Shown within Turkey
RegionKaraman Province or Lycaonia
Coordinates37°20′57″N 33°21′42″E / 37.349273°N 33.361715°E / 37.349273; 33.361715Coordinates: 37°20′57″N 33°21′42″E / 37.349273°N 33.361715°E / 37.349273; 33.361715

Derbe or Dervi (Greek: Δέρβη), also called Derveia (Greek: Δέρβεια),[1] was a city of Galatia in Asia Minor, and later of Lycaonia, and still later of Isauria and Cappadocia. It is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles at 14:6, 14:20, 16:1 and 20:4. Derbe is notable because it is the only city mentioned in the New Testament where the message of the Gospel was accepted from the beginning by its inhabitants.[2][3]


Derbe is derived form Derbent which is derived from Persian "Darband" (Persian: دربند, lit.'Barred gate', from dar “gate” + band “bar,” lit. “barred gate”[4]), referring to an adjacent pass, to a narrow gate entrance. The name of the city is somehow prophesized in Matthew 7:13-14 “ 13) Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."[citation needed]


There may have been several cities with the name Derbe, since Derbe (meaning narrow gate or entrance) is mostly a geographical toponym (e.g. Derbent).[citation needed]

The Bible mention Derbe as being nearby Iconium city. When the citizents of Iconium or of Lystra almost killed Paul, Paul managed to escape to Derbe.[citation needed]

Strabo places Derbe “on the sides” of Isauria, and almost in Cappadocia.[5] Elsewhere, he says it was in the eleventh praefecture of Cappadocia.[6] When the apostles Paul and Barnabas visited Derbe, it was in Lycaonia. Stephanus of Byzantium places Derbe in Isauria.[7][8] [9]

In 1956, on the basis of an inscription dating to 157 BC, Michael Ballance fixed the site of Derbe at a mound known as Kerti Hüyük, some 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Karaman (ancient Laranda), near Ekinözü village in modern-day Turkey.[10] Although subject to controversy, this is considered the most likely site.[11][12][13][14][15]

Stephanus of Byzantium says that Derbe would have had a port (λιμήν , limēn), but this is an obvious mistake, as the city was located inland. This has been corrected to the form limnē (λίμνη , 'lake'], as there are some lakes in the vicinity, albeit a little further away.[16] In modern Turkey there is a village named Derbent, nearby a lake and nearby Iconium city.[17] There is also a district that is named Derbent.


Antipater of Derbe, a friend of Cicero,[18] was ruler of Derbe, but was killed by Amyntas of Galatia, who added Derbe to his possessions.[19][20]

Claudioderbe was a special title given to Derbe during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius; it appears on second century coins from Derbe.[10]

The apostles Paul and Barnabas came to Derbe after escaping a disturbance and survive the stoning in Iconium, about 60 miles (100 km) away.[11][21][22]

The Bishopric of Derbe became a suffragan see of Iconium. It is not mentioned by later Notitiae Episcopatuum. Just four bishops are known, from 381 to 672.[23]

Derbe is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees.[24]

Saint Timothy was a native of Derbe (or of Lystra).[25] Derve may also be linked to Dervish or Derviş (literally means mendicant, 'beggar', 'one who goes from door to door'), a mystic Sufi fraternity from Iconium whose most common practice Sama is directly associated with the 13th-century Persian mystic Rumi. The firstborn son of Rumi named Veled escaped death miraculously nearby Derbe[26][27] (other sources report that it was the second son of Rumi that escaped death miraculously). The place where the miracle happened is mentioned as "Paul's cave"[28] in Meyers Reisebücher. Maybe the dance named devr-i veledi[29][30] that precedes the Sema ceremony is also related to Derve. According some rumors, Devr-i veledi (that was played during circumcision ceremonies) also refers to the circumcision[31] of Rumi's father Bahā ud-Dīn Walad during the pilgrimage, and this action is somehow accossiated to the circumcision of Saint Timothy Acts 16:1–3.[32][citation needed]


  1. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica, §D225.2
  2. ^ Acts |14:19-22
  3. ^ Acts |16:1-5
  4. ^ Zonn, Igor S; Kosarev, Aleksey N; Glantz, Michael; Kostianoy, Andrey G. (2010). The Caspian Sea Encyclopedia. Springer. p. 160.
  5. ^ Strabo. Geographica. p. 569. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  6. ^ Strabo. Geographica. p. 534. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  7. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium. Ethnica. s.v. Δέρβη.
  8. ^ Ramsay, William Mitchell (1908). The Cities of St. Paul. A.C. Armstrong. pp. 315–384.
  9. ^ Bruce, Frederick Fyvie (1977). Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Eerdmans. p. 475. ISBN 978-0-8028-4778-2
  10. ^ a b Fant, Clyde E.; Reddish, Mitchell G. (2003-10-23). A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-988145-1.
  11. ^ a b Bastian Van Elderen, Some Archaeological Observations on Paul’s First Missionary Journey, 157-159.
  12. ^ Steve C. Singleton, Derbe, from Bible Atlas from Space,
  13. ^ "Derbe Excavations Explore Pauline Site". 6 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Excavations at Derbe". 14 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Remains of first religious structure discovered in Central Anatolia".
  16. ^ "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), DAAE, DERBE".
  17. ^ "Derbent · Derbent/Konya, Turkey".
  18. ^ Cicero, Ad Familiares, xiii. 73
  19. ^ Strabo, XII,i, 4; vi, 3
  20. ^ Dio Cassius, XLIX, xxxii)
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Derbe". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  24. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 880
  25. ^ Acts 16:1
  26. ^ M. SABRİ DOĞAN
  27. ^ "Eflatun Manastır (Ak Manastır) – Mevlana TV".
  28. ^ "Google Maps".
  29. ^ "Devr-i Veledi".
  30. ^ "Refik Hakan Talu - Devr-i Veledi (Official Lyrics Video)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-05.
  31. ^
  32. ^ Circumcision_of_Jesus#Theological_beliefs_and_celebrations

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Derbe". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.