Monday, November 17, 2014

Kusadasi, Turkey: Ephesus

The port of Kusadasi is itself an interesting port of call, with a bazaar where you can shop for hand made carpets and other beautiful crafts.  It is also the jumping off place for the one of the world's best ancient sites, Ephesus.

Our bus excursion was another all day trip, 9:30 to 4:30.  First we drove up into the hills to the House of the Virgin Mary. According to many observant Christians, the hillside of Mount Koressos, above the ancient Roman city of Ephesus, is where the mother of Jesus spent her last 11 years. 
 The stone shrine is rebuilt on the original foundation.

 Prayers, requests, and tributes to Mother Mary.
 For some this is a sacred and powerful place. For others it is underwhelming. 
The rest room sign was funny, and accurate.
Then we drove back down into the valley where the ancient city of Ephesus once teamed with Romans.  At its peak, about 500 B.C., it was one of the grandest cities of the ancient world, the second biggest city on the planet, after Rome. While much of the archaeological site is open to the public, there is much more that is still being excavated and pieced back together.  The work of archaeologists has been monumental.

 Gymnasium baths.

 Tile water pipes for indoor plumbing.
 Part of the Ionian world, the Ephesians popularized the style of Greek columns called Ionic, with scroll-like capitals.
 The hills are alive.
 The Odeon, or theater.

 Athena Nike - can you find the swoosh?

 Just who are the intruders here?

 The marble road lined with statues on columns and temples to the famous and powerful.

 The "necessary", the public toilet, this one for men only.
 It was a place of social gathering.  Slaves were used to warm the seats during cold weather.
 There was a running water flush system.

 The terrace houses, just recently unearthed, are protected by a $4 million roof, and the work of piecing it back together goes on. 

 Painted walls and mosaic floors decorated these homes of the rich and famous. 

 The view from the top of the terraces toward the Arcadian Way.
 The Library of Celsus.

 The hilltop fortress where the Apostle Paul was held prisoner.

 The Great Theater.
 One of the tour guides brings food for the cats. 

 The road to the harbor, which came inland before it was silted in.  The Meander River drained here as well.  In fact the Meander River, convoluted as it was, gave meaning to the word "meander", and possibly to the design we know as the Greek Key, which is really a squared off version of the spiral. Both are life symbols. 
We knew by now that lunch would be a ways off, like 2:00, so we grabbed some gelato at the tourist stalls back in those trees on the way back to the bus.

In the nearby city of Selcuk we passed storks nests on the way to the Basilica of St John.
 The story goes that the Apostle John came to Ephesus about 90 A.D. to preach, died about 100 A.D., and was buried on this hilltop.  Some 400 years later the Byzantine Emperor Justinian built this church to venerate St. John. It was built largely of scavenged stone from the pagan structure that preceded it, The Temple of Artemis, at the base of the hill, once one of the seven Wonders of the World.

 Later the church was converted into a mosque when the Muslims took over.  A more recent, but old, mosque is at the base of the hill.
 The reconstructed column from the huge Temple of Artemis. 

 The burial place of St. John, under the basilica alter. 
 The original immersion baptismal pool.

 Finally it was lunch time -  wonderful Turkish food.  These were the appetizers. 
 Entertainment- music and folk dancing.

 The venue, a resort hotel.

 Back in Kasadasi, we were taken to a carpet weaving demonstration. It's no wonder these carpets are so expensive.  It takes months and years to create one. Each piece of color is tied in one at a time.

 Then we got the sales pitch.  There is no doubt that they are beautiful.
 We enjoyed some free time before going back to the ship.
 But the merchants in the bazaar were very aggressive and took the fun out of window shopping.  See them all waiting to pounce?

 We sailed away from this exotic port later in the afternoon, and I caught a photo of this castle on the hill.  I wonder what story it could tell?


  1. What an exotic and lovely trip. I almost went on a tour with a religious group but felt it was too controversial right now.

  2. I had no idea how extensive the ruins of Ephesus are. Thanks for this tour, fascinating. What a wonderful trip!

  3. Wow! Such incredible ruins, Linda. That next to last picture of the beautiful (urn? vase?) is stunning! :-)

  4. One day is not nearly enough to take in all there is to see. You must have done a lot of homework before you saw this and then homework again once you got home.

  5. I don't see how those structures were ever built. Even the castle on the side of a cliff. Unbelievable beauty! Bet you were tired at the end of the day!

  6. These pictures are amazing. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  7. I like those rugs. I bought a silk rug in India in 2012. It was made in Kashmir and it took 4 years to weave.

  8. I would be way tired of ruins by now...I probably would have skipped the tour. I would have enjoyed the sheep:)

  9. What lovely debris. Seeing once mighty cities now long gone makes one feel small in the scheme of history.


I would love to read your comments. Since I link most posts to Facebook, you may comment there if you do not have an account. I have eliminated Anonymous comments due to spammers.