The Bible and Turkey

After Israel, Turkey has more biblical sites than any other country in the Middle East. For this reason Turkey is rightly called the Other Holy Land. Many Christians are unaware of Turkey’s unique role in the Bible because biblical reference works usually refer to this strategic peninsula, bounded by the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas, as Asia Minor or Anatolia. The land of Turkey is especially important in understanding the background of the New Testament, because approximately two-thirds of its books were written either to or from churches in Turkey. The three major apostle—Peter, Paul, and John—either ministered or lived in Turkey. Turkey’s rich spiritual heritage starts at the very beginning in the book of Genesis.


The Seven Churches mentioned in the Revelation of St. John have long held a unique place among the sites of Asia Minor. These are close to Izmir (Smyrna) and most of them still living cities: Philadelphia (Alaşehir); Bergama is just below Pergamum, Goncalı is below the hills of Laodicea and the village of Sarımustafa is close to Sardis. Ephesus, Tyatira and Laodicea are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. Of the seven, Ephesus gives the visitors the full sense of a complex, bustling metropolis to the turn of the Christian era.

Arrival at Istanbul airport and transfer to the hotel. (D)
Full day city tour of Istanbul visiting the famed Topkapı Palace, with the dazzling displays of the treasures of the Ottoman sultans, St. Sophia (which for 1000 years was the largest Church in Christendom and now a museum), the Blue Mosque (so-named from its decorative blue-shaded tiles, glass and gemstones) and the Church of St. Savior in Chora. Visit also the Grand Bazaar with its 4000 shops. Dinner and overnight. (B, D)
After breakfast drive along the northern coast of Marmara Sea to Gallipoli, the battle site during World War I. Then proceed across the waterway to Çanakkale and on to the legendary city of Troy. Dinner and overnight hotel stay in Çanakkale hotel. (B, D)
Today’s excursion takes us to Bergama, the ancient Pergamon, the most favored of the Seven Churches, the capital of a large and powerful pre-Roman kingdom that was also the site of a famous Roman medical center (Revelation 2:12-17). Visit the Basilica built on the Serapis Temple, along with the Acropolis, the Parchement Library, and the Asclepium. Our journey then takes us on to two more Seven Churches Cities, Sardis (with its huge Synagogue, Gymnasium and Artemis Temple) (Revelation 3:1-6), and Philadelphia (a former center of pagan worship during Roman period) (Revelation 3:7-13). Continue to Pamukkale, with its petrified calcium cliffs and warm spring waters cascading over them. Dinner and overnight at Pamukkale hotel. (B, D)
Departure for a visit to one of the remnant ruins of the Seven Churches (Revelation 1:11) Laodicea, a town that was under both Roman and Turkish rule at various times. It had a large Jewish community which eventually converted to Christianity (Colossians 4:13,15), but felt into disrepair and is now uninhabited. Continue to the Roman city of Aphrodisias, famous for its stunning sculpture and statuary and its museum housing magnificent artworks. Proceed then to Kuşadası, a picturesque harbor-side town on the Aegean coast. Dinner and overnight stay in Kuşadası hotel. (B, D)
Morning departure to the one of the world’s most visited sites, Ephesus which represents ruins on a grand scale. (Revelation (1:11) Visit the theatre, the Odeon, the Library and the Roman baths. Continue then to the Basilica of St. John, built on the hilltop site of the house and tomb of St. John the Apostle. Here lies the crypt with the tomb of St. John: it was believed by pilgrims during the Middle Ages that the dust rising from his grave had curative powers and was diligently gathered up. St. Paul visited Ephesus between AD 55 – 58, where his ministry included preaching, conversion and the baptizing of the twelve disciples (Acts 19:5-8). St. Paul was imprisoned for several years in Ephesus and is believed to have written portions of the Epistles during his confinement. Ephesus eventually became one of the cradles of Christianity due to his efforts. In addition to Saints John and Paul, Ephesus was also the home to the mother of Christ, Mary who was entrusted to John’s care after the Crucifixion and moved with John to Ephesus, where both are believed to have lived the remainder of their lives and are buried. We’ll visit to the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, the most important Christian shrine in Ephesus. Drive to Kuşadası for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Transfer to the airport for departure flight. (B)
Included services for this itinerary:
  • Arrival-departure transfers.
  • 8 nights half board accommodation at 4 or 5 star hotels.
  • All tours, airport and hotel transfers conducted by private A/C comfortable vehicles.
  • Sightseeings and visits as detailed in the itinerary.
  • English speaking professional tour guide (or your chosen language).
  • Entrance fees to the touristic sites mentioned.
  • All necessary taxes.
  • For our current rates, please contact us about this tour.