Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014 - Turkey: Following the Footsteps of Paul: Part 1


Archeologists believe the city of Perga had been established in the early Bronze Age (4000 to 3000 B.C.).  Greek colonization began in 7th century B.C., and by the 2nd century A.D, it was a beautiful city of the Roman Empire.  The road in the photo below (click to enlarge photos) was flanked by shops in the bustling commercial district...

Paul walked the road in 46 A.D. and preached to the people (Acts 14:25).  In fact, he twice visited Perga with Barnabas on the first missionary journey, also accompanied by Mark, who then returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13.)

Here's a brief video I made of my visit



Pisidian Antioch dates back to third century B. C. The theatre is shown below.  Paul made three visits to Pisidian Antioch between 46 and 62 A.D., stopping on each of his three missionary journeys, and he preached in the synagogue.  He gave his first sermon to Gentiles here (Acts 13:13-52) and helped make Antioch a center of early Christianity.  In 2 Timothy 3:11, Paul mentions the unpleasant experience that occurred here.



Laodicea in Anatolia was founded in the mid-3rd century B.C. by Seleucid King Antiochus II, who named the city for his wife Laodice.  The city suffered nine earthquakes between 27 B.C. and 600 A.D.   Located at the junction of two commercial roads, the town prospered so greatly from trade and as a banking center, that after the quake of 60 A.D. devastated the area, Laodicea  declined the offers of assistance from Rome, rebuilding using their own resources. After the last of these catastrophic quakes, the people moved six kilometers north to the present site of Denizli, Turkey.  Excavations of Laodicea began as early as 1833.  One of the main thoroughfares is in the photo below...

...and the ruts evident in the stone road (to the right of the feet) were left by countless cart wheels...

Laodicea is mentioned by Paul in his epistle to the Colossians 4:15 and is one of the seven churches of Asia mentioned by John in Revelation 1:11 and 3: 14-22, where he condemns them as "wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked."  Some Greek manuscripts have 1 Timothy ending with "Written at Laodicea, metropolis of Phrygia...."

The next two photos show the Laodicea Temple which featured 54 columns...

Here's a video!



This ancient city was located on hot springs in classical Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia, adjacent to modern Pamukkale, Turkey.  It is an archeological site designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its hot springs have been used as a spa since the 2nd Century B.C.

A Christian church was founded here through the influence of Paul while he was at Ephesus, and the apostle Philip spent the last years of his life here, where he was crucified in A.D. 80.

The hot springs flow down and create these travertine dams (calcified cliffs formed by mineral deposits), similar to those found at the USA's Grand Canyon - Havasu Falls area.  The hot springs are in the upper left of this photo where the people are gathered (click to enlarge.)

In this panoramic photo, you get an idea of the hot springs/travertine area of the old city as it sits high above the modern city of Pamukkale far below...

...and in this photo you see some of the excavated ruins with the hot springs barely visible in the upper left beyond and far below the ruins...

The Theatre of Hieropolis of Phyrgia was the most dramatic we visited, at over 300 feet wide.  It was begun in the first century A.D. and finished around 200 A.D.  Talk about nosebleed seating!  This photo was taken from the very top.

Hierapolis is mentioned once in the Bible, in Colossians 4:12-13, when Epaphras, a Christian from Colossae, is praised for his faithfulness and hard work as the person responsible for spreading Christianity in this area.




The Shrine to Apollo in Didyma was a notable rival for the temple at Delphi. Construction began in 313 B.C. and continued through the 2nd century B.C., though more construction occurred during the Roman period. Had this temple been completed, it is believed the structure would have been one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Its 122 columns stood 60 feet tall and had a diameter of six feet.  For perspective, compare Len and Marlene in the photo below to the size of the columns, and recall that each column would have then been as tall as a six story building.



Paul visited Miletus at the end of his third missionary journey but was hurrying to reach Jerusalem in time for Pentecost (Acts 20:16).  He spoke to the elders from Ephesus while here and gave his farewell speech to them (Acts 20:17-35), finishing it with "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

In the center of this photo stands the Ionic Stoa, built in 58 A.D.  It used to have 35 columns in front of its 19 shops. (Click to enlarge.)

The theatre was begun in at the end of the 4th century B.C. and seated 5300, but after being enlarged and completed by the Romans, it could seat over 15,000.  The ruins stand 90 feet tall (9 story building), but it once stood another 30 feet taller.

The ten mile long Sacred Way road linked Miletus to Didyma.  Though Didyma is not mentioned in the Bible, the city no doubt had contact with the Christians of Miletus.

(The video of Miletus is combined above in the Didyma video)


(Information taken from A Guide to the Biblical Sites of Greece and Turkey by Clyde Fant and Mitchell Reddish, a book I heartily recommend to anyone traveling to these sites.  All photos are my own.)


No comments: