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Visit Patmos and the Seven Churches of Revelation Virtually

Julian Spriggs M.A.

Related articles

Introduction to the Book of Revelation Revelation II: Letters to seven churches (1:9 - 3:22)
The city of Ephesus Ephesus photographs
Location Search


This page gives information about the Island of Patmos and each of the seven cities with churches addressed by Jesus in the Book of Revelation, as well as the routes and the approximate distance between each place. For each location there are up to four links. The first is a link to the page on Wikipedia. The second and third are links to Google Maps. The second is a link to the road map, showing the terrain and nearby places. The third is a link to a closer satellite view of the actual site. The fourth is a link to the set of thumbnail photographs on the Holy Land Photos site, which contains hundreds of photographs of New Testament sites. For some locations there is also a link to a local website.

The distances and time to walk is taken from Google directions. The number of days is calculated assuming walking for eight hours each day. Distances and time of sea voyages is not included.

The following locations are described. The name of each location acts as a link to the main description further down the page.


Patmos (1:9-20)

Patmos is a small rocky island in the Aegean Sea, forming the northernmost of the Dodecanese islands, now belonging to Greece, but closer to the Turkish mainland. It measures about ten by fifteen kilometres, and lies about sixty kilometres west of Ephesus.

The traditional site of where John received the visions from Jesus is the Cave of the Apocalypse halfway up the mountain above the port town of Skala. It now has a church built on the site. There are also several monasteries dedicated to John on the island.

Tradition from the early church claims the John was exiled to Patmos by Emperor Domitian (81-96) and released by Nerva (96-98). It is often claimed that Patmos was used by the Romans as a penal colony where they sent 'trouble-makers' to hard manual labour in the stone quarries. However, there is little or no direct historical evidence for this. The Roman historian Tacitus records that small islands were used by the Romans to banish political prisoners. In Latin, this was known as 'Relegatio ad insulam' (relegation to an island). Tacitus records the banishment of several officials who had fallen out of favour by Tiberius and by Nero.

Wikipedia Road map View of site Holy Land Photos

1. Ephesus (2:1-7)

The famous tourist destination of the ruins of Ephesus contains a large archaeological site, containing the theatre where the riot took place during Paul's visit, the agora, the Celsus Library, the temple to Domitian, and many other buildings.

During the first century, the harbour was close to the centre of the city. However silting of the river has caused the sea to retreat, so it is now about 10 km away. All that remains of the harbour is an area of marshland.

The remains of the temple to Artemis is close by, near the town of Selcuk. A single pillar, restored by archaeologists, is the only object still standing. Also in Selcuk is a museum containing artifacts discovered in Ephesus, and the remains of the Basilica dedicated to the Apostle John, where he was buried. It is known from church history that the Apostle John became the leader of the church in Ephesus in the latter part of the first century.

Also nearby is the house of Mary, where it is claimed the mother of Jesus lived towards the end of her life.

Wikipedia Road map View of site Holy Land Photos Turkish Museums Photos of Ephesus

Ephesus to Smyrna

From Ephesus to Smyrna, the distance is 62 km (38 miles), which would take 13 hours (2 days) to walk.

2. Smyrna (2:8-11)

Smyrna is now the modern Turkish city of Izmir. It is located in a deep sheltered bay of the Aegean Sea, so became an important port. It lay at the western end of an important ancient trading route from the east.

Smyrna was a very close ally of Rome, so became an important centre of emperor worship from as early as 195 BC. In AD 155, Polycarp, the leader of the church in Smyrna was burned as a martyr in the stadium at Smyrna at the age of 86.

Much of the remains of the ancient city has been built over, so is not visible. The agora (market place) has been excavated and can be seen in the centre of the city. There is a large collection of artifacts from Smyrna and the surrounding area in the Archaeological Museum.

Wikipedia Road map View of site Holy Land Photos Ancient Smyrna

Smyrna to Pergamum

From Smyrna to Pergamum, the distance is about 115 km (71 miles), which would take 24 hours (3 days) walking.

3. Pergamum (2:12-17)

Pergamum is now the modern city of Bergama. It is located about 25 km inland in western Turkey. It was established as a major city in the third century BC as the capital of the Attalid Empire. In 133 BC, Attalus III gave his kingdom to the Romans, after which Pergamum became the capital of the Roman province of Asia.

It was a huge city with an acropolis high above the lower city. A temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus was built in 29 BC, and another dedicated to Emperor Trajan in the early second century. In the Book of Revelation it is described as the site of the 'throne of Satan', which may refer to the city being the capital of the Roman province, or to the temple to Zeus which looked rather like a throne, or the the Asclepion, symbolised by a snake.

There are extensive archaeological remains on the acropolis, including a theatre, the Roman forum and the foundations of the temple to Zeus. Much of the temple to Zeus has been reconstructed in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin.

Wikipedia Road map View of site Holy Land Photos

Pergamum to Thyatira

From Pergamum to Thyatira the distance is about 76 km (47 miles), which would take 16 hours (2 days) to walk.

4. Thyatira (2:18-29)

Thyatira is now the modern town of Akhisar, lying about 70 km inland. It was a smaller city, under the control of Pergamum for some time, while at other times it protected the approaches to Sardis.

There are some archaeological remains in a square in the centre of Akhisar, including a recently reconstructed stoa. Evidence from coins show that guilds of bakers, bronze smiths, wool workers, potters, linen weavers and tanners were active in the city. These guilds would often hold banquets that included the eating of food offered to idols and participation in immoral sexual acts.

Lydia, who was converted by Paul in Philippi, was a dealer in purple cloth from Thyatira (Acts 16:11–15). The purple used to dye the cloth was from the local 'madder' plant.

Wikipedia Road map View of site Holy Land Photos

Thyatira to Sardis

From Thyatira to Sardis, the distance is about 58 km (36 miles), which would take 12 hours (1.5 days) to walk.

5. Sardis (3:1-7)

Sardis is the modern town of Sart, and is located about 85 km inland, east of Smyrna (Izmir) in the valley of the River Hermus. It was the capital of the Lydian kingdom, ruled by King Croesus (c 560-546 BC), who was renowned for his great wealth. It became a very wealthy city, from trade and particularly from the extraction of gold from the River Pactolus.

The city consists of two parts. an upper city and a lower city in the plain far below. The acropolis or citadel of the upper city was built on a spur of Mount Tmolus about 1500 feet (500m) above the plain. The acropolis was difficult to reach and was considered unassailable by an enemy. Today, much of that hill has been eroded away, but remains of the city can still be seen on the summit. The city was over-confident and tended towards slackness. Twice in their history, enemies had come, and entered the city by climbing the cliffs, at the top of which they found no guards on duty.

In the lower city, there are remains of a temple to Artemis, a synagogue and a gymnasium.

Wikipedia Road map View of site Holy Land Photos

Sardis to Philadelphia

From Sardis to Philadelphia the distance is about 46 km (29 miles), which would take about 10 hours (1 day) to walk.

6. Philadelphia (3:8-13)

Philadelphia is the modern town of Alasehir located about 130 km east of Smyrna (Izmir), on an important road junction. It was founded in the third century BC by Attalus II, king of Pergamum, who showed loyalty and love for his brother Eumenes II, so the city was named 'Philadelphia', meaning 'brotherly love'. The city was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in AD 17.

Very little excavation has been done, but the acropolis above the modern city contains the remains of a theatre. Remains of the walls of the ancient city have also been found.

Wikipedia Road map Holy Land Photos

Philadelphia to Laodicea

From Philadelphia to Laodicea, the distance is about 90 km (56 miles), which would take 19 hours (2.5 days) to walk.

7. Laodicea (3:14-22)

Laodicea was one of the three cities of the Lycus valley, Hieropolis, Colossae and Laodicea, which lie close to each other. Laodicea had been founded by the Seleucid kings during the third century BC. By the first century AD, it had become was a large, wealthy and important commercial centre, replacing Hieropolis and Colossae as the most important of the three cities. It was located at a key road junction on the Via Sebaste, with roads joining from all directions.

The ruins of Laodicea are located near the modern town of Denizli. The site has been well-excavated, showing remains of theatres, temples, a gymnasium and churches. Pipes which brought water from Hieropolis have been found showing severe blocking by mineral deposits. The hot water from Hieropolis was lukewarm by the time it reached Laodicea and the high mineral content would not be pleasant to drink.

The church in Laodicea was probably established by Epahras. Paul urged the Colossians to read the letter to Laodicea (Col 4:16). This is an otherwise unknown letter, but could otherwise be a reference to the letter to the Ephesians.

Wikipedia Road map View of site Holy Land Photos

Total distance

The total distance from Ephesus to Laodicea, travelling through all seven cities is about 450 km (280 miles), which would take 94 hours (12 days) to walk. The return journey to Ephesus from Laodicea is about 120 km (75 miles), which would take 35 hours (4.5 days) to walk, making the total distance 570 km (360 miles), taking 129 hours (16 days) to walk.

Related articles

Introduction to the Book of Revelation Revelation II: Letters to seven churches (1:9 - 3:22)
The city of Ephesus Ephesus photographs
Location Search

The Bible

Pages which look at issues relevant to the whole Bible, such as the Canon of Scripture, as well as doctrinal and theological issues. There are also pages about the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and 'lost books' of the Old Testament.

Also included are lists of the quotations of the OT in the NT, and passages of the OT quoted in the NT.

Why These 66 Books?
Books in the Hebrew Scriptures
Quotations in NT From OT
OT Passages Quoted in NT
History of the English Bible
Twelve Books of the Apocrypha
The Pseudepigrapha - False Writings
Lost Books Referenced in OT

Old Testament Overview

This is a series of six pages which give a historical overview through the Old Testament and the inter-testamental period, showing where each OT book fits into the history of Israel.

OT 1: Creation and Patriarchs
OT 2: Exodus and Wilderness
OT 3: Conquest and Monarchy
OT 4: Divided kingdom and Exile
OT 5: Return from Exile
OT 6: 400 Silent Years

New Testament Overview

This is a series of five pages which give a historical overview through the New Testament, focusing on the Ministry of Jesus, Paul's missionary journeys, and the later first century. Again, it shows where each book of the NT fits into the history of the first century.

NT 1: Life and Ministry of Jesus
NT 2: Birth of the Church
NT 3: Paul's Missionary Journeys
NT 4: Paul's Imprisonment
NT 5: John and Later NT

Introductions to Old Testament Books

This is an almost complete collection of introductions to each of the books in the Old Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Genesis Exodus Leviticus
Numbers Deuteronomy

Joshua Judges Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel 1 & 2 Kings Chronicles
Ezra & Nehemiah Esther

Job Psalms Proverbs

Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations
Ezekiel Daniel

Hosea Joel Amos
Obadiah Jonah Micah
Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah
Haggai Zechariah Malachi

Introductions to New Testament Books

This is a collection of introductions to each of the 27 books in the New Testament. Each contains information about the authorship, date, historical setting and main themes of the book.

Matthew's Gospel Mark's Gospel Luke's Gospel
John's Gospel

Book of Acts

Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians
Galatians Ephesians Philippians
Colossians 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy
2 Timothy Titus Philemon

Hebrews James 1 Peter
2 Peter 1 John 2 & 3 John


Old Testament History

Information about the different nations surrounding Israel, and other articles concerning Old Testament history and the inter-testamental period.

Canaanite Religion
Israel's Enemies During the Conquest
Syria / Aram
The Assyrian Empire
Babylon and its History
The Persian Empire
The Greek Empire
The 400 Silent Years
The Ptolemies and Seleucids
Antiochus IV - Epiphanes

Old Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for OT studies. These include a list of the people named in the OT and confirmed by archaeology. There are also pages to convert the different units of measure in the OT, such as the talent, cubit and ephah into modern units.

More theological topics include warfare in the ancient world, the Holy Spirit in the OT, and types of Jesus in the OT.

OT People Confirmed by Archaeology
The Jewish Calendar
The Importance of Paradox
Talent Converter (weights)
Cubit Converter (lengths)
OT People Search
Ephah Converter (volumes)
Holy War in the Ancient World
The Holy Spirit in the OT
Types of Jesus in the OT

Studies in the Pentateuch (Gen - Deut)

A series of articles covering studies in the five books of Moses. Studies in the Book of Genesis look at the historical nature of the early chapters of Genesis, the Tower of Babel and the Table of the Nations.

There are also pages about covenants, the sacrifices and offerings, the Jewish festivals and the tabernacle, as well as the issue of tithing.

Are chapters 1-11 of Genesis historical?
Chronology of the Flood
Genealogies of the Patriarchs
Table of the Nations (Gen 10)
Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9)

Authorship of the Pentateuch
Chronology of the Wilderness Years
Names of God in the OT
Covenants in the OT
The Ten Commandments
The Tabernacle and its Theology
Sacrifices and Offerings
The Jewish Festivals
Balaam and Balak
Highlights from Deuteronomy
Overview of Deuteronomy

Studies in the Old Testament History Books (Josh - Esther)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the history books. These include a list of the dates of the kings of Israel and Judah, a summary of the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and studies of Solomon, Jeroboam and Josiah.

There are also pages describing some of the historical events of the period, including the Syro-Ephraimite War, and the Assyrian invasion of Judah in 701 BC.

Dates of the Kings of Judah and Israel
King Solomon
The Kings of Israel
King Jeroboam I of Israel
The Syro-Ephraimite War (735 BC)
Sennacherib's Invasion of Judah (701 BC)
King Josiah of Judah
Differences Between Kings and Chronicles
Chronology of the post-exilic period

Studies in the Old Testament Prophets (Is - Mal)

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the OT prophets. These include a page looking at the way the prophets look ahead into their future, a page looking at the question of whether Satan is a fallen angel, and a page studying the seventy weeks of Daniel.

There are also a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of two of the books:
Isaiah (13 pages) and Daniel (10 pages).

Prophets and the Future
The Call of Jeremiah (Jer 1)
The Fall of Satan? (Is 14, Ezek 28)
Daniel Commentary (10 pages)
Isaiah Commentary (13 pages)
Formation of the Book of Jeremiah

Daniel's Seventy Weeks (Dan 9:24-27)

New Testament Studies

A series of articles covering more general topics for NT studies. These include a list of the people in the NT confirmed by archaeology.

More theological topics include the Kingdom of God and the Coming of Christ.

NT People Confirmed by Archaeology
The Kingdom of God / Heaven
Parousia (Coming of Christ)
The Importance of Paradox

Studies in the Four Gospels (Matt - John)

A series of articles covering various studies in the four gospels. These include a list of the unique passages in each of the Synoptic Gospels and helpful information about the parables and how to interpret them.

Some articles look at the life and ministry of Jesus, including his genealogy, birth narratives, transfiguration, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the seating arrangements at the Last Supper.

More theological topics include the teaching about the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete and whether John the Baptist fulfilled the predictions of the coming of Elijah.

Unique Passages in the Synoptic Gospels
The SynopticProblem
Genealogy of Jesus (Matt 1)
Birth Narratives of Jesus
Understanding the Parables
Peter's Confession and the Transfiguration
Was John the Baptist Elijah?
The Triumphal Entry
The Olivet Discourse (Mark 13)
Important themes in John's Gospel
John's Gospel Prologue (John 1)
Jesus Fulfilling Jewish Festivals
Reclining at Table at the Last Supper
The Holy Spirit as the Paraclete

Studies in the Book of Acts and the New Testament Letters

A series of articles covering various studies in the Book of Acts and the Letters, including Paul's letters. These include a page studying the messages given by the apostles in the Book of Acts, and the information about the financial collection that Paul made during his third missionary journey. More theological topics include Paul's teaching on Jesus as the last Adam, and descriptions of the church such as the body of Christ and the temple, as well as a look at redemption and the issue of fallen angels.

There are a series of pages giving a commentary through the text of five of the books:
Romans (7 pages), 1 Corinthians (7 pages), Galatians (3 pages), Philemon (1 page) and Hebrews (7 pages)

Apostolic Messages in the Book of Acts
Paul and His Apostleship
Collection for the Saints
The Church Described as a Temple
Church as the Body of Christ
Jesus as the Last Adam
Food Offered to Idols
Paul's Teaching on Headcoverings
Who are the Fallen Angels
The Meaning of Redemption
What is the Church?
Paul and the Greek Games

Romans Commentary (7 pages)

1 Corinthians Commentary (7 pages)

Galatians Commentary (3 pages)

Philemon Commentary (1 page)

Hebrews Commentary (7 pages)

Studies in the Book of Revelation

Articles containing studies and helpful information for the study of the Book of Revelation and topics concerning Eschatology (the study of end-times).

These include a description of the structure of the book, a comparison and contrast between the good and evil characters in the book and a list of the many allusions to the OT. For the seven churches, there is a page which gives links to their location on Google maps.

There is a page studying the important theme of Jesus as the Lamb, which forms the central theological truth of the book. There are pages looking at the major views of the Millennium, as well as the rapture and tribulation, as well as a list of dates of the second coming that have been mistakenly predicted through history.

There is also a series of ten pages giving a detailed commentry through the text of the Book of Revelation.

Introduction to the Book of Revelation
Characters Introduced in the Book
Structure of Revelation
List of Allusions to OT
The Description of Jesus as the Lamb
Virtual Seven Churches of Revelation
The Nero Redivius Myth
The Millennium (1000 years)
The Rapture and the Tribulation
Different Approaches to Revelation
Predicted Dates of the Second Coming

Revelation Commentary (10 pages)

How to do Inductive Bible Study

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study the Bible inductively, by asking a series of simple questions. There are lists of observation and interpretation questions, as well as information about the structure and historical background of biblical books, as well as a list of the different types of figures of speech used in the Bible. There is also a page giving helpful tips on how to apply the Scriptures personally.

How to Study the Bible Inductively
I. The Inductive Study Method
II. Observation Questions
III. Interpretation Questions
IV. Structure of Books
V. Determining the Historical background
VI. Identifying Figures of Speech
VII. Personal Application
VIII. Text Layout

Types of Literature in the Bible

These are a series of pages giving practical help showing how to study each of the different types of book in the Bible by appreciating the type of literature being used. These include historical narrative, law, wisdom, prophets, Gospels, Acts, letters and Revelation.

It is most important that when reading the Bible we are taking note of the type of literature we are reading. Each type needs to be considered and interpreted differently as they have different purposes.

How to Understand OT Narratives
How to Understand OT Law
Hebrew Poetry
OT Wisdom Literature
Understanding the OT Prophets
The Four Gospels
The Parables of Jesus
The Book of Acts
How to Understand the NT Letters
Studying End Times (Eschatology)
The Book of Revelation

Geography and Archaeology

These are a series of pages giving geographical and archaeological information relevant to the study of the Bible. There is a page where you can search for a particular geographical location and locate it on Google maps, as well as viewing photographs on other sites.

There are also pages with photographs from Ephesus and Corinth.

Search for Geographical Locations
Major Archaeological Sites in Israel
Archaeological Sites in Assyria, Babylon and Persia
Virtual Paul's Missionary Journeys
Virtual Seven Churches of Revelation
Photos of the City of Corinth
Photos of the City of Ephesus

Biblical Archaeology in Museums around the world

A page with a facility to search for artifacts held in museums around the world which have a connection with the Bible. These give information about each artifact, as well as links to the museum's collection website where available showing high resolution photographs of the artifact.

There is also page of photographs from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem of important artifacts.

Search Museums for Biblical Archaeology
Israel Museum Photos

Difficult Theological and Ethical Questions

These are a series of pages looking at some of the more difficult questions of Christian theology, including war, suffering, disappointment and what happens to those who have never heard the Gospel.

Christian Ethics
Never Heard the Gospel
Is there Ever a Just War?
Why Does God Allow Suffering
Handling Disappointment

How to Preach

These are a series of pages giving a practical step-by-step explanation of the process of preparing a message for preaching, and how to lead a small group Bible study.

What is Preaching?
I. Two Approaches to Preaching
II. Study a Passage for Preaching
III. Creating a Message Outline
IV. Making Preaching Relevant
V. Presentation and Public Speaking
VI. Preaching Feedback and Critique
Leading a Small Group Bible Study

Information for SBS staff members

Two pages particularly relevant for people serving as staff on the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) in YWAM. One gives helpful instruction about how to prepare to teach on a book in the SBS. The other gives a list of recommended topics which can be taught about for each book of the Bible.

Teaching on SBS Book Topics for SBS