In one part of the Bible, the holy book of Christianity, St. John lists these churches and the contents of the letters to be sent, after saying that Jesus Christ, who had appeared to him in a vision, had asked him to send a letter to seven churches. All these early churches, which have a very important place in the history of Christianity, are located in the Aegean Region of Türkiye. Since the region was considered a province of Asia at that time in the Roman Empire, these churches are also known as the “Seven Churches of Asia Minor” and are considered holy sites for many Christians to visit. An itinerary based on these churches, which are all an important part of the common cultural heritage of mankind and can be found in the ruins of ancient cities, can form the plan for a great cultural trip.
The church, whose ruins are in Ephesus in Izmir, occupies an important place in the history of Christianity. It is believed that the tomb of St. John, who contributed significantly to the spread of Christianity against pagan beliefs, is also located here. Ephesus is also the place where the Virgin Mary is believed to have lived after Jesus was crucified. There is a building on the site that is considered the “House of the Virgin Mary,” and this building is a sacred place that Christians visit. Ephesus, which was an important center for the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire, is an ancient settlement that is a must-visit.
The remains of the ancient agora of the city can be seen in Izmir, which is now one of the most important cities in Türkiye. The Jewish population of Smyrna, which was an important port city in the past, widely adopted Christianity and played an important role in the spread of the religion. One of the seven churches to which St. John wrote a letter is located here. You can see the ruins of this important ancient city at the Izmir Agora Archaeological Site. Also visit the Izmir Archaeology Museum, which exhibits many of the ruins found in the city.
Pergamon, the capital of the Asian province of the Roman Empire, is also the site of one of the seven churches that have their place in the biblical narrative. The letter advises the church to "avoid false teachers," possibly emphasizing the strength of pagan beliefs in the city. To learn more about Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape site, you can watch the Uncovering: Pergamon video on the YouTube channel of the Turkish Museums.
The church of the ancient city of Thyatira, located in the district of Akhisar in Manisa, is one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor mentioned in the Bible. Remains of the Tepe cemeteries of Thyatira are also found in Akhisar, which is believed to have developed on the site of the ancient city. The Great Mosque of Akhisar, whose exact date of construction is unknown and which was later converted into a mosque, could be the very church mentioned in the Bible, who knows?
The city near the Salihli district of Manisa is known as the capital of Lydia and the place where money was minted under state guarantee for the first time in history. The letters of St. John criticize the church of the city, where Roman structures have been preserved to this day, for its reputation of weakness in faith and advice to strengthen its faith. The Sardes Archaeological Site, which houses the ruins of a very important center that has not lost its importance even after hundreds of years, deserves to be visited not only for its importance in the history of Christianity, but also for its other cultural values.
Although most of the ancient city remained within the boundaries of the Alaşehir district of Manisa under the modern settlement, the city's theater and the remains of a temple were excavated. In the biblical letter, the church of the city is praised for its determination and patience in faith. Here is also located the church of St. Jean, which is one of the ruins of the city and with its three preserved pillars is considered a very magnificent building.
Laodikeia, a Hellenistic city founded in the 3rd century BC, was one of the most important centers of the region for centuries. In the ancient city, known as one of the sacred centers of Christianity since the 4th century AD, many unique remains have been found during the still ongoing excavations. One of them is the house where the remains of a "secret church" are located. Before the liberation of Christianity in the Roman Empire and the construction of the Church of Laodikeia, it is not far-fetched to imagine that this house, where people worshipped in secret, is the church mentioned in the Bible.
Visiting the ruins of the ancient city where these churches are located, which are entirely in the Aegean Region, is a great historical tour. In addition, these places, many of which have unique natural beauty and beautiful beaches, are also great for a vacation. The 7 churches of Asia Minor are waiting for your visit in Türkiye.