The big reason to come to Selcuk is to come to Epheses but the usual way to come to Ephesus is to come to Kusadasi - usually aboard a big cruise liner where you are disengorged along with 10,000 of your fellow travelers and make your way via buses to Ephesus for a day of ruins and a cheap lunch before re-boarding your boat an continuing on. We were met with more than a few puzzled stares at the bus station - the otogar - in Soke where we had to change buses to go to Kusadasi where we had to stand in a roundabout and jump on a bus to Selcuk.
I guess in summer there is a direct bus from Bodrum to Selcuk but not so in the low season.
We never did get to our hotel, the hotel Bella because we were way-laid by Tom, a blond haired, blue-eyed guy wearing a California t-shirt who spoke very good English who quickly produced a pamphlet for his pansiyon called the Nur Pansiyon at about 1/2 the price we were about to pay. He put us in his rickety Toyota?? and we took off for the wrong side of the tracks. The place has the cozy feel of a frat/sorority/korean guest house. After a brief chat, we went out to discover Selcuk.
Not very big - around 25,000 people, but very authentic - only one street devoted to tourists - that one run by Kurds it seems. We were ensnared in the Kurds' nets fairly quickly but shook them off an continued walking about. After a very brief and unhelpful internet cafe stint (the browser default language is Turkish and we couldn't sign int to email) we headed back toward the Kurdish sector and gave in. Our new friend, Musa, had recommened a cafe next door and across from 2 of his rug shops. The cafe turned out to be Kurdish as well. The food was fantastic (so said Hugo - I'm still not really eating - a little lentil soup, a little Turkish pizza).
Nomad food - a private burner is brought to your table with a collection of meats cooking on it, all surrounded by tomatoes and peppers. Very pretty and very nice. Musa hovered and chatted. After about 1/2 hour, we made him sit down. The owner of the cafe - an ex-boxer with the nose to prove it - also joined us and sat down and talked about his Irish ex-girlfriend. Later Musa's uncle joined us and we all spoke a little French. The evening was truly lovely, the company truly entertaining and we didn't buy a thing.
Got up the next morning and we headed off to Ephesus. First we stopped by the Virgin Mary's house. Now, this is the first I've ever heard that Mary had a house in Turkey. We tromped up the hill - paid our $10.00 and then were treated to a series of souvenier stands and signs explaining that since Jesus told John to take care of his mother and since John came to Ephesus, Mary must have come with her and since there was already a church dedicated to her nearby and since in the 19th century, a Bohemain nun in her bed had visions that Mary's house was located at this exact spot - this must be the place.
Hmmmm. Well, we wandered around. Not much there except a chapel they built on the spot where her house once was supposed to have been. There were a bunch of rowdy Turkish schoolkids writing wishes and messages on paper and tissue paper which you then stuff into a wall. Hugo drank some holy water and we moved on to Ephesus proper down the hill.
Ephesus is also confusing in that it has been at least 3 sites and in three different locales.
The current one was re-discovered and re-conquered by Alexander the Great sometime in the 350's B.C. The Romans then took it over and it is littered with fountains and arches to various emperors. Later on, the Byzantines came here and stole a lot of the marble to build other things and when the Selcuk Turks kicked the Byzantines out, they continued to take marble to build their own monuments. But that's only fair since the Romans stole columns from other sites in other cities to decorate the main street of Ephesus. One of my favorite things (and Hugo's) about Ephesus is that you can really walk around in it and feel the size of the city.....things are connected - oh, here's a street and off it are houses and there's the bath and there's the city latrine
and in back of that is ......and so on.
The library of Celsus -
named after a man or proconsul ( I supposed I should really look it up) is a fantastic 2 story facade - much of it reconstructed but still amazing. The great theatre - seating for 25,000 is just awe-inspiring.
As an actor, it makes me happy to think that theatre and oratory and performance were once that important. Sigh. St. Paul railed in that very theatre against Artemis who the city is named for. St. Paul was shouted down for 3 hours by a claque shouting "Artemis is our god"
After the authorities calmed the crowd down, he was asked to leave town. Cleopatra was said to have come here (not sure about that one) but certainly Lysimichus and a number of Roman Emperors were here. A really impressive, overwhelming place. We wandered around for about 3 hours - took pictures of countless things that we can't remember and then walked back around 3 K
to Selcuk to encounter rain and a lovely weekly market
where we bought fruit and cashews and got wet before having a snack in a covered arcade.