Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea

Our first stop today was Sardis, capital of ancient Lydia, where surrounding hills have been carved into curious shapes by wind and rain. We could see the significant ruins of the Acropolis from the plain below. We visited the temple of Cybele (the mother goddess of Anatolia) and Diana (Artemis). In later centuries a church was built at the same site.

The river Pactolus flows past Sardis. In ancient time gold was panned from the river. The first coins were minted by the Lydians. We visited the reconstructed synagogue and the gymnasium.

The letter to this church is in Revelation. 3:1-6.

We traveled southeasterly through beautiful table lands to the site of Philadelphia (Alashehir). The city is built on the slope of Mount Tmolus overlooking a fertile valley near where the ancient borders of Mysia, Lydia and Phrygia meet. The letter to this church is found in Revelation 3:7-13.

When we reached the Lycus valley we made a stop at Colossae. Colossae is nothing but a tell (mound) at this time. It sits at the foot of Mount Cadmus, near the city of Honaz. Paul wrote a letter to the saints at Colossae about A.D. 62. This was the home of Philemon, an individual who received a letter from Paul about his runaway slave, Onesimus.

At Laodicea we saw the ruins of the theater, the stadium, the aqueduct, and the water distribution system. This was a vivid reminder of the letter of the Lord to the church (Revelation 3:14-22). New excavations at Laodicea are bringing to light exciting Roman period ruins. Here is a view of the Emperor worship square. This is the danger addressed in the book of Revelation.

We are staying overnight at Pamukkale (biblical Hierapolis; Colossians 4:13). Hierapolis is famous for hot mineral springs and terraced travertine formations. It is now a World Heritage site.

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