AIA Tours: cruise

Turkish Coast: Following the Footsteps of St. Paul

Tour Dates: March 15-25, 2020 (11 days)

Tour Leader(s): Michael Hoff ,

Join Archaeological Institute of America lecturer and congenial host Michael Hoff, a classical archaeologist who specializes in the Roman period in Greece and Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), for this cruise following St. Paul’s route from Cyprus along the coast of Turkey to Istanbul. See and learn about fascinating Greek, Roman, and Byzantine sites and civilizations.

Highlights are many and include:
• The Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia on Cyprus, inhabited from at least the 9th millennium B.C.;
• The 2nd-century Roman theater at Aspendos, considered perhaps the best-preserved theater in the Mediterranean;
• The Greek island of Patmos, where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation;
• A full day exploring the evocative Lycian Peninsula sites of Xanthos, Letoon, and Patara;
• The ruins of Ephesus, where St. Paul spent three years when it was second only to Rome in size and importance;
• The ancient Greek site of Pergamon, one of Turkey’s finest archaeological destinations;
• Troy, of Iliad fame, with at least nine ancient cities built one on top of another.

Your journey begins with one hotel night in Cyprus to recover from overnight flights and ensure all arrive in time to embark the newly refurbished, 53-cabin MS Serenissima. Cruise for the next eight nights along the coast of Turkey, and at every port of call enjoy excursion options that cater to various interests and physical abilities. Disembark in Istanbul, the gem of the Byzantine and Ottoman world, and either return to the U.S. or participate in a two-night extension in this incredible city that bridges the Eastern and Western worlds and was an imperial capital for nearly 1,600 years! You will also have the option of a three-night, pre-trip extension in Cyprus, including time in Limassol and Paphos.

Tour Pricing (Per Person)

Double Occupancy Cabins start at $7,990
Single Occupancy Cabins start at $8,990 (Limited availability)

Antalya at sunset © Erencet

Pergamon, Turkey © Nikola Belopitov

Cyprus, Greece © Dimitris Vetsikas

Patmos, Greece © ezpzpics

Istanbul © Niek Verlaan

Itinerary


Sunday & Monday, March 15 & 16, 2020 Home | Larnaca, Cyprus
Tuesday, March 17 Larnaca
Wednesday, March 18 Mersin, Turkey
Thursday, March 19 Antalya
Friday, March 20 Fethiye
Saturday, March 21 Patmos, Greece
Sunday, March 22 Kuşadasi , Turkey | Ephesus
Monday, March 23 Dikili | Pergamon
Tuesday, March 24 Çanakkale | Troy

View Detailed Itinerary

Sunday & Monday, March 15 & 16, 2020 Home | Larnaca, Cyprus
Depart home on international overnight flights to Larnaca, Cyprus, transferring to our hotel upon arrival on March 16th. Enjoy a restful evening at leisure. Ciao Stelio Deluxe Hotel

Tuesday, March 17 Larnaca
After a morning orientation and lecture, drive to the nearby UNESCO listed Neolithic 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 wine tasting. Board the MS Serenissima this evening and enjoy the Captain’s welcome reception and dinner. MS Serenissima (BLRD)

Wednesday, 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 Turquoise Coast. MS Serenissima (BLD)

Thursday, 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. MS Serenissima (BLD)

Friday, 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. MS Serenissima (BLD)

Saturday, March 21 Patmos, Greece
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. MS Serenissima (BLD)

Sunday, March 22 Kuşadasi , Turkey | 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. MS Serenissima (BLD)

Monday, March 23 Dikili | 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. MS Serenissima (BLD)

Tuesday, March 24 Çanakkale | 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. MS Serenissima (BLRD)

Wednesday, March 25 Istanbul | Home
Disembark and transfer to Istanbul Airport for flights back to the U.S. (B)

OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS
A pre-tour extension in Cyprus and a post-tour extension in Istanbul will be available. Further details and pricing will be sent
to confirmed participants.


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

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