Dr. Dick Chambers takes audience on tour of TurkeyPublished 11:00pm Thursday, April 11, 2013
Dr. Richard “Dick” Chambers was the guest speaker at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge Thursday afternoon.
Chambers, associate professor emeritus of Turkish Language and Civilization, The University of Chicago, took his audience on a circular trip of Turkey with stops at places of varied interest along the way.
Using photographs to enhance the journey, Chambers explained that Turkey is a large country, covering an area the size of New York to Iowa and Canada to Kentucky.
“Turkey is the crossroads of three continents- Europe, Asia and Africa,” Chambers said.
“Every civilization has been there and left their mark. The mingling and sharing of the different civilizations enriched the indigenous people. Although 98 percent of the population is Muslim, Turkey has many different faiths and was on the forefront of Christianity. It is often called ‘the Other Holy Land.’”
Chambers’ visual journey began at Mount Ararat, which is thought to be the site of the landing of Noah’s Ark and on to Lake Van, which is the home to a special breed of cats.
“The cats have one blue eye and one yellow eye,” he said. “And, they like to swim. The cats are so unusual that there are breeding farms to make sure the ‘Van’ cats survive.”
Chambers took the audience to the Church of the Holy Cross which houses master works of Armenian art including bas-relief carvings and friezes of biblical scenes of Adam and Eve, David and Goliath and Jonah and the whale.
“The whale looks more like an elephant but, then, they had never seen a whale,” Chambers said, laughing.
Abraham was born in Ufra and lived in a cave there until he was 10 years old. In Ufra Christians were allowed to build churches and worship openly.
Antakya is an important city for Christians because followers of Jesus there were first called Christians. Konya is also an important place for Christians because Paul and Barnabas went to the city on one of their journeys in Asia Minor.
Cappadoda has great significance for Christians because it was an important center of Christian worship and culture, Chambers said.
The Great Theater, part of the archaeological site of Ephesus, is significant in that it is traditionally where St. Paul preached against the pagans.
“The Shrine of the Virgin Mary is in Ephesus,” Chamber said. “It is the house were St. John is said to have taken Mary, the Mother of Jesus.”
Chambers explained that the reason there are so many archeological sites in Turkey is because the Turkish government has great interest in preserving its civilization.
Lawrence Bowden said he was enlightened by Chambers’ presentation.
“His talk was very interesting and gave us insight into the impact that Turkey has had on us as Christians,” he said. “He took us back to the days of the Old Testament and how Turkey influenced the Christian religion. It was very interesting to me that Christians were organized in Turkey. I was very impressed and greatly enlightened.”