Ephesus

Trip Start Apr 27, 2012
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Trip End May 20, 2012


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Flag of Turkey  , Aydın,
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We docked right on time at 8:00am and headed out on our tour "Discover Ephesus with an Expert". The expert was an archeologist who had worked on the Ephesus archeology site for over 40 years.  He was very passionate about the findings in Ephesus.  He took us to some areas not available to the ordinary tourist.

Ephesus was spectacular; one of the highlights of our cruise. According to our guide, at its peak, Ephesus was one of the grandest cities of the ancient world, ranking among the four leading centers of the Roman Empire (along with Alexandria, Antioch and Rome).  With a quarter million residents, it was the second biggest city in the Mediterranean after Rome.  The Ephesus we saw today represents two millenniums of civilizations – from 1700 BC to 300 AD - Greek, Persian, Roman and Christian.  Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra (who spent their honeymoon here), St. Paul, possibly St. John and even the Virgin Mary walked these streets at one time. 

 The highlight of the tour was visit to the “Terrace Houses”.  These houses were spectacular multiple level condominiums complete with running water, sewage and indoor private steam baths.  Some in Ephesus definitely lived large.  The ultimate fate of Ephesus is interesting.  The city,built at the mouth of the Cayster river, is now three miles from the sea.,  The river flowing into the bay slowly deposited silt which converted its natural port into a muddy swamp.  The swamp bred mosquitos carrying Malaria.  Eventually, over 50% of the population died of Malaria.  Then an earth quake destroyed over 90% of the city after which Ephesus was abandoned.

The Biblical history Of Ephesus is also very interesting.  We visited the Agora where Paul preached to the Ephesians.  According to our guide, Paul lived in Ephesus for three years and began his ministry in private homes.  He wanted to preach in the theater (which is still used today and seats over 20,000) but was prevented from doing so by the local merchants.  Ultimately Paul was arrested and imprisoned in a dungeon below the lighthouse on a hill overlooking the port of Ephesus.

The Library of Celsus, reconstructed from all original pieces, was originally built around 125 A.D.  Measured in terms of books, it was the third largest library at that time.  It held 12,000 scrolls.  You can get an idea how big it was from the photo compared to the people in the photo.  Amazing that after all this time, all the original pieces were found to reconstruct the fašade.  Our guide said there was an underground tunnel to a brothel.  The men would tell their wives that they were going to the Library!  Yeah, right!!!!!!

Ephesus was one of the main reasons we chose this itinerary and we were not disappointed.  It was very hot today, probably in the upper 80's and full sun.  There is not much shade while touring Ephesus except for the Terrace Houses which had a cover over it.  Tomorrow, it’s on to Istanbul.

Note - Some of the photos have additional comments.  To view them, I think you will need to click on the photo to see them - not entirely sure, though. 
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