One, of the most interesting sites we have ever visited, was found in Ephesus, Turkey. Deemed an UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is not to be missed. I didn’t know what to expect, but when we arrived at the top of the mountain, thank goodness, and began to make our trek down to the sea, it became apparent we were in a special place. The site is huge and we walked and walked. I am showing the map, which was at the end of our walk, since we started at the top, without any idea of what we might see. You can see how big Ephesus was. It eventually was the most important city in Asia, after Constantinople. (Istanbul)
Ephesus became an important city for its position on the trade routes and was built up over time by many different conquering peoples. And, Ephesus was an important city to early Christians. The Apostle Paul lived here, working with the Jewish Christians and organizing missionary activity. In 57 AD, Paul wrote the letter, I Corinthians, from Ephesus, possibly while in the “Paul Tower,” near the harbor, where he was imprisoned for a short time due to an argument over folks making Artemis shrines of silver. Paul later wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians, while he was in prison in Rome, around 62 AD. The Apostle John, was also here and the Gospel of John, may have been written here, as well. Many believe that John also brought the Virgin Mary with him to Ephesus, as he was instructed by Jesus to take care of her after His death. Her last house is further up the mountain and I have written a post about that. You can find it HERE. Ephesus, was one of the seven cities noted in the Book of Revelation, indicating the church in Ephesus was strong.
In 1863, British architect, John Turtle Wood, began the search in Ephesus, sponsored by the British Museum. He became interested in the remains of the temple of Artemis, (Artemision) which had completely disappeared from view, 500 years before. The Temple was important on the account in the New Testament, when Paul was shouted down by a mob, chanting, “Great is (Artemis) Diana of the Ephesians.” In 1869, he discovered the pavement and ruins of the Artemis temple under 20 feet of sand. By 1874, Wood was in poor health from fever and injuries. He had fought bandits, and endured earthquakes, the summer heat and cold winters. He died in 1890, at the age 69, in England.
When no other discoveries were made, the excavations were stopped. In 1895, German archeologist, Otto Benndorf, resumed excavations with a grant from an Austrian citizen. The Austrian Archaeological Institute has played a major role in the sites excavation ever since, leading to the site we see today. In 2016, Turkey shut down the work due to a tiff with the Austrians, but the work resumed in 2018. You can see a tent on the hill, where work is being done at the terrace houses. Let’s get a move on, we have much to see.
There were at least two Roman baths here. One, at the top of the mountain and one at the bottom. The working class people lived higher up in the city and the richer folks, closer to the port. There were aqueducts carrying water, and latrines and sewage lines, making this a very sophisticated city during Roman times.
On one of many signs, you can read about the baths and the surrounding bathing facilities in the agoras, (public spaces) Also, the sign reminds us, no smoking allowed! The 0range area shows how big this bath was.
The Prytaneon, was an official city hall. Here religious ceremonies, official receptions and banquets were held.
On another sign, this one noting the Prytaneon. I noticed the smaller sign for the ambulance call number. How long would it take to get an ambulance here and how would they get to you? Just a thought……..
This is the landscape showing the public spaces.
Notice the notches in the stone? Remember the vine-covered streets we have seen in Greece? These notched pieces of stone were on top of the marbled columns and were made to hold the vine poles that covered the walkways along the main street, to make it cooler.
We are walking on a gravel path here. As the day goes on, it is getting hotter and hotter!
The Odeon is a small, semi-circle theatre, built by two wealthy citizens of Ephesus. It could hold 1500 people.
As we continue downhill, the gravel pavement gives way to marble stones. We are heading into the wealthier neighborhoods. This is a good view of the landscape too. The marble is extremely slick. I can’t imagine doing this walk in hand-made leather sandals, barely tied around your ankle! Many tourists slipped and fell on the marble walkways, and I kept thinking about the ambulance sign! I also kept my eyes on the ground and watched my footing. I only looked up to take a photo!
We turn the bend and ahhhh, more stuff to see! The excavations were getting definitely bigger!
We’ll end our walk today with the stone carving of the Goddess Nike. It is really, really, really hot and we need a breather! Where is the refreshment stand in Ephesus? Ha ha!
We’ll take our walk through Ephesus up again, from here…….stay tuned for more! Cady
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The situation looks beautiful, Cady. Wonderful to have so much of the city excavated. I thoroughly enjoyed my walk through with you. Back up the hill now?
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No, we are only halfway through the city! I need a little break though! More next week! Cady
What a fascinating place with so much history!
A most fascinating place, Cady….one I’m sad not to have seen, and ill health prevents it now. Looking forward to the next episode
It’s wonderful, isn’t it. We visited in 2020….and of course it was almost deserted, we practically had the place to ourselves. Was great to have time to study everything fully.