The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Nine

The big three sites to go see among the seven churches of revelation are Ephesus, Pergamon, Sardis, to which one must now add a fourth, Laodicea, because of the amazing archaeological work done there in the last five years. In this blog post and the next we must focus on Sardis. We will look at the major part of this site first, which includes the shops, synagogue and gymnasium complex. In the next post we will focus on the Temple of Artemis, which is a half mile away.Like most of … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Eight

The god Asklepius was in many ways one of the most important of all Greco-Roman deities, and this was true all over the Mediterranean world. Health and healing in a world full of disease and death, before modern medicine, was an urgent matter. The symbol of the god Asklepius you will be familiar with-- it is the snake curled around the staff which we still see today on the AMA logo, among other places. Notice for example how Galen, one of the early famous doctors, who came from Pergamon is … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Seven

Izmir is a beautiful seaside city of three million. There is however not much to see here in terms of the seven churches of Revelation. So we moved on to Pergamon, where there is a ton to see both on the Acropolis and in the Asklepion complex below. It will take a couple of blog posts to work through the Pergamon material.The modern name of the city is Bergama, and it was a much more important place in antiquity than it is today. It was a much bigger city as well. It takes a couple of hours … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Six

Take a good close look at the map above. What you are looking for is Kaymakli, the locale of the underground city. In fact there are many such places in Turkey, and I have visited several of them. Most are in the central region of the country. And most are not merely places where people hid, they are places where people lived for a period of time. In these underground cities we find evidence of storage jars and the other necessary things for staying underground for a considerable period of … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey: Part Five

Going to the cave churches at Goreme Open Air Museum is a treat, but it reminds one of what produced such things--- persecution. We will see an underground city after this post where Christians hid. We are talking about Christianity in the first four centuries of its existence, when it was literally an underground phenomenon, and it appears to have really thrived in Cappadoccia. They do not allow you to take indoor shots of the cave churches any more so of some of these appear a little small … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage, Turkey: Part Four

There are few thrills more visceral in Turkey, than a balloon ride at dawn over the cave churches of Capadoccia.It's certainly well worth rising at 4.30 in the morning, and cramming twenty four people into one giant basket under a balloon, and then singing "Up,Up and Away, in my Beautiful, my Beautiful balloon" to get to have this experience. It's not just that you are taking a balloon ride, you can do that most anywhere. It's that you are doing it over the moonscape and cave churches and … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage, Turkey, Part Three

In the afternoon we went first to the spice Bazaar and saw some bizarre spices, and then took a cruise on the Bosphorus for a while. The spice bazaar is part of, or next to the Grand Bazaar, now immortalized in the movie Skyfall for a motorcycle chase across the tiles of the roof of the bazaar, which Ms. Broccoli paid handsomely to repair thereafter. Istanbul is really the end of the spice road, where all those sorts of things finally land to be sold. And if you think you've seen spices … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Two

Hagia Sophia remains one of the most amazing buildings in the world, and in its day it was an unparalleled building in terms of the amount of open domed space without columns in the center of the building. Here it is, with its later minarets still showing, from across the way near the Blue Mosque, a nice spot for a family shot.It was Constantine who built the original Hagia Sophia on the site of a former temple of Venus. It was damaged in an earthquake in the sixth century and rebuilt … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part One

Touring Turkey after touring Israel is like touring Texas after touring Rhode Island. The difference in size, scope, and amount of things to see is enormous. So in Turkey one has to settle for a small sampler, a Whitman's sampler so to speak, with all kinds of Turkish delights. I suggest you sit back in your easy chair with your laptop, get a good cup of coffee, and prepare to be surprised by what amazing things there are to see and do and be edified by in Turkey. Let ole Uncle Ben be your … [Read more...]