Location: Kusadasi, Turkey
We arrived at a new country on a new continent today. We made port in Kusadasi, Turkey, which is a resort town and the closest city to the ruins of Ephesus. Ephesus was an ancient Greek settlement in Asia Minor, later becoming a Roman city. At it’s time, it was a successful trade city and a relatively cosmopolitan city for the ancient world. The city itself was most likely built over an old Hittite town with a similar name. Ephesus itself existed in four forms. The city was periodically abandoned and rebuilt nearby due to the shifting nearby river and coastline, malaria outbreaks and earthquakes. The ruins we explored today come from the city’s third iteration when it peaked approx 200BCE – 600CE. Lastly, for the first time in this blog we are also writing about a visit to Asia which consists of more than an airport layover.
We left the ship as soon as it made port. We met our tour guide, Yelda, outside the customs area and walked through the cruise terminal (read: medium-sized shopping mall) and eventually found the exit. There we boarded a comfortable tour van and made our way to the ruins while Yelda gave us some background on the city and county. After arriving at the ruins, she gave us a primer on Ancient Ephesus in a shady cool area with adequate seating before walking us through the ancient city.
We started uphill where most of the government buildings and forum were located. Next we saw some pagan temples, public baths and restrooms, and monument fountains. Our next stop took us to see a terrace house (a multi-dwelling 3-story building) alongside the main road. There was an active dig and restoration site in this area. Yelda took us through the restoration area pointing out many of the symbols and utilities of the large houses.
The last part of the ruins tour took us to see the restored front entrance of the Library of Celsus and the large Ephesus theater. The theater was the largest in ancient Asia Minor and one the largest in the Roman Empire.
We ate lunch at Bizim Ev hanimeli Restaurant & Cafe. Coincidentally this is where Rachel and her parents ate 5 years ago when they first visited here. The food was made up of authentic turkish dishes. It was all excellent, especially the fried zucchini.
After lunch we visited the remains of the Temple of Artemis. It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Only one column reamed upright. And that was part of a restoration project. Most of the rest of the temple was destroyed and recycled into material for a church, and later a mosque.
The last stop of our tour took us to a Turkish school dedicated to rug making. There were some really intricate rug designs for sale at the school.
A beautiful and extremely detailed silk rug.
Tonight was formal night and lobster night at the main dinning room. We didn’t get any pictures tonight, but we’ll have some of next week’s lobster night.
Tomorrow we arrive in
Byzantum Constantinople Istanbul
Total Steps: 13,707
Total Times Rachel got out of a hot tub without hurting herself: 5 (out of 5 attempts)