Religious Tours

Situated at the crossroads of important civilizations, Turkey has also hosted people of all faiths who continue to live harmoniously together still today.

Anatolia and Istanbul in particular guard the precious relics of all three monotheistic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam.



The history of Jewish settlement in Anatolia goes as far back as the 4th century B.C. One of the oldest synagogues, dating from 220 B.C., is located in Sardis. Since the early days of the Ottomans, Jews from all over Europe migrated to this land where the Islamic practice and rule of tolerance towards other monotheistic religions allowed them to live there ever after peacefully. The largest Jewish immigration was in 1492 when the Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain were invited and welcomed by Sultan Beyazit II to settle down throughout the Empire. In 1856, all Ottoman citizens, should they be Muslim or not, were proclaimed constitutionally equal under law. In 1923 with the foundation of the Turkish Republic, Turkey became a secular state with equal rights for all citizens. Also during World War II, as Turkey remained neutral, the Jewish community of the country also remained in total security. Although a great number of the Jews of the country preferred to settle down in Israel, the remaining Jewish population continues to take a very active part in Turkey’s social and economic life.



Anatolia has inherited the sites of several crucial events mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments. According to Genesis, Noah’s children and the animals he saved in the ark began the repopulation from a mountain in Ararat, Abraham’s call to greatness came in Harran, it was in Antioche that the disciples first got the name "Christians" (Acts 11: 26), Tarsus is the birth place of St. Paul, all Seven Churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation of St. John, and even the House where it is believed Mother Mary spent her last days near Ephesus are all within the borders of Turkey, today. Apostles and followers in the early periods of Christianity found refuge in central Anatolia, mainly in Cappadocia, leaving behind several hundred churches as well as underground cities where they were hiding from their persecutors.



Islam was brought to Anatolia by the Turks and became a prominent religion during the Seljuk reign. Islam was the official state religion of the Ottoman Empire during 600 years. There are hundreds of beautiful examples of Mosques and Medresses scattered around the country, and especially in the Ottoman capital cities, respectively in Bursa, Edirne and Istanbul. There are also several examples of Churches converted into Mosques under the Ottoman rule, such as the famous St. Sophia and St. Savior in Chora. With their respect for other religions, the Ottomans, instead of damaging or destroying such monuments, simply covered the existing frescoes and mosaics with plaster and added minarets. After the Republic, all such monuments became museums, and with the plaster removed, beautifully preserved frescoes and mosaics are now revealed for the entire humanity to share.


Please click below to see some examples of our Religous Tour Packages:

Appreciated Appreciations

Thank you so much for EVERYTHING you did to help make our tour to Turkey such a big success. Your support and assistance is greatly appreciated and valued. The group really enjoyed their tour and we now have another 32 disciples who will spread the word about Turkey for us.

Rob Chaplin / The Golf Travel Company /

On behalf of the Rosebank Union Church group I want to thank you most sincerely for all you did to make our tour of Turkey unforgettable. I came home not only with a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, particularly those relating to the Seven Churches, but also with an appreciation of and admiration for the country of Turkey. I was particularly fascinated by Istanbul, and hope to spend more time there in the future exploring the riches of that most fascinating city. I also loved the fertile valleys through which we travelled, the sight of the snow-capped mountains, and the friendliness of the people we met as we walked the streets of those smaller towns along the way.

Leigh Robinson / Rosebank Union Church /

Moreover, the history of Turkey is impressive, not only the recent history but the ancient history which confirms the history of our Bible. I have not visited Greece, Israel or Italy or other countries mentioned in the Bible but think that Turkey is more central to the history of the Bible.We are also amazed at Turkey and what it achieved. It is evident that this would not happen without sound work ethics and commitment by the whole population.

Piet Zeeman / /

One of our very best trips we have ever taken. Turkey was full of memorable moments along with a fascinating history and culture. Thanks for helping plan such an extraordinary trip!!!

Karen & Bruce Levenson / /

There are not enough superlatives in English to describe our trip to Turkey. Most amazing, most friendly, most interesting, most beautiful are just a few that come to mind. We want to thank you for organizing one of the best trips we have ever had. Flights, accommodations, guides and drivers, everything was perfect! Benjamin and Bulent were the most knowledgeable, friendly, and fun people ever. Mustafa was an excellent driver. The sites we visited in Cappidocia and Ephesus were fabulous. To paraphrase General MacArthur: "We will return!" Thanks again.

Jim and Barb / /

Rosemary and I (and, I'm sure, all the others in the party) thouroughly enjoyed the time spent in your beautiful Country. The planning and arrangements laid on were superb. There was a good balance between the secular and the religious aspects, the accommodation and food was great, and the transport went of without a 'glitch'. Halit is, with doubt, a superb guide and his knowledge of so many facets of history, polotics, economic, geography etc is outstanding. He instantly struck a good rapport with the group, and was a real pleasure to be with, and was definitely one to whom listening was not a problem. We came away from the eight days having learnt a tremendous amount both Biblically and about modern and ancient Turkey (as well as other parts of the world).

Lin / /

Over the span of 25 years Universal Travel Services has provided five star service to our 19 tour groups totaling over 500 travelers. Universal and their fine staff have worked with me to develop a series of tours focusing on the biblical and Christian Church history sites in Turkey. One of the most consistent traveler responses in their evaluations of our tours has been, "Great value for the money." Thank you Universal for a quarter century of truly outstanding service.

Donald Cornell / USA / Lutheran Pastor

Apart from all the usual items - hotels/meals/sightseeing etc.. it was the way in which the additional services were handled and your ability to get things done and implement frequent last minute changes which was most impressive...

N.C. / Riyadh, K.S.A. / Regional Manager

...There are not enough good words to describe the extraordinary services that Universal arranged on my behalf upon my request to them regarding the change in my itinerary. I know that you are aware that the hospitality of the Turkish people is greater by tradition than other European Countries. The services and hospitality provided by Universal to me was of this tradition, more than just good business relations...

H.H. / San Diego, CA U.S.A. /

... I would like to extend my appreciation for making our 21th birthday celebration a memorable night...