July 12: Patmos, Greece
Our adventure continues as we board our private boat to the beautiful Island of Patmos. It was on Patmos that John was exiled for his faith (Rev 1:9, 19) and wrote the book of Revelation. While on Patmos, we will visit the grotto where, according to early tradition, John received his vision.
We will also visit the monastery of St. John the Theologian, which resembles a medieval fortress. The monastery, which offers an amazing view of the island, was built in 1088 over the remains of an early Christian basilica and an even earlier temple of Artemis. Among the interesting things we will see is a collection of priceless icons and ancient artifacts, including one of the oldest surviving copies of the Gospel of Mark, which is written in silver letters on purple vellum. Before returning, we will be watch an entertaining cultural show while we enjoy a delicious meal together.
July 13: Istanbul
Today we visit ancient Istanbul. Our tour begins as we visit the Blue Mosque, which Sultan Ahmet built in 1609. It is called the Blue Mosque due to the interior walls that are covered with twenty thousand blue Iznik tiles. From here we will visit the ancient Hippodrome with all its magnificent monuments. The highlight of our day, however, will be the Hagia Sophia. Built by the Emperor Justinian I in 573, the Hagia Sophia was the largest and most beautiful Christian church for nearly one thousand years. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the church was converted into a mosque. Although it turned into a museum after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, it was reestablished as a mosque again in 2020.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Armada.
July 14: Istanbul and Home
Before heading to the airport to catch our afternoon flight back home, we will visit three more fascinating sites in Istanbul. We will first experience the magnificent colors, fragrances, and sounds of the ancient Spice Market. Built in 1664, the Spice Market was the final stop on the Silk Road. Like visitors of old you will be fascinated with its rich variety of exotic spices, teas, and a host of other intriguing souvenirs. From here we will stop at the Underground Cistern, which is a massive underground water cavern of beautiful arches and Roman support columns, which used to be the Byzantine city’s main water storage when it was under siege or suffering in hard times. Our final stop will be for some last minute shopping at the Grand Bazaar. With over 4,000 shops, you won't want to get lost--especially since our next stop is to airport for our flight home after an amazing tour!
After nearly four weeks traveling through the Bible Lands, our trip has come to an end. While it will be good to be home, you'll never forget the experience we shared together.