The Seven Churches of Revelation, also known as The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse and The Seven Churches of Asia (referring to the Roman province of Asia, not the entire continent), are seven major churches of Early Christianity, as mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation and written to by John the Apostle. All seven sites are in modern-day Turkey and no longer have significant Christian populations because the majority of the Greek population had been deported under the Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations signed by Greece and Turkey .
While on exile on the Greek island of Patmos , the Apostle John was instructed by Jesus Christ to: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamon, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
"Churches" in this context refers to the community of Christians living in each city, and not merely to the building or buildings in which they gathered for worship.
During this short program, you will have the chance to discover these places. This is a program that can easily be fit into any of our cultural tours in Turkey .
Day 1 : Izmir - Kusadasi
Upon landing in Istanbul, connecting flight to Izmir.
Transfer to your hotel in Kusadasi and time at leisure.
Day 2 : Ephesus - Izmir
Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) - the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4).
Today we will discover the most popular site of the Seven Churches; Ephesus.
We will start the day with a visit to the Shrine of Virgin Mary : the house where the Virgin Mary lived is today the chapel open also to Muslim pilgrims for whom "Mother Mary" is also a saint.
Ephesus' religious importance was firstly due to the worship to Artemis who was later on replaced by the worship to Virgin Mary; then to the preaches of Saint Paul to the Jewish community.
As one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, Ephesus was also a venue for an ecumenical council : in 431 (anathemization of the Nestorian heresy) in the Church of Saint Mary (on the right of the main entrance), constructed between the II. and IV. A.D., originally a Roman warehouse.
The visit of Ephesus can be prolonged with a classical tour of the site.
The church of Saint John (entrance through the "Gate of Persecution") is traditionally know as the burial place of Saint John the Evangelist who died here around 100 A.D. Colonnades and walls have been re-erected just to give an idea of the magnificence of the building at its origins.
At the end of the tour, transfer to Izmir for overnight.
Day 3 : Smyrna - Bergama - Thyatira - Salihli
Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) - the church that would suffer persecution (2:10).
Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) - the church that needed to repent (2:16).
Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) - the church that had a false prophetess (2:20).
Unfortunately of the “original” Smyrna nothing is left. Yet you may wish to visit the Church of Saint Polycarpus, the first Christian Martyre.
Then departure for Pergamon :
In the subject of our tour, a visit to the "Red Basilica", a redbrick edifice below the acropolis, originally a temple to Serapis converted into a basilica by the Byzantine.
A visit to the Acropolis (theater and altar of Zeus) as well as to the Esculapeion (medical center and temple dedicated to the god of medicines) are surely recommended.
On the way to Salihli, a detour for a short visit to Thyatira (not much to be seen) is possible.
Overnight in Salihli
Day 4 : Sardis - Philadelphia - Pamukkale
Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) - the church that had fallen asleep (3:2).
Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) - the church that had endured patiently (3:10).
Today we will pay a visit to Philadelphia (unfortunately very poor in christian remainings) and proceed to Sardis. Though Sardis does not owe any christian remainings except for a small brick Byzantine church, a visit to the synagogue, gymnasium and bath, the marble court is worth being paid.
We then take the way to Pamukkale for overnight.
Day 5 : Anker Thank you for your Confidence
Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) - the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16).
In the morning, we will concentrate on the newly excavated site of Laodikea : you will see amongst others a Baptist, sacred road, 2 theaters..
In the afternoon, we will return to Pamukkale to visit Hierapolis (Martyrium of Saint Philips, theater, necropolis…) and the travertines of Pamukkale.
In the evening, Transfer to Kusadasi for overnight or Transfer to the airport of Denizli for flight to Istanbul (overnight)
This program will be prepared on a tailor made basis. Hence price fluctuations are possible :
More or less days
Higher or lower hotel category
Self-driven car versus chauffeur-driven
Weekly closure day of some monuments and sites
For practical reasons (such as your landing time in Izmir), the sequence of the churches in the Book of Revelations may not be respected
In the event you stayed in Istanbul before starting this tour and fly to Izmir in the morning, you can already visit Ephesus on day 1 and shorten this program with one day / night.
The price quoted is based on a party of four adults (in 2 double rooms)