Selcuk - home of the mighty ruins of Ephesus

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End Jan 10, 2008

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wednesday (Oct 03)

Today was a planned "catch up day" where I would dedicate some time into getting the travel journal done as well as processing photos. By lunch time I was sick of my computer so I decided to check out the ruined Basilica of St John, which was originally built to house the remains of St John, who is believed to have originally escorted the Virgin Mary to Ephesus in AD37. The ruins were very... ruined, and there was not much left at all of the original building which in its day attracted thousands of pilgrims each year and was considered one of the finest churches in Byzantium. I did happen to come across a tortoise while walking through the ruins, which seemed very random indeed. The ruins were also covered with hundreds of lizards which scared the crap out of me on a number of occasions.

Late afternoon I went to Ephesus, which is considered the second best preserved Roman city in the world behind Pompeii in Italy. Once again the ruins, though extensive, were very ruined. I guess that's why they call them ruins?! The most impressive part of the city was the Library of Celsus, which was very cool and not as much ruined as the rest of the city. The huge theatre was also quite extraordinary as it could and still can seat 25,000 people. Unfortunately ongoing restoration meant the top tier of the theatre was closed off and there was a large crane hovering overhead that ruined the serenity of the place.

I hung around for sunset as I wanted to get some twilight photos of the Library of Celsus. Unfortunately (again) there were a whole lot of tables and chairs set up in front of the Library for the upcoming dinner which obstructed the photo/s I wanted to get somewhat, you can be the judge on that one. There were some professional photographers there who were waiting for the people to attend the dinner, and they kindly took some photos of me in front of the Library.

When the people (rich Americans) arrived for the dinner I was escorted out by security as it was well after the 7pm closing time. At night all the ruins are lit up by hundreds of floodlights, including the great theatre, which was quite an amazing experience. Unfortunately the security guard would not let me take any photos (boooo!). Back in Selcuk I ate at the man's restaurant that helped me find the hotel the night before; I thought I better repay the favour.

Thursday (Oct 04)

Today involved an early morning visit to the Ephesus Museum, housing valuable finds from the ruins I visited the day before. The collection in my opinion was pretty average, with only a few pieces (the statues of Artemis) that really stood out.

Before lunch I caught a dolmus (shuttle bus) out to a small mountainside village called Sirince. It was a pretty little town and I wondered around for an hour or two and also stopped for lunch. If it weren't for the ugly powerlines and satellite dish on every house you could imagine the place wouldn't look too different from how it was some 500 years ago.

Back at the hotel the owners invited me to their family "Ramadan dinner". I do not think there was anything special about it, it was similar to the chicken with Moroccan spice my mum makes and the salad was quite standard also. However it was an extremely nice gesture of them and it was great to have a family dinner for a change, although it did make me a bit homesick! That night the owners of the hotel invited me to watch them play their weekly football (soccer) match, which was also good fun.

Well tomorrow I am off to Pamukkale for 3 nights to view some more ancient ruins....
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