Last Fall Dan and I toured the ancient city of Ephesus, along with the House of the Virgin Mary and the beautiful town of Sirince. All are within relatively close proximity of each other and well worth a visit. Ephesus, in all it’s UNESCO and Seven-Wonders-of-the-Ancient-World glory, was our calling and the other sites fell into place behind. We dedicated 2-3 hours here, reading from printed pages from www.ephesus.us as we walked. In hindsight, we should have had more of a formal tour to really obtain the gravity of where we were, but the detailed website actually did a fairly decent job and held my attention (which isn’t always easy).
To start, we were so fortunate in the timing of our trip. Being there in November was absolutely perfect – great weather and limited tourists. We were warned repeatedly that the heat in the summer coupled with the masses is nothing short of painful. So, I pass this warning on to you lovely readers – steer clear of this place during its peak season.
Built in the 10th century BC Ephesus was one home to almost 55,000 Romans. Originally a harbor town, silt slowly collected distancing the city from it’s port. Ephesus was an important center for the development of Christianity and was home to the apostles Paul and John. It’s said that Paul may have even written I Corinthians while locked away in a tower (“Paul’s Tower”) in the city. Kind of amazing, right?
Once an indoor theater with a wooden roof the venue was large enough to seat 1,500 people (and their togas).
The Fountain of Pollio
This may very well have been the first public water fountain, the water was brought in by various aqueducts and free of charge. The high arch (left) was once decorated with multiple statues, one of them being the head of Zeus.
One of the main streets of the city, it was once lined with fountains, monuments, statues and shops on either side. The sprawling marble reflects boldly against the surrounding flora and fauna.
Smartly named after the Hercules relief – we did our best to fit in.
Fountain of Trajan
Once considered the most beautiful structure in Ephesus, it overlooked a huge shallow pool and was surrounded by statues.
The Library of Celsus
Originally built in 125 AD, it was once home to 12,000 scrolls. Cleverly designed, the exterior facade appears to be two large stories when the interior was actually three floors, making the building appear larger.
With a seating capacity of nearly 24,000, this is deemed to be the largest venue in the ancient world.
Crazy to think that the Ionian Sea in the distance (just past the peaks on the left) once butted against the city’s edge.
My favorite factoid about Ephesus? After all the digging and preservation, rebuilding one amazing structure after another, it’s deemed that only 15% of the city has been excavated. I can’t even fathom what this place could be missing, it’s truly a sight to behold.