Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Biblical History in Turkey

I was honestly blown away by the biblical history that we encountered this weekend in Turkey. I knew we would be seeing Ephesus, but I was surprised that we were able to literally walk down the same roads used by the Ephesians, admire the homes in which they lived, stand in the place where the apostle Paul stood to deliver a speech, and sit in the place where John is believed to have written the book of John. It really was amazing, to say the least. Kate and I could not stop staying how incredible it was that we were in the same places that events of The Bible took place over two thousand years ago. And although photos never do justice, I will share what I took. 

Another take away from this trip is that I want to learn more details and background on The Bible stories that I have known all my life. For example, I did not know that Mary, the mother of Jesus, along with the apostle John traveled to Ephesus a few years after Jesus' death and lived out their lives there. This beautiful hill is where John sat as he wrote his gospel, as well as where he is buried (left).

This is an overhead view of the city of Ephesus, which I love because you can see the main road but also the beautiful mountains that surrounded it.

Part of what made the experience so real was that we were simply allowed to explore all of Ephesus. We had headphones giving us the facts, but basically we just walked all over taking it all in. The Terrace Houses were one of my favorite parts because it was mind boggling to see how advanced these people had been...with ornate decorations, piped in water, and even a sewer system. We are standing on the main marble road (right), the pots inside one of the terrace houses (middle) and the original mosaic floor in one of the homes (left).

I have never done this whole tourists taking pictures of tourists before, but I couldn't help it in Ephesus. It was hilarious because the place was overrun with wild cats and aggressive tour groups. Kate and I nearly got trampled by a herd of matching-outfitted tourists at one point, but luckily we made it out alive!

The stadium was incredible, partly because it was in amazing condition, partly because it held 24,000 people so the architecture was amazing, and partly because it was the exact place where the Ephesians gathered to hear to apostle Paul speak.

This is the library of Celsus, which was amazing to see and also showed how advanced the Roman empire was in the early days!

Although the Church of the Virgin Mary was probably the part of Ephesus that was in the worst shape today, it was amazing to see the place where they worshipped. This was also the location of the first meeting of the Council of Nicea, where they decided that Jesus was, in fact, the son of God.

And this was a little cheesy, but we did see an reenactment of the gladiators, which was cool just to imagine what it would have been like the 4th or 5th century!

More details to come on the rest of the wonderful, refreshing, and absurd trip!

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