Church of St. Polycarp
Over the years, St. Polycarp Church has undergone several restorations, most notably in the 19th century by Raymond Charles Père, the French architect who designed Izmir’s Clock Tower. Look for a man with a moustache and bound hands within the fresco depicting St. Polycarp’s martyrdom in 155 AD—it’s Père’s cheeky self-portrait.
Since the church has limited, unreliable hours, most travelers opt to visit on a tour, which has gained prior permission. If you’re traveling the area, tack on stops to see the remaining six of so-called Seven Churches of Revelation: Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Many tours include a trip to the thermal pools of Hierapolis (Pamukkale).
Things to Know Before You Go
- St. Polycarp Church is an ideal spot for history and architecture buffs.
- Look for the brochures with information describing the artifacts inside.
- The church is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
St. Polycarp Church is located in the Konak district of Izmir. Walk or take the Metro to Konak Square, go to the entrance on Necati Bey Bulvar?, and ring the bell at the white door. Taxis are reasonably priced and easy to find, or you might want to use the city bicycle sharing to get around.
When to Get There
The church is generally open Monday–Saturday, 3pm to 5pm, and closed to independent visitors on Sundays.
St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna In the company of Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is a Founding Father of the Church. Credited with compiling and publishing the New Testament, Polycarp’s legacy is immeasurable. At 85, as Bishop of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir), he was considered a dangerous nuisance. And as the legend goes, when the Romans burned him at the stake, a white dove appeared and disappeared into the sky.
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