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Follow the Steps of Paul in Greece & Turkey

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An enchanting, 10 day Christian experience. Follow the Steps of Apostle Paul in Greece and Turkey in a cruise and land trip through history and Christianity.

 

Day 1 (Thu) Arrival in Athens

Arrive in Athens, where you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight.


Day 2 (Fri) Athens / Mars Hill

Today, admire the architectural miracles of ancient Athens, as you follow your guide to the world famous Acropolis, to see the Propylea, the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. You will then visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his ingenious speech on the “Unknown God”. You will view the Agora which was the ancient centre of the economic and public life of the city and the place where Paul preached to the sceptical Athenians. During the bus tour, you will also see Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical Buildings of Athens. After the tour you will be transferred to the port of Piraeus for your embarkation on the cruise boat to join your 7-day cruise.


Day 3 (Sat) Morning at Sea – Afternoon in Istanbul

Enjoy your morning sailing through the Aegean Sea. In the afternoon, the ship arrives into Istanbul and you can have panoramic tour of Istanbul and visit the famous Istanbul Bazaar with hundreds of shops.


Day 4 (Sun) Istanbul

Begin the excursion with a sightseeing drive through the business centre of the modern city, across the Galata Bridge, along the banks of the Golden Horn and under the Byzantine Aqueduct of Valens. On the way, you can see the Süleimaniye Mosque, dedicated to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Continue around the mighty city walls, which once protected Constantinople from the many invasions and attacks that it suffered through the centuries. In the Old City, you will first visit the Byzantine Hippodrome, which was one of the largest chariot race arenas in the Byzantine Empire. Visit the Sultanahmet Mosque, from where large groups of pilgrims start their pilgrimage to Mecca. It is decorated with 21,000 blue Iznik tiles from where it gets its name, the “Blue Mosque”. Walk to the world famous monument of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Church dedicated to the Divine Wisdom of God, where you can see the superb mosaics and the marble decorations. Return to the ship for lunch on board. After lunch continue the tour with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans. See the famous treasury and the famous “Spoon maker’s Diamond”, the 7th biggest diamond in the world. Visit the kitchen buildings, displaying the third richest collection in the world of Chinese and Japanese porcelain. Evening sailing for the island of Mykonos.


Day 5 (Mon) Morning at Sea – Afternoon in Mykonos

You spend your morning sailing and in the afternoon you arrive at the world-famous island of Mykonos. The town which is a small architectural miracle, with its gleaming white-washed buildings, with the hundreds of churches and windmills, is considered one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world.


Day 6 (Tue) Morning in Patmos -Afternoon in Izmir

In the morning you will arive at the island of Patmos, where you will visit the Monastery of St. John, crowning the island. You will depart from the port of Scala and enjoy a short drive to the village of Chora, where the Monastery of St. John is built within the walls of a strong fortification. As you walk uphill towards the entrance of the monastery marvel at this magnificent structure, which was built 900 years ago. Once inside the monastery see the courtyard, the monks’ dining room and the old bakery before you visit the main church noted for its outstanding interior decoration and frescoes. Next, visit the small museum where priceless ecclesiastical treasures, books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, splendid medieval textiles, vestments and jewellery are housed. Return to your motor coach and continue to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of the Apocalypse above it. Walk down the steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse. Here you will see the niches in the wall that mark the pillow and ledge used as a desk by the author of the Book of the Revelation and the crack in the rock made by the voice of God honouring the Holy Trinity. Afterwards, drive back to the port of Scala and enjoy some free time in this quaint and picturesque town. Return back to the ship for lunch and in the afternoon the ship will arrive in Izmir, Turkey. The excursion  you will drive through the colourful  countryside to reach Ephesus, famous in antiquity for its Temple of Artemis- one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - and later the home of St. John. During the years of the Roman Empire, the Greek port of Ephesus became the greatest city in Asia Minor. Upon arrival at Ephesus follow your guide to enter the ancient site through the Magnesian Gate. Discover numerous monuments including the Forum, the Odeon, the Library of Celsius, the Thermal Baths of Scolastika and the Great Theatre built in the Greek era and reconstructed in the Roman period, which is still noted for its remarkable acoustics, the very place where Paul preached. View the symbols all around and marvel at the fact that most of the inscriptions in ancient Greek language can still be read. On your way out walk along the Arcadian Way, where once Mark Anthony and Cleopatra rode in procession. Then back to your coach and as you drive back to Izmir view on a hill above Selcuk, just outside Ephesus, the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by Emperor Justinian. Later you return to the ship for dinner and sailing towards Rhodes.


Day 7 (Wed) Lindos – Rhodes

Today you arrive at the beautiful island of Rhodes. Your tour starts with a scenic drive along the picturesque south-eastern coastline, dotted with white-washed villages, to Lindos, one of the most important of the three great cities of ancient times. See how this entire city is guarded by medieval walls which were constructed by the knights of St. John in the 13th century. Within them stands the ancient Acropolis of Lindos, on the brink of a very steep cliff 400 feet above the sea. Proceed on foot uphill, to the great staircase leading from the Hellenistic Portico to the Acropolis and Temple of Athena.  From the top of the Acropolis, marvel at the breathtaking views covering the great expanse of the Aegean Sea and St. Paul’s Bay, where the apostle cast anchor during his historic voyage to Ephesus. Should you wish to make your way up by donkey, a fee must be paid to the local donkey owner. After the guided tour of the Acropolis, enjoy some free time on your own in the village of Lindos, before meeting up with your motor coach. Return to Rhodes city and enjoy a panoramic drive through the new part of the city before continuing to Mount Smith to see the ruins of ancient Rhodes, the Temple of Apollo and Diagoras Stadium. Afterwards your motor coach will drop you off at Gate d’Amboise, the start of the walking tour through the medieval city of Rhodes, awarded by UNESCO 1988, follow your guide through the northern part where once lived the knights and their attendants. View the Grand Masters Palace, continue your walk down Chevaliers Road by the Knights’ Hospital, to the Marine Gate and return back to the ship. A short visit to a ceramic factory is included.


Day 8 (Thu) Crete – Santorini

In the morning arrive at the town of Heraklion, Crete, from where you can enjoy a unique excursion to Knossos. Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the birthplace of the mythological god Zeus. Taking the National Road along the North coast you will get to Heraklion where the tour will start with the visit of Knossos excavations. Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when the great Minoan empire flourished on this island. Based on the wealth of artefacts that were found, Evans theorized that this was the site of the ancient Minoan Kingdom. These findings will be viewed in detail, as your guide will lead you on a journey of discovery to learn about the sophisticated culture that flourished thousands of years ago on this island.  The Palace, decorated with frescoes and shields, houses the Hall of the Royal Guard, the Hall of the Double Axes, the King's Chamber with a throne made of alabaster, the Queen's Apartment as well as beautiful courtyards and shrines. After the visit to Knossos Palace, the tour will continue back to the city of Heraklion and you will have a little free time to browse this beautiful town before you re-embark your ship to continue the trip in Aegean Sea.  Then, you sail north towards the island of Santorini, the most popular and breathtaking of all the Greek islands, due to the unique shape that the massive eruption of the volcano has given to this island The exquisite whitewashed villages, including the town of Fira, very impressively cling to volcanic cliffs and are accessible by cable-car, or mule.


Day 9 (Fri) Disembarkation – Ancient Corinth

Today after breakfast you disembark from the cruise ship and start your trip to Ancient Corinth. This is the once glorious city near the Isthmus, where Paul met Aquila and Priscilla and spent a year and a half preaching the Word of God. You will visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temples and the famous Bema, where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth. Then, you drive to Cenchreae, the little harbour from where Paul sailed back to Asia, thus ending his second missionary journey. Travel back to Athens for your farewell dinner and overnight at the hotel.


Day 10 (Sat) Departure

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home and with a new insight into Paul’s life and teachings.


"For I have many people in this city"
(Acts 18:9-10)

 

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