The world’s most interesting spiritual locations
At Travel406 we love to travel and explore, so we are always on the look-out for new places to visit.
People who tour with us really enjoy our spiritual tours and one of the destinations that we have been exploring for future breaks is Turkey.
Turkey is an intriguing country with a long cultural and religious history, and its predominant religion is now Islam. However, for Christians, Turkey holds a particular fascination because it was so pivotal in the development and growth of the early Church.
Turkey and the early Church
After the death of Jesus, a number of his apostles and early followers became missionaries and travelled far and wide to spread the good news.
This was no mean feat in those days as the main methods of transport were foot or sailing boat. The two most notable missionaries were probably Saint Peter who went to Rome and Saint Paul (previously named Saul), who converted to Christianity after Jesus’ death.
Earlier in his life, St Paul had been responsible for persecuting Christians but underwent a dramatic conversion after seeing a blinding light and a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus.
After being baptised, he believed his mission was to spread the word of Christianity, which he did tirelessly until he was executed by the Romans in around 62-64AD.
A little known fact is that St Paul was born in a region called Tarsus which is now located in Southern Turkey, so it was inevitable that he would return to this area to travel extensively to help establish the Church. He is often referred to as the Apostle of Asia Minor (Anatolia) because of his Christian dedication.
Christianity had its roots in Jerusalem and modern-day Israel but the majority of the subsequent early Christian communities were founded in Turkey, after which the message spread further afield to Europe.
Spiritual highlights of Turkey
There are many fascinating Christian places of interest to visit in Turkey; here are a few notable examples:
Antioch was one of the major cities of the Roman Empire and was visited by St Paul, St Peter and St Barnabas.
The city no longer exists in its ancient form but you can still travel to Antakya and visit the Church of St Peter, which is carved out of a cave and is where early Christians sheltered to avoid persecution.
Cappadocia was home to some of the earliest Christian communities which made their homes in the volcanic craggy outcrops and also in underground communities for protection.
Ephesus was an important place for Christianity from AD50 onwards and is where St Paul planned many of his activities. It is also where St John brought Jesus’ mother, Mary after his death and you can visit the house where she lived during her final years.
Ephesus is also home to the Basilica Church of St John – where it is believed that St John is buried.
We hope to introduce a tour to Turkey in the near future but in the meantime, why not take a look at our Holy Tours page for upcoming tours?
Or please get in touch with us if you have any questions about our tours or breaks.
We look forward to travelling with you soon!