Pictures from Turkey

Paul and the Roman Empire

A Pilgrimage to Turkey

Led by:

The Rev. Canon Marianne Borg

Dr. Marcus Borg

Dr. John Dominic Crossan

May 3 – 16, 2009

Trip map

DAY 1, Sunday, May 3, 2009 - Depart the USA for an overnight flight with connecting flight to Izmir, Turkey.  Meals on board flights. D

DAY 2: Monday, May 4, 2009 - We will arrive at Izmir, Turkey, clear immigration and meet our driver and guide.  We will then drive to Kusadasi, located on the shores of the Aegean Sea where we will have a “welcome to Turkey” dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 3: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - After breakfast, we will have a morning meeting at the hotel and then we will 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.  We will return to Kusadasi for an afternoon of rest and relaxation. BD

DAY 4: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - We visit the ancient ruins of Priene with its important inscriptions to “imperial theology”.  Priene was once located on the Aegean Sea and was an important port city but, like the port at Ephesus, the harbor silted over.  The ruins here are mostly Greek in style and the bouleterion (council chamber) is one of the best preserved structures in the city.  We will return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 5: Thursday, May 7, 2009 - We will make our way to Aphrodisias, the city of Aphrodite, goddess of love.  Aphrodisias is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Turkey and only a small portion of this huge site has been excavated so far.  The city is located inland and slightly off the beaten track for tourists.  It is not nearly as crowded as Ephesus and a visit to the stadium alone, the remains of which rival the best in the world, makes a visit to Aphrodisias well worth the time.  We will return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 6: Friday, May 8, 2009 - Today, we visit Didyma which has been holy since time immemorial.  Early Ionian settlers arrived here in the 11th century BC and in the 9th century BC a vast temple with more than 100 columns was built to protect the holy spring and the laurel tree (sacred to Apollo).  This extraordinary Temple of Apollo and the beauty of Didyma was famed far and wide.  We will continue to Miletus, where Paul met with the elders of Ephesus on his final journey to Jerusalem (Acts: 20:15-38).  We return to our hotel in Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 7: Saturday, May 9, 2009 - We will drive to Bodrum, the beautiful city on the Aegean which has become a favorite of the elite.  Bodrum, known as Halicarnassus in antiquity, was founded around 1000 BC.  The Knights of St. John seized the city, dismantled the mausoleum, and used the rocks to build the Petronion (Castle of St. Peter).  It is here that we will visit the Museum of Underwater Archaeology which contains treasures recovered from ship wrecks in the Aegean.  We will take a private cruise with lunch on a yacht and return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight. BLD

DAY 8: Sunday, May 10, 2009 - 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 9: Monday, May 11, 2009 - We depart from Kusadasi and go to the ancient city of Sardis, one of the seven cities of Revelation (Rev 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 their remarkable acoustics. BD BD

DAY 10: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - We begin our day with a visit to the 14th century Green Mosque (the Yesil Cami), one of the finest mosques in Turkey, and the Green Tomb (the Yesil Turbe).  We then travel to 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 across the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul by ferry.  We will arrive at our Istanbul hotel in the afternoon and have dinner and overnight in Istanbul. BD

Day 11: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - We begin with a visit to the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Cami), a grand and beautiful monument to Islam.  The mosque has 6 towering minarets and many semi and mini domes.  The mosque is still a place of worship and requires modest clothing and respect for the worshippers.  We see the ancient hippodrome where 100,000 could be seated to watch chariot races and other forms of entertainment.  We will continue to the Yerebatan Saray which is also known as the underground cistern.  Here we see a small portion of the underground network of waterways that once provided water for the city of Istanbul.  Dinner and overnight in Istanbul. BD

Day 12: Thursday, May 14, 2009 - Today we will visit Hagia Sophia (Church of Holy Wisdom), Christendom’s most important church for 900 years before it was turned into a mosque in 1453.  Although the mosaics were covered with plaster, they have since been uncovered and are on display here.  We will visit Kariye Museum which occupies what was once the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora.  The 14th century mosaics and frescoes depicting biblical scenes are considered to be among the finest Byzantine works in the world.  The afternoon will be free for further exploration on your own.  Dinner and overnight Istanbul. BD

Day 13: Friday, May 15, 2009 - This morning, we will board a private boat for a cruise down the Bosphorus to the beginning of the Black Sea.  The Bosphorus divides Europe and Asia, is one of the busiest waterways in the world and has held strategic importance as the only waterway connecting the Mediterranean with the Black Sea.  We will have a fish lunch at Sariye and then return to Istanbul where you will have some free time to shop or visit other sites.  We will have a gala “farewell to Turkey dinner” and overnight in Istanbul. BLD

Day 14: Saturday, May 16, 2009 - We will depart for the Istanbul Airport to board our return flights to the United States.  We will have breakfast at our hotel and other meals will be served on the flights. BL

Price: $4,699.00 per person double – Air from Chicago

Price: $4,599.00 per person double – Air from JFK, New York

Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement:  $699.00

Final payment due February 3, 2009

Cancellation Penalties
◊ June 1 – February 1 - $300 per person plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ After February 3, 2009: NO REFUND

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, S Snack

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