1,700 Years of Christianity in Europe
Below is a sample itinerary of a past Goway Group. It is provided to give you an idea of what we have already done & what you might also consider doing.
However, because of timing, your own group's special interests and budget, we expect to custom make a program just for you. Contact your favorite travel agent click on "Inquire about this Trip" to fill out request for a group quotation.
Fly Hometown to Athens
Upon arrival at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, we will be met by Goway’s local representative and transferred to our hotel. Tonight we will enjoy a ‘Welcome’ dinner at our hotel.
Athens has been a city for 3,500 years. When Paul arrived in 51 CE, Athens was a small city, about 20,000. The Golden Age of Athens had been in the 5th century BCE during the rule of Pericles who transformed Athens into an imperial city at the expense of other Greek city-states. Within the Byzantine Empire and under Ottoman rule, Athens played only a minor role. It returned to prominence in 1834, when it became the capital of Greece. Today it is a busy and modern metropolitan centre. D
Overnight: 1 night at Athens
Coach to Thessalonica
Leaving Athens this morning, we travel north to Thessalonica. On arrival at Thessalonica we will have a lunch break (on own account) followed by a guided tour, which includes a visit to the beautiful Basilia of St. Demetrius, the Monastery of Vlatadon, and the well preserved medieval wall.
Founded in 315 BC by Cassandra, Thessalonica was named after the wife of Alexander’s general and brother-in-law, Thessaloniki. Today, it is the second largest city in Greece after Athens. As per Acts 17:1-9, Paul visited a synagogue and talked about Jesus as the Messiah to the congregation. Several leading women and “god-fearing” Greeks accepted Paul’s message. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, written not long after he left Thesalonica, shows that he stayed here for about 3 weeks.
Late this afternoon, we check in to our hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. B
Overnight: 1 night at Thessalonica
Coach to Lydia and Philippi
Leaving Thessalonica this morning, we drive to Lydia, where Paul baptized the first Christian woman on European ground. After a short devotional service, we continue to Philippi (Acts 16:12 -40), the town of St. Paul’s first congregation.
Today, Philippi is an excavated ruin, dug up by French archaeologists from 1914 to 1938. It is still being excavated. When Paul arrived in the Philippi, it was one of the leading cities of Macedonia, founded in the 350 B.C.E. by Alexander the Great's father, Philip of Macedonia.
In Philippi, we visit the Roman agora, theatres, and basilicas before arriving at Kavala for a lunch break (on own account) at the harbour. From here, we travel to Veria on a one night stay. Dinner is included in a local restaurant this evening. BD
Overnight: 1 night at Veria
Caoch Veria to Meteora Monasteries – Kalampaka – Delphi
After visiting the place where Paul preached (Acts 17:10 – 15), we travel to Meteora monasteries. On arrival, we will have a guided tour of the two of the monasteries and learn about the Byzantine-orthodox monasticism in Greece and Eastern Europe. After a lunch break (on own account) in a traditional tavern in Kalampaka, we will visit the Icon manufactory Pefkis. From here we continue our journey to Delphi. B
Overnight: 1 night in Delphi
Coach Delphi to Corinth and Athens
In ancient times Delphi was regarded by many as the center of the earth. It was well-known as the dwelling place of Apollo. With the political rise of Delphi in the 6th century BC, and the establishment of the Pythian Games – a cultural, religious, and athletic festival – Delphi entered a golden age that lasted until the arrival of the Romans in 191 BC. The Delphic Oracle was abolished in AD 393 after Christianity was introduced as the state religion.
This morning we will visit the Temple of Apollo, the Treasure, the Theatre, the Stadium, and the Museum with the Statue of the bronze charioteer. Late this afternoon, we will arrive in Athens on a two night stay.
Athens has been inhabited for 7,000 year. Ancient Athens ranks alongside Rome and Jerusalem for its influence on Western civilisation. The city’s greatest glory was during the Classical period of ancient Greece, from which so many buildings and artifacts survive. It turned to prominence in 1834, when King Otto made it capital of Greece. B
Overnight: 2 nights in Athens
Our private tour gives will give us an opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such a fascinating city. With our expert guide we will see the centre of the city, Constitution Square (Syntagma), the House of Parliament, the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the National Library. Driving down Herod Atticus Street, we will see the Evzones in their picturesque uniform and the Presidential Palace. On our way to the Acropolis, we will stop to visit Hadrian's Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896. On the Acropolis, we take time to visit the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, and finally, the Parthenon. We complete our touring with a visit to the Museum of Acropolis. Tonight we are off to enjoy a traditional Greek feast in a popular local restaurant. B
Day excursion to Corinth
After breakfast at our hotel, we join our coach for our journey along the scenic west coast of Attica. Our first stop is at the Corinth Canal with its breathtaking views before arriving in the ancient town of Corinth, where St. Paul lived and preached for two years. Back in the ancient times, Corinth was amongst the richest cities and this is quite evident by its remains which include the huge Agora and Apollo’s Temple (6th c. BC). We take time to explore Corinth in-depth including a stop at the site of the ancient port of Kechreae where St. Paul disembarked. After our full morning of sightseeing we take time to relax over lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Athens and our hotel. BL
Fly Athens to Rome
Today we will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Rome. Upon arrival, we will be met and travel to our hotel. The remainder of the day will be at leisure.
The capital of Italy, Rome has been an important centre of civilization for over magnificent churches. Rome ruled the ancient Western world as the capital of the mighty Roman Empire. As the home of the popes, Rome also became the center of the Roman Catholic Church. During the 1500's and 1600's, the popes brought a new splendor to Rome. They hired great artists who gave the city beautiful buildings and priceless works of art. B
Overnight: 2 nights in Rome
This morning we meet our knowledgeable guide, who will escort us into the Vatican Museums (entrance reservation and whisperers included) to explore the world's most extensive collection of art. Brilliantly decorated and lined with masterpieces, the museums are brimming with treasures and history. Our guide will lead us through the 2000 rooms that stretch over almost nine miles, and share the stories and secrets contained within the Vatican's walls. Highlights of the museums are Michelangelo's famous Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. After taking in the Vatican Museums, we will encounter another of Michelangelo's masterpieces, La Pieta, in St Peter's Basilica. For a fascinating finish to our guided morning walking tour of Vatican Museum, we will stop to admire magnificent St Peter's Square, as our guide points out Bernini's ingenious use of optical illusion.
After lunch (own account) we proceed to the Ancient Rome and Colosseum. We will begin atop the Colle Oppio with a panoramic view of the Colosseum, Rome's most recognizable landmark. Next, we will visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Once inside, our expert official guide will take us through the bloody past of the amphitheater as we listen to tales of gladiators, mock sea-battles and executions. Travel back to the hotel at the end of the tour. B
Coach to Milan
Leaving Rome this morning, we travel by train and passing the wide plains of the Po River and arrive in Milan. It is here that the west Roman emperor Constantine I. and Licinus, ruler of the East, met for the wedding of Constantine’s younger half-sister Constantia with Licinus. They turned this family event into a summit conference, signing a letter that proclaimed religious freedom in all parts of the Roman empire. Although this letter was not only meant for the Christians alone it was the first acceptation of the Christian faith being a part of the empire. We spend two days in Milan to have enough time to recognize the 1,700th jubilee of the Edict of Milan. B
Overnight 3 nights in Milan
Full day in Milan
Following breakfast our local guide will take us on an orientation sightseeing tour in Milan. We will visit Castello Sforzesco, La Scala Opera House, and da Vinci’s “Last Supper” in the dinning hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. After lunch (on own account) we continue tour exploration and visit the Duomo, the late gothic cathedral and the symbol of the city, which is hosting the relic of the Holy Nail of the Cross. We will also spend some time exploring the archaeological area below the Duomo Square, with remains of the Early Christian center, in particular the Baptistery where Saint Ambrose baptized Saint Augustin in 386. B
Full day in Milan
Today we will focus on the Edict of Milan Jubilee as we visit the Special Exhibition (from 26/10/2012 to 31/03/2013) in the Diocesan Museum next to S. Eustorgioit on the Edict. The exhibition displays works of art coming from international museums, and will be focused on various themes, like the idea of tolerance, the figures of Constantine and his mother Elena, the Cross as symbol for Christians. From here we visit the place where it happens: The remnants of the Imperial palace of Mediolanum (as the Romans called the city). The imperial palace was a large complex with several buildings, gardens, courtyards, for the Emperor's private and public life, for his court, family and imperial bureaucracy. Our special "Edict of Milan" program closes with a visit of San Lorenzo Basilica, one of the most ancient churches in Milan, supposed to be the palatine chapel. In front of the church there are 16 original roman columns, and the bronze statue of Constantine celebrating the Edict of Milan. Tonight we will enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner with our new friends in a shared renewal of faith and fellowship. B
Fly Milan to Hometown
Today we will be transferred to the airport for our flights home.
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