Day 1: Departure
Today we begin our adventure to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history with an overnight flight to Thessalonica.
Day 2: Arrival Thessalonica
We transfer to our hotel in Macedonia for the next two evenings. The remainder of the day is free to relax and explore on your own.
Day 3: Philippi/Kavala
Today we will visit Philippi and Kavala. Kavala is Greece’s prettiest mainland port with a most elegant harbor. Paul landed here with his disciples, Timothy and Silas. Luke, the Evangelist, also came here from Troas. This ancient city of Neapolis was later renamed Christoupolis because it was the first European city to accept Christianity. Imagine walking on the same sod as these men of the Bible! We will see the Roman Aqueduct and the ruins of the Acropolis in this beautifully located city, known since the 5th century as Kavala. Continue on to Philippi where Paul preached his first evangelical sermon and baptized the first Christians on European soil. We will view the baptismal site where Lydia surrendered her life to Christ and visit a crypt dating from the Roman period that is thought to have served as a prison for Paul. See the famous Acropolis, the Market Place, Basilica, and the Theatre. We return to Thessalonica for the night.
Day 4: Thessalonica/Berea/Meteora Monastery
The New Testament books of I & II Thessalonians will come alive to us today. Visit the old city ramparts; the newly excavated Forum, St. George Church, an ancient Roman monument which was transformed into a church; and the Galerius Arch which rises over the famous Via Egnatia. We will see two of the beautiful basilicas in the city of St. Demetrius, dedicated to a distinguished member of the Roman army and a martyred Christian convert, and St. Sophia. A stop will be made in Berea to view the Bema surrounded by newly placed mosaics of Paul and the plaque of scripture regarding the “more noble” church. We also visit King Phillips tomb in Vergina. This afternoon we see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched precariously on summits of gray rock pinnacles of varied and beautiful shapes. Their history goes back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the cliffside caves then fled higher to build the original wooden shelters, later transformed into monasteries. Our lodging this evening will be in Meteora.
Day 5: Athens & Plaka
From the mountains, our tour travels southward past Thermopylae and on to the city of Athens, the birth place of democracy. Visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill where Paul stood and preached the truth to the Gentile nation. Additional sites include the Agora (ancient market place and center of Athenian public life), the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Olympic Stadium, and Presidential Palace. A short walk from your hotel is the famous Plaka with a multitude of shops and cafes.
Day 6: Corinth – Mycenae
This morning we leave Athens by motor coach and travel to the ancient city of Corinth, another treat for the New Testament scholar. Corinth is the city that inspired many of Paul’s most familiar letters. See the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema, and the Temples. To stand in the midst of the ruins of the church of Corinth and see the pillars, steps, and public worship place where Paul preached will enhance your understanding and love of I & II Corinthians. The ruins of this important cultural center are fascinating as we walk along the stone path that the Apostle Paul walked. The engineering skill and intellect of these people are evident in the water systems that still flow from ancient to modern day. After the visit to ancient Corinth we travel to Mycenae where the remains of the ancient city date back to the Bronze Age to see the famous Lionesse Gate, the Tomb of Agamennon in the shape of a Beehive, and many other sites before returning to Athens for the evening.
Day 7: Optional Day – Delphi or Cape Sounion
Those interested in an optional tour of Delphi will need to depart early at 700 AM. Those taking this tour will travel to lovely mountain region of Delphi-the ancient sanctuary of Apollo. Here you will gain a greater understanding of the Greek religious heritage and their influence on the early Christian church. We also visit the museum where we will marvel at the site of the Charioteer, a bronze statue so delicate we will see his eyelashes. You may choose to visit the Plaka where you can find the finest of jewelry, leather, pottery and marble, or the fun souvenirs all “tourists” enjoy. Be sure to taste the Greek almonds and pistachios from the street vendors. If you choose not to shop, there are several interesting museums including the Museum of Folklore or the National Archaeological Museum. This afternoon, you may chose to travel along a coastal road past many wonderful beaches to the southern most point of Attica, Cape Sounion, where the white marble pillars of the Temple of Poseidon stand. Today’s sightseeing is at your own expense.
Day 8 • Homeward
An early morning flight will bring us home by this afternoon.