Ephesus, Turkey

I had never even heard of this archaeological site before our cruise ship landed at Kusadasi, but oh was it impressive. Worth the 40 Turkish Lira (~€13), and a very pretty ticket at that. I skipped the Terrace Houses on account of time. Turkey makes pretty archaeological entrance tickets. To get there was an adventure in itself, as few Turkish people seemed to speak English except for those in the tourism industry, and we took the local “mini bus” (Dolmuş) from downtown to get there (6 Turkish Lira per person each way), which drops you off by the lower gate. Rick Steves’ tour starts from the upper gate, so walk through. I didn’t notice a real schedule, but wait by the roadside until it shows!

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Rick Steves saved the tour by providing an excellent audio walking tour with so many interesting tidbits and plenty of historical context. Ephesus (Greek: Ἔφεσος Ephesos; Turkish: Efes; ultimately from Hittite Apasa) was an ancient Greek city in the 10th century B.C. “The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. According to estimates, Ephesus had a population of 33,600 to 56,000 people in the Roman period, making it the third largest city of Roman Asia Minor… The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World… The city’s importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River… When Augustus became emperor in 27 BC, he made Ephesus the capital of proconsular Asia (which covered western Asia Minor) instead of Pergamum. Ephesus then entered an era of prosperity, becoming both the seat of the governor and a major center of commerce. According to Strabo, it was second in importance and size only to Rome.” (Wikipedia) Only wish we had had time to visit the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk!

Ephesus — one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire — is among the world’s best ancient sites. Whether you’re strolling its broad boulevards, appreciating the pillared facade of the famous Library of Celsus, peeling back the layers of dust to understand the everyday lifestyles of the rich and Roman at the Terrace Houses, or testing the acoustics in the theater where the Apostle Paul once spoke, Ephesus is a perfect place to time-travel back to the grandeur of Rome. (Rick Steves)

The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (Diana), the Library of Celsus, and a theater which was capable of holding 25,000 spectators. The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world. The most memorable sites for me:

“The Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from all original pieces, was originally built c. 125 AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus.” (Wikipedia)

“The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood 418′ by 239′ with over 100 marble pillars each 56′ high. The temple earned the city the title “Servant of the Goddess”. Pliny tells us that the magnificent structure took 120 years to build but is now represented only by one inconspicuous column.” (Wikipedia)

Unfortunately no photo — my bad! =(

“The Temple of Hadrian dates from the 2nd century but underwent repairs in the 4th century and has been re-erected from the surviving architectural fragments. The reliefs in the upper sections are casts, the originals now being exhibited in the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. A number of figures are depicted in the reliefs.” (Wikipedia) On the second semicircular frontal over the door, the figure of Medusa is depicted among flowers and acanthus leaves.

The Gate of Hercules: On these two columns, there are two reliefs of Heracles depicted wrapped in a Nemea lion skin.

Trajan Fountain: “The fountain was erected between 102 and 104 A.D. and as the attached inscription reads, was consecrated to the Emperor Trajan. The tympanum which dominates the upper line is supported by Corinthian columns, in the central niche was located an enormous statue of Trajan, of which only the base with the foot upon the globe [the world] remains.” (kusadasi.biz) Yes, the Earth was round! See the foot-on-ball in the middle?

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Finally, some panoramas…

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~Jessica & Kai-ling

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