Day 7: Saturday, September 11: Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Smyrna
Today was another long yet great day here in Turkey. The sun was bright, with perfect temperatures around 80. We drove many kilometers today through the beautiful countryside of western Turkey to see four more of the seven churches of Revelation. We read from Revelation 3:1-7 as we departed the hotel around 8 a.m.
Our first stop was to ancient Smyrna. It is located within the modern city of Izmir. We read from Revelation 2:8-11 before we got off to see the very limited ruins from outside the fence (they closed the site because of current excavations). However, also outside the fence of the archaeological site the weekly farmer’s market was setting up. It was fun to walk through the market. There was so many fresh vegetables and fruits!
From here we drove about and hour and a half to Pergamum. On the way we stopped at a small store for restrooms. They also sold premiere olive oil here. Many of us bought some!
Before arriving at the site of Pergamum, we read from Revelation 2:12-17. At the site, we took the cable car to the acropolis. What an impressive view from here! We saw many temples (Trajan Athena, Demeter, etc.). We also saw the aquaduct and the Altar of Zeus. Most impressive was the theater. This was the steepest theater in the Roman world. It held about 3,000 people. After descending down to the bottom, we enjoyed a great lunch nearby, with classic Turkish foods.
“Today was a very long day but it was worth it. From seeing the farmers’ market in Izmir to the magnificent site of Pergamum, and three other sites of Revelation, we covered a lot of distance.” -Tour Member-
We drove further east another hour or so to the next site, Thyatira. Prior to arriving we read from Revelation 2:18-29. Like Smyrna, this site has only limited ruins, mainly from the Later Roman Period.
Our last site of the day was Sardis. We read Revelation 3:1-6 as we approached the site. The visit included walking through the ancient synagogue and gymnasium. We also saw the most impressive Temple of Artemis. This temple had about 120 massive pillars. It dates to the 4th century BC. Before leaving the site, we enjoyed seeing how raisins are prepared. A local Turkish family was happy to greet us.
We drove 1.5 hours back to Izmir, arriving back to the hotel for a late dinner (but not as late as last night). We fly back to Athens tomorrow.