**The itinerary above is a sample program. Please visit the "Dates" page for this year's program. Dates, itinerary and prices subject to change. Programs that include "air portion" depart from Panama City, Republic of Panama. For further information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to our telephone number +507.6612.5060
FOLLOWING SAINT PAUL´S FOOTSTEPS (TURKEY AND GREECE)
Istanbul: Breakfast at the hotel. Full day to visit to the Jewels of Constantinople. Visit of the most representative monuments of Constantinople. Then go to the Topkapi Palace, residence of the sultans and Ottoman seat of government from which it headed half the world for nearly four centuries until the s. XIX, and where most of the valuables of the Ottoman sultans. Also we will visit the Blue Mosque, considered the most perfect of the Ottoman mosques, famous for its blue tiles in shades of green, the old Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia (532 AD) which shows Byzantine art summit and which was the largest cathedral of the Christian world and one of the greatest achievements of mankind. Alsos we will visit the museum of the Church of St. Saviour in Chora to admire the frescoes and mosaics of the fourteenth century, with scenes that tell the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Istanbul: Breakfast at the hotel. Full day of the Bosphorus. We begin our visit with the New Mosque, one of the highlights of the city, near the Spice Bazaar, where spices imported from Egypt were sold spices during the Ottoman era. We will have lunch in a typical restaurant fish on shore. Finally, we will embark on a fascinating cruise along the Bosphorus, the strait that separates the European and Asian parts of the city. Then transfer to visit the Grand Bazaar, a covered bazaar built in 1660 considered as a small city covered by hundreds of domes, four thousand stores with inside streets, squares and 18 gates. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Istanbul / Cappadocia: Breakfast at the hotel. Free morning to relax or to go shopping. At noon we will transfer to the airport to take our flight to Kayseri. We will visit Cappadocia, a fantastic region known for its fascinating and original landscape, formed by the lava thrown out by the Erciyes and Hasan volcanoes 3 million years ago. It was here where early Christians dug churches and homes to hide from Roman persecution. From the airport we will be transfered to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Cappadocia: Breakfast at the hotel. Tour of the underground city of Ozkonak. After lunch we will visit some of the many monasteries and chapels in Goreme, one of the earliest centers of Christian monastic life in the world, founded by St. Basil, where we will see rock-cut churches with interesting paintings and eleventh century Byzantine frescoes. We will pass by the fortress of Uchisar, Avcilar Valley, the pottery town of Avanos as well as to rugs and handicrafts shops. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Cappadocia / Konya / Pamukkale: Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning we will depart to Pamukkale. En route we will visit a 13th century Kervansaray, a medieval Silk Road inn, where both merchants and missionaries who traveled East would stay at nightfall. Konya (Iconium), is the city where St. Paul and St. Barnaby preached the gospel and the city capital of the Seljuks in the 12th and 13th century. We will visit the Mausoleum of Mevlana, founder of the philosophy of the Dancing Whirling Derviches. Then we will continue to Pamukkale where we will visit the ancient city of Hierapolis, where St. Philip was martyred. Recently, archaeologists have discovered the "Martyrium", an octagonal chamber forming a double cross surrounded by a square. St. Phillip lived here after the Apostles left Jerusalem. Also we will visit the Cotton Castle, a natural wonder of gigantic white waterfall, pools and stalactites formed over the centuries by the passage of water laden with calcareous salts, from hot springs. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Pamukkale / Ephesus / Kusadasi: Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning we will depart to Ephesus, the best preserved ancient city of Asia Minor, where St. Paul lived for three years. The nearby town of Selcuk is dominated by a Byzantine citadel that stands next to the Basilica of St. John, built in the sixth century, on the site of the tomb of the Apostle. We will visit the famous theater which held up to 25,000 people, the agora, the Roman Baths, Celcio´s Library, the Temple of Hadrian and the Church of the Virgin Mary, which hosted the Third Ecumenical Council in 431. According to the Bible and some religious writings, St. John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus. The House of the Virgin is visited every year by thousands of pilgrims, and it was also visited by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Cruise Day 1 (Kusadasi - Patmos): Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning we will transfer to the port of Kusadasi to take our ship to go to the island of Patmos. Optional excursion to visit to the Monastery of St. John on Patmos and the Grotto of the Apocalypse. In the evening we will ship to the Isle of Iraklio (Crete). Full board onboard.
Cruise Day 2 (Crete - Santorini): Arrival in the morning at the Isle of Iraklio. Optional excursion to visit the Palace of Knossos and "A Taste of Crete." At noon we will depart to the island of Santorini. Optional tour of Santorini Volcano and Villas Thira and Oia. Full board onboard.
Port of Athens (Piraeus): Breakfast on board. After arrival we will transfer to the hotel in Athens. Free day in Athens. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Athens: Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning we will visit the Presidential Palace, the Olympic Stadium which hosted the first Olympic Games of the modern era, the Academy, University and National Library, Dionysus Theatre, Mount Philoppapos with an unforgettable panoramic view of the city, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Acropolis with its many sights and the Parthenon. After Philoppapos we will ascend the hill where St. Paul was said to have stood at the Areopagus (Mars Hill) and proclaimed the identity of the "unknown God" to the philosophers of Athens. We visit the Agora (ancient market and center of public life in ancient Athens). Optional excursion to the Acropolis Museum. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Return home: Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport to take our flight home according to the schedule proposed by the agency. End of our travel.