Friday, 19 December 2008


Difficult to describe – Ephesus (Efes) was the site of the temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the world, but that no longer exists. (I think there may be part of one piller somewhere, but we didn't identify it) So as you can see, there is nothing at all worth looking at, at all, any more….!
One of the things which strikes you is just how big the place is. There are several paved roads, the reconstructed library, one large and one small ampitheatre, various temples, and lots and lots of cats. (it's possible that the cats are not quite as ancient as the rest of the site)

The cats (not only here, but all over Turkey) seem to be semi-feral. They don't appear to belong with anyone specific, but they do seem to be encouraged rather than merely tolerated. I never saw anyone doing anything more then shoo them gently away (out of restaurants, for instance) and lots of people seem to put food out for them - I noticed little heaps of kibble, in the parks.

This is the street running down to the Library -

And this is the library of Celsus - it had collapsed, and the facade was rebuild, using the original pieces. Apparently when it was originally built it had to be 'slotted in' between other buildings, so the pillers were made different sizes to make it look wider and more imposing than it truly is. (Although I have to say, it's pretty imposing!)

The larger of the 2 ampitheatres. This one seated 25,000 people. Apparently they had gladiators there, as well as theatre and public debates.

Another of the street - the large ampitheatre is the bit on the right (by the crane). The crane seems to be there as they are doing some work shoring up the back wall of the theatre - but it doea make you think what a huge undertaking this must have been when it was origianlly built, with no such help.

I may be very ignorant, but until we visited, it had never occurred to me that the Ephesians to whom St Paul wrote his Epistles were the residents of Ephesus... St John and the virgin Mary apparently came, too. I also didn't know, before we came, that the city used to be a port, with a harbour to the sea, and this was one of the reasons it became such an important city (It was the Roman administrative capital for about half of Asia Minor) - then from about the 4th Century AD the harbout silted up and the city went downhill (as it were). It's about 3 miles inland, now.

Across the valley is the 'Mary's House' - alledgedly where Mary spent her decling years - the house was found after a local residenct had a prophetic dream. It's now a major pilgrimage site and tourist attraction. A cynical person but become suspicious...

We didn't go, so it is always possible that I missed the opportunity for a deep and meaningful spiritual experience. I have to admit that my first thought was that if the site is accurate, it was most unkind of the early church to build a house for an elderly lady right at the top of a steep hill and right away from the city....
We spent several hours exploring the site - I would imagine that in the summer it is packed with coach parties, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity of seeing much of it almost alone.

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Dragonsally said...

The history of the place is amazing, as are your photos. Fods, I'd love to go there

spacedlaw said...

Great pictures. the Library is particularly impressive.

Marjorie said...

Sally, I'm sure you'll get there one day. Aphrodiasias is even more impressive (watch this space)

Nat-Law - thank you - one of the things I love about having a digital camera is taht you can take 100's of photos and then pick the ones which work.