Derbe is located in Turkey
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 from[citation needed] 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.


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]

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 Lystra (Acts 14:19), about 75 miles (120 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. Vol. p. 569. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  6. ^ Strabo. Geographica. Vol. p. 534. Page numbers refer to those of Isaac Casaubon's edition.
  7. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium. Ethnica. Vol. 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 Archived 2020-08-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  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. ^[bare URL PDF]
  22. ^[bare URL]
  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 Archived 2021-01-26 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Eflatun Manastır (Ak Manastır) – Mevlana TV".
  28. ^ "Google Maps".
  29. ^ "Devr-i Veledi". Amazon.
  30. ^ "Refik Hakan Talu - Devr-i Veledi (Official Lyrics Video)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-05.
  31. ^[bare URL PDF]
  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.