Our last destination in Turkey was a town called Selçuk, which is a town in the southwest part of Turkey, on the water. The main draw of the town are the Greek ruins of the city of Ephesus, which includes the Temple of Artemis.
|Odeon Theater – was a small roofed theater that sat about 1,500 people.|
Ephesus was a huge harbor town for the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The ruins are thought to only be 15% of what the city used to be, and currently the ruins are 2km long. We started at the top of a hill and walked down through the ruins.
We explored the small dwellings and side streets that wove through the ruins. We walked through what must of been the suburbs a thousand years ago. We passed several pieces of marble that had been carved into, set to the side, there were so many that the museum didn’t know what to do with them.
Jeff and I have seen several Greek/Roman ruins, Pompei being the largest. I experienced a new understanding of them in Ephesus though. As we walked through the ruins we suddenly were walking down what was the main road of the city. The road would lead straight to the harbor, making it a very busy and commercial street. Seeing this street really allowed me to understand how similar these cultures were to ours so long ago. I felt like I could imagine this road being like Pike Street in Seattle, with people a thousand years from now walking down it. It seems so similar to what we have today, that we considered so big and important, but in the end it will be ruins too.
Along the road we passed the Temple of Hadrian, which has been dated back to the 2nd century. We also passed some ancient Roman toilets. While Jeff and I more or less wandered through the ruins trying to make friends with the stray cats, Bev and Fred had a self guided tour with some books they got at the museum earlier.
|Temple of Hadrian|
|Missed buying opportunity|
At the turn of the main road was the Library of Celsus. The library was built with a huge entrance, though it is speculated that the purpose of it was to hide the actual size of the building. The windows of the reading rooms all face east, in order to make use of the morning light.
In the morning we had visited a museum where artifacts from the city have been placed in order to better preserve them from the elements. The most interesting of which is the Ephesian interpretation of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of hunting. She is shown covered in small animals on her legs and shoulders, most of them from fantasy like hippogriffs, pegasus, and chimeras. The most discussed part of this representation is her breast, which is meant to shown fertility.
After walking through the ruins of Ephesus, we walked back into the city and visited the Temple of Artemis. Apparently this temple used to be the destination of pilgrimmages, and was an architectural feat of its time. Unfortunately is had to be rebuilt three times by 401 and was the victim to flooding. Today all that remains is it’s foundation and this one lonely pillar that has been reconstructed.
The next day was our last day in Selçuk, which we spent exploring the local farmer’s market. We then took a plane to Istanbul to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We said farewell to Jeff’s parents and headed out to our hotel. We had a bit of trouble getting there, because we thought that there would be a shuttle, but in fact there wasn’t. One shuttle service offered to take us there for 70 lyra, which we quickly refused. We then found a shuttle to a hotel that they said was close to ours, and we thought we agreed that he would drop us off there. He took us to his hotel though, and hailed us a cab, so we only gave him half of what we agreed upon. The cab driver then took us a completely round-about indirect way to our hotel, (we watched with GPS on Jeff’s phone) and wanted 19 lyra for the drive. Luckily our concierge was outside, and after hearing our story he talked the cab driver down. Little did those hooligans know that Jeff was an experienced traveller and wasn’t going to fall for their tricks.
We celebrated the new years by drinking some mixed drinks and the complimentary wine from the hotel and watched some fireworks. We had no wine opener for the wine, so we had to open it with a shoe. Youtube it. It really works.
The next day we said goodbye to the stray kitties and returned to Zürich, and the next day moved me to Basel. Turkey was really quite amazing, definitely an under-appreciated travel destination. There will be one more post about Turkey though, so don’t be too disappointed!