Greece

Steps of St. Paul in Greece & Turkey

Today will make a tour in the most important places of Istanbul. After the breakfast will get the coach and frist stop will be at the St. Sophia, the heritage monument from Buzantium years by the UNESCO.

Day 1:

Airport – Athens

Today and after the arrival in the airport of Athens ( El. Venizelos) to the accompaniment of our guide we will drive to the hotel. The rest of the day is up to you. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Day 2:

Athens city tour- Best of modern Athens

Today and after our breakfast will take the bus for Athens city tour. Discover some of Greece’s greatest treasures and the best of modern Athens. By the bus we will pass front of Temple of Olympian Zeus — a gigantic, semi-ruined edifice completed in the 2nd century AD—as your guide explains its turbulent history. Also, from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Greek Parliament building and Presidential Palace, the home of Greece’s royals until the monarchy ended in 1974. First top in Acropolic. Here, we will walk across paved pedestrian streets hearing the guide to explain its historic point. We will see the ancient market. Continue to Athens’ showpiece: the Acropolis.

Stroll up to the UNESCO-listed site that served as the ancient citadel, and tour the buildings as you hear how they reflected Athens’ prosperity in the 5th century BC. Admire the magnificent Parthenon, and see monuments including the Propylaea gateway and stunning Temple of Athena Nike. After time to explore the rest of the site independently. The last stop will be at the Acropolis Museam, one of the world’s top museums. Walk around the spectacular Parthenon Hall to ogle the incredible sculptures of the Parthenon frieze, and roam the other galleries to view more than 4,000 other ancient objects. When we will fishe with the guided tour, return to the coach and end tour back at the hotel. On the way back will pass in front of Panathenaic Stadium, the venue of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Then, drive along Panepistimiou Avenue to snap photos of the National Library and Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, known to locals as ‘Mitropoli’, and one of Greece’s most revered orthodox churches. Dinner and overnight in hotel. At the night you can enjoy the most famous towns places, and to enjoy the illuminated Athens having a night guide tour with your experiment guide (optional program).

Day 3:

Athens - Excursion to Corinth

After a nice breakfast at the hotel we will start with a tour of the oldest city in the world, Athens!. The tour starts by visiting the “Areos Pagos”,at the foot of the Acropolis,where Paul delivered his famous sermon about the “Unknown God”. At this site, Paul spoke to the Athenians about the one and only God (Acts 17:22).

On the sacred rock of the Acropolis the monuments date from the prehistoric period to the end of antiquity. Sights include the Propylaea, the Temple of Apteros Niki, the Erectheum and the architectural triumph of the Parthenon (optional visit at the top of the Acropolis). Visit the rock that has dominated the panorama of Athens for twenty-five centuries, the Acropolis. While in this city, you will be able to view the ancient Agora, the former public center of Athenian life. It held the focus of a political, commercial, social, religious, and cultural center. As you are in the former political center, proceed for a drive through the city to view the House of Parliament on Syntagma Square. Also, you will have the opportunity to view the University of Athens, the oldest higher education institute in Greece, as well as, the National Library of Greece that holds 4,500 Greek manuscripts. Then, visit Panathenaic Stadium. It was built on the site of a simple racecourse by the Athenian statesman Lykourgos (Lycurgus) c. 330 BC, primarily for the Panathenaic Games. It was rebuilt in marble by Herodes Atticus, an Athenian Roman senator, by 144 AD and had a capacity of 50,000 seats. After the rise of Christianity in the 4th century it was largely abandoned. The stadium was excavated in 1869 and hosted the Zappas Olympics in 1870 and 1875. Following your visit in Athens, you will proceed to the ancient Corinth. Under the shadow of the towering Acropolis, Saint Paul lived in Corinth for two years. While here, Saint Paul felt great grief over the way that the Gentile Church in Corinth has become. As a result, he was prompted to write four letters, all with the overarching theme of love. In Corinth, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of the first century shops, the site of Saint Paul’s trial by Gallio, the Fountain of Peirene, and the Temple of Apollo. Following your visit to Corinth, return to Athens for a delicious meal and overnight.

Day 4:

Athens- Delphi- Kalampaka

After breakfast we will go for a short drive to the Meteora Monasteries.
Living the Athens: “ Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription “ to an unknown God”. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”. Athens, is one of the most glorious cities in the world and the cradle of western civilization as we know it today.

On the way to Kalampaka will pass from Delphi. Delphi is the center of the ancient world (navel) of the earth, whose prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic world. The place is famous as the ancient sanctuary that grew rich as the seat of Pythia, the oracle consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. Moreover, the Greeks considered Delphi the navel (or centre) of the world, as represented by the stone monument known as the Omphalos of Delphi. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty, lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Phthios. Visit the site and the museum and continue to Kalampaka. For dinner and overnight.

Day 5 :

Kalampaka- Meteora- Thessaloniki

After breakfast we will go for a short drive to the Meteora Monasteries. Investigations leads to a number of theories about the creation of this unique place. The prevailing theory about the town is that one of the German geologist Philipson, who came to Greece in the late 19th century. According to his theory, a large river had his estuary in this area which for million of years was covered by a narrow and deep part of the sea.

The river waters place matter, stones and generally several materials that were transferred by its waters at the estuary from Northern parts of primordial central Europe. From the accumulation of these materials deltaic cones were formed. 25-30 million years ago, after some geological changes took place during the centuries, the central part of today’s Europe was lifted. That’s how the opening of Tempi was created ,having as a result the pouring of the waters in today’s Aegean sea. Today, the tradition of Orthodoxy is continued uninterrupted for over 600 years by the Holy Monastery of the Great Meteoro (or the Transfiguration of Jesus), the Varlaam Monastery, the Saint Stephen Monastery, the Holy Trinity Monastery, the Saint Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery and the Rousanou Monastery. All these monasteries are on the top of Meteora rocks.During your visit, you will be able to view stunning Byzantine art, as well as the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the Monastery. Continue to Thessaloniki. . St. Paul arrived in Thessalonica in the course of his second missionary journey (49-52 AD), after leaving Philippi (Acts 17:1). Thessalonica was an important port in Macedonia on the Aegean Sea (and still exists today as Salonika). He stayed in the house of Jason and was quite successful in converting many Jews there to Christianity. But jealousy arose, and he had to leave Thessalonica in a hurry (Acts 17:5-9), but later sent Timothy. This occasioned his Letter to the Thessalonians for continued instruction to his new converts to Christianity. Furthermore, there you will have the opportunity to see lots of ancient artifacts , such as the triumphal Arch of Galerius that is found at the start of Via Egnatia. Due to the convenient location, this arch was once a strategic of the Roman Empire. It was originally constructed in order to honor the Roman Emperor Galerius following the Roman victory over the Persians. After city tour, we continue to the local hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Thessaloniki

Philip-kavala-thessalonikh

After breakfast start your journey in Greece with the first stop of the day in Philippi. Philippi was the city to where Saint Paul the Apostle delivered his first sermon and where he established the first church in Europe. Philippi was an important city in eastern Macedonwhich flourished in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Periods. Situated between the Strymon and Nestos rivers, the city was valued in antiquity for its nearby gold mines. Site of the famous Battleof Philippi at the end of the Roman Republic, the city prospered in the Roman imperial era and, after a visit from St. Paul, became an important centre of early Christianity. Philippi continued to flourish as a major Byzantine city. Today the archaeological site has substantial remains including a theatre and four basilicas.

There Saint Paul baptized a women named Lydia the first convert to Christianity in Europe. He’s visited the area on his second missionary journey in AD 49/50. Following the principle set forth by the Messiah, he went out ‘’two –by-two with Silas and Timothy. After Phillip we continue to the modern port city Kavala, which in the Ancient Greece called Neapolis and from there Saint Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy landed when they sailed into Europe. After the city tour we will return to the hotel to enjoy the delicious Macedonians cuisine, relax and to take a taste from the cities’ nightlife, for those who still energetic.

Day 7:

Kavala- Turkish Boarder- Istanbul

Today and after the breakfast will leave the Greece back. The Turkeys boarders and the inspiration of asia culture is near now. On the way will pass for amazing greek green villages and the guide will introduce us in the Buzantioum histaury. Arrival in hotel. Free time in the afternoon and now you can enjoy the beauties of Istanbul by night. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 8:

Historic Center- Topkapi Palace- St. Sophia-Blue Moscue-Archeological Museum

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Today will make a tour in the most important places of Istanbul. After the breakfast will get the coach and frist stop will be at the St. Sophia, the heritage monument from Buzantium years by the UNESCO. On the will wil pass for the Hippodrome, the former center for entertainment, sports and political activities in the city during the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Here also you will be able to see the obelisk from Egypt Fountain of Willhelm II and Serpentine Column from Delphi and then will continue to Topkapi. After the guides tour inside of Palace will continue to St. Sophia. The basilica ‘s name mean The church of Holy Wisdom, undoudtedly one of the greatest architectural creations in the World used as a mosque during Ottomans and serving as a museum today. Then will continue to the Blue Mosque. Is the biggest mosque of Istanbul and built in 17th century and is famus for the blue title and 6 minaret. Final stop will be to the Archeological museaum. Dinner overnight in hotel.

Day 9:

Dolmabahce Palace- Bosporus Cruise-Grand bazaar

The day today have some more beauty historic places as well as great shopping in great prices. Dolmabahce built in 19th century. Is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. It was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire with the last of Ottoman Sultans was residing there. After the tour inside will continue to take the boat from Bosporus for an amazing cruise. Inside will have the chance to see the Asian and European side of Istanbul with many huge, imposing properties from many famous and bullioners of Turkey. After the tour will go to a restaurant next to the Bosporus to taste traditional Anatolian foods. Next stop will be in Grand Bazzar. Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest covered market place in the World with nearly 4,000 shops full of rich collections of leather, carpets, jewellery and ssouvenirs. There will have free time to make our shopping and then to return on the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 10:

Prince Islands- Pierre Loti Hill

Today and after the breakfast will take the ferry to one of the Princes’ Islands, Buyukada (Big Island) which is a quiet sea front town and summer holiday escape from the city. Leaving the Golden Horn by ferry, you will round Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point), the headland on which the domes and minarets of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque can be seen.  We will pass four islands with their charming old Ottoman houses and finally reach Buyukada, the largest of the islands.  Upon arrival to the island, you will see the lavish Ottoman mansions and other beautiful Victorian summer villas around the island .

We will take a tour of the island by Phaeton (horse and cart) and will pass elegant old wooden mansions and beautiful natural scenery. you can enjoy a delicious lunch in a cozy sea-side fish restaurant and relax looking back at the domes and minarets among skyscrapers of modern Istanbul’s skyline.  This a perfect day for relaxing and enjoying one of Istanbul’s residents’ favorite summer retreats. Return by ferry and drop off to hotel. After the cruise by the bus will pass from Pierre Loti Hill and we will make a stop to take panoramic photos of the city. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 11:

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople- Church of St. Antony of Padua- Istanbul Forum-Acquarium.

Today and after the breakfast will going to the Greek Patriarchate then to the church of St. Antony and the to the Istanbul Forum. Then will continue for little more shoppings. On the Istanbul modern mall we will have the opportunity to buy the last gifts and to take a coffee before to the acquarium. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 12:

Hotel- Airport