Ephesus, Turkey

September 23 and 24th, 2013

Surviving Octoberfest, Rita and I pushed on from Munich, to Istanbul and on to our final destination in Ephesus, Turkey.  We landed in Izmir, a city of 4 million people, and took a car and driver to Ephesus about an our away from the airport.  From what we saw on the drive, this part of Turkey looks a lot like Arizona, although parts of it still looks very third world like.  Low mountains rising out of nowhere, dry, pine trees and good roads. We arrived at our Hotel Nylia via a street, alley or driveway.  We have no idea what you would call it!  But, we thought we had returned to Marrakech by mistake.  We felt a little better when we entered the stone-fenced-in courtyard which had a fountain and lime trees. Image

But, when we got to our room, it was definitely not up to our “lower” standards for a room.  There was no TV, no clock, no bottled water, no closet, no wash cloths, a bed like concrete and a curious note on the bathroom stool advising that “NO” paper could be placed in the bathroom stool, but must be disposed of in the waste paper basket.  Rita and I looked at each other after we read this note with a shared look on our faces that read: “we wish we had known about the note BEFORE we ate so many brats, sauerkraut and pretzels at Octoberfest.  But, it was too late for that and too late to find another hotel room, particularly since this was the second highest rated hotel in Ephesus!!! So, we dropped our things in the room and headed to dinner at our hotel’s sister hotel, because our hotel did not have a restaurant.  The sister hotel’s restaurant was on the rooftop, open air and offered cold and hot “mezzenes” or appetizers which I love.  There were lots of healthy things like tabbouleh, egg plant, chick peas, etc.  The entrees were chicken, beef, and lamb. Dinner was really quite good.  Also during dinner we heard the Islam ezan “call to prayer” by the muezzin from the minarets, high above the mosques. The call to prayer was more melodious than the ones we heard in Morocco at least that was my impression or it could have been the wine!  The now familiar to us “allahuh Akbar, allahuh Akbar” translated as “God is greatest, God is Greatest” rings out five times a day.

Image

Image

Neither Rita nor I slept we’ll on our concrete mattress.  So, we were up early on Tuesday to enjoy the very healthy breakfast of one slice cheese, 1/4 piece of pretzel bread, 4 sticks of carrots, two cucumber slices, one tomato slice, two skinny pieces of apple and two olives.  We also could order eggs, any way we wanted them. Not the pancakes, waffles, crepes, sausage and eggs to which one of us has become accustomed. But, nourishing just the same and fun to eat outdoors in the courtyard under the lime trees.  We actually should eat this kind of breakfast everyday, as it is much healthier than what we usually eat.  Don’t get us wrong, the hotel was pretty awesome, as its service was impeccable! The guys here waited on us hand and foot, and transported us everywhere, to Ephesus, to Mary’s house, to the ferry and back and to the airport and back.  They really did a wonderful job!

Our goal on Tuesday was to see the ancient Greco-Roman city of Ephesus. Apparently, the 6,000 passengers on each of the 8 cruise ships in the nearby harbor had the same goal.  Although Ephesus was filled with “waves” of visitors from cruise ships, Rita and I had a great tour helped along by a great local tour guide. Ephesus was very impressive.  Although much has been damaged by earthquakes, Ephesus remains a great monument to history.  The mosaics and frescoes are beautiful and well maintained.  They reminded me of Ephesians answer to carpeting and wallpaper.  The city had underground plumbing for water and sewers.  It had communal toilets for up to 50 men to share. (Don’t know what the women did.). There was an amphitheater for just under 25,000 people and was the place where Paul preached to the pagans about Jesus and a library with storage for up to 12,000 scrolls. The Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was in Ephesus although there is nothing left of the Temple, but one column. But, the structures of Ephesus, as great as they are, are not the main draw for most Christians. It is the tie to biblical times and events that draws most Christians.

You see Ephesus was a city visited by the Apostle Paul.  Paul lived in Ephesus for 3 years and it is believed that he wrote the book of Acts here.  It is believed that the disciple John died in Ephesus, hence why St. John’s Basilica was built over his tomb.  And, it is so believed that a small mountain top home nearby was the home in which Mary, the Mother of Jesus, lived and ultimately died.   The first church of Mary, named after the Virgin Mary was in Ephesus, which was the first ever church dedicated to Mary, in 431.    So, after our visit to all these religious sites, Rita and I think we should get a “get out of church” free card for at least a week!

We are posting this on Friday, September 27th, and we know we are behind, but we are going to get caught up soon, we promise.  It’s just that after visiting this site all day, then later in the evening before we went to dinner, we also went to see Mary’s house and by the time we got back, we were so tired we just crashed in our concrete bed!  Plus the wifi didn’t work very well, so we thought we’d get caught up in Samos, but OH… NO…. there was a lot to do and see there also!  We’ll fill you in on that later.  Promise!

So we are back in Turkey, just for the night, to catch our flight back to Istanbul, where we will spend about 4-5 days.

Hope Steph had a great B-day, wish I could post the picture she sent me from her hotel room!  (Ben got her a night away from the kiddies and poopie diapers, etc.!)  If anyone saw “this is 40” you can imagine what the pic was????

And today is Connor’s B-day!  Hope he had a great day too!  Wow!  every one is getting older but us!

Love and miss you all.  –Norm and Rita.

Ephesus, Turkey… Amazing place to know that we walked and sat in the same place that St. Paul preached to the people of Ephesus and that this is where the christian faith started and spread throughout the Roman empire.  Both St. John the Theologian and the Virgin Mary spent their last days here.  It is believed  that Jesus told St. John to watch after his mother and it is here that St. John built the house for Mary to live in for the rest of her days. (See house at end of photos)

We were very excited to see this holy place, but the ride into Ephesus from the airport to our hotel almost made Rita turn back and say again to Norm….. “Where in the HELL are  you taking me?” Remember, our ride  to our hotel was in the dark!!  not in the daylight as these pictures depict.  So you can imagine…..

First turn to our hotel...

First turn to our hotel…

Then we turned down this street... Mind you it was really dark upon arriving here!

Then we turned down this street… Mind you it was really dark upon arriving here!

Then this is the house next door. You probably can't see the dog sleeping next to the steps. Never barked once.

Then this is the house next door. You probably can’t see the dog sleeping next to the steps. Never barked once.

And this is opposite the house and our hotel.

And this is opposite the house and our hotel.

Finally we arrived at our hotel... is it the white house??? and is that our balcony we paid for?

Finally we arrived at our hotel… is it the white house??? and is that our balcony we paid for?

OMG!! Thank goodness we stopped short of the house. Here is our entrance to our hotel. Very nice place!

OMG!! Thank goodness we stopped short of the house. Here is our entrance to our hotel. Very nice place!

Ahhh... very deceiving welcoming to this CONCRETE bed!!! LOL !

Ahhh… very deceiving welcoming to this CONCRETE bed!!! LOL !

Continuing with our tour of Ephesus… there is proof from the year 2000 BC that Ephesus was a settlement even before Androclus landed with his Ionian colonists in the 11th century BC, and Ephesus was a substantial city long before Alexander the Great arrived in 334 BC.  Ephesus is a city that in 281 BC had 300,000 inhabitants. Carrying its traffic were 27 marble streets lined with statues, although only four streets have been excavated to date.   The silver and goldsmiths who made the idols for the temple aroused the crowd and drove out St. Paul and his Christian converts.  The Cayster went on bringing the sands of Asia Minor to the shores of the Aegean, and the harbor continued to choke with silt. The sea front turned into a marshland. In the 6th century AD, an epidemic of malaria arose from the swamps killing 200,000 persons.  The temple of Artemis, which only has ONE TOWER left standing, took 120 years to build and when it was burned down by a madman, the Greeks put it up a second time. To the temple came the pilgrims of the world with their donations they made Ephesus wealthy. Indeed, the first ever letters of credit were issued by the temple — it was, in a way, the first bank in history.  We learned all this from our tour!  We hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed Ephesus!

These types of water pipes were invented here for the first time.

These types of water pipes were invented here for the first time.

This is the Odeom, it holds only 1500 people, used for musicals and plays.

This is the Odeom, it holds only 1500 people, used for musicals and plays.

Hard to believe that this only holds 1500 people. Also used for meetings of the Senate.

Hard to believe that this only holds 1500 people. Also used for meetings of the Senate.

Overall View of Curetes Street in Ephesus as you enter.

Overall View of Curetes Street in Ephesus as you enter.

Two columns left of the Temple of Domitian

Two columns left of the Temple of Domitian

These are the toilets for everyone to use. They are directly across from the Terrace Houses. We were told that some people would send their servants down to sit on these to warm them up for them to use.

These are the toilets for everyone to use. They are directly across from the Terrace Houses. We were told that some people would send their servants down to sit on these to warm them up prior to using them.

Not sure if you can tell, but there is drainage built into these. Amazes us since these were built in 1 A.D.!!

Not sure if you can tell, but there is drainage built into these. Amazes us since these were built in 1 A.D.!!

These writings were supposed to be in ancient greek, "but you know, the greek word came from" latin, and as you can see on these you can actually read ENGLISH words. A/K/A "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

These writings were supposed to be in ancient greek, “but you know, the greek word came from” latin, and as you can see on these you can actually read ENGLISH words. A/K/A “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”

Harbor Street - it led to the Harbor. I like simple!

Harbor Street – it led to the Harbor. I like simple!

The library that held an estimated 9000 to 12000 scrolls.

The Library of Celsus built by the Romans in 2 A.D. held an estimated 9000 to 12000 scrolls and had an underground tunnel to the brothel.

The wall on the left side is the actual Library wall, the wall on the right side was built around the entire library with this air to protect the scrolls from water, moisture, or other elements of weather. Smart builders back then... now a days we call it "Insulation"!

The wall on the left side is the actual Library wall, the wall on the right side was built around the entire library with this air to protect the scrolls from water, moisture, or other elements of weather. Smart builders back then… now a days we call it “Insulation”!

A side view of the Library. There is still 110 more years of excavation that needs to be done here.

A side view of the Library. There is still 110 more years of excavation that needs to be done here.

This is the view of Marble Street from atop of the Terrace Houses.

This is the view of Marble Street from atop of the Terrace Houses.

Close up of Harbor Street - all streets were lined with statues and under them ran sewage canals and, above, water from fountains cascaded down the slopes continually keeping them clean. To help drainage and prevent feet or chariot wheels from slipping, the city scored and etched the marble in a way not unlike that seen on concrete roads today to prevent aquaplaning. Holes in the marble show where portable street lights were placed when it became dark, b/c Ephesus was the only city at the time to allow lights after dark, as it thrived with business at night time.

Close up of Harbor Street – all streets were lined with statues and under them ran sewage canals and, above, water from fountains cascaded down the slopes continually keeping them clean. To help drainage and prevent feet or chariot wheels from slipping, the city scored and etched the marble in a way not unlike that seen on concrete roads today to prevent aquaplaning. Holes in the marble show where portable street lights were placed when it became dark, b/c Ephesus was the only city at the time to allow lights after dark, as it thrived with business at night time.

This foot is on Marble Street and tells the story to the men... Enjoy our city, and this is the way to the Brothels! If you don't know what are in the brothels, then go to the Library!

This foot is on Marble Street and tells the story to the men… Enjoy our city, and this is the way to the Brothels! If you don’t know what are in the brothels, then go to the Library!

The Theatre that held 25000 people. This is still standing after many earthquakes and only the very top section has been restored!

The  Great Theatre that held 24,000 people. This is still standing after many earthquakes and only the very top section has been restored!

Amazing again, to us!

Amazing again, to us!

Original inscription on this part of a temple.

Original inscription on this part of a temple.

Temple of Hadrian, the Emperor of Rome, a very small temple for the Emperor.

Temple of Hadrian, the Emperor of Rome, a very small temple for the Emperor.

Interior of one of the Terrace houses. All the colors are pictures and are made out of marble.

Interior of one of the Terrace Houses. All the colors are pictures and are made out of mosaic tiles.

It's like the different color of marble they used for these pictures were actually their wallpapering!

It’s like the different color of marble they used for these pictures were actually their wallpapering!

A more aerial view of the Terrace houses

A more aerial view of the Terrace Houses

These were build in the landscape and tiered down the sides. A Cliff home resemblance !

These were built in the landscape and tiered down the sides. A Cliff home resemblance !

Statue of Artemis - The fertility goddess!

Statue of Artemis – The fertility goddess!

The remains of the first church dedicated to Mary.

The remains of the first church dedicated to Mary.

The alter in the Church of Mary.

The alter in the Church of Mary.

The baptismal in the Church of Mary

The baptismal in the Church of Mary

After Ephesus, we stopped by the Seven Sleepers Cave and had lunch that these ladies prepared for us!

After Ephesus, we stopped by the Seven Sleepers Cave and had lunch that these ladies prepared for us!

Look at how she sits with her legs out ALL DAY, preparing this Turkish bread!

Look at how she sits with her legs out ALL DAY, preparing this Turkish bread!

The cave where the seven people slept in for over 200 years.

The cave where seven people slept in for over 200 years.

The shrine built where the fireplace was in honor of Mary.

The shrine built where the fireplace was in honor of Mary.

Side view of Mary's house, the part in the back on the right was her bedroom.

Side view of Mary’s house, the part in the back on the right was her bedroom.

Entrance to Mary's house.

Entrance to Mary’s house.

The outdoor sanctuary next to Mary's house.

The outdoor sanctuary next to Mary’s house.

And here are a few pictures of where we ate while we were in Selcuck ! And our hotel the last night before flying to Istanbul!

Rooftop restaurant we ate in all three nights!

Rooftop restaurant we ate in all three nights!

This is the cook and our dishes are in the glass case, we picked whatever we wanted! They grilled up our main course right there!

This is the cook and our dishes are in the glass case, we picked whatever we wanted! They grilled up our main course right there!

This is the other end of the restaurant where you can drink and play cards or backgammon!

This is the other end of the restaurant where you can drink and play cards or backgammon!

OK, this place looks like a nice hotel.

OK, this place looks like a nice hotel for our last night in Selcuk!

Nice patio upstairs

Nice patio upstairs

Pretty entryway!

Pretty entryway!

And they sent us off with a very nice HEALTHY breakfast! Norm wants this lazy susan at home... Right....

And they sent us off with a very nice HEALTHY breakfast! Norm wants this lazy susan at home… Right….

3 thoughts on “Ephesus, Turkey

  1. Happy birthday Connor !!!! I knew you were awesome, but now that I know you’re a libra with a bday right after mine you’re even cooler! Have a good day Connor!

    Mom, Norm love the blog! Also thanks for the hotel night – it was a much needed break! Now only if we didn’t have rodents in our room?!

    Love you !!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s