Golden Antioch was a jewel, a wonder.

Fair crown of the Orient; the city you built was renowned through history. It lives on in dusty chronicles: such spectacular temples, theatres and palaces; such carefully-planned streets; aqueducts crossing mountains, feeding fountains and bringing water to every house.

It was in Antioch that St Paul first preached. Your people gave Christians their name. But you weren’t reverent; known for your sarcastic take on the world, you loved fighting and indulging in the delights of the flesh in Daphne’s Grove.

When you stood in the hill-top temples, did you ever worry about how big the city was growing? How its sprawling metropolis was filling the entire river valley? Did you notice that your insatiable need for wood was stripping the hills of trees, and that the new farmland quickly became barren?

When the rain ran off the slopes heavy with mud, perhaps you didn’t understand the fragile balance of root and tree, water and soil.

In the end the rains washed so much earth into the valley that the Orontes River silted up and every last inhabitant left in search of a better place to live.

Today your legendary city lies buried thirty six feet under the plain.

 

 

Antioch