Turkey’s faith history dates back to 9000 B.C.?!

First of all today, a bit about ordinary life around us:  gas prices hover around $4/liter, putting the cost at close to $10/gallon.  Djenk told us Turkey and Norway compete almost daily for the highest gas price in the world, seemingly taking turns for the “honor”.  Vehicles on the road are numerous, regardless the cost, and come in all types including lots of cars (all smaller than ours in the US), trucks, buses, lots and lots of small motorcycles, and the occasional horse-drawn or man-powered cart.  Traffic seems to be more of a competition than a means to get somewhere; drivers seem completely unafraid and go swerving and swooshing down the street.  We are glad to be in the hands of Kenon, our bus-driver, who maneuvers the bus into remarkably small spaces and through dense and busy streets.

While we drove from Izmir (ancient Smyrna, BTW — if you’re curious about the history of Izmir/Smyrna, wikipedia can be helpful:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%B0zmir) to Sardis this a.m., Djenk gave us a whirlwind history lesson.  Most memorable for me was the fact that archaeologists recently unearthed a church in southern Turkey that dates back to 9000 B.C.!  (Comparably, the Egyptians were building their temples and religious statues around 3000 B.C.)  It was generally believed that humans weren’t in communities large enough nor united enough to have a common worship place, but this temple seems to suggest otherwise.

In Sardis, we visited ruins of a temple built to honor the god Artemis:Artemis Temple from the Acropolis (Gerry) (640x480)

a remarkable (restored) Roman bath house complete with a WC (what we would call a bathroom in the US):  Sardis combo 2                                                                                                                   and the ruins of a very large (the largest in the world outside of Israel) Jewish synagogueSardis Synagogue (Gerry) (640x480) (2) where Jeff instructed us from Revelation 2-3 on the state of the church at Sardis in New Testament times: Jeff speaking on John's Revelation words to the Sardinian church (640x458)                                                                                                                       After lunch in a Turkish diner (specializing in unique and tasty flat pita”pizzas” topped with meat, cheese and various relishes), we briefly visited Philidelphia, another of the Revelation churches before heading toward the Tri-City area of Laodicea, Colossae, and Hierapolis.  We spent the balance of our afternoon in the recently (since 2003) excavated city of Laodicea, a cross-roads in the Roman world; one of those famed Roman roads runs down the middle of the excavations:Laodicean Roman road (360x640)










Having already seen a temple to a pagan god, a synagogue and a Christian church, we were now introduced to an Imperial temple constructed to honor a Roman leader as well as the ruins of a large awe-inspiring theater:Laodicean theatre (640x360)

Our full, fantastic day ended at the Lycus River Thermal Spa and Hotel; after exploring the thermal pool, enjoying a tremendous buffet dinner, and hearing a stimulating presentation on the seventh Revelation church at Laodicea, we all happily headed for our beds.

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2 Responses to Turkey’s faith history dates back to 9000 B.C.?!

  1. Rachel Aupperlee says:

    Looks familiar. I was on a Calvin College interim with the classics departments and went to Sardis/Pergamum. Fun adventure. I wonder if there will be taxi buses all over Istanbul.

  2. Bernice Weima says:

    Thank you Jan for the daily up-dates! It brings back good memories and helps me to travel along with you guys back here at home. I am so glad that the weather has been nice so far! Enjoy!

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