Saturday, December 30, 2006

Greetings From Istanbul!!!

We finally made it here… Well kind of. Emily and I and all our classmates made it but our bags didn’t. Last I heard all of our bags (yes all 40 from our entire group) were somewhere between London and Adana, Turkey. Although we’ve been wearing the same clothes now for over 48 hours, our spirits are sky high as we prepare to study firsthand the journeys of the Apostle Paul.

We spent the today (the 30th) in Istanbul. It was freezing cold but we saw several amazing sites in the only city in the world that spans two continents.

The Blue Mosque (named for the tiles on the inside and not the outward appearance) was a bit of a let down. I had heard so much about it but when we were actually there it seemed to be more for tourists than a Muslim place of worship. Interestingly enough myself and a fellow student, Onsi, both felt a significant lack of a feeling of demonic oppression than we had felt at other mosques before.

We then visited the Hagia Sophia (the center of the Eastern Church for a thousand years). It was sad to see how much destruction of the church had taken place when it was converted into a Mosque in 1432 (it is now a museum). However the history of this building is amazing. Of the 7 Ecumenical councils, numbers 5 and 6 took place here. It was also the first basilica to have a single domed roof.

The Ecumenical Councils took place right here

The mosaics on the walls (many of which were covered up by plaster when the basilica was converted to a mosque) are absolutely stunning. This picture is made up of thousands of single colored pieces of glass.

We caught a late flight and headed 350 miles south to Adana, the 4th largest city in Turkey. Tomorrow we’ll see Antioch (Paul’s base of operations and the first place the word “Christian” was used) and Seleucia (the port Paul and Barnabas sailed to Cyprus on their first journey).

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