Posted by: David Stewart | June 9, 2013

Ephesus

This is part of a series of posts about our Spring 2013 trip.

Ephesus

Tomb of the Seven Sleepers

Thursday, April 18

This was a travel day, designed to get us down to Selcuk where were could visit Ephesus. We had a fairly relaxing morning, got checked out and reserved a couple of rooms for our return in a week for a night before departing. Then we headed for the Ataturk airport for our 45 minute flight to Izmir. There we rented a car and drove to the little town of Selcuk. On the way, we stopped by the Tomb of the Seven Sleepers, a crypt site for Christians killed while Christians were oppressed and then venerated later as a pilgrimage site. Now it is little more than a ruin.

Selcuk

Courtyard of the Tuncay Pension, Selcuk

In Selcuk, we had reservations for the Tuncay Pension, our home for the next three nights. That evening we supped at the Old House restaurant in town, which had a terrific kabob and a really nice heater, which we appreciated since it was a cold evening and the seating was partially outside.

Friday, April 19

Ephesus

Main street of Ephesus

Our hotel owner drove us over to Ephesus and dropped us off at the top of the city and we walked down through the ruin. Ephesus was a leading city of Asia Minor and has a terrifically preserved collection of ruins. The city was built in the V of a ravine, and at the top of the city were the elites, where they had a palace, small theater, baths temples and agora (marketplace). Once through the Hercules Gate, there are more shops houses and the broader populace of the city. There were several multi-residence houses on the side of the ravine, and once of them has been preserved with a roof over it to protect the delicate frescoes and mosaics.

Ephesus

“House #2” partial

This House #2 has a separate admission fee, but it was well worth it. Once inside, there is a raised walkway which leads the visitors through the various residences in the house, including one really large and impressive residence with its own basilica. You wind your way up through the house, noting the later Byzantine-era shops which were built into the ruins later on.

Ephesus

Ephesus theater, with ruined gymnasium to the left

Below these houses was the Celcus Library, which is very impressive in its reconstruction. Below the library is the vast agora and the incredible theater. This is the stadium in which a mob incited by the apostle Paul’s visit gathered to argue whether Paul should be stoned. This mob was cooked up by the silversmiths who had a going business making silver shrines to the goddess Athena, and because Christianity was opposed to the worship of Athena, which had brought their town so much fame and fortune. Evidently there was also an even larger stadium, which has not been restored.

Below the theater is a gymnasium, which is mostly just a jumble of old rocks. Finally before exiting the park is the ruin of an old church where an ancient council of Christians met.

After the picking us up, our hotel owner offered to take us to the Turkman Village where we could have lunch and shop for a carpet. This place had a very nice exhibit, showing how they spun silk and a group of about five student carpet weavers, showing the difference between silk and wool carpets.

Turkman VIllage, Turkey

Carpet weaving, Turkman Villiage

It’s absolutely true that if you come to Turkey you will get plenty of opportunities to buy a Turkish carpet. This “village” was clearly set up to not only demonstrate weaving but to give the consumer an opportunity to browse through their many options. At this shop, there were basically two kinds of carpet: silk and wool. Silk has tinier threads, and enables the carpet design to be much more intricate. The silk carpets also will change color depending on what angle you view the rug.

We looked through a large number of their carpets with an eye towards our living room at home. Deb finally settled on one, though we did not actually buy it until the next morning. To ensure that you are getting the same carpet that you looked at, you sign your name and put identifying marks on the back.

Because our lunch was at nearly 4PM, we really didn’t have dinner that night and instead just had some snacks and drinks on our rooftop porch at the hotel. Prior to that, we had attempted to get into the Saint John basilica in Selcuk, but it was closed. This however did not stop some local entrepreneurs from offering to take us in anyway through a hole in the fence, and for a price.

Selcuk, Turkey

View from Tuncay Pension balcony

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