Other Biblical Sites in Turkey

Hierapolis – Pamukkale

The oldest inscription found indicates that Hierapolis was founded by Eumenes II, King of Pergamum, in the later part of the second century B.C.; it soon became a busy industrial centre. Traditionally, St. Phillip is connected with the early church in Hierapolis. Fairly recently, Italian archaeologists have discovered his Martyrium, an octogonal chamber forming a double cross surrounded by a square. But no tomb was found with it although that was expected. Hierapolis is listed in the New Testament along with Laodicea as the centre of Epaphras’s work. Another less well known resident of Hierapolis was Papias, a disciple of St. John.

One of our groups in Alexandria Troas
One of our groups in Alexandria Troas

Troas
This city was founded by Antigonos and Lysimachos at the command of Alexander the Great. Because of its artificial harbor, Troas became a powerful and rich commercial town. This city was visited several times by St. Paul during his journeys.

Cappadocia
In the valley of Goreme stands an open-air museum which used to house a religious community. Local tradition has it that there were as many as 356 churches, one for each day of the year, of which about thirty are open to the public.

They can be visited, but are not plainly visible from the outside. All churches still standing in Göreme were built after about 850 A.D. and decorated up to the XI century with frescoes which, despite their Byzantine influence, have extremely simple lines.

Miletus – Balat
Miletus is an ancient city which seems to have been inhabited by settlers between the end of the Minoan and the Mycenean periods. Miletus was sacked by the Persians under Darius in 494 B.C. and he massacred its inhabitants. It was captured again by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. But rather than being destroyed by carnage or looting, its end, like Ephesus, came because its harbor silted up and its commerce stopped. Paul’s visit to Miletus came at the end of his 3rd journey as he was hurrying to get to Jerusalem by Pentecost.

Perga – Perge, Murtuna
Perga was an old city even in the first century. Its name indicates that its origin dates from pre-Greek times. Paul and Barnabas went through Perga on their way to and from Antioch on their first journey. John Mark was with them at first but left them at Perga to return to Jerusalem. The second theory of why they did not stay long in Perga is that their interview with Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of Cyprus, had made them want to hurry to the Roman Colony in Antioch of Pisidia. On their return from Antioch they did stay in Perga long enough to preach and talk to the people there.

Attalia – Antalya
The city was founded in the second century B.C. by Attalus, King of Pergamum, and was named for him. Attalia is not named when Paul, Barnabas and Barnabas’ cousin, John Mark, went from Paphosto Perga on their first journey, but either Side or Attalia would have been possible ports. Or they may have sailed straight to the Perga wharf of the Cestrus (Aksu) River. On their way back from Iconium they came through Perga and sailed from Attalia to Antioch. No other mention is made of Attalia in the Bible, nor is there any comment about Paul’s missionary work there. Some evidences of early Christianity are still to be seen in Attalia.

Derbe
Derbe was the last Roman city on the road to the east, so it was the point at which it was customary to come together. Paul and Barnabas went from Lystra to Derbe, after Paul had recovered from being stoned. No details of Paul’s first journey in Derbe are reported, and the only other possible reference to it outside of its being mentioned in the 2nd journey, is the identification of one of Paul’s companions between Greece and Troas as “Gaius the Derbaean”.

Assos Theater
Assos Theater

Assos – Behramköy
The beginning of a city in Assos goes back to 1000B.C.. An Ionian colony from Lesbos settled there. Later on, it fell under Lydian and Persian domination. In Paul’s third journey, Paul went by land from Alexandria Troas to Assos, about a 35 kms trip, to meet Luke and the others.

 

 

Colossae
Colossae was probably an important city in the old days. In Xerxes’ march to Sardis and later to Thermopylae he stopped in Colossae in about 481 B.C. Pliny the Elder, the naturalist who lived during the 1st century A.D. says that Colossae was one of the several famous cities.

Peter Church, Antioch
Peter Church, Antioch

Antioch
Although Jesus Christ was born in Israel, the name “Christian” is attributed to his followers not in Israel but in Antioch (Antakya), from where Christianity spread all over the world.
(When he found him, he took him to Antioch, and for a whole year, the two met with the people of the church and taught a large group. It was at Antioch that believers were first called Christians. Act.Ap. 11:26)
Today’s ANTAKYA (Antioch) is a city in the southern part of Turkey on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. There are frequent flights from Istanbul to Adana every day in high season. The driving time from Adana airport to Antakya city center is 2 1/2 hours (115 miles) Tradition has it that Peter was the first to establish a church in Antioch; this belief is based on the references in Acts 9:32 and in Galatians 2:11. When Barnabas was sent shortly thereafter by the Jerusalem church to Antioch, he encountered an enthusiastic community. Needing a helper, he went up to Tarsus to get Paul to join him. Together they worked in Antioch for some time before they started off on their first missionary journey. It was to identify this large group as distinct from the rest of the Jewish congregation that they were given the name “Christian”. Antioch served as the home base for Peter, Paul and Barnabas; shortly it became the third most important bishopric (after Jerusalem and Rome) in the developing church.

Antioch on Orontes – Antakya
Antioch was refounded and named by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, Seleucus Nicator, who obtained this area after the battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C. He named the city after his father, Antiochus. The city became Paul’s home base for his missionary work.

Antioch of Pisida – Yalvac
The first mention of Pisidian Antioch in Acts is when Paul, on his first missionary journey, arrived there from Perga and addressed the congregation in the Synagogue on the Sabbath with his first recorded sermon.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

St. Sophia Church (Museum)
For both Christians and Muslims, St. Sophia is holy ground. The name, St. Sophia, means holy wisdom. When Sultan Mehmet II took the city in 1453 this symbol of profound knowledge and sovereignty became the prime mosque of his capital. Recognizing its historic and universal importance, the Turkish government made it a public museum in 1935.