This tour offers the opportunity to visit modern Antakya and sites of the antiquity, including biblical
Antioch, the Antakya Archaeological Museum and the rock-cut tombs at Seleuceia Perea.
Begin this full day outing with the one-hour drive to Antakya, built atop the site of biblical Antioch on
the banks of the Asi River (the ancient Orontes). Founded in 330 BC, ancient Antioch was the place
where the culture and traditions of Mesopotamia and Arabia met those of the Greek and Romans.
Once the capital of the Seleucid kings the city became the center of a sizable Christian community
under Roman rule. St. Peter lived here and St. Barnabas and St. Paul used Antioch as a missionary
center, from where they started their journeys between 47 and 55 AD.
Today, this culturally diverse city is home to a mixture of Arab- and Turkish-speaking people, as well
as a Christian minority. On the western river bank stands the modern town, while the old section, with
many buildings left from the times of the Ottoman Empire and the French Protectorate occupies the
Upon arrival in Antakya, begin your sightseeing with a visit to Antioch’s biblical site.
Cave Church of St. Peter It is believed that St. Peter preached inside this grotto and founded here
the Christian community. In the 13th century, a church was erected on this spot and declared a holy
site by the Vatican in 1983.
Leaving the Cave Church, proceed to one of Antakya’s most important attractions – its museum.
Antakya Archaeological Museum The museum, also known as the Mosaic Museum, is justly famous
for one of the richest collections of Roman and Byzantine mosaics in the world. The first four sections
of the museum are filled with these outstanding mosaics, featuring well portrayed seasonal themes
and mythological subjects, such as Narcissus by a Stream and Drunken Dionysus. Other sections
hold Roman and Byzantine coins, statues, glassware and tools.
From the museum proceed to your lunch venue in the center of Antakya.
After lunch, visit this venerable shrine and oldest mosque in Antakya believed to have been built on
the foundation of an old temple during the time of the Mameluks. It is the world’s only mosque named
after a non-Muslim, Habib-i-Neccar, a local religious leader who lived some 400 years before the birth
of the Prophet Muhammed. He was one of the first followers of the apostles and martyred for trying to
protect them. His tomb is in one corner of the mosque.
Seleuceia and the Titus Tunnel From the mosque, a short drive will take you to Samandag, once a
busy port and starting point of St. Paul’s and Barnabas’ first missionary journey. Just south of
Samandag are the rock-cut tombs of Seleuceia and the Titus Tunnel, an underground channel dating
back to the 2nd century. Built to divert rain water, the tunnel amazes, even by today’s standards, as a
superb example of engineering.
Following a brief visit, begin the return drive to Iskenderun.