Troy, Pergamon, Ephesus & Virgin Mary’s Home
Trip Start May 04, 2011
110Trip End Feb 20, 2014
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From Troy we lunched and then headed further south to Pergamon, which is an ancient city situated on a high hill. It has Greek and Roman influences (like most archaeological sites around here) and was actually a lot better than I expected. The columns from the temples and squares are well preserved and interesting to see how they piped water around and stories of life in the times
We drove for a few hrs south and over-nighted in Selcuk, the town closest to the ruins of Ephesus which was the ancient capital of Turkey prior to Roman Emperor Constantine moving the capital to Byzantine and renaming it after himself as Constantinople (present Istanbul). By now we had picked up 5 extra people (from Coffs Harbour) and the original tour group had just dwindled down to 3 solo travellers. Despite paying extra for the 'Comfort’ tour option, I was placed in a shared room with the other solo male traveller in a basic hotel where the shower was possessed, the toilet leaked and no top sheet to protect me from the itchy grey rug
I was awake early on the 28th for my final day in Turkey. Not because I was excited or the prayer call, but because the room was brighter than the surface of Venus due to the pathetic curtains. After the worst breakfast of the tour, we set off about 9 am for our tour of Ephesus. We were with yet another group of people and the 5 from Coffs Harbour were not with us. Oh well, just go with the flow. We were all looking forward to seeing the Ephesus tour as all previous places visited had referenced Ephesus as being ‘bigger, better’ and I had heard great things from family friends who travelled there last year. Our tour guide for this one was great and never felt rushed or bored. Ephesus has very interesting history and is a place where some Apostles came to live out their lives, along with the Virgin Mary. Some of the ruins have been largely restored with the help of modern day concrete works but the further down the town towards the sea it becomes better preserved
After the Ephesus tour, we had the best lunch/food I’ve eaten in Turkey this trip. Fresh and exotic flavours in a grassy lawn setting where there were a few shops to explore and a carpet making tour. Of course they try to sell you carpets but all expensive ($15k for one), but considering one person would spend 1-3 years on the same carpet it is the labour that you pay for. Following lunch we drove up another steep hill to the supposed final home of the Virgin Mary. Fascinating place to visit and largely reconstructed. They are expecting the new Pope to visit in the coming months as a tradition establish by John Paul II. We then scooted back down to the valley to visit the very few remnants of the Temple of Artemis. This was a highlight for me as it ticks off another "Seven Wonders of the World"...this one obviously an Ancient Wonder. The area is now a swamp as they have stopped pumping the water out for some reason
By this stage, I was a bit brain numbed by all the extra info and history lessons and good to wrap up the tour and head back to the hotel to re-arrange my bag and enjoy an Efes beer (Turkish for Ephesus) prior to the airport transfer collecting 2 of us for our 45 min flight back to Istanbul. I had some time at the Istanbul airport to reflect on such a great tour this has been. Despite its lack of some basic organisation, everything I saw was what I wanted to see. Perfect snapshot of these parts of Turkey. This country has a lot of interesting sites to see and I’m sure I’ll be back...for the third time!