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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hierapolis






For the context of our day, read Colossians 4: 12-18.
WOW. Today was amazing. How can one day be better than the next? That's what life feels like at this juncture. We began at Hierapolis. The breath-taking views of the mountains set the perfect tone for our wander through these ancient ruins. The photos do not show the amazing mountain range that graced our view throughout the day. We started our journey by walking on the original Roman road. How can this road still be there?! The first 20 minutes were through a necropolis, or cemetery and was filled with tombs of all shapes and sizes. Death played a big role in the culture of the time and it is interesting to come to understand some of the imagery in Revelation as relating to this reality. The graveyard near the town center was for wealthy people so it is likely we were seeing the tombs of the some of the most well-off people in Hierapolis. The presence of the early Christain community is evident by the church ruins that remain as well as the etchings of Jewish symbols and crosses. Amazing to think about the Christian community thriving and developing in this place hundreds of years ago.
The enormity of the arch work was staggering to me and reminded me of the stone work that is written about in Pillars of the Earth. Very cool to imagine how all of this came to be without the use of today's modern technology and tools.
The public latrines were quite ornate with pillars surrounding them. It was fascinating to see a cross on top of one of the city gates indicating how prevalent the Christian community had become. Ancient theaters are always impressive and this one did not disappoint. We spent about 3 hours wandering through this ancient city. The surroundings were simply gorgeous. The presence of wild flowers, especially the poppies create dazzling images for us to enjoy. The day was only half over and already we had experienced such wonderful things.