Having barely recovered from our Egyptian adventure, our friends invited us along on an overnight excursion to Antioch (Antakya) in Turkey. The four of us sped down the highway in their red Mustang convertible. Talk about standing out! Antioch is most known for being the third largest city in the Roman empire (Rome and Alexandria were the first two). It is also mentioned for a church that appears in the Bible (Antioch of Syria). Many Christians were fleeing persecution and ended up in Antioch (Acts 11:19-20). Here is where the term “Christian” was first used (Acts 11:26). Below there is a photo of St. Paul’s Church, carved out of the side of a mountain and very cave-like. There was some faded painting in the chapel, mostly a brick-red color. Inside, the high-ceiling chapel is small and simple. There is a pulpit and a couple of chairs, but not much else. Just stepping into this church, there is an overwhelming sense of sacredness, much like entering Mary’s House in western Turkey.
A surprise we found were these carvings near the church. In the middle is Mary’s face, and on either side is carved a disciple. Near this is a baptismal. This entire site is high on a mountain overlooking the city.
The city also boasts a lovely quaint museum. This museum is known for its floor to ceiling colorful mosaic collection, but also has some interesting pottery, sculpture, even sarcophagus.
*In case you cannot read the sign, it says “Hitit Mabedinin Girisi … The entrance to a Hittite temple, with lions in the Hittite tradition. From Acana 13th cent BC…” And here are the lions!
A marble bust of Caesar:
Looking out over the city of Antioch/Antakya in Turkey.