One of the great ancient civilizations was located in a large
peninsula between the Black and Mediterranean seas called Asia Minor by the Romans, the
land is the Asian part of modern Turkey, across Thrace. It lies
across the Aegean Sea to the east of Greece and is usually known by
its Greek name Anatolia.
Asia Minor lies westward from Asia to within half a mile (800
meters) of Europe at the divided city of Istanbul, where two bridges
over the strait of Bosporus divide the two continents. Asia Minor is
also bordered by the Marmara Sea on the northwest. The area of the
peninsula is about 756,000 square kilometers.
A Mediterranean-type climate is hot, has dry summers and mild, moist
winters prevails in the coastal areas. The dry central plateau has
hot summers and cold winters. During all seasons high winds are
common; moist Mediterranean winds bring rain to the coastal regions
in the winter. There is little summer rainfall.
In about 2000 BC Asia Minor was in the hands of the Hittites, who
migrated from the area east of the Black Sea. In the 12th century BC
their empire fell to the Assyrians. Small seaboard states grew up,
only to fall to the Greeks, who colonized the entire coast in about
the 8th century BC. According to legend, they first laid siege to
the city-state of Troy during the Trojan War. In 560 BC Croesus
mounted the throne of Lydia in Asia Minor and soon brought all the
Greek colonies under his rule. Croesus was overthrown by Cyrus the
Great of Persia. Two hundred years later Alexander the Great again
spread Greek rule over the peninsula.
After its conquest by Rome in the 2nd century BC, Asia Minor enjoyed
centuries of peace. During the Middle Ages, as a part of the
Byzantine Empire, it became a center of Christianity and the
guardian of Greek and Roman culture. One of the chief medieval trade
routes passed through the region. As the power of the Empire
Arabs and Mongols invaded. In the 15th century the Ottoman Turks
conquered the peninsula and made Istanbul (then known as
Constantinople) the capital. The Ottoman Empire lasted until 1922.
The next year Asia Minor became the larger part of the Turkish
Republic under Kemal Ataturk. He had set up a government in Ankara,
which became the new capital of Turkey.
Turkey possesses more biblical places than any other country from
Middle East, especially Anatolia is rich with saint places referred
to the Bible.
Approximately 60% of the names of the places mentioned in the Bible
are in Turkey.
The relationship between Anatolia and the Bible start at the
beginning of the Old Testament (Gn 2: 14) with the rivers of Tigris
and the Euphrates, flowing through the Garden of Eden. The Ararat,
the journeys of Paul and the letters of John to Seven Churches are
only some proves binding the history of Anatolia to the Bible.
The Seven Churches of Revelation are mentioned in the Bible:
Revelation 1:11, 2:1-7; Acts 18, 19-28; 19:1-41
Revelation 2:8-11 Smyrna (Izmir):
Revelation 2:12-17 Pergamon:
Revelation 2:18-29; Acts16:14 Thyatira:
Revelation 3:1-6 Sardis:
Revelation 3:7-13 Philadelphia:
Revelation 3:14-22; Colossians 2:1,4:13 -16 Laodicea:
Turkey has an significant role in understanding of the New
Testament, as around two-thirds of its Books were written to or from
the churches in Turkey, where three important Apostles lived or made
his missionary journeys: St. John, St. Paul and St. Peter.
It was in Antioch; today's Antakya in southern Turkey that the
disciples were first called "Christians" ( Acts 11:26 ). Paul and
his writings were very important in the spread of Christianity.
I was caught up in spirit on the Lord's day and heard behind me a
voice as loud as a trumpet, 'Write on a scroll what you see and send
it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira,
Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.'
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