Images of Antiquity: Sardis & Philadelphia, Pt. 2

Below are some more photos from my journey through Turkey. I have posted a selection of photos from the ancient sites of Sardis and Philadelphia. Enjoy. (Please, if you download or save any of these pictures, do not crop or manipulate them in any form. Otherwise, feel free to copy and use them.)


This photo is an overview of part of the city of ancient Sardis. From the viewer's point-of-view, to the right of and behind the two tallest columns are the ruins of a temple of Artemis. To the left and in front of the columns sits a small, fourth century chapel or church building. It is interesting that the house of worship backs right up to the temple of Artemis. Also, you can see the mountains in the background. Basically, mountains like this one encircle this area. In fact behind where this photo was taken, was the acropolis of Sardis (now the equivalent of a chunck of fortress perched on a cliff). There was a mudslide, perhaps caused by an earthquake that caused all that is in this picture to be covered. So, when archeologists came to this area, all they saw were the capitals (the tops) of the columns. Everything else was underground. Thus, all of what you see in this picture was at one time, beneath the soil.

This picture is the other major location of Sardis. Here, there is a main road (which the people are standing on), a bunch of workshops, a public restroom, a public bath house, a gymnasium, a synagogue, a playing field and more. The large structure in the back of the picture is the gymnasium. The white columns just behind the people are a part of the synagogue. It is interesting that the synagogue is located amid everything else. (If anyone is interested in pictures of the synagogue, I can post some, just let me know.) The location of the synagogue might suggest that Sardis was quite a syncretistic place and that the Jewish people had not secluded themselves from the rest of society.

Here is a picture of the gymnasium. As you can see, it has been preserved well. The decorations and engravings and colors are elaborate and beautiful. If you look at the frescos, you can see Greek engravings. Of course, Greek did not have punctuation or spaces, as is attested to in these markings.

This is a photo of me standing next to a capital (the top of the column). You can see how massive these things were. Basically, to make the columns, workers would build them in layers. They would stack layer upon layer until the column was at the specified height. They would use large ramps and ladders (akin to scaffolding today) to get the pieces on top of one another. Sardis is mentioned in Rev. 1.11 and 3.1ff.

This is a picture of a public restroom. You can see the seats on the wall (notice how close to one another they are!) and just below a kind of flume or tunnel. This flume had running water in it so that when the people relieved themselves, the waste would drop into the flume and be carried off.

Here is a restroom sign located just outside of Sardis. I thought it was quite humorous. If you ever go to Turkey, make sure to get a stack of coins (lyra) for your trip because you have to pay to use the public restrooms (no matter where you go). This particular restroom costed 75 cents I believe.


This is an ancient funerary relief found in Philadelphia. There is hardly anything at this site relating to early Christianity. There are some tombstones that date to about the 4th century but nothing earlier than that. You can see just behind this relief (in the top corners) two tombs (sarcophagi).

In this picture, you see two towers. These towers are actually the bases of an ancient arch (probably of a late basillica); as you can see, the arch itself has fallen. As you can also see, Philadelphia is located right in the middle of a modern town, much like Thyatira, so, digging is limited. Philadelphia is a compound word in Greek, coming from the terms "philo" and "delphia" meaning "brotherly love." Philadelphia is mentioned in Rev. 1.11 and 3.7ff.

In this photograph, you can see the base of the arch again. You can also see in the background, a minuret. Islam is the dominant religion of Turkey today. Minurets like these are everywhere in Turkey and nearly every town, even the poorest of towns have them. They are usually hollow towers with speakers near the top that play the call to prayer throughout the day. It is interesting to see how Islam has surpassed Christianity in this part of the world. Just as there are church houses in every town in America, there are mosques or minurets in every town in Turkey.


  1. Brian,

    thanks for your comments in both of the posts, I hope you continue to enjoy the pics.

  2. Hey, Michael.
    When I lived in Bulgaria, paying to use a public toilet was not uncommon there either. One of my fellow missionaries got a kick out of these toilets, too. Whenever we were out somewhere & he needed to use the restroom, he would say, "Treat you to a piss?"
    It cracked me up.