Decorations at Nicaea’s Eastern Gate

May 31, 2014

Recently we posted here on Nicaea. A remarkable portion of the Roman walls and gates can still be seen.

Some useful info on the decor of the gates at Nicaea and elsewhere can be found here:

Nicaea’s walls are well decorated with reliefs, with large heads, and also with column-shafts, both as horizontal wall-ties and as decoration: in the central one of the three square towers of the north wall, some 37 columns are used to decorate the upper stories and, at the same time, to act as floor-joists. The East Gate has reliefs, still visible, which impressed Kinnear, as did the reliefs and heads on the North (Constantinople) Gate. The south gate, for Bursa, has marble blocks and an inscription. The walls and towers on the north side are noticeably of creamy-white marble (in contrast with the much darker blocks used elsewhere: it is far from fanciful to perceive the desire to create an effect on the side of the city facing Constantinople, since we find exactly the same attention given to marble display in the more important parts of other citadels, such as Seljuk. Thus the antique monuments of Nicaea have been reused in the construction of the first set of mediaeval walls, in a direct echo of the marble prestige of the finest of Constantinople’s set pieces, the Porta Aurea itself.

Nicaea Head Decor at East Gate. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Nicaea Head Decor at East Gate. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

See also Ferrell Jenkins’ earlier post here.


Pagan Temple at Laodicea

May 30, 2014

The last few years have seen an enormous amount of excavation in Laodicea. It is still ongoing, as Ferrell Jenkins and I saw several sectors of the very large tel that had teams of workers. One site of importance is the restoration of a pagan temple which reflects some of the wealth and splendor for which this city was famous. Remember God had His people here in Laodicea also, and they were the recipients of the 7th of the Seven Letters (Rev. 2-3).

Pagan Temple at Laodicea. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Pagan Temple at Laodicea. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

At the back of the temple there is a clear platform through which you can look down and see more excavation several meters below.

Ferrell Jenkins behind temple. The white spot 6 miles distance is Hierapolis. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Ferrell Jenkins behind temple. The white spot behind (6 miles distance across the Lycus Valley) is Hierapolis. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

On the lighter side I present you with a camel photo.

Happy Camel at Hierapolis. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Happy Camel at Hierapolis. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

May I say it’s good to be back in Sweet Home Alabama!


Temple of Apollo at Hierapolis

May 28, 2014

One of the many benefits of traveling to the lands  where biblical events occurred is that of gaining insight into just how pervasive idolatry was. It has always been necessary to make a choice of who you will serve (Joshua 24:14-15). Temples devoted to many gods abounded. The Gospel reveals the true God who claims exclusive service and worship to Him alone.

At Hierapolis one can view the ruins of the temple of Apollo.

Temple of Apollo at Hierapolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Temple of Apollo at Hierapolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Currently at Istanbul, we look forward to our flights home tomorrow.


Theater At Hierapolis

May 27, 2014

Today was devoted to exploring Hierapolis. I think today was the hottest day of our trip, and we did a lot of walking. There is a lot to see here.

First century Christians living in Hierapolis are mentioned in Colossians 4:12-13:

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.

Every significant Roman city ordinarily had a theater.

Hierapolis Theater. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Hierapolis Theater. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Some flora and fauna at Heriapolis:

Gecko at Hierapolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Gecko at Hierapolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Wild flowers at Hierapolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Wild flowers at Hierapolis. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Today wraps up this photo/study trip for various sites in Turkey for Ferrell Jenkins & me.  We have made several trips of this nature, and I always enjoy them and learn a lot. Tomorrow morning is a 4 hr. drive back to the airport at Antalya and then a flight to Istanbul and homeward bound from there.


Turkey Travel contd: Pamphylia

May 26, 2014

On Paul’s First Journey, he and Barnabas passed through Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13-14). On the return portion of the trip they came again to Pamphylia (Acts 14:24), “and when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they sailed to Antioch” (vv. 24-25). Notice here the region of Pamphylia:

Region of Pamphylia. Map by BibleAtlas.com.

Region of Pamphylia. Map by BibleAtlas.com.

Now notice specifically Antalia:

Attalia, seaport for Pamphylia. Photo by BibleAtlas.com.

Attalia, seaport for Pamphylia. Photo by BibleAtlas.com.

Ferrell Jenkins and I have been in biblical Attalia, modern Antalya, and the greater Pamphylia area for the past couple of days as we have visited sites in Turkey.

Notice the topography on the first map, and see as you leave the coastal area and go northward you run into the mountains, using Attalia and Perga in your second map as reference points. The plains of Pamphylia give way to the formidable terrain of the Taurus mountain range.

Pamphylian Plain Ends at Taurus Mountains. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Pamphylian Plain Ends at Taurus Mountains. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We spent some time exploring this area where a Roman Road cuts through the mountain pass. Dedicated men such as Paul and Barnabas had to negotiate through this type of terrain in their travels.

We found several matters of interest while there, such as this stork

Stork in flight in Pamphylia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Stork in flight in Pamphylia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

and this field of Barley:

Barley in Pamphylia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Barley in Pamphylia. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Tonight we are north of biblical Hierapolis (mentioned in Colossians 4:13). En route here we saw Laodicea and Colossae. There is much to see at Hierapolis, and tomorrow we plan to explore and photograph in that area. Thanks for following along the journey. Much more to share as time permits.

Mr. Jenkins and I are both well. There’s nothing quite like on-site Bible study! It’s truly a continuing education course for us.


Harran, Home of the Patriarchs and More

May 24, 2014

Bible students think of Haran (today’s spelling: Harran) as temporary home to Abraham (Gen. 12:4) after he left Ur but before arriving in Canaan. This was also home to Rebekah (Gen. 27) wife of Isacc and mother of Jacob & Esau. Haran would be Jacob’s home for 20 years (Gen. 28-29), where he married his wives and had 11 of his 12 sons (Benjamin later would be born near Bethlehem, at which time Rachel died).

Location of Haran in Mesopotamia. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Location of Haran in Mesopotamia. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

But like many other biblical locations, Harran was of strategic significance, as indicated by this entry from Wikipedia:

By the 19th century BCE, Harran was established as a merchant outpost due to its ideal location. The community, well established before then, was situated along a trade route between the Mediterranean and the plains of the middle Tigris. It lay directly on the road from Antioch eastward to Nisibis and Ninevah. The Tigris could be followed down to the delta to Babylon. The 4th-century Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330–after 391) said, “From there (Harran) two different royal highways lead to Persia: the one on the left through Adiabene and over the Tigris; the one on the right, through Assyria and across the Euphrates.” Not only did Harran have easy access to both the Assyrian and Babylonian roads, but also to north road to the Euphrates that provided easy access to Malatiyah and Asia Minor.

According to Roman authors such as Pliny the Elder, even through the classical period, Harran maintained an important position in the economic life of Northern Mesopotamia.

Harran was also an ancient center for worship for the moon god Sin. This excavated mud brick site has been suggested as the location for a temple for the god that predates the well known later temple.

Haran Mud Brick Building. Proposed site of temple to moon god Sin. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Haran Mud Brick Building. Proposed site of temple to moon god Sin. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Our original flight this afternoon to Antalya was cancelled, which will result in a much later arrival this evening than previously scheduled. Those things happen when traveling. We are both well. Thanks for following our trip.


Traveling in Eastern Turkey

May 23, 2014

Yesterday upon our arrival in Gaziantep Ferrell Jenkins & I rented our car and from there went to Zeugma where we saw the Euphrates and the excavations of the temple of Dionysus. From there we drove to the ancient city of Haran, home (for a while) to Abraham; home to Jacob for twenty years. We overnighted in Sanliurfa, a strategically important city in upper Mesopotamia known as Edessa in Grecian and Roman times. This morning at Sanliurfa I photographed a man carrying a sheep.

At Sanliurfa, Turkey. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

At Sanliurfa, Turkey. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

At Gobekli Tepe we saw the oldest known temple remains to be discovered thus far. From there we went on to Birecik for another view of the Euphrates as we made our way on to Carchemish.

High school boys at Belcik, Turkey, on bridge crossing Euphrates. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

High school boys at Birecik, Turkey, on bridge crossing Euphrates. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We were able to see Carchemish from several vantage points and took lots of photos. We could see over into Syria. Tonight we are in Gaziantep.