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Journeys of Paul

Itineraries

4 Options Available

OPTION 1: Saturday Departure to Thessaloniki

Day 1 – SATURDAY: DEPARTURE – Depart USA to Thessaloniki

Day 2 – SUNDAY: ARRIVE THESSALONIKI / DINNER / OVERNIGHT – Today you begin an unforgettable Biblical journey! Upon arrival in Thessaloniki, you will be met by DCT’s local representative and escorted to your hotel to drop off your bags and enjoy some free time before dinner and overnight.

 DAY 3 – MONDAY: THESSALONIKI / AMPHIPOLIS / PHILIPPI / KAVALA – You depart for Amphipolis and the Region of the Lakes Corinia and Volvi. Paul journeyed through Amphipolis on his way to Thessaloniki. You’ll visit the colossal Lion of Amphipolis Monument, then proceed to the unique archaeological site of Philippi, site of the famous battle between the Roman armies. Here you will have the opportunity to follow in the steps of Paul, Luke, Timothy and Silas. You’ll then proceed to the city and the harbor of Kavala, where you will have a chance to taste a variety of fresh fish and other superb delicacies, then return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.

 DAY 4 – TUESDAY: VERGINA / METEORA / KALAMBAKA – After breakfast, you depart for Vergina to visit the excavations of the Royal Palace, the Royal Tombs and the new museum. You’ll then proceed to the area of Kalambaka, where the famous monasteries of Meteora are located. Here you’ll see the world-famous Byzantine monasteries perched precariously on summits of gray rock pinnacles with varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th Century when the monks sought refuge in the cliff-side caves, then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters that were later transformed into monasteries. You’ll visit the greatest and most important monastery of all, the Great Meteoron, and see the perfectly preserved Frescoes of the 14th century and ancient manuscripts belonging to royal collections and libraries. You’ll return to the hotel for dinner and overnight in Kalambaka.

DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY: DELPHI / ATHENS – Put on your hiking boots! After breakfast at the hotel, you depart for Delphi via the Central Greece Plateau. At Delphi you’ll take a short climb to the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythion, home of the “Oracle”, then to the theatre where town council meetings were conducted and a little further up, the amazingly preserved coliseum where the games were played. Don’t miss this, it’s one of the true highlights of the tour! You’ll visit the museum and bookstore, then continue to Athens for dinner and overnight.

DAY 6 – THURSDAY: ATHENS / CORINTH – You begin this morning with a tour of the city of Athens. We drive past the Academy, the University and the Parliament with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You’ll continue to the Acropolis, where you’ll visit the Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena, and the Acropolis Museum. On the slopes of the Acropolis you will visit the Areopagus on Mars Hill, where Paul gave his famous Areopagus Sermon emphasizing the need to worship “a known God” rather than the “unknown” as described in Acts 17:16-34. You’ll then depart for Corinth, taking the road along the Saronic Gulf, approximately the same route traveled by Paul. Corinth and the Church of Corinth were important in Paul’s ministry (Acts 18 and letters to the Corinthians). Corinth was the largest, richest, and most pleasure-loving city of Greece in the 3rd century BC, so Paul had plenty to renounce when he came here in the 1st century AD. It was here that Paul worked three years with Aquilla and Priscilla. You’ll visit the ruins of the temple of Apollo set against the Acrocorinth, on which the Temple of Aphrodite was located, then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

 DAY 7 – FRIDAY: BOARD CRUISE SHIP / MYKONOS – This morning you transfer to the port of Piraeus and board the ship to cruise to the island of Mykonos, where you’ll disembark and tour the city with its breathtakingly beautiful whitewashed buildings and churches. You’ll wander through side streets filled with quaint homes above the shops and lovely waterfront cafes. It’s a lovely respite! You’ll return to the ship for dinner as you cruise to the island of Patmos.

 DAY 8 – SATURDAY: PATMOS / KUSADASI – You’ll arrive at the Island of Patmos early this morning. You’ll visit the traditional Grotto where John received the Revelation while in exile, and visit St. John’s Monastery atop the island. This afternoon you’ll cruise to the Turkish port of Kusadasi, a popular Turkish port that’s the gateway to Ephesus and its rich ancient history. In Paul’s time, Ephesus was a port city but due to natural changes and silt build-up, it’s now a ten-mile bus trip from Kusadasi. You’ll visit ancient Ephesus, a marvelous archeological site and the main base for much of Paul’s missionary work (Acts 19 and Letter to The Ephesians). Paul labored and ministered here for three years and laid the foundation for the strongest Christian church of the First Century. John is said to have brought Mary here. Time permitting, we will wander through the famous Turkish bazaars of Kusadasi. Return to the ship and begin an evening cruise to Rhodes.

 DAY 9 – SUNDAY: RHODES – This morning you’ll arrive in Rhodes, the Island of Roses, famed for its historical Old Town, home of sun god Apollo and the Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient World. The Crusaders gathered on the Island of Rhodes before sailing to the Holy Land. You’ll walk through the Medieval Castle of the Knights of St. John, then visit Lindos, where Paul landed in 51 AD on his way to Rome, and see the Acropolis of Lindos, site of the Temple of Athena. You’ll return to the ship and cruise to Piraeus (Athens) in the evening.

 DAY 10 – MONDAY: EARLY ARRIVAL TO ATHENS – You’ll have breakfast aboard the ship, then disembark and take the motor coach back to your hotel in Athens. The day is free for you to enjoy this fascinating city on your own. There are many wonderful museums, and shopping at the Plaka is always an adventure! You’ll return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

 DAY 11 – TUESDAY: ATHENS / USA – After breakfast, you’ll depart the hotel for the Athens airport and return home with unforgettable memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime and beyond!

OPTION 2: Tuesday departure to Athens

Day 1 – TUESDAY: DEPARTURE – Depart USA to Athens

Day 2 – WEDNESDAY: ARRIVE ATHENS / DINNER / OVERNIGHT ATHENS – Today you begin an unforgettable Biblical journey! Upon arrival in Athens, you will be met by DCT’s local representative and escorted to your hotel to drop off your bags and enjoy some free time before dinner and overnight.

Day 3 – THURSDAY: ATHENS AND CORINTH TOUR / OVERNIGHT ATHENS – Paul traveled from Berea to Athens by boat in 51 AD. His boat anchored at Faliron, one of the main ports of Ancient Athens. Paul walked to the city of Athens and while waiting for Silas & Timothy to arrive from Macedonia, Greece, he spent most of his time talking with citizens at the Synagogue and the Agora. The Athenians took an interest in his teachings and invited him to present on the Areopagus, a hill west of the Acropolis (Mars Hill), where Paul gave his famous Areopagus Sermon emphasizing the need to worship “a known God” rather than the “unknown” as described in Acts 17:16-34. You’ll then visit the Acropolis and see the Propylaea, Parthenon, Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Your tour continues through modern Athens where you’ll visit the Olympic Stadium where the games began and returned in 2004. The next stop is Corinth (Acts 18: 1-18), a city that inspired one of Paul’s most famous letters. You’ll visit the Archeological Museum, marketplace, and temples. You’ll walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood. You’ll read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, addressing his message to the Gentiles as he began the task of establishing his church in Corinth. Acts 18:9-11 says, “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.’ He continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” You’ll return to Athens for dinner and overnight.

Day 4 – FRIDAY: BOARD CRUISE SHIP DISCOVERY FOR 3-NIGHT CRUISE / ISLAND OF MYKONOS – You begin your 3-day cruise this morning from the port of Athens, Piraeus. The first port of call is the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the Island of the Windmills, where the waterfront is lined with shops and cafes. You’ll stroll the charming walkways through a maze of quaint whitewashed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and entertainment.

Day 5 – SATURDAY: TOUR KUSADASI / ISLAND OF PATMOS – This morning you will dock in Kusadasi, Turkey, and begin your excursion to Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world and its former glory can still be appreciated today with its well- preserved streets, temples, fountains, public baths, terraced houses, and theatres. Paul went to Ephesus on his third missionary journey, where he stayed and preached for about two to three years. While there, several incidents took place that are documented in Acts chapters 19-20. It was to this community that Paul may have written his epistle to the Ephesians. You will visit the ancient Agora and go back in time where Demetrius, the silversmith, sold his silver shrines to the ancient Greek goddess, Artemis. You’ll see the Library of Celsius and view the Great Theatre mentioned in the Book of Acts. After the morning tour you’ll return to the ship and depart for the Island of Patmos, Greece, where you’ll spend the afternoon visiting the Grotto of the Apocalypse. John was exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Rev. 1:11 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” You’ll visit St. John’s Monastery before returning to your cruise ship.

Day 6 – SUNDAY: TOUR ISLAND OF CRETE / ISLAND OF SANTORINI – Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. Paul landed on Crete at “Kaloi Limenes”, Fair Heavens, on his way to Rome on his last missionary journey. He stayed briefly in Crete and then continued to Rome. He left Titus on the island to establish the churches and appoint the elders. Titus 1:5 says, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.” (You may also take an OPTIONAL tour of the Knossos Minoan Palace). You’ll board boats and visit the Island of Santorini, Greece, perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. The town of Fira, the capital, features white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes, and boutiques clinging to steep cliffs that are accessible by foot, cable-car or mule.

Day 7 – MONDAY: EARLY ARRIVAL INTO ATHENS / KALAMBAKA – After breakfast aboard the ship, you’ll depart by motor coach for Kalambaka. The afternoon is free, then dinner and overnight in Kalambaka.

 Day 8 – TUESDAY: KALAMBAKA / THESSALONIKI – Today you’ll tour Kalambaka and see the world-famous Byzantine monasteries perched precariously on summits of gray rock pinnacles with varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th Century when the monks sought refuge in the cliff-side caves, then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters that were later transformed into monasteries. You’ll also visit the greatest and most important monastery of all, the “Great Meteoron.” You’ll enjoy an afternoon tour of Thessaloniki, then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

 Day 9 – WEDNESDAY: DELPHI / METEORA / THESSALONIKI – Put on your hiking boots!  After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll depart for Delphi where you’ll take a short climb to the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythion, home of the “Oracle.” A little further up is the theatre where town council meetings were conducted, and a little further, the amazingly preserved coliseum where the games were held. You’ll visit the museum, then return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight. 

 Day 10 – THURSDAY: THESSALONIKI / AMPHIPOLIS / PHILIPPI / KAVALA – After breakfast, you’ll depart for Amphipolis and the Region of the Lakes Corinia and Volvi. Paul journeyed through Amphipolis on his way to Thessaloniki.  Along the way you’ll see the colossal Lion Monument at Sunphipolis (5th century BC), then proceed to Philippi, site of the famous battle between two Roman Armies (Acts. 16: 12-18) and follow the steps of Paul, Luke, Timothy, and Silas. You’ll then proceed to the city and the harbor of Kavala where you’ll taste fresh fish and a variety of superb delicacies. You’ll depart Thessaloniki for Athens, where you’ll overnight.

 Day 11 – FRIDAY: ATHENS / USA – Today you return home with unforgettable memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime and beyond!

OPTION 3: Monday departure to Thessaloniki

DAY 1- MONDAY: DEPART USA

DAY 2 – TUESDAY: THESSALONIKI – Upon arrive in Thessaloniki meet by your guide. Transfer to the hotel. Enjoy our first dinner as a group at the hotel. 

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY: PHILIPPI / KAVALA – Paul visited Philippi together with Silas during his Second Missionary Journey. Our first Biblical encounter with Philippi is through Act 16:11-40. At the time, Philippi had no synagogues and very few Jews, so Paul decides to wait for the Sabbath and go to the riverbanks outside the city. There he began to talk to the women that gathered there, amongst them, Lydia-the first person to be Baptized in European soil-she and her whole household became believers. During your tour in Philippi, you will have the opportunity to visit and study your Bible in the actual place where the Baptism took place called “Lydia’s Baptistry.” You will also see the place where Paul and Silas were imprisoned and freed by a violent earthquake. From there, you will continue to Kavala; the site was used to be Ancient Neapolis that Paul, Timothy, and Silas landed. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki

DAY 4 – THURSDAY: THESSALONIKI / VERIA / VERGINA – This morning you drive to Berea, as described in Acts 17:10-15 Paul and Silas go to Berea and preach at the Synagogue. Many of the Jews became believers, but Paul’s ministry was cut short. While you are in Berea, you will see St. Paul’s Bema, where he preached to the local Jews in 54 AD. We continue to VERGINA to visit the museum with the tombs of Macedonian Kings. Afterward, you will drive back to Thessaloniki. Paul came to Thessaloniki and went straight to the Synagogue. As described in your Bible in Acts 17:1-9, Paul preached in the Synagogue for three consecutive Sabbaths, and he gained many followers who believed. A couple of the Jews who were not persuaded created an uproar and attacked the House of Jason, one of the believers Paul was staying with during his visit. During your tour, you will have the Biblical Experience of those verses as you will see the Agora in Thessaloniki, where Paul preached to the local Jews, as well as the House of Jason, where he lived! You will also have the opportunity to visit St. Demetrius Basilica, dedicated to a distinguished member of the Roman army and a martyred Christian convert, and see the Galerius Arch rising over the famous via Egnatia. Dinner and overnight in Thessaloniki.

DAY 5 – FRIDAY: SAIL ON CRUISE / MYKONOS – This morning you take a short flight to Athens and transfer to Lavrion port. You sail today from the port of Athens, Piraeus starting your 3 Day Cruise. The first port of call the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of the Windmills. Experience the waterfront lined up with shops and cafes and then stroll the charming walkways through a maze of whitewashed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.

DAY 6 – SATURDAY: KUSADASI (EPHESSOS ) / PATMOS – Ancient Ephesus This morning you are docked in Kusadasi, Turkey, and start your excursion to ancient Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world and its former glory can still be appreciated today from its well- preserved streets, temples, fountains, public baths, terraced houses, and theatres. Paul went to Ephesus on his third Missionary journey, staying and preaching for a period of about two to three years, and where several certain incidents took place (Acts 19:120, 20:20). It was to this community that Paul may have written his epistle to the Ephesians. You will visit the ancient Agora and go back in time where Demetrius, the silversmith, sold his silver shrines to the Ancient Greek goddess, Artemis. See the Library of Celsius and view the Great Theatre mentioned in the Book of Acts. After the morning visit return to the ship Patmos In the afternoon you reach the island of Patmos, Greece. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to visit the Grotto of the Apocalypse. John was on exile on the island of Patmos where in the Grotto he wrote the Book of Revelation. Rev 1:11 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Your tour will continue with a visit to St. John’s Monastery before you go back to your cruise ship.

DAY 7 – SUNDAY: CRETE / SANTORINI – Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. Paul landed on Crete at “Kaloi Limenes”, Fair Heavens, on his way to Rome on his last missionary journey. He stayed briefly in Crete and then continued his journey to Rome. He left Titus on the island to establish the churches and appoint the elders. Titus 1:5 “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you” You may follow your guide for an walking tour or stay on board to relax, study… Santorini In the afternoon; you use tender boats to visit the island of Santorini, Greece. Santorini which is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. Join your guide for the scenic ride on the cable car up to the capital town of Fira where white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes, and glittering boutiques cling to steep cliffs.

DAY 8 – MONDAY: ATHENS – This morning, we disembark and start our Athens tour. Athens In 51 AD, Paul traveled from Berea to Athens by boat. His boat anchored at Faliron that used to be one of the main ancient ports of Ancient Athens. Paul walked from the port to the city of Athens. While waiting for Silas & Timothy to come from Macedonia, Greece, he spent most of his time talking with citizens at the Synagogue and in the Agora. The Athenians took an interest in his teachings and invited him to present it more analytical on the Aeropagus, the hill west of the Acropolis (Mars Hill). Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and gave his famous Aeropagus Sermon, emphasizing the need to “a known God” rather than worship the “unknown” as described in Acts 17:16-34. Follow your guide on a visit to the Acropolis where you will see the Propylaea, the Parthenon, the Erectheum, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Touring through modern Athens You will view the Olympic Stadium, where the modern Olympic games began and where the games returned in 2004. Dinner and overnight in Athens.

DAY 9 – TUESDAY: ANCIENT CORINTH – Today we drive to Corinth. Corinth Visit Corinth (Acts 18: 1-18), a city that inspired one of Paul’s most famous letter. You will visit the Archeological Museum, the Marketplace, and Temples. Walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood. Read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, addressing his message to the Gentiles as he began the task of establishing his church in Corinth. Acts 18:9-11 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Return to Athens for Dinner and overnight.

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY: DAY AT LEISURE IN ATHENS – This is the day to enjoy Athens on your own, enjoy shopping, walk in the old town Plaka with all tavernas and souvenirs or visit one of the interesting museums of the town. Dinner and overnight

DAY 11- THURSDAY: DEPARTURE / HOME

OPTION 4: Tuesday Departure to Thessaloniki with 2 Nights in Istanbul

Day 1 Tuesday: Depart USA

 Day 2 Wednesday: Arrival Thessaloniki – Today, you begin your Biblical journey to Thessaloniki! Upon arrival in Thessaloniki, you will be transferred to your hotel to drop off your bags. Enjoy some free time before dinner. Overnight in Thessaloniki.

 Day 3 Thursday: Tour Philippi / Thessaloniki – Paul visited Philippi together with Silas during his Second Missionary Journey. Our first Biblical encounter with Philippi is through Act 16:11-40. At the time, Philippi had no synagogues and very few Jews, so Paul decided to wait for the Sabbath and go to the riverbanks outside the city. There, he began to talk to the women that gathered there; amongst them, Lydia-the first person to be Baptized in European soil-she and her whole household became believers. During your tour in Philippi, you will have the opportunity to visit and study your Bible in the actual place where the Baptism took place, called “Lydia’s Baptistry.” You will also see the place where Paul and Silas were imprisoned and freed by a violent earthquake. From there, you will continue to Kavala; the site used to be Ancient Neapolis where Paul, Timothy, and Silas landed. Return to Thessaloniki. Paul came to Thessaloniki and went straight to the Synagogue. As described in your Bible in Acts 17:1-9, Paul preached in the Synagogue for three consecutive Sabbaths, and he gained many followers who believed. A couple of the Jews who were not persuaded created an uproar and attacked the House of Jason, one of the believers Paul was staying with during his visit. During your tour, you will have the Biblical Experience of those verses as you will see the agora in Thessaloniki, where Paul preached to the local Jews, and the House of Jason, where he lived! You will also have the opportunity to visit St. Demetrius Basilica, dedicated to a distinguished member of the Roman army and a martyred Christian convert, and see the Galerius Arch rising over the famous via Egnatia.

Day 4 Friday: Fly to Athens / Cruise Embarkation / Mykonos – Early morning flight to Athens. Upon arrival at Athens international airport, transfer to the port of Lavrion for your cruise embarkation. We sail this morning from Athens to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. Experience the waterfront lined with shops and cafes and then stroll the charming walkways through a maze of whitewashed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.

Day 5 Saturday: Ancient Ephesus / Patmos – Docking in Turkey, enjoy an included tour of Ephesus, the city of the Bible and one of the largest restorations still in progress with miles of ancient treasures. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city including the Agora, the Odeon, the Library, the marble-paved main Street, the Baths, Trajan’s Fountain, the Residences of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, and Temple of Hadrian. The Great Theatre, built in the 4th century B.C., could accommodate 24,000 spectators and it is famous even nowadays for its acoustics. This afternoon we visit the Isle of Patmos, under statutory protection as a historic monument. Here we have an included tour to see the fortified monastery of St. John and the cave claimed to be where John received the Revelation. Back on the ship.

Day 6 Sunday: Crete / Santorini – Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. This afternoon visit the island of Santorini which is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. The town of Thira where white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques cling to steep cliffs, is accessible by foot path, cable-car or mule. Again, we return to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.

Day 7 Monday: Disembarkation / Ancient Corinth – Upon arrival in the port of Athens you continue to Corinth. Corinth (Acts 18: 1-18), a city that inspired of Paul’s most familiar letter. You will visit the Archeological Museum, the Market Place, and Temples. Walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood. Read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and visualize his address to the Gentiles as he began the task of building Corinth’s church. Imagine where Aquila and Priscilla lived and where they had their tent making business. Acts 18:9-11 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Return to Athens for Dinner and overnight.

Day 8 Tuesday: Athens of Apostle Paul Tour – In 51 AD, Paul traveled from Berea to Athens by boat. His boat anchored at Faliron that used to be the main port serving Athens. Paul traveled from port to Athens. While waiting for Silas & Timothy to come from Macedonia, he spent most of his time talking with citizens at the Synagogues and the Agora. The Athenians took an interest in his teachings and invited him to present it more analytical at the Aeropagus, the hill west of Acropolis. Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and gave his famous Aeropagus Sermon, emphasizing the need to known God rather than worship the unknown as described in Acts 17:16-34. Follow your guide on a journey to the ancient Acropolis where you will see the Propylaea, the Parthenon and the Erectheum. View Mars Hill where Paul preached the gospel to the intellectual Athenian community of his day (Acts 17: 15-34). View the ruins of the Agora, ancient marketplace and center of Athenian public life, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. You will view the Olympic Stadium, where the modern Olympics began and where the games returned in 2004. Dinner and overnight in Athens!

 Day 9 Wednesday: Day at Leisure in Athens – Dinner & overnight.

 Day 10 Thursday: Fly to Istanbul and Tour – Welcome to Istanbul, a city with a mysterious past, where East meets West and myriad of cultures and blended all into an unmatched splendor. Start your touring by visiting St. Sophia, the original structure was built by Constantine in 326 A.D. With its 184’ dome, mosaics and frescoes, it is considered an architectural wonder. Of it, Justinian stated, “Solomon, I have surpassed you.” Across the street we enter the Yerebatan Sarayi (Underground Cisterns) built during the time of Justinian I and probably by Christians when one considers the manner in which many of the temple columns and capitals are placed. From here we take a short walk along the Hippodrome built in the times of Byzantium for horse and chariot races. Today, on the site of the imperial box seats, is the William II Fountain, and monuments line the field where once as many as 100,000 sat or stood and cheered at athletic competitions. As we continue our walk, we reach Sultanahmet Mosque better known as the Blue Mosque, a name derived from its exquisite, blue-colored tiles decorating the interior of the building, which is further distinguished by its six minarets. Return to your hotel for dinner & overnight.

Day 11 Friday: Istanbul – This morning, take a Bosphorus cruise to see Istanbul from the water, enjoying views of both the European and Asian sides of the city. Continue your touring of Istanbul with a visit to Topkapi Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Turks. Poised on the hilltop of the Golden Horn, it beckoned home the sultans of old and today it has that same magnetic appeal. Then we head to the Grand Covered Bazaar, a maze of streets and shops under an intricately painted, vaulted roof. It is a world unto itself abounding in the sights, aroma and sounds of old Turkey. Free time on your own for exploration and last-minute shopping before we return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.

Day 12 Saturday: Departure / Home