1. 7 Churches of Asia Minor: 5 Days/4 Nights in 4-Star Hotels
Day 1: Izmir Arrival Enjoy the convenience of being picked up at the Izmir airport and driven directly to your hotel where dinner will be served. Day 2: Pergamon, Thyatira, and Izmir After breakfast, drive to Pergamum, now known as Bergama, mentioned in the New Testament as one of the 7 Churches of Asia Minor [Rev. 1:11; 2:12]. Visit the Acropolis of Pergamum, an amphitheater perched dramatically atop a steep hill. Stop at the Asklepion, a famous medical center during the classical era. See the Altar of Zeus, which John the Apostle referred to as the “Throne of Satan.” Walk among the marble columns of the Temple of Trajan, which once housed a library of 200,000 texts, rivaling the Library of Alexandria. Admire the immense walls of the Red Basilica (St. John’s Church). Continue to Thyatira, now called Akhisar, another of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 2:18-24; Acts 16:14]. Known in ancient times for its purple dyes, Thyatira is also the city where St. Lydia once lived. As you make your way through the city, you’ll have the chance to see ruins from Roman times. Enjoy a panoramic ride through Smyrna, the third largest city in Turkey and one of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 2:12-17]. Ascend Mount Pagus and visit the Citadel of Lysimachos, commander of Alexander the Great. See the famous Izmir Clock. Return to the hotel for dinner and some rest. Day 3: Izmir, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Hierapolis Depart early in the morning to reach one of the most picturesque of the Seven Churches of Asia, Sardis [Rev. 1:11; 3:1-4]. Sardis, now known as Sart was portrayed in the Book of Revelations as a dying church. Visit the Temple of Artemis and the Temple of Cybele, which became churches under the Byzantine empire. See the restored gymnasium and the reconstructed Synagogue. Walk the last several meters of the royal Persian Road from Susa to Sardis built by Cyrus the Great. Lay your eyes on the "Golden" river Pactolus. Enjoy lunch en route. Your journey continues once you reach Philadelphia, now known as Alasehir, another of the Churches of Asia, and the only church not censured. Unlike the other 6 churches, they remained steadfast in their faith. Visit the remains of a Byzantine basilica that features 11th-century frescoes. Drive to Hierapolis, a city known for its therapeutic springs. See the Pamukkale, or “Cotton Fortress,” where hot mineral water bursts from the earth and cascades over steep cliffs forming pools, channels, and stalactites. Visit the Martyrium of the Apostle Philip where he was martyred during persecutions ordered by Domitian. Journey on to Laodicea (now called Denizil), another of the Seven Churches of Asia [Rev. 1:11; 3:14; Col. 2:1; 4:13-16]. See the ancient theatre, the remains of a basilica and ancient stone water pipes. Visit the Gate of Domitian, the Arcadian Way, a 2nd-century theatre, the Nymphaion, the Temple of Apollo, the Plutonium and the Necropolis. After a full day of site-seeing, check in at a Thermal hotel and enjoy dinner before having a good night’s rest. Day 4: Ephesus Drive to Kusadasi and visit the ancient city of Ephesus. See the Basilica of St. John, which received an epistle from the apostle Paul who lived in Ephesus for 3 years. Tour the spectacular ruins where excavations still continue in this once great and important city founded over 2 millennia ago. Take a trip back in time as your walk along the marble streets lined with wonderful public buildings such as the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the Theatre. See the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Visit the House of the Virgin Mary, a house said to have been the Virgin Mary’s home in her final years. Afterward, enjoy dinner at your hotel in Kusadasi. Day 5: Izmir Your tour comes to a close, as you are picked up from your hotel in Kusadasi and then transferred to the Izmir airport.