We have been so blessed with sunny weather — perhaps cool temperature-wise, but dry and comfortable. Even though jackets and fleece are necessary wherever we go, we benefit a great deal from the sunlight as we view and photograph ancient sites like:
“Kale” is the Turkish word for castle, “pamu” means cotton, so this Cotton Castle provided an awe-inspiring sight. Calcium carbonate deposited in the form of travertine creates unique formations and pools, some in which folks can wade. While we oohed, aahed and took pictures, someone in the group asked about the geology that caused this phenomenon, so Gerry stepped up to explain a thing or two: Had we not been part of our group, I’m pretty sure Gerry and I would’ve spent the entire day right there : ) .
Hierapolis also boasts a wonderfully restored Roman theater, one that can now be used for contemporary productions. You’ll note the stage and backdrop are in great shape: Our guide Djenk informed us a third story to the backdrop is to be finished and added in the coming years — awesome!
A short drive down the road from Hierapolis brought us to the known site of Colossae, where as yet there has been no excavation, but where Jeff spoke eloquently about the letter Paul wrote to the believers at Colossae. Standing where some of those folks heard Paul’s letter read, realizing the geography of their lives, and looking down the Meander River valley was thought-provoking. After stopping at Djenk’s “favorite restaurant in Turkey” for a delightful lunch, we continued on to Aphrodisias, a town built to honor the goddess Aphrodite. There are no Biblical references to this place, not surprisingly, but its ruins are splendid, so spending our afternoon wandering the streets and learning more about ancient life as lived there was very interesting. One major attraction is the stadium, a sporting complex where races and Olympic-style events were no doubt held. Gerry and Mike actually ran a portion of the stadium length in a mock race. As you can see, restoration has been minimal, but that takes nothing from the experience of seeing the stadium and imagining its original grandeur.
There was so much more to be seen including Aphrodisias’ theater, its agora, a pool, many detailed marble carvings and friezes, and a “Sebasteion”, a structure the emperor Tiberius erected to his own glory — hmmmmm ….
As you can see, our day was full and long, so as we drove to Ephesus (where we tour tomorrow), many of us enjoyed a nap on the bus. More tomorrow …..