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biblical site

    Benedicts in Turkey: Laodicea

    After a final breakfast in Çıralı, we piled the bags and everyone back into the car and drove four hours north to the ruins of Laodicea, one of the seven churches of Revelation. (Rev 3:14–22.)

    This was David’s and my second time at Laodicea; we first visited last October. It was exciting to see how much excavation had been completed in just eight months. And there’s so much more to be done! Rocks and columns peek out of the untouched fields surrounding the site.

    Entrance cost 10 TL or was free with the Müzekart. Laodicea is a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site.

     

    Laodicea road

     

    This was the Christian church in Laodicea. The archaeologists were working while we were there:

     

    Laodicea church excavations

     

    The Temple of Athena:

     

    Laodicea temple

     

    Benedicts on the steps of the temple

     

    Laodicea was the lukewarm church. They did not have a water source, so they piped in water from two nearby cities. One source was hot and the other cold. By the time the water arrived in their city, it was lukewarm and smelly with minerals. The ancient pipes are around the site. You can even hear the hollow underneath the stones of the main street.

     

    Laodicea pipes

     

    Laodicea agora columns

     

    Dad and David at Laodicea

     

    Dad is checking out Pamukkale in the distance here. (It’s that white spot.) We visited the limestone hill shortly after we finished at Laodicea:

     

    dadpammukaledistance

     

    Laodicea carved face

     

    Sam at the Laodicea theater

     

    Laodicea theater

     

    Laodicea excavations in Turkey

     

    The weather was anything but lukewarm. The sun can be brutal in the summer! While the boys walked to the newly excavated stadium, I sought shade and a Magnum ice cream bar in the small shop.

    The family loved exploring this Biblical site! Next up… Pamukkale!

     

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    Fall Break: Laodicea

    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!

     

    Ankara to Pamukkale map

     

    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:

     

    Pammukale

     

    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:

     

    Animal sacrifice

     

    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 sign and Bible text

     

    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.”

    –Revelation 3:14–22

     

    Paul’s helper Epaphras brought the word here.

     

    Laodicea

     

    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.

     

    David on the street in Laodicea

     

    Laodicea Temple A

     

    Column

     

    Column reconstruction of the agora:

     

    Agora columns

     

    Laodicea rocks

     

    Laodicea Theater

     

    Laodicea was leveled by earthquakes. Hardest. Puzzle. Ever.

     

    Laodicea rocks

     

    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.

     

    Ancient water pipe

     

    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:

     

    David holding up a catenary arch

     

    Laodicea tile work

     

    Brick arch

     

    Can’t wait to share photos from our two (yes, two!) hikes up Pamukkale to Hierapolis!

     

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