Ephes-us For the Rest of Us – Turkey Part IV
Leaving Istanbul on a night bus heading for Selcuk, Turkey, we were heading for Ephesus – one of the best-preserved ancient sites of the world. Our bus arrived at its destination at a lousy three in the morning. Dropped off in the middle of Selcuk’s main intersection rather than a bus depot seemed odd and left us wondering if we were even in the right place. Our bus was due to arrive in Epheus sometime after 4am afterall. Except for a lone lap dog that functioned as the neighbourhood’s watch dog and sounded very much like a dying car alarm; the city of Selcuk was deserted.
Heeellooo? You could hear yourself echo through the balmy Turkish night. With no one to respond expect for a tough, shaggy blob that thought it was super human and was telling us to get outta here. It was time to break out our hostel camera map. We’d been using a sometimes lucrative method of direction finding that involved taking pictures of the online hostel map given by Hostel World or Hostel Bookers. We were looking for the Kiwi.
Good thing we’d emailed the guesthouse to let them know we’d be showing up at some unpleasant hour. The site said Kiwi was 100 metres away from the bus station, but we had no idea where that was, and there was no big, brown prickly ball jumping out at us. And that’s probably a good thing. We were lost, tired and a just about ready to cosy up to Barky Mc Barkison when a random local man walked by us. “Kiwi?” we asked. “Straight!” he pointed, through a small park with a pathway leading 100 metres away from the parking lot slash bus station.
The Kiwi – a dark, gated house that looked uninhabited. No lightage made us hesitant to open the gate a look around, but a lack of sleep and heavy packs would leave us desperate. Unlocking the gate and walking through the front yard, I was ready lap-dog alarm, number two to go off at any second. A security light popped on at the side of the house revealing the doorbell. We waited a few minutes for a older gentlemen with a glass eye and a huge sore on his leg to answer. He’d show us to our closet-sized room and limped away with one creepy, glass eye still on us. A colourful aray of slasher movie scenes would lull me to sleep.
The next morning we were miraculously unmurdered and ready to visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Walking to the grounds would take a half hour from Kiwi. A tree-lined boulevard of orange trees and random road-side gym equipment paved the way, providing a free flash workout and laughs.
Beware – Leading up to the gates of Ephesus you’ll have to pass through Ripoff Walkway. It’s the name I’ve given the area that is notorious for selling everything fake – including the fake coins you can collect. Getting a guide might be a good idea if you are archeologically inclined, otherwise the ruins do just look like rubble. However, Ephesus was the biggest and more impressive Greek and Roman ruin site we’d visited in Greece and Italy. Unlike the other sites, you can climb on the ruins at Ephesus – maybe even into them.
Historically noted as the death place of Mary Magdalene, Ephesus is a religious destination for those wanting to visit the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Ephesus was both an ancient Greek and Roman city. In the Roman period it was for many years considered the second largest city of the Roman empire, second to Rome.
You can pay extra to see the Terrace Houses, aka “houses of the rich”. A really neat look into the lives of the wealthy Ephesians who lived in these luxurious houses on the slopes of Bülbül Mountain. The excavations of the terrace houses started in 1960. The restoration of the two of the houses have been finished and can be visited today. We were able to watch some of the archaeologists at work piecing together some millions of frescoed tiles together. Probably one of the most interesting places we’ve seen so far.
Turkish delight – or just Mother Nature at her finest? We watched a little field kitty, hunt, strike, play with and then eat a little lizard. Mmm.
Situated on the Aegean Sea at the mouth of the Cayster River, the city was one of the greatest seaports of the ancient world. Now it sits six miles away from the sea.
One of the seven wonders of the antiquity, Temple of Artemis, is at Ephesus. A column and scanty fragments strewn on the ground are all that remains of this wonder. Archaeological findings attest to at least four rebuildings of this temple in antiquity.
From circa 100 B.C. to circa A.D. 100 Ephesus was the world capital of the slave trade.
Hey there neighbour – the toilets at Ephesus were arranged side by side with no partition between them. Before the rich people used the toilet their slaves sat and heated toilets’ stone for their masters.
Originally holding 25,000 people, the Ephesus ampitheatre was built in the Hellenistic period and was renovated by several Roman emperors. Designed for theatrical performances, later alterations allowed gladiatorial contests to be held here. The theatre is host to many live, outdoor performances including live past appearances by Diana Ross, Elton John and Sting.