Paul’s 1st Missionary Journey (sample itinerary)

St. Sophias Cathedral

“I believe they will be forever changed. This trip made the bible come alive for us, and Christ’s and what he has done for us is even so much more meaningful.” Dehoney Traveler J. Allen, Ft. Worth, TX

Visit cities in modern Turkey related to the Apostle Paul’s first missionary journey.  Perga, his first stop, is one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities in the world, with an impressive theater, stadium, and Hellenistic Gate.  See the most perfectly preserved Roman theater in the world at Aspendos, and then travel to Konya (ancient Iconium) where Paul preached in the local synagogue.  Visit Yalvac (Antioch in Pisidia) where Paul successfully introduced Christianity in Asia Minor.  See the ruins of Lystra and Derbe on the way to Tarsus – birthplace of Paul and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Visit the origin of Paul’s journey, Antakya (ancient Antioch), where the term “Christian” was first associated with the followers of Jesus. Journey to Sanliurfa (Ur of Chaldees), ancient home of Abraham, Job, Jethro, and Moses.  Ponder the eerie lunar landscape of Cappadocia, with its underground cities and spectacular rock churches with walls decorated with Byzantine frescoes.  Conclude this remarkable journey in exotic Istanbul where you see the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Hippodrome, and browse the shops of the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.

The sequence of touring and days may be altered to adjust to religious holidays, special closings of sites, air schedule changes, etc. Hotels listed subject to availability. Meal inclusions may vary by departure.

Day 1, HOUSTON/FRANKFURT

Depart Houston on our transatlantic flight to Frankfurt. (meals aloft)

Day 2, FRANKFURT/ISTANBUL/ANTALYA

After connection in Frankfurt, we arrive in Istanbul and connect with our flight to Antalya, where we have dinner and overnight at the Talya Hotel. (meals aloft,D)

Day 3, ANTALYA

Antalya (ancient Attalia) was where Paul concluded the first missionary journey introducing Christianity to Asia Minor.  After a leisurely morning we tour the city, seeing Hadrian’s Gate, Yivli Minare (fluted minaret), Kaleici (fortified harbor area) and the Tower of Hidirlik. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. (B,D)

Day 4, PERGA/ASPENDOS/ANTALYA

This morning we visit the ancient city of Perga, Paul’s first stop in Asia Minor. It is one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities in the world. We see the theater, stadium and Hellenistic Gate. In Aspendos we see the most perfectly preserved Roman theater in the world.  After sightseeing, we return to Antalya for free time before dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 5, ANTIOCH/KONYA

After breakfast we depart for Konya (ancient Iconium) where Paul visited and preached in the local  synagogue. En route we visit Yalvac (Antioch in Pisidia) where Paul preached his first sermon and successfully introduced Christianity in Asia Minor. Konya is known as the home of the sect called “Whirling Dervishes.” In Konya we visit the Mevlana Museum, the Karatay Tile Museum and the Church of St. Paul. Dinner and overnight are at the Hilton Hotel. A special “whirling dervishes” program has been arranged for the group at the hotel following dinner.  (B,D)

Day 6, LYSTRA/DERBE/TARSUS/ADANA

Departing Konya we visit the ruins of Lystra and Derbe on our way to Tarsus, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and the birthplace of Paul. We visit St. Paul’s Well and Cleopatra’s Gate. Our destination is Adana, fourth largest city in Turkey. Dinner and overnight at the Hilton Hotel.  (B,D)

Day 7, ANTAKYA

Today we travel to Antakya (ancient Antioch) where Paul started his first missionary journey and where the term “Christian” was first associated with the followers of Jesus. En route we visit the Crusader’s Castle. In Antakya we visit the Grotto of St. Peter, one of the earliest churches in Christendom, and the Antakya Museum, one of the most important mosaic collections in the world. Our tour proceeds to Samandag (Seleucia), point of departure for the first missionary journey. Dinner and overnight at the Buyuk Antakya Hotel. (B,D)

Day 8, GAZIANTEP

We travel to Gaziantep, the largest city in southeast Turkey. We visit the old city known as Aintap, the old Gaziantep Fortress, and a caravanserai. Dinner and overnight are at the Tugcan Hotel. (B,D)

Day 9, SANLIURFA/HARRAN/ATATURK DAM/GAZIANTEP

We visit Sanliurfa, (Ur of Chaldees), ancient home of Abraham, Job, Jethro and Moses, and today the center of Turkey’s new Fertile Crescent. We tour the city, the Sanliurfa Fortress built as a Roman citadel and one of the first centers of the early church. Later the Fortress became the first of several Crusader states in the Middle East. Continuing to Harran we see its beehive-like dwellings and the place where Abraham decided to move to Canaan. Our tour continues as we visit the Ataturk Dam before returning to Gaziantep for dinner and overnight at our hotel. (B,D)

Day 10, CAPPADOCIA

We depart for the Cappadocia area, with its eerie lunar landscape, astounding underground cities and spectacular rock churches with walls decorated with Byzantine frescoes. Dinner and overnight at the Dedeman Hotel. (B,D)

Day 11, CAPPADOCIA

Today we enjoy a full day visiting the open air museum of Goreme Valley with its rock churches, the Zelve Valley with its “fairy chimneys,” Urchisar Citadel, the potter’s village of Avanos, and the underground city of Kaymakli. We return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. We will enjoy a folk and music program following dinner. (B,D)

Day 12, ANKARA/ASTANBUL

We drive to Ankara and visit the Hittite Museum (Anatolian Civilization Museum). After some time in the “Copper Alley” area, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Istanbul. Overnight at the Taksim Plaza Hotel with dinner at the Hamdi Restaurant. (B,D)

Day 13, ISTANBUL

Today we visit the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia, Topkapi Palace Museum, the Aya Irini – oldest Byzantine church in Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar for the shopping experience of a lifetime. Dinner tonight will be at the Sarnic Restaurant. (B,D)

DAY 14, ISTANBUL

Today we visit the Spice Market and the Chora Museum. We have a coffee/tea stop at the Pierre Loti Cafe overlooking the Golden Horn. After some free time this afternoon, we conclude our Turkish tour with a sunset cruise and dinner at the Haci Baba Restaurant. (B,D)

Day 15, ISTANBUL/USA

We transfer to the airport for our journey via Frankfurt to Houston. (meals aloft)