St. Paul Trail. A visit to Pisidan Antioch.
Antioch of Pisidia was founded near the end of the age of Seleucus Nicator I, Alexander the Great's successor.
The strategic position of the city guarded the main highway from the Aegean cities such as Ephesus and Pergamon to the Cilician gates and Syria.
By 25 BC the city had become a Roman colony of Rome. and many retired Roman soldiers were settled here from the legions of Pompey and Ceasar. As it was a Roman Colony there are many more Latin inscriptions than in most Anatolian cities and the city flourished with the pensions paid to the expatriate Romans.
Due to the large Roman population and also the sizeable Jewish community in Antioch, it was an important target of Paul's missionary activities.
Paul arrived with Barnabus and preached in the Synagogue on the sabbath, his sermon so affecting that is caused a riot, and the preachers were driven from the city, from where they moved on to Iconium ( Modern Konya)to the east. Driven from the city, Paul and Barnabas moved on to Iconium experiencing an early moment of joy in the journey. It was here that Paul was moved by the hardness of his fellow countrymen and turned to the Gentiles, a decision that would mark a concern of the Jerusalem Church for years to come.
Today, modern Yalvac is settled by a large agricultural and rural settlement amidst the still rich and fertile plains and pasturelands.
Antioch of Pisidia
The city was founded in the 3rd century by either Antiochus I or II, but it only achieved prominence after its refounding as a Roman colony by Augustus in 25 B.C.
Three members of the imperial family served as honorary magistrates of the city from 15 B.C. to 35 A.D., attesting to the importance of this Galatian city.
This triumphal arch gateway was excavated by the University of Michigan in 1924.
The gate was built in the second century A.D. and was dedicated by Hadrian in 129 A.D. on his tour of Asia Minor.
Hellenistic City Wall
The city was a major Hellenistic center in the centuries before Paul's arrival. It was located along the route from Ephesus to Cilicia.
Jewish inhabitants were brought to the city by the Romans for political and commercial reasons and it was to this community that Paul preached on his first missionary journey.
Temple of Augustus
As Augustus was regarded as the city's founder, this temple dedicated to him was built after 2 B.C. and became the focal point of the city.
This podium temple was constructed in front of a two-story semi-circular portico and adjacent to a large colonnaded courtyard. The temple was first excavated by Ramsay in 1912-14.
Church of St. Peter
The remains of this Byzantine church are the traditional location of the synagogue that Paul preached in (Acts 13:14-52).
Recent excavations have revealed a 1st century building underneath the church which has been identified as the synagogue. In the church a mosaic floor has been found with Psalm 42:4 inscribed on it.