Turkey Study Trip

Colossae, Carian Marble, and Aphrodisias

On the bus Randy gave us information on the geology, history, and the economic and political situation of the Lycus Valley. The geology is similar to that of Jericho. Agriculture production is good, and the location on the Persian trade routes gave an advantage. Marble is abundant. Marble cutting was important. The towns were separate, with no sharing of income.

Colossae was possibly the smallest of the New Testament churches. But the letter to them has more about fullness in Christ than any other. The size of the error, not the size of the group, prompted Paul’s letter.

Standing beside the tell at Colossae, we heard the lesson of God’s goals for us from chapter 1 of Paul’s letter. Most importantly, know He has a goal for me, verse 9. Secondly, in verse 10, knowing priorities, where to put the weight of gifts he gave me. Third goal, to please Him, to conform my desires to another. Next, we’re to produce fruit. In the end, to hear well done, and experience intimacy with Christ.

The other letter written to this area was  to Philemon. We learn principles of reconciliation to apply when one believer has wronged another.

A few stones are uncovered at the Colossian tell, but we saw no impressive columns or even structures. I made a quick excursion to the top to see what I could see.

We visited the ancient town Aphrodisias, the site of the world’s largest source of Carian marble. This marble has the characteristic of being easy to work, then developing a hard surface when left to bake in the sun. Workshops here would have produced sarcophagi (stone coffins) and statues shipped all over the empire.

The Sebasteion is a structure containing many reliefs depicting scenes of the emperor and family. Only a small part of the original structure is standing. Each story panel is interesting and beautiful. But the really amazing part of this is the combined effect of all of the panels. Some empty panels show something is missing. Each of us is writing the story of our life. Everyone’s story is valuable and needed. As we each fill the panel where God has placed us His glorious plan can be manifested.

The entrance to the city is a huge tetrapylon, a four-way decorated gate structure.

The temple to Aphrodite has several columns standing. It’s not nearly as imposing as the tetrapylon.

The stadium is impressive. We thought about Paul’s admonition to run our life’s race well.

We toured the museum. It contains statues of both Greek and Roman origin. The relief panels from the Sebasteion were the most interesting. As always, there were more things to see than time to see them.

By Andrew Zimmerman

Excited about travel in the Bible lands!

One reply on “Colossae, Carian Marble, and Aphrodisias”

Congratulations Andrew and Julia, I really enjoyed your Thesis of your adventures on your tour.
Not quite as good as being there or visiting the area but sure seemed like I got a glimpse into your your adventures

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