft rocks to form beautiful houses, churches, and monasteries between the 10th-13th centuries. These Christian sanctuaries contain spectacular examples of Byzantine art from the post iconoclastic period. These frescos are a unique artistic achievement from this period. This place is the most popular and famous attraction of Cappadocia, and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Travel to the Zelve Valley. This is an amazing cave town honeycombed with homes or religious and secular chambers. This place was inhabited until the 1950s when erosion of land became too risky for the inhabitants. Enjoy learning about the ancient religious rites of the Whirling Dervishes this evening and attend a performance.
Day 11 July 26 - Cappadocia
Enjoy Uchisar, which is situated at the highest point of Cappadocia. The top of Uchisar Castle provides a magnificent panorama of the surrounding area with Mount Erciyes in the distance. Many rooms carved into the rock are connected to each other through the stairs, tunnels, and passages. Visit Avanos, the center of Cappadocian pottery manufacturing. There are nearly 300 potter ateliers using the same techniques as the Neolithic men of Anatolia, namely the ancient revolving potter's wheel. Explore the Ozkonak Underground City situated five miles north of Avanos. Dating back to 400 BC, this unique city hollowed out of tufa rock was built by the locals to defend themselves against invasions. This glorious structure reflects the dreamy historical atmosphere through its architectural characteristic and geopolitical situation.
Day 12 July 27 - Antalya
Drive south, skirting the Aegean Sea, to arrive at Antalya, a resort city with a yacht-filled Old Harbor and beaches. Gateway to the “Turquoise Coast”, this region holds remnants from its ancient port days, including Hadrian’s Gate and Hidirlik Tower. Then enjoy the day touring Perga and Aspendos, with ruins ranging from the Hellenistic era to the Roman period, including Roman Baths, Hellenistic Gates, and even an ancient stadium.
Day 13 July 28 - Antalya
Stroll through the Antalya Archaeological Museum. One of Turkey’s largest museums, it includes 13 exhibition halls and an open air gallery, exhibiting over 5000 works of art. As an inhabited region ever since the Paleolithic Age, the Antalya Museum offers thousands of years’ worth of history for you to observe. After your time in the museum, continue exploring Antalya on your own. With mountains and beaches, shopping and history, your last day in Turkey is sure to be filled with adventure.
Day 14 July 29 - Fly home from Antalya
Return home with a better appreciation of this important biblical region.
Saturday, July 16, 2022From $4548* Register Now!