Northern Greece and Turkey
Thirty two students, ten days of traveling, eleven museums and archeological sites visited, one broken glasses every evening in Greece, hundreds of Turkish items bargained over at the Grand Bazaar, and countless chants of “S’agapo!” later, JFRC students continue to talk about their Northern Greece and Turkey experiences. This past March 7th to March 16th, JFRC students experienced one of the most transformative and adventurous study trips offered by the JFRC. Hosted by Oxford Art Historian, Dr. Ioanna Kopsiafti and accompanied by Dean of Faculty Susana Cavallo and Student Life Assistant Chandni Patel, students were challenged with culture shock, encouraged to eat strange looking (and slightly tasting) foods, and learn about the Byzantine Empire spanning across two countries.
Starting off with a peripatetic lecture through Dion, one of the most beautiful and atmospheric sites of Northern Greece, students began their transformative journey with tales about the Greek Gods and a visit to the home of the Gods by trekking part of the E4 trail on Mount Olympus. An on-site lecture was given at the spectacular archaeological site and museum of Vergina to see the impressive tombs, gold wreaths and treasures of the early Macedonian kings, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. One of the most impressive lectures was shared at the ancient site of Philippi, the city visited by the apostle Paul. Apostle Paul preached for the first time on European soil in the city of Phillipi and students were honored to have Father Ted Bohr share the same reading with them.
As our travels took us across the border to Turkey, we arrived at sunset and glimpsed an impressive and golden view of one of the world’s most alluring and magical cities – Istanbul once known as Constantinople. Guided tours around the city and through the magnificent Byzantine church of Agia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Palace of Topkapi allowed students to take a historical walk through Istanbul’s remarkable antiquity. Students also captured the experience of bargaining for goods at the traditional Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar. Our adventure in Istanbul ended with a cruise down the Bosphorus through the majestic strait that snakes through the city linking Europe and Asia.