Antioch ad Orontes

If you’ve read the Bible, you would have heard of a place called Antioch. This place is important because this is the starting point of each of St Paul’s journeys – he made three journeys, making his way to Greece and Rome and travelling a total distance of approximately 14,700 km. There are, however, actually 16 Antiochs in the region. So to differentiate each of the sixteen counterparts, they were given specific names. Antioch ad Orontes means ‘Antioch on the Orontes’ – the Orontes is a river running through the town.

Antioch has an ancient mediterranean sea port, Seleucia Piera, which was built in 300 BC. Just a short walking distance away are the Besikli Cave Tombs, which look like something out of Tomb Raider. These tombs are definitely empty, and resemble temples that have been etched into the side of the mountain. You have a splendid view of the Mediterranean as you walk along the hiking trail, and just over the hill where the tombs are located is the last Armenian town in Turkey.

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The Besikli Cave Tombs.


Antioch is also home to St Peter’s grotto which is a cave church. Now you can see a wall with a door covering the entrance of the church, but it really is just an ordinary cave, used by the early Christians in the times when they were being persecuted for their faith. The wall was built by the crusaders. It is currently not open to the public, because mosaics have been discovered whilst the church was undergoing some renovation. So here’s a picture from Google on how it looks like.

The cave church is built into the side of an extremely picturesque mountain.

The cave church is built into the side of an extremely picturesque mountain.

That’s about it for Antioch ad Orontes really.It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive from Adana, and Adana is an hour’s flight from Istanbul. The journey is extremely scenic, and orange groves, peaches and apricot trees can be seen dotting the hills as far as the eyes can see until they read the foot of the mountains. You can even seen castles on the peak of some knolls that date back to the time of the crusaders. Turkey really is an extraordinary place, with extremely friendly people.

That’s it for today! I shall update again in the next couple of days. Stick around for some beautiful pictures of hot air ballooning – all taken by moi! 🙂



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