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ST JOHN’S BASILICA: Drawing in the Wake of the Gospels

The centuries-old Byzantine castle is built on Hitttite bones. The castle walls and fifteen towers were built from stones taken from buildings in Rome. Here’s an aerial view taken from Google Maps:

Up close, the Citadel walls are formidable!

There must have been a wooden settlement inside the walls since all that’s left is what looks to be a 5th-century Byzantine chapel with an Ottoman minaret next to it, and nearby a mounded ruined hamam. On this hilltop, St John is said to have written his Gospel. 

A CONFLUENCE OF MYSTICISM: Above is the view from the Citadel, overlooking the front of St John’s, with the ruined Temple of Artemis beyond. Inside the walls, there’s a mosque, which may have originally been a Byzantine structure…

There’s a Byzantine bath, and some intriguing cavelike arches. People have been gathering, wandering and praying up here for thousands of years. Archeology continues in The Citadel, but it’s open to the public.

After I came down, we had tea. I may dedicate my next book on Turkey to the men and women who guard the ruins here, as they have allowed me perspectives I never would have found on my own. Over the years, in museums and ancient sites, they’ve provided chairs, shade, secret views, restroom privileges, heat, tea, and enthusiasm, while protecting these world treasures so that we can experience them.

Guardians at the Gate: Ismet & Arif, St John’s Basilica, Selçuk 2012
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