Selçuk and Ephesus

Trip Start May 09, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turkey  , İzmir,
Monday, May 31, 2010

We set off early for the ancient city of Ephesus which was only 4 km away from Selcuk. Ephesus was originally an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire and had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it the second largest city in the world.

Ephesus was founded in 10th century BC and rose to the height of prosperity in the 6th century BC.  In 262 AD Ephesus was attacked by the Goths and it never regained its previous importance. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The temple was destroyed in 401 AD by a mob. Emperor Constantine rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. The town was again partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up and the sea has now receded to 6 km away. This meant that trade declined and the prosperous merchants moved away.

The ancient citizens of Ephesus lived a luxurious life with beautiful 2 and 3 storey villas which had central courtyards to let in the light, baths, running hot and cold water, sewerage systems, marble floors and walls which helped to regulate the internal temperature and underfloor heating in the winter.  Mosaics and frescoes decorated the floors and walls showing that the occupants had a great interest in the arts and culture.

There was a wonderful library which was built with double thickness walls so as to stop the parchments becoming damp, there were forums, shops (arcadia), covered walkways, a gymnasium and public baths, temples and public fountains. They had large numbers of slaves who catered to their every need even to the point where in winter they would send their slave ahead to the latrine to warm the marble seat before their arrival.
Scholastica was a very powerful woman who ran the local brothel.  The prostitutes were very well educated and powerful and they entertained the men in much the same way as geishas did.I am including a photo of a carved stone which is said to be the first ever advertisement.  It advertised a beautiful and popular prostitute with a fine foot, where she was located and how much she charged.

I took so many photos of this wonderful place so I won't load them all up but if ever you get the chance, you should visit this ancient site.  I found it much more interesting than the Colosseum or other sites I have seen,

Later I visited the museum in Selcuk which houses the better preserved statues, jewellery and artifacts found at Ephesus and featured all sorts of information about how the people lived in the ancient city.  I then bought a lovely antique copper turkish coffee cup.  It is embossed and really lovely and something that wont break or take up too much room in the case.  I walked home and sat on the edge of the Church of St John and watched the sunset over the city. Back to our cute little hotel for a swim and bed.  Although it is nice being with the group I am also enjoying a bit of time on my own.

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Carissa on

Fantastic photos. I loved Ephesus too... Are you going to Goreme/Cappadocia? That's pretty amazing. Worth a look!

carofoley on

Hi Carissa

I am going to Goreme/Capadocchia. Am looking forward to that

Sarah on

Brilliantly evocative blog Caroline, thank you for taking us with you on your epic journey.

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