Holy Land & Turkey Tours 2019 Travel Packages
Dear Pilgrim: Dear Traveling partner: This journey will afford us a deeper under-standing of the Scriptures and a closer contact with the life of Christ and His mission of redemption. Those who make this journey in the company of friends and others of like mind can look forward to an unforgettable experience. Join us on this wonderful pilgrimage. Michael S. Reilly President Maranatha Tours, Inc.
Holy Land & Turkey Itinerary
Tour members are welcomed for our departing flight to Istanbul via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
ISTANBUL/TEL AVIV / TIBERIAS
This morning we will arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our flight to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we are met by our guide who will be with us for the time we are in the Holy Land. Continue through Tel Aviv, the largest city in Israel. We proceed up the new toll road in Israel to the famous Sea of Galilee where we check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
SEA OF GALILEE / BET SHEAN
This morning we enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, then visit Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes. In the afternoon we follow the Rift Valley running parallel to the Jordan, along the route Jesus most frequently traveled to Jerusalem. We visit Beth Shean at the foot of Mt. Gilboa, where King Saul was slain, see the evidences of Egyptian, Roman and Byzantine occupations, and view the ancienttel, Roman Theater and church mosaics. Our last stop today will be at the Jordan River where we will have the opportunity to be baptized, then transfer to the hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
TIBERIAS / NAZARETH / CAESAREA / JERUSALEM
“We are going up to Jerusalem.” (Matt. 20:18). We drive west to Nazareth. Traveling through Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed his first Miracle, turning water into wine (John 2). We proceed to Nazareth and Ascend Mount of the Precipice at the brow of Nazareth to a n overlooking surveying the Valley of Jezreel , synonymous with Armageddon. We then drive through the valley to the mound of Megiddo, Har Megiddo in Hebrew, which gave its name to Armageddon. We then ascend Mt. Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. From there we drive towards the Mediterranean coast traveling south along the coastal highway to Caesarea by the Sea. We enter Caesarea Maritima to explore this Roman bridgehead to the east, which became the Christian springboard to the west. After the visit this ancient harbor, we board our bus and we head up the historic Beth Horon road (Joshua 10:10) to the Benjamin Plateau, passing ancient Gibeon and continuing on to Jerusalem. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem. Check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
JERUSALEM / MASADA / JERICHO
Today we drive to Masada and ascend by cable car to the magnificent ruins of the fortress where, from 70 to 73 AD, Jewish defenders made their last stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. We see the remains of storehouses, cisterns and a sixth-century Byzantine church. Continuing alongside the Dead Sea, 1300 ft. below se a level–the lowest spot on earth — we proceed to Ein Gedi , where time permitting we will walk the path to see the waterfall in the desert. This afternoon we continue to Qumran. and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We will have a stop for lunch and for those that want to swim in the Dead Sea may. We travel to Jericho, the world’s oldest city. From the excavated tel atop the ruins of ancient Jericho we view the lush green Jordan Valley, Elisha’s spring and Qarantal, the Mount of Temptation. We will head up to Jerusalem and return to the hotel for dinner.
MT. OF OLIVES /PASSION WALK / SOUTHERN WALL /HERODIUM / SOLOMON’S POOLS / BETHLEHEM
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (Luke 19:42) We start the day with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives with an opportunity of a group photograph overlooking Jerusalem. We then walk the traditional Passion walk. We desce nd to the church known as Dominus Flevit (“Our Lord weeps”). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text. Boarding our bus (If you want you may walk by the tomb of the kings) and get off at a roman road, where we climb Mt Zion to the grounds of a church called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. (Here, the Assumptions Fathers suggest, was the house where the High Priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus.) We drive to Dung gate and enter where we will stop at the Steps that entered the temple. It was here that Jesus would have taught the disciples. See a video that shows the temple as it was at Solomon’s time. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11). We drive south to the region of Bethlehem, passing Rachel’s Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem. We drive to a hilltop for a view of Bethlehem, noting its relation to the rest of the central mountain range, including Jerusalem, as well as to the desert and the area of ancient Moab. Driving south, we visit Solomon’s Pools, Jerusalem’s main source of water for almost 2000 years. Passing the monastery of Hortus Conclusus (“the sealed garden”) in Artas, we go to Herodion , the palace set in a conical mountain built by Herod to mark his tomb which was in the news lately with the recent discovery of Herod’s Tomb. Note the juxtaposition of the two Kings of the Jews. The King Herod buried in great opulence and the King of the Jews born in a humble manger in Bethlehem sitting in the background of the Herodium. We then drive to one of the possible sites for Shepherds’ Fields. We continue into Bethlehem itself, walking through the restored old town to the Church of the Nativity and visiting the manger and see the cave of St. Jerome. We drive back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
OLD CITY / TEMPLE MOUNT / VIA DOLOROSA /GARDEN TOMB
“He has risen!” (Mark 16:6) After breakfast we transfer to the Dung Gate, we walk up to the Western Wall Judaism’s holiest site. We ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, located on the traditional site of the ancient Temple Mount. It is believed that here is where the Temple once stood. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, the church is perfectly preserved from the Crusader period–with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) through the bazaars to the Holy Sepulcher. From there we walk through the Christian Quarter along the Arab Souks and past the Armenian Quarter. This afternoon we will walk out to the Damascus Gate and go to the Garden Tomb where we will end our day with a special visit and the possibility of having a private communion on the grounds outside the city walls. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
JERUSALEM / ISTANBUL / BLUE MOSQUE / ST. SOPHIA
This morning we will be taken to the airport for our flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival we will be met by our guide and board our bus. We begin our day with a tour to the magnificent Topkapi Palace once home to the great Sultans; it is filled with treasures and antiquities including twelve thousand pieces of fine Chinese porcelain. Then visit the unique Blue Mosque built in 1609 by Sultan Ahmet. The interior walls are covered with twenty thousand blue Iznik tiles. Our sightseeing continues with Hippodrome and Basilica of St. Sophia, which has inspired architects and religious leaders for over fifteen hundred years. Constructed in 326 by Constantine the Great, it has been a cathedral, a mosque, and now a museum. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
ISTANBUL / BURSA
This morning we begin our drive to the town of Iznik, formerly known as Nicaea, originally an important Roman and Byzantine town where the first Council of Nicaea was held during the reign of Constantine in 325 AD. The Council defined more clearly the concept of the Trinity, and drafted the Nicene Creed. The four gates which allowed access to the city still stand. In the town center the ruins of the St. Sophia Cathedral (Now mosque), the seat of the first Ecumenical Council, can be found. (Iznik museum is closed on Mondays.) Continue to the city of Bursa. Dinner and overnight.
BURSA / THYATIRA / SARDIS / PHILADELPHIA / PAMUKKALE
En route to Pamukkale stop at Thyatira, where in Revelation 2:18- 29 the Christians were asked for continued faith and patience, and then they will be granted the morning star and authority over the nations. Continue on to Sardis was part of the Roman province of Asia in New Testament times. In Revelation 3:1-6 they were accused of falling asleep and commanded were accused of falling asleep and commanded to wake up and continue the works of God. Then drive beautiful countryside to Philadelphia. Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:7-13 commended the people for keeping his word, with the promise of being a pillar in the temple of God and to write on them the name of God. Overnight in Pamukkale.
PAMUKKALE / HIERAPOLIS / LAODICEA / KUSADASI
We spend the morning in Hierapolis where Christianity came via St. Paul (Colossians 4:13) and a magnificent natural formation. Over the last fourteen thousand years, calcium rich water from an underground thermal spring has flowed over the mountainside and slowly solidified, creating shallow white basins and twistedstalagmites. Then Laodicea which was one of the seven most important churches of Christianity. They were accused in Revelation 3:14 -22 of being lukewarm; neither hot nor cold. They were commanded to repent and be zealous to be able to sit with Jesus on his throne. Then, drive to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.
KUSADASI /EPHESUS / SMYRNA (Izmir) / PERGAMUM /KUSADASI
This morning our guide will take us to one of the greatest archeological sites in the world, Ephesus. Christ in Revelation 2:1-7, warned against false apostles and called for the church in Ephesus to repent and return to its first love. The Christians who labored for Christ will eat from the tree of life. Finally, we’ll visit the House of the Virgin Mary where the Apostle John cared for t he mother of Jesus. Ephesus is considered one of the great outdoor museums of Turkey, in fact perhaps of the world. Ephesus influence came from both Greek and Romans. See the prytaneion, Pollio Fountain, Temple of Domitian, The Gate o f Heracles, Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus Library, Marble Street, Ephesus Theatre and Harbour Street. This afternoon continue to Smyrna where people were warned in Revelation 2:8-11, that persecution would occur and if they were faithful their reward was a crown of life. Finally, we visit ancient Pergamum where Revelation 2:12-17 advised them to be faithful under persecution and warned them against following the practices of Balaam. If they were over comers, their reward would be the white stone with a secret name. With its impressive temples and library Pergamum was a renowned cultural, medical and political center. Return back to Kusadasi over dinner and overnight.
IZMIR / ISTANBUL / HOME
We transfer to the airport for our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading