Hatay, St. Pierre Church
Hatay, St. Pierre Church is part of the Tentative list of Turkiye in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The St. Pierre Church was an early Christian church in the Roman city of Antioch. Traditionally it is said to be founded by the Apostle Peter, who is considered also the first Bishop or Patriarch of Antioch. The church was carved into the mountainside of Mount Starius.
Map of Hatay, St. Pierre ChurchLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Getting here is not that easy. Looks easy on the map but the town of Antakya and it's typical Turkish double parking citizens cause massive traffic jams. You are almost better off taking the northern route back out of town and around the D-road, almost. Then if you do get to the church road, a small path leads up that is narrow enough for only two cars but of course half the side is being used for parking, so there is plenty of reversing and ducking into gaps to make space for other drivers. The small space at the church only has enough parking for 10 cars or less, but there is a big overflow lot just below.
For a site that offers very little the ticket price is quite expensive. Some ruins are a third of the price and gets you a lot. However, it's still not very expensive for tourist tickets really, and it is covered by the museum passes as well.
Once you paid the ticket you may enter through the shop, and wonder where the church is. Well, it's right there in the rock. So first thing is probably taking a pic from the outside (many locals prefer taking pics with the city in the backdrop), and then enter what supposedly is the first ever rock cave. Supposedly built by Saint Pierre, Apostle Peter, although there is no proof of any of that, it has some unique looks but I think their main goal is to play important of the religious figure behind the church name, which for me makes no sense as there is no way of knowing if he really did build it.
While the church wall seems in excellent condition, almost too good to be authentic, the authenticity inside is clearer because almost everything has been gone with the wind, only some mosaic tiles remain and the gaps for statues, which are now replaced with a modern one. The altar could be old but again it doesn't seem to match the erosion that would have occurred over time in the cave.
It will take you a good 5 minutes to see all and start to wonder if it was all worth it, and I think it wasn't.
A reduced version of FTWHS Antakya.
2011 Added to Tentative List
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