Witnessing the End of the World

Witnessing the End of the World

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The End Times are all the rage, ignoring the Mayan distraction, it’s still apocalypse now for many fundamentalists.  A quick search of google reveals that “end times” has 2.6 billion results, compare this to a paltry 1.4 billion results for “God” himself and it’s clear that it’s a question on many minds.  While the end of days can be debated until that very last day, what would it be like to know for certain that you’re living in the Book of Revelation?  For Ephesus and Pergamon in Turkey, being part of Revelations isn’t up for debate, they are actually in the Book of Revelation.

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If the end of days is more figurative than literal, merely representing the end of all that we accept as permanent, Ephesus today could be exactly what John the Baptist envisioned for the end of the world.  Standing as one of the world’s great cities for 2500 years, today it lies in ruin.  The collapse of such a city could have been nothing short of the end of the world for those that see the civilization they live in as timeless.

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Gems of Ephesus such as Hadrian’s Gate and Celsus Library (below) show just how rich this city once was.

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Near to Ephesus stands another Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, Pergamon, which was called out in Revelation for allowing false idols into it’s church.

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Much the same as Ephesus, Pergamon has been completely abandoned.  The ruins reveal a mighty city with this spectacular amphitheater perched above the modern city of Bergama.  Walking through either of these fallen cities raises the question if in fact the End Times have already occurred.  Is it possible that the end of the world won’t be a complete end, but the fall of what we know?  What is scarier: to have the entire world come to an end, or to have to live in a world where all you knew is gone? The latter seems like a worse fate, a fate which the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse have already endured.  The community of faithful have moved on, most likely converted to Islam, while the buildings fell.  It would be hard to argue that for these churches the world has already ended…yet life continues on…

WHEN YOU GO:

-Be prepared for crowds. Even during the “low season” thousands of people descend upon the sites.

-The Audio Guides are pretty good. While we normally don’t rent audio guides, my mother did and we all enjoyed the tidbits of information we gained from it.

-Consider driving yourself. The roads are excellent and sites well marked, making driving yourself around these parts of Turkey easy.

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thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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