Tour Itinerary: Days 1-4

July 28: Non-tour Travel Day

Depart from the United States and arrive in Istanbul the next day.

July 29th: Arrival in Istanbul

Arrive in Istanbul, transfer to your hotel passing through the city, sightseeing the Bosphorus and the ancient city walls. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

July 30th: Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, we will depart to visit the stunning remains of ancient Constantinople. We will begin at the site of the ancient hippodrome--the large, open square that was once the site of a Roman circus that rivaled the Colosseum in Rome and could seat a quarter of a million spectators. Monuments on the site include the Snake Column from Delphi and an Egyptian obelisk taken from the Temple of Karnak at Luxor. Our tour continues to the Blue Mosque, famous for its six minarets and magnificent interior blue tiles. Built in the 17th century, the Blue Mosque takes its name from the thousands of Iznik tiles lining the walls. Next we visit the Hagia Sophia,  the great Byzantine Basilica built in the 6th century by the emperor Justinian and for centuries the largest Christian church in the world. Our final stop is to enjoy the mystical ambiance of the Underground Cistern built by Justinian as a water supply for the city. Return to hotel for dinner and spend the night.

July 31st: Cappadocia

After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the airport for a special Sabbath in Cappadocia. Welcome to Central Anatolia, where a dozen empires have risen and fallen, as their massive armies moved back and forth across this "land bridge" between Europe and Asia. Cappadocia, with its center in Caesarea (Kayseri), was once the heart of the Hittite Kingdom of the Old Testament. This vast area is one of the most photogenic landscapes in the world. Extraordinary rock formations have become symbolic of this region, where you will enjoy the Valley of the Fairy Chimneys and Goreme's breathtaking Open Air Museum. Watch the potters at their craft, in the famous pottery-producing town of Avanos. Finally, savor the natural wonders of the Citadel of Uchisar and Zelve Valley. Dinner and lodging in Cappadocia.

August 1st: Iconium

This morning we visit the amazing underground city of Kaymakli. Early Christians suffering persecution from Arab invaders fled underground for safety, escaping into  underground cities they carved out of the tufa stone well known in that area. Some of these cities go twenty or more stories underground. From Kaymakli we head to Iconium. Paul planted a church here with Barnabas on his first missionary journey, and visited here on this second missionary journey. Iconium (modern Konya) is also home to the tomb of Mevlana, the great 13th-century mystic poet and Islamic spiritual leader, who founded the sect of ''Whirling Dervishes.'' Dinner and overnight in Konya (Iconium).

Itinerary Days:    1-4    5-8   9-10   11-13