I recently returned from leading a group of 32 to Turkey and Greece—Following in the Footsteps of Paul. Over the next few blogs I will share some of my impressions and images of how International Travel has changed—as of October 2021.
Notice: beginning October 1, Comcast shut down all my email accounts with them—while I was abroad. These accounts will remain closed and I do not have access to any of those emails. Sigh!
My new email addresses are:
For those of you who might be interested, we are offering an 18 day trip to Turkey and Greece, Following in the Footsteps of Paul. You are welcome to contact me if you would like additional information. email@example.com.
Nebi Samwil is the highest and most prominent landmark located 5 mi. [8 km.] northwest of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Although not on the route of typical tours, serious tours may indeed stop there, for the view from there is terrific in all directions. In the past we have been able to ascend to the roof of the mosque to view the country side, but even without this, the views from the foot of the mosque are still very good.
Where else can you get a view of the Central Benjamin Plateau (which is one of the busiest areas in the Historical Books of the Old Testament)? Besides viewing Gibeon and Ramallah to the north, Gibeah to the east, the modern city of Jerusalem is spread out in all its glory to the south. To the southeast the three towers on the Mount of Olives are clearly visible in the distance. But students invariably ask, can we see the Temple Mount from here?
We have peered through binoculars in all kinds of weather trying to find the Gold Dome of the “Dome of the Rock” that now stands where the First and Second Temples stood. On very very rare occasions someone has said, oh, there it is! But it has never been that clear!#$@!
Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download
Well, sorting though some of my photos taken from Nebi Samwil I thought I would see if the Golden Dome of the Rock appeared in any of them. Voilà! It does! Note that Nebi Samwil is at 2906 ft. above sea level while the Dome of the Rock is at 2437 ft. And that the City of David (= the Old Ancient Core) is to the south of the Dome and decreases in elevation as one goes south.
Here is a full image of the above photo — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download
More on the Biblical significance of Nebi Samwil in a future post (next Wednesday?).
A very interesting web site called “magiccityistanbul,” that focuses on Istanbul, has just came to my attention. It treats historical, cultural, religious, and practical matters (riding in a taxi, useful telephone numbers for example—but some [one?] like the “Museum Pass” have special stipulations [be careful]). The pictures and the commentary are very informative.
Most (all?) of the entries that I have checked are dated “December”—so it looks to me that this site is relatively new. Just click on the Thumb Nails and enjoy.
One of my favorite sites in the Peloponnese area of Greece is the site of Nemea. Nemea is located only 11.6 mi. southwest of Corinth. There, one of the four PanHellenic festivals was held every two years in the stadium of Nemea. The other locations of these festivals were Delphi, Isthmia, and Olympia.
The Temple of Zeus at Nemea Click On Image to Enlarge/Download
However (personal confession), on my typical trip to the Peloponnese, within the context of a 17 or 21 day trip, we typically do a day excursion from Athens where we visit the Diolkos, Corinth, Mycenae, and Cenchrea. Because of time (the Greeks close their archaeological sites at 3:00 PM —Ugh [more !#$@!]) and traffic constraints we have not visited Nemea in several years (sigh!!).
[Aside—how in the world can a tourist/academic group get to Corinth or Mycenae by the 8:00 AM opening time — what in the world are the guards/ticket takers doing at that time??? At sites like Corinth, Mycenae, and Nemea, why in the world don’t they open later and close later—hello??]
Heracles and the Nemean Lion — From Perga (Turkey) Note on his left side the “skin” of the lion — its head and claws Click On Image to Enlarge/Download
Nemea is also well known in Greek mythology as the site of the first of the twelve labors of Heracles (Herakles). Heracles was the son of the god Zeus and a mortal Alcmene. Although originally a mortal, he eventually attained divine status and was widely worshiped throughout Greece. As punishment for killing six of his children he had to perform 12 “labors” (= very difficult tasks). The first of which was to kill the Nemean Lion. He wrestled with the lion, strangled it, and subsequently used its pelt as a cloak.
In January 2015 I was told that Saint Peter’s Church has reopened to the public!
In April (2013) I revisited Antioch on the Orontes (= Syrian Antioch) as part of a personal tour in the area. Not many tour groups visit the area but when they do one of the “must see” places is “Saint Peter’s Church” — where Christians have worshiped since the fourth or fifth centuries A.D.
St. Peter’s Church in Antioch on the Orontes Click on Image to Enlarge
While there, people usually reflect on the fact that there followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:19–26) and from there famine relief was sent to Jerusalem (Acts 11:27–30). Paul began all three of his missionary journeys from Antioch (Acts 13; 15:35–41; 18:22–23).