David and I had our third wedding anniversary in June. We take turns planning surprise trips, but this summer was too busy to get away. Instead, we took a belated anniversary trip this month. Our fall break coincides with Turkey’s Kurban Bayramı holiday. I was so excited when I found out David was taking me to Pamukkale!
David made reservations at Bellamaritimo Hotel, but there were some issues with the booking. The owner called us, apologized, and told us he would coordinate accommodations elsewhere. We thought that was kind of him, especially since we were getting in around 10pm. He put us in Koçak Otel, which was the second grossest place I have ever stayed. We didn’t feel like there was much we could do, so we kept everything off the floor and settled in for the night. We did have a really nice view of Pamukkale in the morning, though! It looked like a snowcapped mountain:
Kurban Bayramı is a sacrifice holiday. (Read more about it here.) Pamukkale is a small town with village houses. As we walked down the street, I looked to my right and saw a live sheep partially decapitated. Nothing like a little gore first thing in the morning! Preparing the meat was a family affair:
Pamukkale opened later than usual because it was a holiday, so we drove eight miles south to Laodikeia (aka Laodicea). Entrance costs 10 TL or is free with the Müzekart. Laodicea is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Laodicea was one of the seven churches of Revelation:
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Paul’s helper Epaphras brought the word here.
We were so impressed with the ruins. This place is massive! We explored for two hours and could have stayed longer. They’ve been excavating since 2003 and there’s so much more to be done.
Column reconstruction of the agora:
Laodicea was leveled by earthquakes. Hardest. Puzzle. Ever.
Pieces of the ancient water system were visible throughout the city. (Watch a great video on it here. It gives new meaning to the passage about the city being lukewarm!) Especially seeing all of the water not too far away in Pamukkale, it was surprising to learn how big of an issue water was for this city.
One of our friends recently gave a sermon series that included a visual of a catenary arch. David nerded out when he found this one: