It is sometimes said that if there were no St. Paul there would have been no Christianity. Through his three missionary journeys, from around 44 A.D. to 60 A.D., the Christian message was spread to the gentile world and some of the earliest Christian churches were founded. Embarking in Cyprus, this cruise follows Paul’s footsteps along the coast of Turkey to Istanbul, visiting stunning ancient sites along the way reflecting not only Paul’s legacy but also elements of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine civilizations. Among the highlights are the Roman amphitheater at Aspendos, built in the 2nd century A.D. and considered the best preserved in the Mediterranean; the Greek island of Patmos, where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation; and the ruins of Ephesus, where St. Paul spent three years during the time Ephesus was second only to Rome in size and importance.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Mar 15, 2020 - Mar 25, 2020
Dr. Michael Hoff
Dr. Michael Hoff, Hixson-Lied Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of Nebraska and a member of the Archaeological Institute of America’s (AIA) Board of Trustees, is a classical archaeologist who
specializes in the Roman period in Greece and Asia Minor. He has wide excavation experience in Greece and Turkey, including Athens, Corinth, Nemea, Crete, and for nearly 25 years he has been engaged in archaeological research in the region of Rough Cilicia in southern Turkey. Since 2005 Professor Hoff has directed the Antiochia ad Cragum excavations in Rough Cilicia. In addition to many publications, Professor Hoff has participated for over 20 years in the AIA’s national lecture program and has directed many AIA and university sponsored study tours to Greece and Turkey.
- day March 15
Depart on Overnight flight to Larnaca, Cyprus
- day March 16
Arrive Larnaca; private transfer to hotel. Remainder of day free to rest
- day March 17
Larnaca After a morning orientation and lecture, drive to the nearby UNESCO listedNeolithic settlement of Choirokoitia, inhabited from at least the 9th millennium B.C., and considered one of the earliest examples of organized society. Ruins of circular mudbrick and stone dwellings remain, along with collectively constructed fortifications and planned open spaces. After lunch, choose to join either a food tour through downtown Larnaca or an excursion to the Troodos Mountains for a wine tasting. Board the MS Serenissima this evening and enjoy the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner.
- day March 18
Mersin, Turkey Call at Mersin, Turkey, a short drive from Tarsus, birthplace of St. Paul. Walk the narrow 16th-century streets and Roman roads, see the artifact-rich Tarsus Museum, and visit the decorative Grand Mosque. Proceed overland to Silifke, stopping along the way at the resort town of Kizkalesi (Maiden’s Castle). Visit the ruins of the 5th-century church of St. Thecla, built at a venerable place of pilgrimage for admirers of this disciple of St. Paul. Rendezvous with the ship at Taşucu and enjoy dinner aboard as we follow the sunset toward the
- day March 19
Antalya Arrive in bustling Antalya and join one of two excursions: (1) a full-day tour to the ruins of ancient Perge, a settlement dating back to at least the Bronze Age (visited at least twice by St. Paul and his companion St. Barnabas), and Aspendos, whose 2nd-century theater is one of the best-preserved in the Mediterranean; or (2) a moderate morning hike through the pines to the ancient mountaintop city of Termessos, mentioned in the Iliad, and legendarily difficult to defeat (Alexander the Great never could, though Bellerophon managed it by dropping boulders from Pegasus!), followed by a free afternoon in Antalya.
- day March 20
Fethiye From our berth at Fethiye we travel southeast to discover the rich Lycian towns of Xanthos (built on a great cliff overlooking the river), Letoon (sanctuary of Leto, and one of the most important religious centers of its time), Patara (amidst sand dunes by the beach), and the ghost village of Kayaköy. You have a choice of three excursions today: (1) spend a full day exploring Xanthos, Letoon, and Patara (where Paul stopped in A.D. 60), including lunch at a local restaurant; (2) visit Xanthos and Patara in the morning and return to the ship for
lunch; or (3) wander the streets of Kayaköy, a city with ancient roots but abandoned after World War I, among hundreds of still-standing 18th-century stone dwellings and churches.
- day March 21
Spend the morning at sea before arriving at Patmos. Of all the Greek islands, Patmos is the most sacred to Christians both Orthodox and Western; it was here that St. John is said to have received the vision that led to the Book of Revelation. Visit the Cave of the Apocalypse, where John lived in exile, had his revelation, and wrote the last book of the Christian Bible. Continue to the village of Chora, known for its glittering white houses and narrow stone streets, and climb to the Monastery of St. John, looming fortress-like over the village. Enjoy an evening at leisure to explore the picturesque town of Skala or enjoy a swim at a nearby beach.
- day March 22
Kusadasi - Ephesus
Ku adas , Turkey 0 Ephesus Call at the bustling port city of Kuşadasi for the short drive to Ephesus. An important port city and trading and intellectual center from archaic to Roman times, Ephesus is one of the more complete ancient sites in the region, where more than 150 years of excavating have revealed broad streets, impressive buildings, intricate mosaics,
towering temples, and possibly the largest theater in the ancient world. Today’s excursion options are: (1) spend the day exploring Ephesus, including a local lunch and a folkloric demonstration of dance and weaving; (2) tour Ephesus in the morning and return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure, optionally visiting the scant ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.
- day March 23
Dikili - Pergamon
Dikili 0 Pergamon Drive from Dikili to the ancient Greek site of Pergamon, once a powerful and thriving cultural center of the region, now one of Turkey’s finest archaeological destinations. Ascend by cable car to the acropolis to see the Asclepion, an ancient healing center dating to the 4th century B.C.; the 10,000-seat theater; Temples of Dionysus, Athena, and Trajan; and the foundations of the meticulously planned city. Continue to the modern town of Bergama to visit its archaeological museum before returning to the ship.
- day March 24
Cannakale - Troy
Çanakkale 0 Troy Excavations at Troy have revealed at least nine cities built one on top of another, reviving debate on the historicity of the Trojan War as described in Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad. In the morning, visit nearby Alexandria Troas, a major port city in Hellenistic and Roman times, where St. Paul first set sail for Europe—and later brought young Eutychus back to life after he fell asleep during a late-night sermon and fell out of a 3rd-story window! Choices of afternoon excursions are (1) see the site of Troy and its layered ruins that are still being actively excavated, including the nearby museum; (2) cross the Dardanelles by ferry to the site of the Battle of Gallipoli, an infamous defeat of the Allies by Ottoman forces during WWI. Return to the ship for a festive farewell dinner
- day March 25
Istanbul/ Return to U.S.
Disembark ship and transfer to Istanbul International Airport for flights back to the U.S.
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