On the footsteps Apostle Paul in Macedonia. A unique combination of sport, pilgrimage and sightseeing.

For those interested in combining sport, culture and religious sightseeing

On the footsteps Apostle Paul in Macedonia. A unique combination of pilgrimage and sightseeing.

First day: Thessaloniki

Arrive at the airport of Thessaloniki. A short drive to your accommodation 20 minutes drive away. Relax the first day by visiting and walking the nearby villages of Peraia, Neoi Epivates, Agia Triada, Epanomi and Nea Mihaniona. A unique experience. Swimming and eating in one out of hundreds tavernas in the area.

Second day: Thessaloniki

In the fall of 49 Paul visited Salonica. When problems began to rise Paul and Silas left the city most probably from a small door where later Vlatades monastery was established. Later on when Paul was on his way from Athens to Corinth Timothy returned to Thessaloniki. Some Thessalonians such as Aristarchus and Secondous accompanied Paul in some of his journeys.

The second day we will have a strenuous walk all around the ancient city walls. Starting from Vardari square, one of the busiest places in the city we walk upwards following the city walls. While we narrate the story of the city you marvel at the outstanding views of the city and mountain Olympus (on a clear day). We stop at the monastery of Osios David the monastery of Vlatadon and we will visit one of the numerous tavernas in the area.

The monastery of Vlatadon is one of the oldest and most important Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki. It is located in the Northern part of Ano Poli, next to the imposing Byzantine “Portara” (Great Gate). Its importance lies to the fact that despite the various challenges and significant disasters the monastery suffered throughout the centuries, it never stopped being active! It was founded somewhere between 1351 to 1371 AD by the empress Anna Palaiologina while it was named after two monks, Dorotheos and Markos Vlattis.  We will visit the monastery where there is an outstanding view of the city. The outstanding panoramic view of the location will offer you some unforgettable images! At 120m above sea level it is one of the best spots available.

After the monastery of Vlatadon we visit the Acropolis (Eptapyrgion) of Thessaloniki. We then relax in a beautiful café just outside the main door of the Acropolis. We continue our journey to reach the Trigoniou tower with the fabulous view of the city.  It is a must for all tourists visiting the city. Every photographer loves it! On a clear day you’ll be able to see Olympous mountain located 150km away, without any difficulty. If we have time we will walk to Rotonda, Kamara and White tower.

Third day: Phillipoi and Kavala (Neapoli)

A very early start to reach Phillipoi by car in three hours. On the way to Philipoi we will stop at Nea Apollonia for a coffee and hot spring baths. Another place of interest is Asprovalta where might stop for yet another coffee.  Phillipoi is only 12 klm away from Kavala. Apostle Paul visited Philippoi three more times in 57, 63 and 64 A.C. We continue our journey to Kavala where we will eat and walk in the old city. The castle of Kavala is outstanding and offers splendid views of the city. In the winter of the year 49 Apostle Paul landed in Europe for first time. The harbor where he landed was Neapoli (present day Kavala). In 56 he came to Neapoli for a second time. He was accompanied by Silas, Timothy and Luke. (If you wnt to extend your stay it is possible from Kavala or Keramoti to take the boat to reach Thassos, Limenas). Return to Thessaloniki.

Fourth day: Chortiatis

Walking up Hortiatis mountain. At Chortiatis village we will visit the historical moument.

Fifth day: Vergina, Veria, Naousa, Edessa, Pozar

Early start to yet another journey. Through Egnatia road Paul reached Veria. First of all we will visit the ancient palace of Aigai in Vergina. Afterwards we will visit the spot in Veria where it is said that Paul stood and preached. This is now an imposing monument. We drink café at the central square of Elia. We continue to Naousa city and beautiful Agios Nikolaos recreation area for a meal. We walk in the park. Edessa waterfalls is our next stop. Finally, we will arrive at Pozar thermal baths.

Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina)

“The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/780/) opening hours Wednesday-Monday : 08:00 – 20:00, Tuesday : 12:00 – 20:00”.

Thermal hot baths of Pozar

It is a place of outstanding natural beauty. “At the foot of Mount Kaimaktsalan, the Pozar Thermal Springs’ facilities comprise 48 individual baths, 6 indoor pools, the outdoor pool (12x25m) hamams, jacuzzi and spa. Recommended for rheumatism, skin conditions, respiratory and circulatory problems, the Pozar hot springs are beneficial for your health and well-being, either by bathing in them, or drinking their water”. https://www.visitgreece.gr/experiences/leisure/wellness/pozar-thermal-baths/

Sixth day: Pozar waterfalls, ancient Pella.

We will walk to Kounoupitsa watefalls. After the hike a hot spring bath is recommended. On the way back to Thessaloniki we will visit ancient Pella.

Archeological site of Pella

Pella is famed as the birthplace and ruling seat of Philip II and his son, Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great who succeeded Philip II to the throne at the age of 20. Although Alexander’s empire-building made Macedon a major power that stretched from Greece to northwestern India, it was Phillip II who consolidated most of Classical Greece and reformed the Macedonian army into an effective fighting force. https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/06/pella-birthplace-of-alexander-the-great/133808.  Late arrival in Thessaloniki and our hotel/accommodation.

Seventh day: Thessaloniki

In summer we take the boat from Peraia to reach Thessaloniki harbor. A visit to the Byzantine museum of the city will broaden your horizons. The visit might last several hours. This is followed by visits to White tower, Rotonda, Telecommunications tower inside the International Fair, the harbor of Thessaloniki, the remnants of circus etc. Return to the hotel/ accommodation in Peraia by boat. Alternatively, we return by bus back to our accommodation.

As we know from the Bible life was not easy for the new Christians in Thessalonica. Their own countrymen persecuted them (1 Thessalonians 2:14). Paul traveled in the Greek area and of course to Thessalonica. After the year 50 Paul wrote an encouraging letter of the new congregation in Thessalonica. Paul said: ‘We always thank God when we mention all of you in our prayers.’ (1 Thessalonians 1: 2, 3). Paul also asked them to strengthen each other, and encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

In 390 A.C. the population of Thessalonica rioted in complaint against the presence of the local Gothic garrison. The emperor of the Empire was at that time Theodosious. Theodosious is well known because in 393 he banned the pagan rituals of the Olympics in Ancient Greece. The garrison commander was killed in the violence, so Theodosius ordered the Goths to kill all the spectators in the circus as retaliation. It was a huge massacre of 7000 people! Theodosius was excommunicated by the bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose, for the massacre. Ambrose told Theodosius to imitate David in his repentance. Later on Ambrose readmitted the emperor to the Eucharist only after several months of penance. Regarding the massacre of Thesaloniki Theodoret, a contemporary witness to these events, reports: “… the anger of the Emperor rose to the highest pitch, and he gratified his vindictive desire for vengeance by unsheathing the sword most unjustly and tyrannically against all, slaying the innocent and guilty alike. It is said seven thousand perished without any forms of law, and without even having judicial sentence passed upon them; but that, like ears of wheat in the time of harvest, they were alike cut down.”

Eight day: Departure

I give you a lift to the airport.

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