Am I in Italy or somewhere in Greece?
The Greco-Roman architecture may suggest so, but I’m still here in Turkey.
Ephesus is an ancient Greek city considered as one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor. The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is found here alongside other significant archaeological ruins and artifacts. It is estimated that 15 % of the city has been excavated. Ephesus was once a flourishing city which was once home to about 60,000 people, I reckon that the city must have been massive.
I mentioned last post that there was a terrible snowstorm that blanketed Istanbul in heavy snow. It was my first time to see snow and ironically, I experienced it in a place I never expected. I did not see snow in Europe when I visited even though it was still winter.
I did not plan to visit Ephesus as I don’t really want to join a private tour because I consider it pricey while a D-I-Y tour seemed to be complicated for a solo traveler. When the snowstorm got worse, I decided to push through with Ephesus. Sounds strange but it was only the destination which has a good weather that time. So there I was at the bus terminal in the middle of a snowstorm. It took me only 5 minutes to cross the road from the train station going to the bus terminal but my coat was covered in snow.
I took the overnight bus to Selcuk which was a 10 hour ride. The first major stop was Izmir and I think Selcuk was the second to the last stop (Kusadasi is the last one, I reckon). I was a bit dazed since it has been days since I saw the sun. I took it slow for the rest of the day and prepared for the Ephesus trip the next day.
I consider this trip a “lucky” one as many unexpected but good things happened. I met a group of travelers and was able to hire a taxi together, saving me time and money. I mean it because we saved a lot with Lydia’s great bargaining skills. It was quite awesome to watch her haggle. I did not really mind because the driver charged a lot. Since I was in a group, I was also able to join them to a side trip to Kusadasi.
The moment I entered Ephesus, I was awe-struck. The fact that I’m standing in a city built thousands of years ago will never fail to overwhelm me! Ephesus is a must-see place for every archaeology and history lover out there.
The Great Theatre is a magnificent part of the city and considered to be the largest one in Anatolia. It has more than sixty rows of seats which could accommodate approximately 25,000 people. The theatre consists of five entrances and an ornamented facade parallel to the audience.
Curetes Street is one of the streets of Ephesus located between the Hercules Gate till to the Celsus Library. At the height of its glory, the street was line with many monuments, statues and shops. There were also many houses on the slope which were owned by rich residents.
Alongside the Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus is also one of Ephesus’ notable sites. The library has an ornate, and richly decorated façade. The library is flanked with columns capped with Corinthian décor. The library was built in honour of the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. His crypt is also located near the main entrance of the library.There are four statues locate in the entrance doorways of Celsus Library representing four virtues: wisdom (sophia), intelligence (ennoia), knowledge (episteme) and virtue (arete) which were associated with Celsus.
There was a private tour which came near the place I was sitting at. He was within my earshot so I did overhear what he has to say for that part of the tour. He said an interesting tidbit wherein there was supposed to be a path from the library that leads to a brothel.
So during that time, husbands would often tell their wives that they would be studying late at the library. It looks impressive when you see your husband work hard. Unfortunately for the husbands, their wives found out about this path (imagine the riot) and had something done to it. I’m not sure if this true but it was absolutely the funniest thing I’ve heard that day, I’m glad I sat in that area.
The Baths of Scholastica can be accessed from the Curetes Street, while there is another from the side street. Public baths were used not only to bathe but also to socialize. The latrines are also part of the baths where there is an uncovered pool located parallel to the toilets aligned on the walls. The drainage system can be found beneath the toilets
The Stadium was to be used solely for sports when it was first built. Later on, gladiator and wild animal fights became popular with the spectators. The stadium is not a stranger to bloodshed as Christians were also persecuted here where they were thrown to the wild lions. The Persecution Gate was built as a symbol of these sufferings.
State Agora is located on the upper city of Ephesus. The site is significant for it is a place where political discussions are undertaken, trade deals were carried out in here as well.
Sadly, only the the ruins of the foundations of the Temple of Artemis remain here. These ruins are made of marble and full of sculptured columns’ capitals and shafts.
After several hours, we headed to Kusadasi for our late lunch. This is the point where I was really missing the home-cooked meals of my friend’s mom. I feel like the restaurants here charged too much whereas the food quality is a let-down, just average for the the price they charge.