The cradle of early Christianity lies amongst the hypnotic ruins of Asia Minor. Marble gleams, columns rise, and dozens of Greco Roman cities present narratives of conversion and pilgrimage. This handcrafted Turkey tour explores some of the world's finest religious monuments and historical cities, piecing together a jigsaw that transcends empires and cultures. Including boutique hotels and ancient spas, this trip is an idyllic...
Istanbul – The Hagia Sophia Welcomes You to Asia Minor
In a city of wonders the Hagia Sophia stands unopposed. It's domes curve from the Byzantine Hippodrome towards the Marmara Sea, gently reflecting shades left by a Mediterranean sun. Columned walls impose from a distance yet soothe when you're close-up, intricate details etched into its 1,500 years of history. After the short airport transfer and a chance to freshen up, your first afternoon is dedicated to this sublime feat of architectural engineering. Until its conversion to a mosque in the 15th century, this was the largest church in the world, yet impressions of scale immediately transform into those of intimacy as you wander through the narrow gilded entrance.
First the main hall, softly graced by chandeliers of yellow bulbs and the light that crosses through stained glass boundaries. Now upstairs, where biblical murals are shaded beside Arabic inscriptions and gold leaf occasionally catches the light. Lose yourself in the grandeur before exploring the onsite museum, where fascinating religious tales and ingenuity is celebrated. As the evening call to prayer resonates across the city, you retire to your opulent hotel in the quaint historic suburb of Sultanahmet.
Istanbul – Reliving Ancient Constantinople
Antioch – Descendants of the First Christians in Evocative Antioch
Tarsus – Chronicles of Cleopatra and Apostle Paul in the Roman City of Tarsus
Cappadocia – Dazzling Rock-Cut Churches and Resplendent Murals in a Lunar Landscape
Cappadocia – Eerie Underground Cities and Mesmerizing Narratives of Struggle
Pamukkale – Exploring the Churches of Revelation and First Century Converted Cities
Pamukkale – A Day of Spa Indulgence Amongst Greco Roman Brilliance
Kusadasi – Memoirs of St. John and the Virgin Mary in Magnificent Ephesus
Izmir – Fascinating Archaeological Sites and Walking on History in Priene and Miletus
Izmir – Departure
- Journey across Asia Minor and trace the development of early Christianity across dozens of historic sites and ruins
- Explore some of the finest preserved Greco Roman cities, like majestic Ephesus and Hierapolis
- The Hagia Sophia was the world's largest church for over 1,000 years and it's one of many highlights as you explore the remains of Constantinople in Istanbul
- Drink from Apostle Paul's well in his birthplace of Tarsus, visit the resting place of the Virgin Mary, and explore dozens of sites referenced in the New Testament
- Nestled within the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia you discover fabulous rock-cut churches and underground cities that hid thousands of persecuted Christians
- Enjoy a day of soporific indulgence in the natural spas and thermals of Pamukkale
- A masterful specialist guide accompanies you through Asia Minor, offering tales that breathe new life into the cracked pillars and marble inscriptions to be found in ancient cities
Ancient churches cling to hillsides in the heart of modern day Turkey. Roman causeways lead to narratives of apostles and basilicas of saints. Marble busts watch your journey, their sculpted features cracked but not broken in cities of captivation. You're in Asia Minor, exploring the remains of majestic Greco Roman cities and tracing the cradle of Christianity. It was in these lands that the gospel spread and Christian communities first emerged, the religion blossoming within Roman Byzantine in the first centuries AD. Combining some of the most important religious sites and monuments in Western Civilization, this unique itinerary breathes life into the ruins and the people who shaped it. However, this isn't solely an archaeological utopia and religious vacation. Relive the full diversity of the region with ancient spas, a fascinating cave hotel, underground cities, and towns unbowed for thousands of years.
Start in Istanbul at the Hagia Sophia, elaborate details filling every inch of sublime domes and gilded walls. Two days allows you to discover Constantinople and absorb the enchantment that's survived for millennia. Then fly east to Antioch, where tales of the world's first Christian population live on in Roman streets and churches with almost 2,000 years of history. Tarsus is nearby, the birthplace of Apostle Paul and site where Cleopatra met with Marc Anthony to alter the course of history. Now come to Cappadocia, where monks' caves and underground city entrances poke out from strange lunar valleys. Like much of this itinerary, there's a natural beauty that compliments the history, ever-elegant backdrops framing photos that take on surrealist tones.
On day seven you fly south to Izmir for a four day loop around the Churches of Revelation and famed ancient cities of Asia Minor. The remains of Sardis and Laodecia are Spartan yet redolent, offering a glimpse at the grandeur that swept through the region. Hierapolis is more complete, rows of marbled pillars and a staggering theater the highlights of a city that spreads for over a mile. On days seven and eight you spend the afternoons in Pamukkale; the resplendent spa town is one of Turkey's most iconic sights. Day nine takes you to wonderfully preserved Ephesus, its streets laced with terraced stone houses and its marble temples dominating the skyline. The Basilica of St. John and resting place of the Virgin Mary are another two poignant religious highlights here. Complete the vacation by exploring recently excavated Christian cities and spending a night on the Aegean Coast.
$3,713 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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