Kusadasi, Turkey - Cruise 3

Trip Start Jun 12, 2008
Trip End Aug 25, 2008

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kusadasi, Turkey feels completely different from Istanbul.  Kusadasi (cush-a-dah-suh) is an island of Turkey and contains the spectacular ruins of Ephesus.  Fortunately a tour needed a crew escort so off I went with 28 other guests to see these magnificent ruins.  I can hardly describe it you'll have to look at the photos to believe the beauty - but even they cannot fully convey the splendor.  Ephesus, during the period of Paul's second missionary journey in the New Testament, was controlled by the Roman Empire.  He spoke to the crowds, of which 28,000 could be seated in the Theater - which is being rehabilitated and reused for large concerts and such today - and after he preached to them one time the Ephesians revolted when he wanted to do so a second time.  They imprisoned him on top of a hill that can be seen from the Theater in a lonely prison that literally took up the whole little hill, making it easily guarded from all sides.  

The ruins included a Senate building, the terraced houses that still have original mosaics and tile from 2,000 years ago, the Library, the Baths, the public toilet (men only and they sat cheek to cheek!), the colonnade to the sea (though the sea is long gone) and some other amazing finds.  The people of Turkey didn't realize the importance of this ancient city and hadn't done anything to excavate or preserve it until the Austrians came and offered to help finance the project.  Now the site is protected and worked on to uncover the vast ruins that are remarkably intact in many places.  Ephesus ranks right along side Athens for its impressiveness.

The Library was one of three in Turkey.  The other two sites were Alexandria and Pergamum.  Alexandria was the seat of power and so at one point in history the impressive amount of papyrus scrolls were ordered to be sent from Ephesus and Pergamum to Alexandria to have one large library.  During the journey these scrolls were burned in a fire accidentally and a significant number of important texts were destroyed.  The ruins in Ephesus still show where the scrolls were located.  Just past the library is the colonnade where the shops were located, just like shopping malls of today with a central open square and little stalls lined up inside the marble walls (each with its own section set back from the side walls of the courtyard).

Upon exiting the ruins site visitors are funneled into a Turkish Bazaar.  The vendors sold many exotic tapestries, pillow covers, pashminas, toys, spices, etc. for very very low prices.  Don't accept the first price quoted at this bazaar - they WANT your business so make sure to haggle for a better deal.  Euros, US Dollars, British pound sterling and Turkish money were all readily accepted for ease of purchasing as of this writing.

After shopping for a few minutes the bus returned the group to the Kusadasi shopping district just outside the ship.  There is another fabulous bazaar here as well and the principles apply here just as in the Ephesus bazaar - haggle, haggle, haggle.  Do NOT accept the first price quoted even if you think it is a good deal to begin with.  The merchants know that they are one of many selling the same types of goods and buying cheaper from them is better than not buying at all.  This is the best location for buying souvenirs on this itinerary as this port has beautiful hand made items and very reasonable prices.  If you like to shop, you'll adore Kusadasi.  The people here are very kind, though the male shop owners can be a bit pushy, and as this island is further removed from the capital women still enjoy equal rights, the alphabet is roman letters and not arabic, and the people are more secular in their mindset.  

With love from Turkiye (Turkish spelling)
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