Pictures from Turkey

Paul and Early Christianity

A Spiritual and Educational Pilgrimage To Turkey, the Second Holy Land

Led by:

The Rev. Canon Marianne Borg,
Dr. Marcus Borg, and
Dr. Dominic Crossan

May 19 - June 6, 2007

Trip map

DAY 1: Saturday, May 19, 2007 - Depart the USA for overnight flight with connecting flight to Ankara. Meals on board flights.

DAY 2: Sunday, May 20, 2007 - Arrive Ankara mid-afternoon.  In ancient times known as Ancyra, it was the capital city of ancient Galatia.  In the early 20th century, Kemal Ataturk made it the capital of modern Turkey.  We will have a “welcome to Turkey” dinner in our downtown hotel this evening. BD

DAY 3: Monday, May 21, 2007 - After an early morning group introduction meeting in our hotel, we spend the rest of the day in Ankara visiting a Roman temple to Caesar Augustus and the Museum of Archaeology.  Overnight in Ankara. BD

DAY 4: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - Morning departure for our drive to Cappadocia, a land of strange and beautiful geological formations, and of pre-Christian and Christian history.  Inhabited from at least Neolithic times, Cappadocia became a major center of early Christianity.  Paul was here, and in the 4th century, three of the most important Trinitarian theologians (and saints) of the early church lived here: Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzus.  Arriving in Cappadocia in the afternoon, we will see several vistas of its surreal landscapes of volcanic ash formed millions of years ago, fairy chimneys shaped through millennia of erosion, and spectacular red rock cones.  Hotel in Urgup for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 5: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - In the morning, we visit Goreme whose churches carved into the rock date from the 8th and 9th centuries.  Frescoes appeared on the walls around the 10th and 11th centuries depicting scenes from the New Testament and the lives of popular saints.  Churches of interest in this open air museum include the Church of Saint Barbara, the Dark Church and the Church of the Sandal.  In the afternoon, we visit the village of Zelve, carved into the rocks centuries ago.  A ridge divided the valley here into Christian and Muslim sections and a church and mosque were carved from the same rock.  Some of the afternoon will be free at our hotel or for a visit to a nearby pottery factory.  In the evening after dinner, we hope to be able to visit a nearby 13th century Caravanserai for a performance of Sufi dancing (optional, and extra cost).  Overnight in Urgup. BD

DAY 6: Thursday, May 24, 2007 - Morning departure for Konya (ancient Iconium). Paul visited Iconium on his first missionary journey. Now Konya is a major Muslim center, famous especially because it was the home of Rumi, a 13th century mystic, poet and philosopher within the Sufi stream of Islam.  Rumi (also known as Mevlana) founded an order of dervishes.  We will visit his tomb, a medrese (a Muslim theological school), and a mosque.  Overnight in Konya. BD

DAY 7: Friday, May 25, 2007 - Morning departure from Konya and a drive to the impressive ruins at Pisidian Antioch, an ancient city important in Paul’s activity (see Acts 13.13-52).  Overnight on the shores of a beautiful lake at Egirdir. BD

DAY 8: Saturday, May 26 - We begin our journey to the south coast of Turkey, driving through the Taurus mountain range, which Paul had to traverse each time he traveled inland into Asia Minor.  We arrive in Antalya on the south coast in the afternoon.  Overnight in Antalya. BD

DAY 9: Sunday, August 12, 2007 - Morning tour of ancient Perge, a city in which Paul was active (Acts 13:13, 14:25).  Among the cities that Paul visited, Perge is second only to Ephesus for its ancient ruins.  Then, on to Aspendos with its impressive ancient theater.  In the afternoon, we visit the Museum of Archaeology or have some “free time” at our hotel.  Overnight in Antalya. BD

DAY 10: Monday, May 28, 2007 - Morning departure for Hierapolis and Pamukkale.  We will drive past the site of ancient Laodicea, one of the cities mentioned in Revelation (3:14-22).  In the afternoon, we visit the ancient site of Hierapolis, founded in the 2nd century BC by the king of Pergamum.  We see the Roman theater, the temple of Apollo, and the necropolis.  Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale. BD

Day 11: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - Early departure as we make our way to the Aegean coast.  Extended morning visit to the ruins of ancient Aphrodisias, one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Turkey.  Lunch near Aphrodisias.  In the afternoon, we drive to Selcuk, where we will visit the ruins of the 6th century Basilica of St. John, the traditional site of St. John’s grave.  Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea, where we will stay for three nights. BD

DAY 12: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - Today we visit Ephesus, the best preserved ancient city in the world.  Once on the sea, Ephesus is now about 3 miles inland.  Ephesus was a major center of Paul’s activities (see Acts 19), as well as one of the seven cities of the book of Revelation (Rev. 2.1-7).  Paul lived here for some years and wrote many of his letters from here.  We see the Odeon, the theater, the library of Celsus, and many other ancient sites.  We then visit Mary’s House a few miles away, thought by some to be the last home of Mary the mother of Jesus.  There we will celebrate Holy Eucharist in a small chapel.  We return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 13: Thursday, May 31, 2007 - We visit the ancient ruins of Priene with its important inscriptions to “imperial theology,” Didyma with its extraordinary Temple of Apollo, and Miletus, where Paul met with the elders of Ephesus on his final journey to Jerusalem (Acts: 20:15-38).  We return to our hotel by early afternoon and have the rest of the day free for relaxation, swimming, etc.  Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi. BD

DAY 14: Friday, June 1, 2007 - We depart from Kusadasi.  We will visit the ancient city of Sardis, one of the seven cities of Revelation (see 3:1-6).  A city of impressive ruins, it includes a well preserved Jewish synagogue.  After our visit, we will take a long drive to Bursa, the capital of the Ottoman Empire until the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453.  At our hotel in Bursa where we will overnight, you may enjoy the thermal pools with its remarkable acoustics. BD

DAY 15: Saturday, June 2, 2007 - We begin our day with a visit to two Muslim sites in Bursa: The 14th century Green Mosque (the Yesil Cami), one of the finest mosques in Turkey, and the Green Tomb (the Yesil Turbe).  Other mosques may be included, as well as the silk market.  Much of the afternoon will be free to enjoy this remarkable city and/or our fine hotel.  Overnight in Bursa. BD

DAY 16: Sunday, June 3, 2007 - We depart for Iznik, ancient Nicea, where the Nicene Creed was formulated in 325 AD.  We will visit the ruins of the church of St. Sophia and then travel to Istanbul by ferry.  We will arrive at our Istanbul hotel in the afternoon and have dinner and overnight in Istanbul. BD

DAY 17: Monnday, June 4, 2007 - We begin the morning with a visit to the Kariye Museum, once the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, whose 14th century mosaics and frescoes depicting biblical scenes are the finest such works in the Byzantine world.  Returning to the center of the city, we see the massive walls of Constantinople; built by Theodosius II in 413 AD, which protected the city for more than a thousand years.  We visit the great Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia (Church of Holy Wisdom), built in the 500s and Christendom’s most important church for 900 years before it was turned into a mosque in 1453.  We also see the Hippodrome, an ancient Roman stadium.  Time permitting, we will visit the 6th century underground cistern.  Some of the afternoon will be free for shopping in the Grand Bazaar, other sightseeing, or relaxation.  Festive evening dinner in a restaurant in the “Fish Market” area of Istanbul, where dinner will be compliments of the Center for Spiritual Development. BD

DAY 18: Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - Morning cruise up the Bosphorus, the narrow strait of water separating Asia from Europe, with its wonderful views of Istanbul.  The afternoon is free for shopping or sightseeing.  Festive “farewell dinner” at our hotel. BD

DAY 19: Wednesday, June 6, 2006 - Morning departure for the airport and our flights back to the United States.  Breakfast at hotel and other meals on flights.

Price: $4,099.00.  Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Air from Portland, OR.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement costs available on request.

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.