Antioch, Turkey: The Grotto of Saint Peter
About Antioch, Turkey:
One of the earliest sites in Christianity, Antioch is known for being one of the first Christian Churches: the Grotto of Saint Peter. In fact, according to Acts 11:26, it was in this city that these disciples of Jesus were first called Christians.
After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD Antioch gained importance as one of the main centers of this new religion called Christianity. Today the city is called Antakya and has far fewer people than it did back in the First Century. Many of the Disciples and Apostles settled here and it was also here that it is believed that Saint Matthew wrote his Gospel.
Saint Paul left from here on several of his Apostolic journeys and it was also the home of Saint Peter for several years. That brings us to the most important site in the city: The Grotto of Saint Peter.
About the Grotto of Saint Peter:
The Grotto itself is quite small, so don’t expect anything grandiose. The Grotto retains much of its look; however, it is simple and without much decoration other than some mosaics on the floor and a few frescoes on the wall. The exterior was built by the Crusaders much later.
But to stand where so much Christian history began is an awesome experience. It should also be noted that Antioch was the birthplace of one of the greatest preachers, Saint John Chrysostom.
We are not aware of any official website for the grotto.
Traveling to Antakya & the Grotto of Saint Peter:
Some tours of Turkey include Antakya, but if they do not then you can reach it on your own. There is no direct air or train service, but Antakya is served by bus from many cities including Ankara, Istanbul, Adana, Izmir and more.
From the bus station you can take a taxi to the church, located on a hillside. If you wish you can walk, it takes about an hour.
Address: Kucuk Dalyan Mah. Antakya 31000 Hatay Turkey
GPS coordinates: 36° 12′ 31.9608” N, 36° 10′ 41.8044” E
Tel: +90 326 214 6168
There is no website for the Church, click here for the town’s official website. (in Turkish)