Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Favorite Stop - Turkey

Turkey was our favorite spot - I guess it is hard to have a very favorite for a trip like this - but everything about our time in Turkey was phenomenal. I really wanted to bring home a hand woven Turkish rug but I just couldn't afford the $4000-$5500 and so we will just have to go back. Our tour guide was great, the weather was great and we just loved it!

This is part of a reconstruction inside the ruins at Ephesus (think Ephesians). Anyway, our tour guide pointed out that this has been done horribly because it is not to scale and oriented incorrectly - but it still looks good.

The city of Ephesus originally was situated west coast of Anatolia and was a port town. They thrived by sea trade and travel. As time elapsed, the city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River and was no longer located at the coast. The people of the city (more than 400,000 to 500,00 at one point) were no longer able to thrive and support themselves and they deserted the city.

Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15% has been excavated. This is the Library of Celsus and one of our favorite sites from our entire trip. The facade has been carefully constructed from all original pieces, was built about CE 125 by Gaius Julius Aquila in memory of his father and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls.

Here is Oliver outside the library that is designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light.

Just amazing!

The Theater - At an estimated 44,000 seating capacity, it is believed to be the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world. It may be the location where Paul preached. We also saw the Basilica of St. John which was built in the 6th century CE, under emperor Justinian I over the supposed site of the apostle's tomb. We know better but we enjoyed the grandeur anyway.

We visited The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and we loved the Ephesus museum where almost none of the ancient works are encased in protective glass. Maybe not the best for long term preservation - but you could sure get close.

I can't say a whole lot more about our one day love affair with Ephesus - we are recommending that everyone go and experience that amazing part of the world!

1 comment:

Melinda said...

An old coworker of mine was from Iran and she would always rave that Turkey was the best vacation spot. It's nice to see pictures and read some details about it after her recommendation. It looks interesting and fun!