Saturday, June 21, 2014

An Ancient Roman City By The Sea

The sweet sea breeze blows through the Roman streets of Antalya, the ancient capital of the Byzantine Empire, which was presented as a gift to the benevolent Roman Emperor Hadrian, the same one who built the wall in Great Britannia. 

I made it to Turkey, but not without some difficulty.  It was an 11 hour journey.

When I landed in Antalya, which is situated in Turkey, I felt sad as the bus took me into the town center.  The outskirts of Antalya is ugly and without character and life.  It reminded me of the poorer areas of Lebanon; I was there in the spring of 2012.

Furthermore, part of my heart was still in Bavaria.  I don't know why I love Bavaria so much, but I've been there six times now; so I must believe this land and I have a special connection.

But when I walked through the streets of Antalya's old town, I was amazed.  It's an ancient city, a relic of the first century BC.  Although renovated, the Roman City looks like it would have during the time that Jesus Christ walked the earth.  I've never seen a Roman City so intact and so clean.  Best of all, you could smell the sweet sea breeze everywhere.  It's a Roman City on the Mediterranean cost, like the picture above shows. You can also hear the Middle Eastern music playing in the streets.  You see the people dancing.  You can smell the meats roasting.

In one passage of the ancient scriptures, Jesus says, "You are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden."  Jesus must have been referring to a city like Antalya because even upon descent, the city looks like a gem mounted on top of a cliff.

Furthermore, Antalya has pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim roots.  It impresses me that Paul of Tarsus, also known as Apostle Paul, sailed through this City.  As Acts 14 records, ""From Perga, Paul and Barnabas went down to Attalia and sailed from there to Antioch after preaching in Pisidia and Pamphylia" (bold added for emphasis.)

Like my entire journey, I'm not sure where I'm going.  I also don't know what's going to happen.  My airplane was stalled for two and a half hours because there was mechanical difficulty.  For a moment, the captain didn't think we'd take off.  You could also sense the tension building amongst the German fliers.

On the airplane, I asked the German flight attendant, "What's there to do in Turkey?"

She said, "Don't you know?  You can't just go to place and have no plans."

Well, I guess she never met me.  I'll figure out what I'm going to do either tonight or in the morning.  For now, I'm just going to eat good food, meet people, and think through what to do with the rest of my journey.  In my next few posts, I'll also share some secret stories and what I've been learning.

I haven't had my wonderful Turkish coffee yet.  But already, I've drank five cups of Turkish tea.  It's wonderfully balanced, sweet, and refreshing.  Time for a Turkish coffee, though.

As the Turks say, “Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love."

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