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Lystra is located in Turkey
Location of ancient Lystra (Gökyurt), Turkey
Coordinates: 37°39′50.83″N 32°12′38.56″E / 37.6641194°N 32.2107111°E / 37.6641194; 32.2107111Coordinates: 37°39′50.83″N 32°12′38.56″E / 37.6641194°N 32.2107111°E / 37.6641194; 32.2107111
Country  Turkey
Region Central Anatolia
Province Meram
Elevation 1,400 m (4,600 ft)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 42XXX
Area code(s) (+90) 332

Lystra (Ancient Greek: Λύστρα) was a city in central Anatolia, now part of present-day Turkey. It is mentioned five times in the New Testament.[1] Lystra was visited a few times by the Apostle Paul, along with Barnabas or Silas. There Paul met a young disciple, Timothy.[2]


The site of Lystra is believed to be located 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the city of Konya, north of the village of Hatunsaray and some 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of a small town called Akoren. A small museum within the village of Hatunsaray displays artifacts from ancient Lystra.

Lystra is the ancient name of the village visited by the Apostle Paul. There is a present-day village called "Klistra" near Gökyurt, a village of the Meram district of Konya.[3] Near Klistra ancient ruins can be seen, including a church with a big cross marked on the wall, a winery, house-like buildings, and the ruins of a city located over the top of a hill which is locally called "Alusumas", where another ruined church ruin can be seen. According to local people, the less visible city was constructed over the hill to hide from enemies of ancient Anatolia. This site is still awaiting excavation.

Lystra is located on the ancient Persian Royal Road.[citation needed]


The Roman Empire made Lystra a colony in 6 BC, possibly to gain better control of the tribes in the mountains to the west. Later, it was incorporated into the Roman province of Galatia, and soon afterwards the Romans built a road connecting Lystra to Iconium to the north.

St Paul visited here in 48 AD and again in 51 AD on his first and second missionary journeys.[4]

In Christian times Lystra had a bishop. It is included in the Roman Catholic Church's list of titular sees.[5]

Paul's visit[edit]

The Sacrifice at Lystra by Raphael, 1515.

Paul preached the gospel in Lystra after persecution drove him from Iconium.[6] Here Paul healed a man lame from birth.[7] The man leaped up and began to walk and thus so impressed the crowd that they took him for Hermes, because he was the "chief speaker," and his companion Barnabas for Zeus. The crowd spoke in the local Lycaonian language and wanted to offer sacrifices to them,[8] but Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes in dismay and shouted that they were merely men. They used this opportunity to tell the Lystrans of the Creator God. Soon, however, through the influence of the Jewish leaders from Antioch, Pisidia and Iconium, they stoned Paul and left him for dead.[9] As the disciples gathered around him, Paul stood on his feet and went back into the town. The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe; but on the return part of their journey, they stopped once more at Lystra, encouraging the disciples there to steadfastness.

Paul visited this city again on his second missionary tour.[10] Timothy, a young disciple there,[11] was probably among those who on the previous occasion at Lystra witnessed Paul's persecution and courage. Timothy left Lystra to become the companion of Paul and Silas on the rest of the Second Missionary Journey. It is also possible that Paul revisited Lystra near the beginning of his Third Missionary Journey.[12]

Unlike other cities Paul visited, Lystra apparently had no synagogue, though Timothy and his mother and grandmother were Jewish.[13] Perhaps for the first time in his missionary work, Paul was reaching Gentiles with the gospel of Christ without approaching them through the common ground of Judaism.[citation needed]


Archaeologist and New Testament Scholar Sir William Mitchell Ramsay wrote in 1907: „Excavation at Lystra is urgently needed in the interests of history and New Testament study” [14] He wrote in 1941: „One hopes that some enthusiast will spend the money needed to clear up the topography of Lystra; and some fragments, at present valueless, may be completed by his discoveries“.[15]


  1. ^ Acts 14.6, 8, 21, 16.1, and 2 Timothy 3.11
  2. ^ Acts 16:1-2
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 918
  6. ^ Acts 14:2-7
  7. ^ Acts 14:8
  8. ^ Acts 14:13
  9. ^ Acts 14:19
  10. ^ Acts 16:1
  11. ^ 2 Tim. 3:10, 11
  12. ^ Acts 19:1
  13. ^ 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15
  14. ^ W. M. Ramsay, The Cities of St. Paul. Their Influence on his Life and Thought: the cities of Eastern Asia Minor, London 1908, S. 413.
  15. ^ idem, The Social Basis of Roman Power in Asia Minor, Aberdeen 1941, S. 186.

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