TURKEY Between Two Worlds






View from a hill at the edge of the old town. Many of those hills contain the oldest remains.


Saint Paul church









The Kubad Paşa Medrese seems to ordinarily be a museum, but since another mosque, the Makam, is under restoration the medrese is temporarily roofed over and used as a mosque. The medrese is a few steps away from the grave of the prophet Daniel.




This is the Eski Cami or Old Mosque. It started life as a church, the date is set - for architectural reasons - in the nineth or tenth century.


It is situated at a rather central round about, with Roman Bath's to the left


Under Ramazanoğlu Ahmet Bey it was converted into a mosque


Diagonally across the roundabout from the Eski Camii is a building that houses the supposed grave of the prophet Daniel and indeed some sort of underground chamber was visible, which was the supposed grave








A bath in this former Roman town, this is what remains of it

Little of Tarsus during the time of Paul has been excavated due to the location of the modern city of Cumhuriyet Alani atop the ruins. Excavations have turned up a paved city street of Tarsus along with a colonnaded podium, which may date to the 2nd century B.C. In addition, remains have been found from the Bronze Age, baths, a Hellenistic portico, a Roman theater, and many terracotta figurines of deities, animals, people, and various mythological creatures.

During this time of Pompey (67 B.C.), Tarsus was made capital over the Roman province of Cilicia, and Jews began to receive Roman citizenship. Antony, who controlled the eastern provinces, declared the city free in 42 B.C. Tarsus continued to receive special privileges under Augustus, who exempted the city from imperial taxation because Athenodorus, his teacher and friend, was a Tarsian. Tarsus grew into a cultural and intellectual center. Stoic philosophers like Athenodorus, Zeno, Antipater, and Nestor lived in the city in the first century A.D.

Cleopatra's Gate
The Tarsus gate of Cleopatra, also called the “Sea Gate,” still stands today, though it has been significantly restored. It was believed that Cleopatra sailed up the Cydnus disguised as Aphrodite and came through this gate in 41 B.C. on her way to meet Mark Antony.

Roman Temple
V. Longlois, a traveler during the Middle Ages, identified this structure as the tomb of Sardanapalus, an Assyrian who was killed during the siege of Nineveh ca. 612 B.C. Located in Tekke, east of the medieval wall in Tarsus, this is actually a Roman temple dating to the second century A.D.

Well of St. Paul
Tarsus was the hometown of the apostle Paul (Acts 9:11), a city of great importance (21:39) as a learning center of the ancient world, alongside Alexandria and Athens. Notably, Jewish citizens of Tarsus were granted Roman citizenship. As a child, Paul was raised in Jerusalem and properly educated under the tutelage of Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin. Paul’s trade, tentmaking, fits well with Tarsus, a city well-known for making a certain type of felt cloth from the wool of shaggy black goats. Legend says that St. Paul often drank from this well, said to have special curative properties.






Antakya is a large but average-looking city in southeast Turkey, just 12 miles from the Syrian border. A modern visitor to Antakya would not likely think the city has any great significance, but beneath his feet lie the silent remains of Antioch-on-the-Orontes, the city once called "the fair crown of the Orient." Antioch was a city of great religious importance. It was the home of several Roman temples and its suburb, Daphne, was held to be the very place where Daphne was turned into a laurel tree to escape the affections of Apollo. Antioch had also been the home of a large Jewish community since the city's founding in 300 BC.




Antioch played an especially important role in Christian history: it was the base for Paul's missionary journeys, where Jesus’ followers were first called "Christians" (Acts 11:26) and where the Gospel of Matthew was probably written. Antioch hosted a number of church councils, developed its own characteristic school of biblical interpretation, and produced such influential Christian figures as the martyr-bishop Ignatius of Antioch, the pillar-saint Simeon and the "golden-mouthed" preacher John Chrysostom.




In the 1930s, extensive excavations were undertaken in Antakya, uncovering a magnificent treasure trove of ancient mosaics and artifacts. But no major buildings of ancient Antioch were found and most of the ancient city still waits to be discovered. The main sights to be seen in Antakya today are the mosaics in the Hatay Archaeological Museum and the Cave Church of St. Peter, which could be the oldest church in the world.



City's History
Antioch on the Orontes, also called Syrian Antioch, was situated on the eastern side of the Orontes River, in the far southeastern corner of Asia Minor. Three hundred miles (480 km) north of Jerusalem, the Seleucids urged Jews to move to Antioch, their western capital, and granted them full rights as citizens upon doing so. In 64 B.C. Pompey made the city capital over the Roman province of Syria. By 165 A.D., it was third largest city of the empire.

St. Peter's Church
St. Peter’s Grottos Church is one of more than twenty fourth-century churches uncovered in Antioch. According to tradition, this cave was used for secret meetings of Antiochene Christians avoiding persecution. Tradition says that Peter preached and taught here while he was in the city 47-54 A.D.

St. Peter's Church (interior)
Antioch played a large role in the early spread of the Gospel of Christ. After Stephen was stoned, many disciples fled to Antioch in order to escape persecution and then preached the Gospel to Jews there (Acts 8:1; 11:19). Other disciples soon arrived in Antioch and preached the Gospel to Greeks (11:20-21). Later the church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 13). Paul began and ended his second missionary journey in Antioch, accompanied by Silas (Acts 15:36-41; 18:22). He started his third missionary journey from the city as well (Acts 18:22-23).

Today the modern city Antakya sits atop much of ancient Antioch and very little remains of the ancient city. Princeton University and the Sorbonne excavated from 1932 to 1939. Finds include city walls, a hippodrome, portions of a Roman aqueduct, masonry works for flood control, and foundations of what may have been Diocletian’s Palace. Very little remains of ancient Antioch. This sarcophagus found in the area reminds of the "bulls and garlands" brought to Paul in Lystra (Acts 14:13).









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