Tag Archives | pamukkale

Two Turkish Delights

One of the great under-discovered locations we have visited is Turkey.   We want to take you to two of the most interesting places to visit on your holiday in Turkey.

girl hot springs Pamukkale-The Cotton Castle

Have you ever wanted to walk on clouds?  A visit to Pamukkale will give you that chance.  Located in central Turkey is one of the world’s geological wonders.  Pamukkale in Turkish or Cotton Castle in English was formed by the 17 hot springs in the area.  Water coming from the springs ranges from  95 °F (35 °C ) to  212 °F  (100 °C)!  The water carries calcium carbonate that creates white deposits called travertine.  The creation is so striking.  As we drove into the area the stark white cliffs took our breath away.  The entire side of the cliffs are made up of small pools that drip down to the next.  It almost looks like the entire side of the mountain is covered in snow.

What to do?

view of hot springsHow does soaking in natural hot springs and swimming around the ruins of a Greek Temple of Hierapolis sound?  Drive up the back side of the mountain to the large parking area.  There you have two options.  You can head for yourself and go from pool to pool along the cliff.  The water is not “hot” but the pools are lukewarm.  They are not very deep, not even close for any kind of swimming, but more suited for sitting and soaking.  This is an extremely popular place for both Turks and visitors from abroad. This has been the case for the past 2000+ years!  The best part of taking in the pools is the view of the valley in the distance.  Beautiful!

The second option is to take in the Pamukkale resort.  It is a facility that surrounds the pools with the Greek ruins.  There is a nominal charge to go swimming.  There are facilities for food, clothing change as well as lounging and people watching.

Pamukkle hot springs

In addition to enjoying the hot springs, the Pamukkale area is surrounded by archaeological and cultural historic sites.  One of the seven churches of Revelation is located a short distance away.  Check out our recent post on visiting all seven of the locations.

 The Best of Bodrum

Our next stop on our Turkish adventure is the beach resort city of Bodrum.  If you’re looking for a Turkish escape that will stir your senses, a holiday to Bodrum will be perfect for you. This picture perfect resort hums with the hustle and bustle of locals and holiday makers alike enjoying the sunshine in the beautiful Bodrum bay.

Situated on the south western side of Turkey, Bodrum commands a stunning coastline that marries with the Aegean Sea. Enjoy long, lazy days relaxing on Bodrum’s golden beaches, not forgetting to dabble in some fun water sports to ensure you have a holiday to remember. Bodrum is perfect for families with small children, thanks to the warm, shallow waters that gently lap the soft sands – perfect for paddling and building sandcastles with the kids! There’s a lot for the grownups to enjoy too, such as a romantic sunset stroll along the shore sinking your toes into the soft sand.  Highly recommended!

Romantic Bodrum

If you fancy exploring on holiday, you won’t be disappointed with the sights and sounds of this picture perfect location. The breathtaking Bodrum Castle is a must see, as well as the cosmopolitan marina dotted with colorful boats creating a contrast of the traditional and modern. The castle hosts several fabulous festivals every year, creating a party atmosphere not to be missed – it’s definitely worth trying to tie your holiday date in with one of these events if you love to dance the night away. Take a stroll through the old town, barter with the locals for fine handmade goods or get lost in a bustling bazaar for an hour or two. There’s no shortage of new sights to discover in Bodrum, so you’re guaranteed a new experience every day of your holiday.

One of the best ways to visit this wonderful corner of the world is to join a tour operator. You can book Thomas Cook packages to Bodrum at any time of year, as the Mediterranean climate ensures hot, sunny, summer days and mild, balmy winters.

Add these two wonderful Turkish destinations to your travel plans.

 

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Turkish Take-aways from the Seven Churches

The Celsius Library, Ephesus

One of the beauties of travel is the insight gained on so many levels.  Visiting Turkey opened our eyes in so many ways.  We loved our stay in beautiful Istanbul.  The city on two continents.  Booking luxury accommodation in Istanbul is simple and plentiful.  We spent quality time there, but our favorite part of our Turkish experience was our visit to the Seven Churches of Revelation.  You certainly do not need to be a scripture historian or be an extremely religious person to enjoy following the path of these important cities.  Although so much more can be gained by looking to these with a secular and a sectarian view.

  1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the church that had forsaken its first love.

Far and away the most widely known and visited location of all of the Seven Churches.  Located on the outskirts of modern day Selcuk, Turkey.  The location’s vicinity to both international airports and cruise boat moorings make this one the popular stops for those taking in the western Mediterranean.  Ephesus used to be located on the harbor, but now silt and natural sediment has made the area landlocked.

Ephesus today is a collection of finely preserved ruins including a coliseum, extensive and finely preserved living quarters, a communal commode and of course the most recognizable feature, the Library.  Our advice is to visit Ephesus during the shoulder tourist season May or Sept.  This place can become cram packed with sightseers, especially those right off of a cruise.  Get there as early in the morning as possible, to avoid the throngs of people, and the light is so much better for your pictures.   Start at the top of the hill and work your way down.  The entire city is the shape of a giant L.

The two highlights for us were reading the story of Paul whilst sitting in the very coliseum that he plead to the idol worshiping throng.  Acoustics in the stadium are perfect.  Seats and stage are really well preserved.  The view from every seat was perfect, and sound really carries.  It is so easy to envision what it would have been like to listen to Paul, and the intimidating scene facing the thousands that were gathered there.

The other highlight was definitely visiting the Celsius Library. The façade has been restored and statues seen in the niches between the doors, are copies of the originals which were taken to Vienna during the years when the library was being excavated. As the inscriptions on the bases indicate, the statues symbolized the WISDOM (SOPHIA), KNOWLEDGE (EPISTEME), INTELLIGENCE (ENNOIA) and VIRTUE (ARETE) of Celsus.

Take Away-The biggest take-away are twofold.  First, the value of learning.  The center of this remarkable town was the Library.  A location to share knowledge and acquire the same.  Maybe there were some couple fights there?  The other thing that we took away was the courage of Paul.  He stood for his beliefs in the face of stiff opposition.

We spent a half day in Ephesus with our tour guide and then came the next day to get some more pictures. If you are there as a couple wait for the cruisys (our nickname for people who take cruises) to go by then continue to marvel while they are onto the next ruin.

2. Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the church that would suffer persecution.

Can’t finding Synrna on a map?  It’s because there is not much there.  Today, the bustling port city of Izmir was built over the historical location of the city.  We really didn’t get a chance to see any ruins at this location.  We stayed our first night in Izmir when we flew in.  The Hilton in Izmir has a commanding view of the ocean and city.  We highly recommend.

Of note in marking Smyna, one of its most famous citiziens, Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna.

We learn of Polycarp:  Writing to Polycarp’s flock, Ignatius another bishop in Asia at the time, had called him a “godly bishop.” (Smyrnaeans 12:2.) In his letters Ignatius shared spiritual and practical advice, encouraging him to pray, be diligent, and individualize his attention for each member: “Not all wounds are healed by the same plaster.” (Polycarp 2:1.) Moreover, Polycarp was not to allow those who “teach strange doctrine [to] overthrow you; stand firm as a hammered anvil.” (Polycarp 3:1.) Polycarp’s life fits the metaphor. Martyred in the middle of the second century, he had borne testimony of youthful contact “with John and with the others who had seen the Lord,” thus sharing his personal knowledge of the apostles’ preaching and witnessing “about their miracles.”Learn more

Take Away- In the secular realm: Development happens.  The progress for the sake of progress. What was once a great city, with wise and progressive citizenry…now is  a completely  new great city with wise and progressive citizenry.  Spiritually, we take strength in the Bishop’s dedication and courage to face opposition and hold fast to our faith.

3. Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the church that needed to repent.

Truth in advertising…we didn’t get to visit Pergamum.  It was simply too far, and our time was too limited. But our tour guide says it’s a must visit.

Things were hear with visiting in Pergamum: the Temple of Trajan

Some impressive remains of this 2nd c. A.D. marble temple dedicated to the emperor have been restored.  It sits next to the library which housed 200,000 volumes and was the second largest in the ancient world after Alexandria.  Parchment was invented in Pergamum after relations with Egypt soured and papyrus became difficult to obtain.

Noteable cisizens include: Galen of Pergamon a prominent sceientist  and physician.

Galen was also a highly skilled surgeon, and he performed surgical operations on human patients. Many of the procedures and techniques that he utilized would not be used again for centuries. Of particular note are procedures that Galen performed on patients’ brains and eyes. In order to correct cataracts in patients, Galen performed an operation that was similar to what is performed by contemporary ophthalmologists. Using a needle-shaped instrument, Galen attempted to remove the cataract from behind the lens of the eye. -Wikipedia

Take away-We need to make another trip to Turkey!  Take away number two…we hate needles…just thought you should know.

4. Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the church that had a false prophetess.

Ok…this is the other church that we didn’t get too.  Again, sorry.  A few interesting facts and a little history about Thyatira.

Arch Bishop Gegorios

The city was known as “Pelopia” but it was named Thyateira by king Seleucus I Nicator in 290 BC because being at war with Lysimachus and hearing that he had a daughter born, called this city “thuateira”, from Greek “θυγατήρ”, “θυγατέρα” (thugaterthugatera), meaning “daughter”. In classical times, Thyatira stood on the border between Lydia and Mysia. It was famous for its dyeing and was a center of the indigo trade. Among the ancient ruins of the city, inscriptions have been found relating to the guild of dyers in the city. Indeed, more guilds are known in Thyatira than any other contemporary city in the Roman province of Asia (inscriptions mention the following: wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave-dealers and bronze-smiths)-Wikipedia

In 1922 the Patriarch of Constantinople appointed an Exarch for Western and Central Europe with the title Archbishop of Thyateira. The current Archbishop of Thyateira since 1988 is Gregorios Theocharous. The Archbishop of Thyateira resides in London and has pastoral responsibility for the Greek Orthodox Church in all of the United Kingdom. Cool huh?

Take away—Again, we need to visit Turkey again to see this location.  So another take away might be…we need to hear from you if you have been.  Tell us about it.

5. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church that had fallen asleep.

Fallen asleep? How can that be?!  The center of any visit to Sardis will revolve around the awe inspiring Gymnasium.  The Greeks and Romans strongly believed in the development of both the body and mind.  They would devote equal time to the development of both.  The folks from Sardis must have taken this a bit more one sided…with the construction of a two story temple to building the body! It is no wonder that they became great warriors.

Since 1958, Harvard University has sponsored annual archeological expeditions to Sardis. These excavations unearthed perhaps the most impressive synagogue in the western Diaspora yet discovered from antiquity, yielding over eighty Greek and seven Hebrew inscriptions as well as numerous mosaic floors.  These floors are simply amazing.  During our visit, we pretty much had the entire place to our self.  This is one of those sites that doesn’t make it on the mainstream tour agenda.  It is a must see.

They Gym at Sardis

Take away-our first tongue in cheek take away, is don’t leave your camera on a stone while climbing around on the rocks.  (It  can cause a fight and it did for us).  Ok serious again…the great gymnasium reminds us of the importance of developing both a strong body and a strong mind. Sardis was by far our favorite “church.” It’s literally in the middle of a field. It’s a stunning site and we were the only people there. Access to ruins in Turkey is far less guarded than in Europe. We climbed on columns and jumped off rocks.

The Arch at Philadelphia

6. Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) – the church that had endured patiently.

Prior to our trip, we invested a lot of time learning more about Islam.  As practicing Christians, living in the rural western US, we have had limited exposure to the Islamic faith.   Turkey is an incredible mix of religions.  We took a tour in Istanbul that began at a Muslim Mosque, went through the Jewish Quarter, and ended at the mighty seminary of the Orthodox Christian Church.  Our tour was led by a guide that was Protestant who was married to a Muslim!  How is that for a melting pot?  Nowhere in our travels with the contrast in beliefs as great as in Philadelphia.  All that remands of the huge church that once was located here are huge arches and a very interesting cemetery.  The entire church complex is surrounded by mosques.  While we were visiting, there was a call to prayer. The entire area was ringing with the chant.  Here we were, at the onetime capital of Christianity in the religion and the strength and dominance of another religious perspective.

Warning:  Getting this can take some time.  This is the furthest afield of all the 7 locations.

Take Aways- You don’t have to agree to get along.  You can disagree without being disagreeable.

7.  Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) – the church with the lukewarm faith.

One of our favorite sites out of all the churches was Laodicea.  The ancient city…now just a collection of stones is across the valley from the white cliffs of the hot springs of pamukkale.  Anciently the city received some of its water supply piped across the valley from these springs.  By the time the water arrived, it has lost some of it’s steam.  It was now lukewarm.  John in Revelations plays on this analogy, comparing the lukewarm faith of the believers in the city to the water that was made available for their use. You can see the hot springs from the ruins of site. Be aware that pamukkale doensn’t look like the brochures. It’s amazing to see but if you are expecting cascading water rushing over the hill, it’s just not there. Most of the thermal water has been piped away for local hotels.

Take Away- Don’t be mediocre!  Be someone great.  Live your life to the fullest.  Take pride in your work. Focus on what is important and do big and great things.

Take a visit to the Seven Churches.  So much is to be gain and “taken away.”

Our favorite quote from the Book of Revalations:

Revelation 22:17

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

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