William Carey University: Study Travel and Excavation Program

STEP 2009 Turkey

From 12 to 22 March 2009, a group of ten students and professors visited biblical and historical sites in Turkey (ancient Anatolia and Asia Minor) as part of the Study Travel and Excavation Program. The program, directed by Daniel Browning, Professor of Religion and History, has involved Carey students in archaeological excavation in Israel and intensive study-travel in other countries around the Mediterranean since 1991. The STEP 2009 Turkey experience took students via planes, ferries, overnight train, and vans to places as diverse as the centers of the Hittite empire, rock-cut monasteries and underground cities of medieval Christian Cappadocia, sites of Paul's missionary journeys, classical Greek and Roman cities, and the seven churches of Asia addressed in Revelation. The intentionally small group permitted efficient travel and individual attention to student learning in associated courses. We attempted great things, expected great things, and a great time was had by all!

A synopsis of the travel program; clicking on images below will allow viewing of larger versions.
NOTE: IF you have Google Earth installed, you can right-click HERE to download a zipped (.zip) Google Earth (.kmz) file showing our travel route as tracked by GPS, with a few waypoints marked as well; you will need to save and extract it, then open in Google Earth--the tracks are very detailed if you zoom in and color-coded by day, but it takes Google Earth a VERY LOOOONGG time to process the file.
Day 1


12 Mar

Departed Hattiesburg for overnight flight to Istanbul

LEFT: Nate, Brian, and Rachel outside the Blue Mosque at night
RIGHT: Hagia Sophia; the 6th century masterpiece church of Justinian

Day 2


13 Mar
Arrived in Istanbul; after transfer to hotel, a visit to Hagia Sophia and the huge basilica cistern; overnight Istanbul

LEFT: David takes in the interior of Hagia Sophia; Brian and Derek take in the interior of the Blue Mosque

RIGHT: Rachel, Dr Nicovich, Derek, David, and Nate with an upside-down medusa head in the basilica cistern
Day 3


14 Mar

Full day at sites around Istanbul, including the Yedikule fortress;  transfered by ferry across the Bosphorus to Asia, where we boarded an overnight train to Ankara

LEFT: Rachel atop the "Golden Gate" of Constantinople, now part of the Yedikule fortress

AT RIGHT: Brian, Rachel, Sarah, Charlie, and Derek in a tower of the Yedikule

Day 4


15 Mar

Arrived in Ankara and drove via rental vans to Hattusas, massive capital of the Bronze Age Hittite Empire, and Yazilikaya (Hittite cult site), plus Alaca Huyuk; this was followed by a long drive in the blowing snow to Cappadocia for overnight at Goreme

AT LEFT: Charlie, Sarah, and Rachel at the Lion Gate of Hattusas

AT RIGHT: the group with the mysterious green stone adjacent to the Great Temple of Hattusas

Day 5


16 Mar

A full day in Cappadocia included a visit to the Goreme monasteries, an adventure in the more isolated parts of Zelve Valley, an underground city, followed by a dramatic sunset on the road to Konya for overnight

LEFT, above: Charlie, Brian, Dr Nicovich, Derek, Sarah, Rachel, David, and Nate inspect the painted ceiling of the 13th century "Dark Church" at Goreme
; LEFT, below: the group during an "adventure" high above Zelve Valley

RIGHT, above: Charlie soaks in the bizarre landscape of Cappadocia in the Zelve Valley; RIGHT, below: David rests in a long passage of the underground city of Derinkuyu

Day 6


17 Mar

In the morning, the group made its way to unexcavated and lonely Lystra (city of Paul's 1st Missionary Journey; Acts 14, 16);  this was followed by an afternoon visit to Pisidian Antioch, site of Paul's Acts 14 sermon, and a drive to Colossae, also unexcavated (but not quite as lonely);  overnight was at Pamukkale   

FAR LEFT: David studies in the remains of the temple to Augustus at Pisidian Antioch, while Charlie surveys from above; LEFT: Brian in the chambers of a 1st century AD bath complex at Antioch

RIGHT, above: Dr Nicovich, Charlie, and Derek on the slope of the unexcavated mound at Lystra; below: Rachel and David under the aqueduct of Pisidian Antioch

Day 7


18 Mar

Morning saw the group at Hierapolis with its white travertine cliffs and extensive necropolis, and then at Laodicea (one of the seven churches of Revelation); after driving toward the Aegean, we visited the Greek city of Priene, Miletus, and the oracle of Apollo at Didyma; overnight was at Ephesus  

LEFT, above: David in the theater at ancient Hierapolis; LEFT, below: Charlie looks over the white travertine cliffs at Hierapolis

RIGHT, above: an "album cover" picture at Priene; RIGHT, below: debating the images on a column base of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma

Day 8


19 Mar

We made an extended visit to Ephesus (center of Paul's 3rd Missionary Journey and major classical city) in the morning, followed by a drive to Sardis and look at the remains there; this was topped off by a very muddy exploration of the huge tumuli (tombs of Lydian kings) at Bin Tepe; after pizza, we arrived at Bergama for overnight 

LEFT, above: Library of Celsus at Ephesus (no people, but I thought the pic was really good); below, Dr Nicovich tries to photograph the Temple of Hadrian at Ephesus

AT RIGHT, above: In an attempt to go where Paul went, we visited the Roman latrine at Ephesus; below: Sarah and Rachel climb on the Temple of Artemis at Sardis

Day 9


20 Mar

In the morning, we ascended Pergamum's superb acropolis and explored its ancient Asklepion (healing center); the afternoon found the group at Troas, scene of Paul's "Macedonian Vision" and Troy, made famous by Homer's account of the Trojan War; after being chased out of Troy at closing, the group had dinner at a modern Turkish shopping center food court and drove to catch the fast ferry across the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul for overnight

LEFT, above: Nate, David, Sarah, and Rachel (can you see them?) in the dramatic theater at Pergamum; below: Dr Caldwell and the walls of Troy

RIGHT: Rachel and Sarah pose for the cheesy wooden horse picture at Troy; below: Sarah, Rachel Dr Nicovich, and Derek at the Hellespont (Dardanelle)--the channel separating Europe from Asia

Day 10


21 Mar

Free day according to group desires in Istanbul; more sites, shopping, etc.; overnight Istanbul

AT FAR LEFT: David in Saint Savior church; LEFT: Rachel and Dr Nicovich shop in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

AT RIGHT: Derek smiles on the Galeta Tower overlooking Istanbul

Day 11


22 Mar
After an early flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam, we made a quick trip by train into the city for a visit to the Anne Frank House; then it was on the plane to the USA

AT LEFT: Derek and the Westerkerk, adjacent to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam 

All photos are Daniel C. Browning, Jr., and may only be used elsewhere by permission

Updated: 1 April 2009