There were many sites to see today. We left Izmir (Smyrna) in the morning and drove east to the site of ancient Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6). From there we continued to in a southeast direction to Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13). Then we made our way to the Lycus River valley. The first stop was at Colossae (Paul’s epistle to the Colossians). After viewing the ancient mound which still awaits excavation, we went to Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). On the way to the hotel we stopped for a photo of the cliffs at Pamukkale (ancient Hierapolis, Colossians 4:13). The name Pamukkale means “cotton castle” or “cotton fortress.”
Mellink describes the formation here. He says the city,
… is famous for its continuing geological transformation. Hot mineral springs issue from the rock in the city, and the waters streaming down the cliffs have deposited limestone in large formations, the surface of which is made a gleaming white ‘frozen cascades’ (IDB II:601).
We could see the white hillside clearly from Laodicea about six miles to the south. The photo above was made just below the cliffs. Hierapolis sits on the plateau. Click on the photo for a larger image.
Nothing has changed in the past few years at Sardis, Philadelphia, and Colossae. A tremendous change is taking place at Laodicea. Portions of the city that had remained buried until the past decade are now coming to light. I was surprised at the changes just in the past four years since I was here. Later on we will try to show you some of these new things.
Tomorrow we plan to visit Hierapolis and Aphrodisias before arriving at Kusadasi on the Aegean Sea near Ephesus.
Everyone in our group remains well and seems to be enjoying the visits and the study time together.