01. Welcome to Pisidian Antioch, one of the more important cities of ancient history. The Pisidian region has been inhabited for thousands of years. Some areas have been inhabited for 5,000 to 7,000 years, the Neolithic Age.
2. About 14th century BC the Hittites identified a mountain site called Salawassa. The Hittites called the whole mountain region Arzawa.
3. The language of the Pisidian people was one of the Indo-European languages. It was a wild, mountainous region, difficult to rule for outside powers. There were constant uprisings and unrest.
4. The Persians conquered much of Anatolia between 580 – 530 B.C. They divided the area into satrapies in order to control the people.
5. Once under the yoke of Persia, the satraps counted on the help of the Pisidians in the war against Greece from 530 – 490 B.C. In spite of the oversight from the Persians, the region in the interior continued to suffer instability.
6. Unrest was associated with tribal powers unwilling to accept the imposition of Persian rule. Bandits could hide in the mountains; not enough Persian troops were present to put down rebellions.
7. Pamphylia received colonies from Greece, Persia and Egypt earlier than the interior. For this reason, combined with the greater fertility of their territory, Perga and Antalya became more civilized than their neighbors in the interior, such as Pisidian Antioch.
8. Alexander the Great subdued the region close to Pisidia.
9. Alexander died suddenly and this region was initially ruled by Lysimachus of Thrace and then Seleucus I Nicator. Seleucus founded the Seleucid Dynasty.
10. Greek colonies were founded at strategic locations and the people learned Greek language and customs, a process known as Hellenisation.
11. During a period of about 140 years the interior of Anatolia saw a struggle between the Seleucids, based in the east, and the kings of Pergamon. Other peoples also struggled for control of the interior of Anatolia.
12. Rome, rising as the new power around the Mediterranean Basin forced a treaty on Antiochus III of Syria in 188 B.C. As of this date the city was free. Roman citizenship carried with it privileges
13. Men had the right to vote, exemption from certain taxes and certain legal protections. Roman citizens could not be tortured. Local residents who were of a particular help could obtain both Roman citizenship as well as a gift of free land in Pisidian Antioch.
14. Following the death of King Attalos III, the last king of Pergamon who bequeathed his kingdom to Rome in 133 B.C. Pisidia became part of Cappadocia.
15. However, these unsatisfied people looked south to the pirate-dominated region of Cilicia. A war followed and Roman rule was restored in 102 B.C.
16. Bandits were common. They hid in the rugged, narrow mountain passes abounded. A group of bandits, Homonadesians of the Taurus Mountains, closed traffic on the roads that led from Pamphylia (on the coast) to Pisidia (in the interior, to the north).
17. King Amyntas (Ruled 39-25 B.C.) was killed by the widow of the bandit Homonade. She took vengeance for the death of her husband. Many tales are hidden in history. It took 40 years to wipe out the bandits and an end was put to their robberies in 3 B.C.
18. During this time a new highway, the Via Sebaste, was engineered enabling Roman legions to travel quickly by horse back from the coast to the interior in a matter of days.
19. In order to keep the highways to the interior open Rome colonized the area with veterans of the legions. Many of them came from the poorer parts of Italy and had no family inheritance. They were given land as agriculture in the region was attractive.
20. Eight Roman colonies were established in Pisidia. Antioch and Sagalassos were the two urban centers. Latin gradually replaced Greek and the local languages.
21. Josephus, the 1st-century-BC Jewish historian, mentions that Antiochus III ordered 2,000 Jewish families be moved from Babylonia to certain areas in Lydia and Phrygia because he believed they would be loyal supporters of the Seleucids (Jewish Antiquities 12.146-153).
22. This would account for the presence of Jews in the city by the time of Paul's arrival in the 1st century AD.
23. Situated on the southern foothills of the Sultan Mountains, Pisidian Antioch was spread over seven small hills, as Rome was also built on seven hills.
24. The city that Paul the Apostle visited was one of 15 different cities named "Antioch" in New Testament times. While this is strange to our ears, it was common in Roman times to name members of the family of after the kings of the Seleucids, many of whom were Antiochus.
25. A common joke at this time was to mock Antiochus IV Epiphanes (God Manifest or The Illustrious) as Antiochus Epimanes (The Mad One).
26. Pisidian Antioch's status grew as its administrative center controlled bandits. This started in 25 B.C. Then the arrival of many retired Roman soldiers gave momentum to a flurry of building activity during the 50 years before Paul arrived.
27. All the familiar elements of Roman culture were present in the city, most of which can be seen clearly today in the ruins: baths, paved colonnaded streets, stadium, nymphaeum, aqueduct, and temples.
28. The famous Roman roads were also constructed in the area. Antioch sat upon the crossing of the important new highway, the Via Sebaste, constructed in 6 BC, that now made the interior of Asia Minor an integral part of the Roman administration.
29. The Pisidian Antioch that Paul and Barnabas visited was a city composed of four cultural identities: Romans ruled the city and kept the peace while the Greeks kept Hellenistic culture alive in many ways.
30. The people of the land were of Phrygian and Pisidian background and a large colony of Jews enjoyed the peaceful region in which they could practice their Jewish faith with relative ease. There was a strong Jewish community in Pisidian Antioch.
31. About 46 A.D. Paul and Barnabas visited the city of Pisidian Antioch. (Note that some commentators of the Bible place this visit in 50 A.D.) On his way back from Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, he came here, perhaps the year was 47 or 48. The details are not clear.
32. It would seem that Paul returned to this area twice more, first with Silas in 50 A.D. and again with Timothy and Silas in 53 A.D. (More on Paul’s visit below, picture 41)
33. Pisidian Antioch became the capital of a new province, Pisidia, created by Diocletian in 295 A.D. The theatre was rebuilt with a stupendous engineering feat of building the extension over the main east-west avenue. Architecture here was modeled on that in Rome.
34. After Constantine there was active persecution against Christians in Pisidia under its governor in the early 4th Century and many were put to death. There is no evidence of any church building dating before 311 A.D.
35. This city became a major center in the legalization of Christianity in 311. As the capital of the Christian Pisidian Province founded about 330 A.D. it paid a major role in the expansion of the Orthodox Church for the next several hundred years.
36. Bishop Optiumus, bishop between 375 and 381, attended the Council of Constantinople in 381, the Second General Council, (the decisions of that Council are accepted by most of the major branches of Christianity).
37. At least two churches were built before the year 400, judging from the ruins found in Pisidian Antioch today. Persecution must have ended by the year 320.
38. The city suffered from a devastating earthquake in 518. It was rebuilt over the next 50 years but suffered grievous loss of life from a plague in 541-543 A.D. Arabs took the city and the area declined in importance. The Seljuk Turks captured the area in the 11th Century.
39. Many wars followed until 1176 when the Grand Sultan Kilicarslan (Sword of the Lion) defeated Manuel Commoenos in the Battle of the Myriokephalon, the battle of the Thousand Heads – More than 30,000 men perished.
40. The Turks were victorious. Christianity disappeared -today there is no church in Yalvac, the local city (population 50,000). Only a few tourists interested in ancient history come months to see the ancient ruins of Pisidian Antioch during the marvelous spring and hot summer months .
41. St. Paul and Barnabas came to Pisidian Antioch early in their first journey. The city was the peak of its early development. Its infrastructure was complete. The control over the smaller communities gave it status throughout the region. The story is found in Acts 13 in the Bible.
42. Paul and Barnabas arrived about two weeks after leaving Perga. They had come from Cyprus via Perga, so would have taken the Via Sebaste into Antioch. This involved a hard climb up the steep mountain pass through the Taurus Mountain range.
43. On the Sabbath, they went to the local synagogue; Paul was invited to speak to the congregation. His message was received with great interest. Paul was a tent maker; this profession may have made it easier to speak to other Jews, many of whom also made tents.
44. The synagogue was about 100 yards / meters from one of the two main market places in the city. During the week that followed there must have been an enormous commotion as a result of the sermon. A week later "almost the whole city gathered" to hear them, an enormous crowd.
45. What was the response? Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas' message. However, three groups came together to expel them: the Jews who ruled the synagogue, God-fearing women of high status and the leading men of the city.
46. Paul and Barnabas had to make a decision. Would they remain in Pisidian Antioch and face social pressure and possible physical persecution? Or would they move on? If they left then what would be their next destination? They shook the feet from their feet and left.
47. Their next destination was Iconium and from their they traveled on to Lystra and Derbe. (See the next gallery of photos in this web site.) On their return journey, they stopped by Antioch again and encouraged the Christian converts. Churches had begun to meet in this region.
48. There is no way of knowing how much time Paul spent in this Southern Galatian region. In spite of on-going persecution at each city he had discovered that the Gentiles were open to the message about Jesus Christ.
49. A typical first-century synagogue service would have included the shema, the liturgy of 'The Eighteen Benedictions,' a reading from the Law, a reading from one of the prophets, a free address given by any competent Jew in attendance, and a closing blessing.
50. The leader of the synagogue, usually one of the elders of the congregation, took charge of the building and made arrangements for the services (Lk 8:41, 49). This office was sometimes held for life. (Photo from Synagogue in Sardis.) (click NEXT for photos 51-100)
51. Perhaps Paul's dress proclaimed him a Pharisee and thereby opened the way for an invitation to speak. Whatever the reason, Paul was able to galvanize both rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles, in the city within a period of less than a month, perhaps only two weeks.
52. The city is important in the spread of Christianity. After the Jews rejected Paul he decided to go to the Gentiles as his primary audience. Paul and Barnabas 'shook the dust from their feet in protest directed at the city's magistrates and the Jewish leaders.
53. Thus Paul focused on his main audience and he became the Apostle to the Gentiles. Pisidian Antioch marked an important turning point in Paul's ministry, as the city became the first to have a majority Gentile Christian community.
54. Although only ten percent of the city has so far been revealed, this once magnificent ancient capital city in the centre of Anatolia is fascinating place to visit.
55. Archaeological interest began in 1833. British Chaplain F. V. J. Arundel stumbled upon the city of Pisidian Antioch. Excavations, under the direction of Dr. Mehmet Taslialan Director of the Yalvaç Museum, continued with care until 2003.
56. A tour of the archaeological site begins at the Triple Gate, which dates from 212 A.D. About 26 feet wide, this monumental gate was decorated with reliefs of kneeling captive soldiers, floral motifs, weapons and winged features on pedestals holding garlands.
57. Near the top on the front and back of the Triple Gate were inscriptions in bronze letters, one was a dedicatory inscription to Emperor Hadrian, the other an identification of the person who paid for the gate.
58. An artist in Pisidian Antioch painted his impression of the entry way to the city. The view is from the south looking at the city of Pisidian Antioch in about 50AD. Painting is found in the Museum of Yalvac.
59. The city was organized around two main Roman streets: the Cardo, running roughly north-south, and the Decumanus running east-west, positioned at right angles. The Decumanus Maximus, pictured here, lead to the intersection with the Cardo.
60. Pisidian Antioch had a natural defense at the top of the acropolis. A steep hill protected the eastern side of the city from attack. In that section the Imperial Temple complex was built. Sacrifices and offerings were made there to the Emperor, the "Savior and Lord" of Rome.
61. Along the way, on the west side of the city - where one enters, is the remains of what was probably a second agora followed by the theater. The synagogue was located slightly further to the west, close to the agora, or the market place.
62. The theater was built by the Greeks and enlarged by the Romans to a seating capacity of 15,000; it may be the site of St. Thekla's martyrdom. Its construction is unique in containing a tunnel on its southern side through which the Decumanus Maximus passed.
63. Like all theatres of the Greco- Roman Empire the acoustics were superb. Anyone sitting at the top could hear the actors perfectly. You can try this out today. Stand at the bottom and have your friend go to the top at the back and speak to each other in a normal voice.
64. An artist's impression of the theatre and the buildings around it when the theatre was at is largest size, after the third restoration and re-building. Painting in the Museum of Yalvac.
65. This meant that the seating of the expanded theater was built right over the street. The largest of all the theatres in the ancient world was this one in Rome. Other Roman cities aspired to provide games and sports, plays and theatre, entertainment and pleasure to the city life.
66. The Cardo Maximus street ran north-to-south through the city. Behind the colonnades along the street were small shops, bars and restaurants. Furniture could be bought here, some of it far beyond the skill level that we might imagine.
67. The Cardo terminated at the 1st-century AD nymphaeum, a fountain from which water was distributed to the whole city. Behind it, a 1st-century aqueduct brings water down from the hills to the city. (Photo of aqueduct in Ephesus.)
68. To the northwest of the nymphaeum is the palaestra (exercise area) and adjoining Roman bath. A large part of the bathhouse has survived and is still being excavated. (Line drawing is from Hierapolis, where excavation is carried out by the Italian Archaeological Society.)
69. On the east side of the Cardo not far from its intersection with the Decumanus was the most important structure in the city: the imperial sanctuary with its temple to Augustus.
70. Built on the highest point of the city, the temple was a approached by a wide, colonnaded walkway (the Tiberia Plateia or Square of Tiberius).
71. Crossing the Square of Tiberius, visitors would then pass through a three-arched propylon or triumphal gateway. Built in the early 1st century AD, the gate bore an bronze dedicatory inscription to Augustus and was decorated with sculptures and reliefs celebrating his victories.
72. Attached to the propylon was a Latin copy of the Res Gestae Divi Augusti (a record of the emperor's accomplishments), fragments of which were discovered at the site.
73. The gateway marked the entrance to the Square of Augustus, the highest point of the city.
74. In earliest times, this was the site of a temple to the mother-goddess Cybele, ( sometimes written Kybele) then, in Hellenistic times, the moon goddess Men.
75. An inscription clearly shows the whole word of "Paulli" and portions of "Sergii." On Paul's first journey, on the island of Cyprus, the proconsul, Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7-12) was converted to Christianity. Did this mean that Pisidian Antioch was Sergius' hometown?
76. The family of Sergii Paulli had large estates in the vicinity of Pisidian Antioch. However, this name is quite common so it is not certain it is related to the biblical Sergius Paulus.
77. Biblical scholars debate this point with interest. It may have been that at that time Sergius Paulus requested Paul to travel to Pisidian Antioch to speak to other members of his extended family that resided there-maybe even giving him a letter of introduction.
78. One of the reasons for this inquiry is to determine why the name Saul is completely changed to Paul after the visit to Cyprus and the next stop in Pisidian Antioch.
79. The Temple of Augustus was approached by a stairway of 12 steps, which led to a porch with four Corinthian-style columns. Surrounding the temple on the rear was a semicircular two-story portico, most of which was carved out from the rock of the hillside.
80. Across from the Temple of Augustus are the remains of a Byzantine church dating from the 4th or 5th century AD. The most exciting find in recent times was the discovery (1920s) of some foundations protruding from beneath the Byzantine church.
81. The Basilica of St. Paul, along the western city wall, was built in the late 4th century AD. It is still one of the largest churches ever discovered in Asia Minor. As mentioned above, Pisidian Antioch was the seat of a metropolitan bishop; this was his church.
82. Some believe that the foundations of a 1st-century synagogue can be seen. If so, It would also mean that the pilgrim can read Paul's sermon in Acts 13 in the very place it was delivered.
83. With the creation of the modern state the Republic of Turkey, the influence of Turkey's founder, President Ataturk, the values and norms replaced the historical influence of Anatolia where St. Paul's message and the message of Christianity were once dominant.
84. Today about 100% of the people who live in Yalvac, ancient Pisidian Antioch, are some form of Islam. most are Sunni Muslims, although there are a small percentage who represent the Turkish Alevi practices of Islam.
85. Today the streets of Pisidian Antioch are under the watchful care of highly trained professionals.
86. Some trucks that bring apples and many varieties of fruit to Yalvac for distribution around the country make sure that the evil eye protects them from harm and danger.
87. The interior of this province is blessed with forests and orchards. Mining marble from quarries is an important industry.
88. Country roads take you on the scenic tour of Turkey.
89. Lakes abound with very pleasant scenery but few places to stop and almost no camping grounds.
90. What they lack in camp grounds they make up for in agricultural wealth.
91. This section of the high-plateau of Turkey has its own dangers - very long thistles with sharp thorns if you come after the month of August.
92. Shepherds watch their flocks and drift from one field to another.
93. The altitude is high enough that in winter one needs snow tires.
94. Ancient Pisidian Antioch likely grew to a population of almost 175,000 people. Today's modern city, Yalvac, built over a large section of the ancient city, has a population of about 50,000.
95. A large tree in the center of Yalvac is about 800 years old. Under these spreading branches a good portion of the city's population can have lunch, tea, or supper.
96. While you have your lunch brought to you from one of the local stores specializing in one of two kinds of pizza, your shoes can be cleaned for about $2.00.
97. The entire population of Yalvac today is Muslim. No known believers or followers of other faiths are known.
98. Yalvac is high enough in it's altitude to vividly celebrate the changing of each of the four seasons. In winter time the temperature drops below zero.
99. The Museum of Yalvac is close by and so are friendships and conversations for those willing to try a conversation with high school students, or if through a translator if you have someone with you who knows Turkish.
100. A visit to Pisidian Antioch will take between one and two hours, depending upon how much time your tour guide takes to explain the historical importance, or the impact of the Christian Scriptures here.