Antakya

1

October 4, 2013 by travelingsole

This is Antioch (not to be confused with Antioch of Syria). There are numerous Bible passages that talk about Antioch. The most popular being Acts 11 and Acts 13:14-50.

This city was called “the cradle of Christianity”. Antioch was the 3rd largest city of the world, just smaller than, Rome and Alexandria. This was during the Hellenistic Period (300 years before Christ). In 526 AD, an earthquake killed 250,000-300,000 people. This is believed to be the 6th largest natural disaster in history.

Antakya was our first city to visit with our small group. For privacy reasons, I’m sorry I will not be sharing a lot of pictures of the people in my group.

In Antakya it was so hot that we often went out in the morning explored for a while then went back to the hotel for an afternoon siesta. Around 4 pm we’d venture out again for more exploring and dinner. Finding restaurants that we enjoyed was always a challenge. By this time we were a little tired of Turkish restaurant food. There isn’t a lot of variety and we just wanted something different. We got lucky and found a few really good restaurants. One was called Asia Restaurant Cafe

It was a beautiful relaxing place with big leather couches.

It was a beautiful relaxing place with big leather couches.

Entrance to our favorite restaurant in Antakya

Entrance to our favorite restaurant in Antakya

Coffee drinks! Notice the paper "Alfiyet Olsun". That is a very typical phrase meaning the equivalent of "Bon Appetit" or "Enjoy"

Coffee drinks! Notice the paper “Alfiyet Olsun”. That is a very typical phrase meaning the equivalent of “Bon Appetit” or “Enjoy”

The box your restaurant bill comes in

The box your restaurant bill comes in

A restaurant receipt - this is in Turkish Lira about 2 TL to 1 usd

A restaurant receipt. Each mark means 1 so when your order 3 it looks like x l. – this is in Turkish Lira about 2 TL to 1 usd

One of the most enjoyable things about traveling in Turkey was meeting Turkish people. We would sit down and talk with them and get to know them a little. They could tell us local stories and we learned a lot more about the culture through these people.

It was also here that we met a künefe shop owners son. Künefe is a Middle Eastern cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup. We ate künefe at his shop every night and because we were his guests we ate for free. This is an interesting dessert. I first tried it in Ephesus and didn’t really like it but here in Antakya it was made fresh and it was delicious.

künefe - a Levantine cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup

künefe – a Levantine cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup

Turkish latterns

Turkish latterns

A sign in a restaurant depicting Antakya's view of religious tolerance.

A sign in a restaurant depicting Antakya’s view of religious tolerance.

IMG_9664

Winding back alleys

Today Antioch is referred to as Hatay or Antakya. It is in the little finger of Turkey that stretches down between the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and Syria. Antakya is 30 km from the Syrian border. We were told that all foreign Arabic men, Afghans, Iraqis, etc, were soldiers. They cross the border in the morning fight during the day then come back to the city to sleep and be with their families. There are about 70,000 Syrians living in the city of Antakya. The Turks and Syrians don’t get along so they stay in their own sections of the city.

The view from our hotel balcony

The view from our hotel balcony

Young policemen/women waiting in an alley in case a protest happened.

View directly below our balcony –  Very young policemen/women waiting in an alley in case a political protest happened.

By the way, those refugee camps near the Turkish/Syrian border that are talked about on the news. Those are actually used more like barracks for soldiers and their families. Don’t send them food or money please. They are just going sell the food and buy more weapons. Calling them refugee camps is a political ploy to get unknowing Americans to send them support.

IMG_9681

A Syrian family that invited is to sit down for a glass of Pepsi.

IMG_9683

Syrian boys. Usually we were discouraged from taking pictures in this part of the country but these boys begged to have their picture taken. The kids were all playing with toy guns. The boy on the far right thought it was cool when I pointed that he was wearing an American Michael Jordan t-shirt.

IMG_9685

Rugged mountains surround the city

IMG_9691

Sitting under an olive tree

IMG_9676

That tree reminds me of my art teacher, Arlene, from high school. She always to told us to look for odd looking trees.

There is almost no visible history left in Antakya due to the earthquakes. If you looked up on the mountains surrounding the city you could see ruins of the old city walls. There was also the Church of St. Peter. It is a cave. It’s believed to be one of the first churches in the history of Christianity. We couldn’t actually go in because it was closed for renovations but we had a little prayer meeting on the hill nearby.

IMG_9672

Walking through the city toward the church of St. Peter.

IMG_9697

View of the city from the Church of St. Peter

IMG_9699

A small cave outside the walls near the Church of St. Peter

Just a couple street scenes yet.

IMG_9665 IMG_9673

Advertisements

One thought on “Antakya

  1. musa says:

    did you recognize that the receipt is calculated 6 liras more, it’s supposed to be 99,50

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: