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BIBLICAL JOURNEY

...St. Paul's Missionary Biblical Journey in Greece... visiting the places the restless Evangelic preacher taught...
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Day 1: Arrival – Philippi – Kavala

Arrive in Thessalonica or Kavala airport. Transfer to the ancient city of Philippi (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Philippi was a vibrant Hellenistic city, reshaped by the Romans into a "small Rome", and later became a centre of early-Christian worship. At Philippi took place the formidable battle referred in Shakespeare’s tragedy “Julius Caesar”, but most importantly it was the first place in Europe where Christianity was preached, by Saint Paul. It was  also here that Saint Paul was imprisoned. He however managed to miraculously escape and latter sent an epistle to his captors. We will also see the theatre, the forum, the prison where Saint Paul was kept, as well as other monuments that reflect the development of architecture during the Roman and Early Christian period. Our next visit is the Baptism Site of Saint Lydia, located on Zigatis River. There Saint Paul baptized Saint Lydia, the first Christian convert in Europe and established the first Christian Church in Europe. We will have the opportunity to emerge on the same river and visit the church dedicated to her. Afterwards, we will be transferred to Kavala (ancient Neapolis) to visit the ‘Step of Apostle Paul’, a memorial monument on the relics of an ancient pillar where Apostle Paul’s left his fist footprint on the European ground. We will continue through the old city, to Mohamed Ali square where Christian and Islamic heritages are evidently mixed. Moving onto the late-medieval Acropolis-Castle of Christoupolis(City of Christ), used successively by Byzantines and Ottomans, and which still overlooks the city. Our next stop is on the impressive 16th century Aqueduct, of 52 meters high and consisting of 60 arches, built during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. Check-in our hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
In the afternoon you can have a walking-tour to observe the neoclassical mansions and big tobacco warehouses that evoke the memory of a distant past when a multinational (Greek, European and Jewish) wealthy bourgeoisie was dominating the city, known as the “Mecca of tobacco”.
 
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Day 2: Amphipolis – Apollonia – Thessaloniki

Breakfast and check-out. We will stop on the slopes of Mountain St. Silas (named after St. Paul’s companion), where there is a stunning panoramic view of Kavala. Its worth mentioning that Kavala honours Saint Paul as its Patron Saint. Those capable of walking will have the opportunity to experience the surviving part of 1,100 metres of the ancient Via Egnatia that goes past Kavala, and walk on the same pavestones that St. Paul and St. Silas walked. On our way to Thessaloniki, we will visit the Archeological Site and Museum of Amphipolis. In this ancient city, St Paul lodged overnight, as part of a three-stage journey from Philippi to Thessalonica. Also here Alexander the Great prepared for his Asiatic conquering campaigns, and latter, his wife Roxanne and their small son Alexander IV were exiled and murdered. Arrival at Thessaloniki, a city enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage List for its Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments. We will observe the 4th century Arch of Galerius (the Roman ruler who influenced Emperor Diocletian to launch the final and most formidable persecution against Christianity), and visit the nearby Rotunda; a massive 4th century AD dome embellished with high quality mosaics. Rotunda was built to be Galerius’s mausoleum but eventually was made a Christian temple dedicated to Saint George by Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. Our last visit will be on the Church of Saint Demetrius the Great Martyr, who is the Patron Saint of Thessalonica and was an emblematic military figure of the 4th-century Christianity. He became a martyr during the Diocletian prosecutions. The temple has been used since the 4th century as a place of Christian worship and houses stunning mosaics & frescoes and the unusual shrine (ciborium). We will also visit the Crypt underneath the Church, where Saint Demetrius had martyred and today exhibits a collection of significant Byzantine Christian artefacts. Check-in our hotel, dinner, free time and overnight stay.  
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Day 3: Thessaloniki

Breakfast and visit to the Museum of Byzantine Culture honored with the "Museum Award" by the Council of Europe. We will explore the rich history of Thessalonica, from the paleochristianic era (4th century AD) to the post-Byzantine era (17th century AD), admiring the exhibits that reveal the religious and social life. We’ll visit the 15th century White Tower on the waterfront of Thessalonica, which is the emblem of the city. There we will have time for a short break and a stroll alongside the magnificent coastal road. Our next stop is the Roman Forum, the ancient center of political and public life. A large open area surrounded by a variety of elegant ad  impressive buildings, displaying the financial prosperity of the city. Afterwards, we will visit the nearby Hagia Sophia, an impressive 8th century AD domed basilica with an imposing architecture, beautiful wall paintings and an elaborate mosaic that is included as a World Heritage Site on the UNESCO list. We will then visit the fountain of Apostle Paul, where according to tradition he stopped to be freshened before leaving the city. There we will also observe the Heptapyrgion that functioned successively as a Byzantine citadel, an Ottoman fort and an infamous prison. We will also visit the Tower of Trigonion to admire both the medieval architecture and the spectacular view of Thessalonica bay. Return to our hotel, dinner, free time, overnight stay.  
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Day 4: Vergina – Veroia – Kalampaka

Breakfast and visit at the archaeological site of Vergina (Aigai), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. North mentioning is that the museum is built over the tombs leaving them in situ and showing the tumulus as it was before the excavations. Among many others, we will also admire the majestic tomb of Philip II (father of Alexander the Great). We will also visit the Palace, considered to be not only the biggest but, together with the Parthenon, the most significant building of classical Greece. This unique building, utterly revolutionary and avant-garde for its time, would become an archetype for all palaces in the Hellenistic world and beyond. Moving on, we will be transferred to the city of Vereia, where Saint Paul preached Christianity in the local synagogue. We will then pass from the modern synagogue, believed to be the in the same place that Saint Paul preached. Finally we ‘ll visit the Step of Apostle Paul, a monument build on the place where according to tradition Saint Paul preached in the ancient city of Vereia. Transfer to Kalampaka, overnight stay.  
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Day 5: Meteora – Delphi

Breakfast and visit to Meteora, one of the most impressive and peculiar places in Greece. Meteora is a cluster of huge dark rocks, on top of which some of the most spectacularly monasteries in the Orthodox world are built; and are included in UNESCO lists of World Heritage. We will have the opportunity to visit three of the most important and historical ones, viz. Monasteries of Varlaam, Great Meteoron and St. Stephen. After that we will visit the nearby Meteora Natural History Museum, which contains a rich collection of birds and mammals, as well as a comprehensive mushroom museum, the first of its kind in Greece. Break for lunch in Kalampaka and transfer to a nearby winery where besides wine we can try another extract from grape, which for Thessaly region is known and it’s called tsipouro, - an alcoholic drink like ouzo. Transfer to Delphi, check in our hotel and overnight rest.  
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Day 6: Delphi – Hosios Lukas – Athens

Breakfast and visit of the archaeological site of Delphi. The Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where Pithia the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the site of the omphalos, the 'navel of the world'. Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was indeed the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient world. Afterwards, we will visit the 10th century AD Monastery of Hosios Loukas. A Byzantine art and architecture masterpiece, renowned for its uniqueness and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Transfer to Athens, check-in our hotel, overnight stay.  
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Day 7: Athens

Today we will explore the fascinating city of Athens, a city whose deeply spiritual citizens have dedicated themselves to the Gods for over 4,500 years, building countless places of worship. We will begin our morning climbing up the sacred rock of the Acropolis, while our experienced guide uncovers the stories behind the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erectheum, the Propylae, and perhaps the most perfect piece of architecture ever built… the majestic Parthenon. We will then ascend the Areopagus, Mars Hill, where St. Paul spoke to the Athenians who were gathered in the Ancient Agora below. St. Paul's visit to the historic and adorned city of Athens marks one of the most challenging parts of his career as a missionary and Apostle, as he arrived alone, while Silas and Timothy remained in Macedonia. We’ll continue on to the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of the Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. We will also see the National Gardens, the Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square, the University of Athens, and finally the National Library. Take a walk through the enchanting Plaka and pass by some of the city's most precious Byzantine churches afterwards. Dinner and evening time at your leisure in lively Athens.
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Day 8: Athens – Corinth – Athens

After Athens, Paul went to Corinth. At the foothills of the Corinthian Acropolis, he lived and worked for 18 months as a tent maker while spreading the word of God. We will visit the ruins of the ancient city, walking in the same paths that he walked two thousands years ago. Our guide will also take you to the ruins of the 6th century BC Temple of Apollo, the Fountain of Peirene, the Agora where Paul's trial by Gallio took place and also to the famous Bema stands. Afterwards we will pass by the ancient port of Kechries, where Paul departed from to go to Ephesus and later on we’ll marvel at the engineering feat of the Corinth Canal. Amazingly it was conceived and designed and since Paul’s time, but only realized in the late 1890s. We’ll return to Athens for a special last evening together, as our steps on land will be coming to an end. Breakfast & Dinner will be both served in Athens.    
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Day 9: Daily cruise to Argo-Saronic Gulf

Breakfast and immediately depart for Palaio Faliro, where we’ll take the cruise-boat and depart for a day cruise to Aegina, Poros and Hydra islands. On this cruise we will enjoy with all of our senses a gorgeous carefree day by the sea and discover the hidden secrets of those three distinctive Greek islands that almost float graciously in the aquatic paradise of the Saronic Gulf. We’ll stay in each island as per the boat’s itinerary, have lunch on board and dance alongside the orchestra onboard. The cruise will end in the evening. Transfer to the hotel in Athens and later on we’ll attend either a theater performance or enjoy bouzouki entertainment.  
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Day 10: Return

After breakfast we’ll have free time and later on transfer to airport for our flight back home.
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End of Tour

BIBLICAL JOURNEY

€850

per person

…St. Paul’s Missionary Biblical Journey in Greece… visiting the places the restless Evangelic preacher taught…

“THE ROUTE THAT APOSTLE PAUL FOLLOWED IN GREECE”

One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and kept urging him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us” (Acts of Apostles, 16:9)

One of the most remarkable religious routes in Greece is “The Route that Apostle Paul Followed in Greece”. Paul constitutes a remarkable personality for the Christian religion, although he never belonged to Jesus’ 12 Disciples cycle. He spread the word of Christianity more than anybody else and for this reason he was named “Equal-to-the-Apostles” and “Apostle of the Nations”. Among the countries he visited to spread Christianity, Apostle Paul came also to Greece; preaching the Holy Gospel and teaching people about Jesus’ mission. His journey in Greece is a route that can touch not only the believers but also everybody who loves history. “The Route that Apostle Paul Followed in Greece” passes through all places where the Apostle preached. It constitutes an ideal combination of pilgrimage and sightseeing in some of the most beautiful places in Greece.

According to the Acts of Apostles (16:8-17:14), Saint Paul landed to Neapolis (Kavala) and established the first European Christian community in Philippi, where he was imprisoned and then miraculously escaped. His next station was in Thessalonica, where he preached successfully the Gospel in the local synagogue, but faced the reaction by envious non-believers. His final stop in Macedonia was in Berea (Veroia), where he repeated his successful preaching, but had to flee to Athens as non-believers from Thessalonica had arrived.

Our Journey…

This trip covers all the sites (Neapolis, Via Egnatia, Zigatis River, Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea) that Saint Paul walked, preached and founded the first Christian communities in Europe. It is also embellished with sites associated with the last Roman prosecutions of Christianity and its eventual triumph in the Early-Byzantine period (Arch of Galerius, Rotunda, Saint Demetrius, Early-Byzantine fortifications), along with some significant parts of local history (Ancient Vergina where is the tomb of Phillip II – father of Alexander the Great, White Tower, and Kavala’s citadel).

 

PLACES THAT APOSTLE PAUL STOPPED DURING HIS JOURNEY IN GREECE:

Samothrace

According to the island’s tradition, when Apostle Paul passed through Samothrace he landed in the Ancient City’s port which nowadays is called Paliapoli (Old City). In memory of this event, a three-aisled Early Christian church was constructed at that place. For its construction locals used pieces from architectural parts of ancient buildings.

Kavala (Neapoli)

When Apostle Paul was in Troas, he dreamt of a tall impressive Macedonian man who stood in front of him and begged him to “come to Macedonia and help them”. This dream was deciding for his journey and inaugurated his great, wonderful and saving relationship with Greeks. He had already begun his tour aiming to increase and boost the construction of Churches.
In the winter of the year 49, Apostle Paul lands on European land for the first time.

The place he first came after travelling for two days was Neapoli . Seven years later when he came to Neapoli for the second time it took him five days to cover the same distance. Apostle Paul arrived in Agios Nikolaos area and after following Via Egnatia he reached Philippi, 12 km from Neapoli. He was accompanied by Silas, Timothy, and Luke the doctor, Evangelist and writer of “Acts of the Apostles”.

Philippi

It was Saturday when he reached the place for the first time and many women were gathered in the area. They were the first in Europe to hear him preaching. Among them was Lydia, a noble woman from Thyateira of Asia Minor. She was the first to be baptized and helped remarkably to spreading the word of God. In Philippi, Paul and Silas were accused of provoking abnormalities in the city and for having habits unusual for the Romans. The two men were caned and imprisoned but a massive earthquake spread panic in the city.

The prison’s doors opened and the guard tried to commit suicide. The two Apostles prevent him from harming himself. He then believes in God, he and his family got baptized and the two Apostles were accommodated in his house. The two Apostles pass by Lydia’s house, who accommodated them, and leave for Thessaloniki. Apostle Paul will keep close relationships with the people from Philippi and will boost them financially several times even when he was imprisoned in Rome. Seven years after his first visit, he will return to Philippi and then visit the place three more times (on April of 57, in spring of 63 and winter of 64).

Amphipolis-Apollonia

Although they were cities of great importance in the area, Apostle Paul passed them by without stopping. He was on a hurry to reach Thessaloniki where he knew there was a synagogue.

Thessaloniki

When they reached Thessaloniki it was fall of 49. Apostles Paul and Silas found the city completely different from what they had seen so far. It was a free from Roman occupation city since 168 B.C. There was also a synagogue close to the port, as the Acts inform us. Apostles Paul went there for three Saturdays. As we are informed, he discussed with the attendants and interprets them abstracts from Holy Bible which mention that Jesus should have been crucified and resurrect from the dead. Some people believed and became Paul’s and Silas’ students. Many of the neophyte Greeks believed, as well as several women who stood out in the city’s society. We do not know exactly how many were the first Christians but we know for sure that a church was established in Thessaloniki.

Just like in Philippoi…

Soon, because of Paul’s activity, problems begin to rise in Thessaloniki and riots are provoked exactly as it had happened in Philippi. During the night Paul and Silas left the city. These are the only facts known about his stay in Thessaloniki. According to the existing tradition, as he left in a hurry, chased by his fellow countrymen, he came out of a high spot on the walls (probably from a small door) where later Vlatades monastery was established.

East of the position where now Vlatades monastery stands used to be a spring. It is said that he stopped there to drink some water. Every year at this spring, which is known as “Apostle Paul’s Holy Water”, people used to honor the Apostle. After the liberation of Thessaloniki, a church in his honor was constructed in this place and the Holy Water became well known. Nowadays, a modern imposing church is the proof that Apostle Paul visited Thessaloniki, preached there and brought Greeks close to Christianity.

Veria

During the night, Paul and Silas left with the help of Christians for Veria. They walked for a while on Egnatia Road and changed their route close to Pella, crossing a lush green fruitful and beautiful area. Veria was a very busy city with great population and had a flourishing synagogue. As soon as they got there, Paul and Silas visited the synagogue. It is also said that the Jews of Veria were more polite than those in Thessaloniki and heard with great interest Paul preaching the Holy Gospel. Among the attendants were people from the upper classes of Veria, Hebrews and converts and a great number of women.

But soon, the news about Paul’s activities were spread in Thessaloniki. Their enemies from Thessaloniki sent people to Veria to provoke turmoil. Immediately his companions took the Apostle away from Veria. Timothy and Silas remained in Veria. As a gift in return Veria gave to the Apostle of the Nations a new companion. He was Sopatros, son of Pyrrhus, who accompanied him for a long time after his return to Asia. The spot in Veria where it is said that Paul stood and preached, the so called “Apostle Paul’s Podium” is now an imposing monument. Since 1995, a series of religious, cultural and sports events have been established under the name “Pavlia” which end every year with a scientific conference.

Athens

Athens In the year 51 Paul went to Athens by boat. Athens was far from the typical bright city of classical times. The works of art were frequently pillaged, the Romans deserted the city of Pallas Athena and the descent of ideals started to become obvious. The boat that brought Paul to Athens anchored in Faliro. At that time (and before then) that was the area were the main port of Athens was located. The location of the port was between Kifissos river bed and the small church of Agios Georgios. It is believed that it is constructed on the ruins of the dock of ancient Faliro and the area around it is going to be developed. From there started the road leading to Athens. This was also the road that Paul followed after he got off the boat.

Waiting for Silas and Timothy…

While he was waiting for Silas and Timothy to come from Macedonia, he was walking around the city, discussing with the locals in the synagogue or the market and was upset by the numerous statuettes. His preaching on the death of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection impressed some epicurean and stoic philosophers who characterized him as “newsmonger”. He was never chased for his preaching while he was in Athens. On the contrary he was taken to High Court (Areopagus) in order to preach formally and in more details. Regarding the spot from where Apostle Paul spoke to the Athenians, it is also said that he preached in front of the High Court’s Body as one of its members (Dionysius the Aeropagite) adopted the ideas of his preaching. Areopagus was the name of the hill west of the Athenian Acropolis.

Apostle Paul’s church was established in 1887 very close to the heart of Athens. Two years later, Queen Olga set the foundations for the construction of a new and larger church. This happened under the Metropolitan bishop Prokopios, Mayor Labros Kallifronas and the architects Trobus and Soultze. In 1923 the  Archbishop of Athens Chrysostomos Papadopoulos prescribed that the Vespers of Apostle Paul’s celebration must be performed on Areopagus.

Corinth

It is not known how he went to Corinth. It is for sure that he left Athens puzzled with how Athenians dealt with his preaching and with the situation in the Churches of Macedonia. While Paul was leaving Athens, Timothy was on his way to Thessaloniki. In Corinth Paul developed friendship with Akylas and Priscilla who were also tend-makers (as he also was) and already knew some things about Jesus. He stayed and worked with them and every Saturday he preached Jews and Greeks. Most of Jews were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and at some point Paul stayed with Titus Justus who was proselyte and lived close to the synagogue. Among the believers was Crispus, chief priest of the synagogue who was baptized together with all his family.

The Acts of the Apostles inform us that at some point Corinthian Jews united against Paul. They dragged him to court accusing him that he was illegally trying to convert people follow his preaching. Hebrews’ statement had no result as Paul’s problem had nothing to do with the hostility of the pagans but of his fellow citizens. Few weeks later he decided to leave Corinth. He had to quickly go to Ephesus. He said goodbye to his friends and he left Corinth accompanied by Silas, Timothy, Akylas and Priskilla.
Apostle Paul is the patron saint of Corinth and Corinthians built an impressive church in his honor.

 

  • Departure
    Thessaloniki - Athens

Tour Location

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INCLUDED:

  • Accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room.
  • All transfers from/to the airport.
  • All transfers/tours as per the program.
  • Choice of selected Hotels.
  • Half-board (Breakfast & Dinner).
  • Experienced Tour Guide.
  • Civil Liability Insurance.
  • Entrances to all museums and archaeological sites as per the program.
 

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Drinks, souvenirs and personal expenses.
  • Whatever is Optional as per the itinerary.
  • Tips and gratuities.
 

NOTES:

  • Air fares are not included in the price. Return Airfare can be arranged/included upon agreement.
  • Prices are based on groups of 25 travelers.
  • Prices can/will be subject to change depending on the number of participants and the duration of the journey.
  • The program might be altered on the day but no visits/tours shall be missed.

INFORMATION:

Here you'll find useful information for preparing your trip to Greece. We give you practical tips on documentation, safety, healthcare, what clothes to pack, currency, tourist cards, public holidays… so you're all set when you arrive.    

General Information

Capital of Greece: Athens Official language: Greek The currency: Euro (€) Climate: Mediterranean Population: 11.306.183 (2010 estimate) The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy Calling code: The international calling code of Greece is +30  

Exchange Currencies

Greece is a Member-State of the European Union and uses its uniform currency – the Euro (€). Greece, as is the case with the other Member-States of the E.U. uses eight coins as follows: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents (lepta in Greek) and 1 and 2 Euros. The banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros. Currency exchange rates are clearly displayed in every bank that accepts currency exchange, while credit card holders may acquire money from the ATMs of the collaborating banks. Greek banks are open for the public from 8:00 to 14:30 Mondays to Thursdays and from 8:00 to 13:30 on Fridays. They are closed on Public Holidays. Euros can also be exchanged for notes of other foreign currencies at exchange offices that are situated at the airport and certain main ports, in the larger cities, as well as at many tourist destinations. A passport is required when exchanging currencies.  

Time Zone

Time Greece: GMT +2  

National celebrations and Holidays 

New Years Day: 1st of January Epiphany: 6th of January. Sea water is consecrated in the area of Piraeus. The priests throw the Cross into the sea and young men dive to catch it. Ash Monday: 41 days before Easter. It is the day people begin the Lent. On Ash Monday Greeks fly kites, eat meatless food and celebrate Koulouma. Athenians gather on Philopappou Hill. Independence Day & Celebration of Evaggelismos: 25th of March. Military parade. Easter: From Holy Friday until Easter Monday. On Holy Friday evening every church decorates the Epitaph (Bier of Christ). During the procession of the Epitaph the streets of every city or village in the country are full of people. It is a religious procession where everybody holds lit candles in their hands and sings hymns. Night of the Resurrection: It is celebrated in midnight before Easter Sunday with fireworks and candles. Easter Sunday: On Easter Sunday Greeks eat barbecue lamb. The celebrations include singing and dancing all day long. Labor Day: 1st of May. Flower feasts all around Athens. Pentecost: It is celebrated 50 days after Easter. Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th of August. 28th of October: National Celebration. Military parade. Christmas: 25th-26th of December.  

Health & Safety

In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from member states of the European Union (EU) wishing to visit Greece must be holders of the European Health Card (EHIC) or any other legal Community document issued by their competent social security agency. In these cases, the necessary treatment in Greece is provided by Social Security Institute Health Units (polyclinics) or doctor’s offices in the region; Regional clinics (former rural clinics) or the Health Centres of the National Health System; and the outpatients’ departments of the hospitals on contract. In order to have access to necessary health care, tourists from countries other than the member states of the European Union wishing to visit Greece must consult their social security agency for information before travelling.  

Useful Numbers:

Ambulance Service: 166 SOS Doctors : 1016 Duty Hospitals and Clinics: 1434 Pharmacies: 1434 Open Line for alcohol drug Addiction: 210 36 17 089 Poisoning First Aid: 210 77 93 777 Police: 100 Tourist Police: 1571