This is my second full day in Turkey, heading south to the Mediterranean Sea. The day started earlier than a day ought to start, since we needed to be on the bus at 5:30 AM. We had an early flight to Antalya (Turkish Air, great flight except I needed more coffee than they served). After the fifty-two minute flight we drove a short distance to Perga, a well excavated Roman city.
Perga is the place Paul and Barnabas visited after Cypress in Acts 13:13. They do not appear to do any ministry at Perga at that time, traveling to Psidian Antioch. However, Acts 14:24-25 indicates they preached the gospel at Perga at the end of the first missionary journey, possibly resulting in a church (although Luke does not mention it).
The excavations at Perga are extensive and merit far more than the two and a half hour we could stay on this trip. I could have spent most of the day there, exploring the restored areas and examining the many inscriptions. Although not as extensive as Ephesus and many area are not restored, it is well worth the time.
Later in the day we visited the Museum in Antalya. The main feature of the museum is a collection of the major finds at Perga. The skene of the theater (which is closed to the public) contained statures of gods and other important figures, these are all in the museum, along with a large statue of Alexander the Great and several Hadrian statues. The major sarcophagi from the necropolis are housed in one of the galleries as well. Although there is far more in the museum than Perga, travelers to Perga ought to plan on visiting this museum for a few hours. At only 20 Lira (about $5), it is a bargain!
Before the museum we walked through the Hadrian Gate to Antalya’s Old City. Many of the old Ottoman houses have been renovated and now host trendy restaurants and artists. There are are Roman remains everywhere and Mark Wilson does a great job pointing out obscure bits that many will overlook. We walked to the port and had a nice view of the cliffs of the harbor.
For lunch we stopped at the St. Paul Cultural Center (soup, salad, chicken and rice, with drink, dessert and tea, $5.50), and I added a Turkish coffee, which was more or less medicinal at that point in the day. I will post some additional information about this very interesting ministry at some point in the future, they do far more than coffee and lunch.
Tomorrow we head north and east, to Laodicea.