Other trips

Other trips can be accessed by clicking the following links:

Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Thailand, Cambodia and South Korea

Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Copenhagen

Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, India and England

Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Ethiopia, Kenya, S. Africa, Zimbabwe, UAE and Denmark

Panama, Colombia, Ecuador (Including Gallapagos), Peru, Bolivia, Chile (Including Easter Island), Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10/11 Visit to Ephesus: Jigsaw Puzzles & Cleopatra

Guests at the hotel recommended that we hike up the steep hill behind the hotel and then along a lovely path before reaching the main road to walk down to Ephesus’s main entrance. We’re glad we followed their advice as it was a lovely walk/hike on a warm day; we were thrilled beyond words that we could actually wear shorts/skorts as we’d both thought that we might not be wearing them again at all.
Hiking to Ephesus from Atilla's Getaway

View of Selcuk

The monument on the side of the road was ‘Erected in 1996 by the American Society of Ephesus in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary who Spent Her Last Years in Ephesus.’
Our first view of Ephesus!

Ephesus, or Efes in Turkish, was home to 500,000 people at its height and drew visitors from near and far with its promise of baths, brothels, theaters, temples, public latrines and one of the world’s largest libraries. Since Ephesus is laid out on the slopes of Mounts Pion and Koressos, we opted to begin our tour at the upper Magnesian Gate, visiting the state and religious buildings on the higher reaches before descending to where most of the public arenas and agoras are located.
One of the largest temples in the city was the Temple of Domitian dedicated to the 1st C. Roman emperor.

The Odeon’s a small theater seating an audience of about 1,500 in a semicircle of stone seats to enjoy theatricals and music recitals.
The Municipality Palace
One of Ephesus’ main thoroughfares, Curetes St., cuts a diagonal swath throught the ancient city and was a processional route leading to the Temple of Artemis; ‘curetes’ are priests of Artemis.

The Memmius Monument was built between 50 and 30 BC.

A relief of Nike, the Goddess of Victory

View from Heracles' Gate
The Trajan Fountain; built at the beginning of the 2nd C. Remember seeing the references to Emperor Trajan in several earlier posts including his statue?!
 The monument to the 2nd C. Roman emperor, Temple of Hadrian, has a frieze of Medusa to guard the entrance to ward off evil spirits and, in another, the Christian Emperor Theodosius is surrounded by pagan gods – a sign that the worldly Ephesus was a tolerant place. The next 2 photos are also of the Hadrian's Temple.

Ephesus' Public Latrines: A narrow water channel under the U- shaped marble sitting places connected to the city sewage system was laid to prevent the unpleasant odor in the latrines and quickly remove the waste. In the latrines which could serve 50 people at the same time, people sat side by side by gathering up the skirts of their togas a little bit! I’m guessing the Ephesians couldn’t have been that modest!
Visited the massive Slope House Complex, the luxurious homes of well-to-do Ephesians of the 1st to 7th centuries on the slopes of Mount Koressos. This enclave, liberally decorated with frescoes and mosaics, is evocative of life in the ancient town. I wonder how archeologists have ANY clue how to possibly figure out what pieces match up with any of the others to form anything. It seems likes the world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle that has no possibility of ever being solved.

Back outside of the Slope House Complex and seeing my first pomengranate tree.
Hadrian's Gate
For me the Library of Celsus was the most stunning sight in all of Ephesus. Not surprisingly it’s considered the most spectacular existing ruins in antiquity. The remarkable 2 storied building was commissioned in the 2nd C. and was designed for double duty – as a mausoleum for the Roman governor of the Asia Minor province and as a reading room stocked with more than 12,000 scrolls.

Still the Library of Celsus
The majestic Marble Road even had sidewalks and an underground sewage system back in ancient times.
One of the busiest businesses in town was The Brothel aka The House of Pleasure.

Back on the Marble Road again after the detour!
Footsteps etched into the marble paving stones further along led the way back to the Brothel.
The huge Agora
Walked next to the Theater where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians in this magnificent space. It was the largest outdoor theater of the ancient world and was carved out of Mount Pion over the course of 60 years.

The Theater seats as many as 40,000 spectators and has the most incredible sound system. Steven, speaking in a normal voice, stood in the center of the stage and asked people sitting in the upper reaches to wave if they could hear him. Some did!

Wandered down the Arcadian Way next, the grandest street in town, the ancient world’s equivalent to Rodeo Drive – that was lined with elegant shops under the marble porticoes laden with goods from throughout the Mediterranean World. At night, it was torch lit, a luxury afforded few ancient cities. The Arcadian Way was where Cleopatra paraded in triumph.
The Church of Mary

Waiting at the dolmus 'station' at the South Gate to go back to Selcuk. We were incredibly fortunate that we visited Ephesus in October because we escaped the brutal summer heat and also the gazillion tourists visiting Ephesus then from their cruise ships docked in nearby Kusadasi. As it was, there plenty of fellow tourists.

Back in town we wandered through the market stalls and on to the ruins high above town.

The Aqueduct

Above and below are the remains of the Basilica of St. John.

One column rising from a swamp is all that remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. It’s the largest building in the ancient Mediterranean and was once surrounded by 127 columns; it’s a shrine to the goddess of fertility, abundance and womanly concerns.
More photos of the Basilica above and below.
Tomb of St. John
From the Basilica, we hiked further up the hil lto the Citadel.

A prickly pear tree.

How blissful writing the blog to you all while relaxing by the hotel pool after a day of seeing the ruins. 
At dinner, Steven and I sat beside lovely Laura and Lindsay, both traveling nurses who met while working in Seattle. Lindsay, on the right, will be working not too far from us in Colorado hopefully with her boyfriend Shaun, also a fellow nurse. I promised them both a delicious home cooked meal and to send them home with baked goodies too. We all hope that Laura will come out and visit Lindsay and Shaun and that the three of them will come for dinner then too.
After seeing the gorgeous photos of the pool and lounge areas online, I couldn’t wait for us to get to Atilla’s Getaway. However, our so called ‘bungalow’ was simply a small room right next to the others like in a motel but it had only one light, in the ceiling, no soundproofing and to top it all off, no bathroom or even a sink. The communal toilets and showers were about 50 steps away, past the pool and down some more steps and around the corner. You had to be awfully careful not to fall in the pool if you had to use the facilities in the middle of the night and weren’t quite wide awake!

And oh yes, the hotel was a distance from town so we had to eat all our meals there and hard to make spur of the moment decisions to go into town and wander about when we felt like it. I goofed making the decision to stay here except for our meeting Laura, Lindsay and Shaun of course!

The comfy and beautifully decorated lounge area - long way down though to sit! Most of the hotel's guests were a group of Australian and other friends visiting from Ios, Greece where they had been working in bars and restaurants for a few months.
It was Nikos’ birthday so a cake was brought out to celebrate his special day. The revelry had actually started the night before and had gone on until the wee hours of the morning! He’s from Ios and his wife is from Australia and they run a restaurant back on Ios.