From our magnificent hotel over looking the Agean Sea we set off to Ephesus early in the morning hopefully to bet some of the crowds.
I find it hard to do justice to a monumental giant such as Ephesus. To understand how this huge city was built and functioned is difficult to comprehend – thank goodness we have the Ali who knows ‘everything ‘. Started by the Greeks in the 10th Century BC Ephesus thrived for hundreds of years before being taken over by the Romans in 129 AD. During this time it was the third largest Roman city and had population of over 50,000 people.
The city was famous for the Temple of Artemis ( Diana) – one of the 7 wonders of the world. The library of Celsus and a theater which was capable of holding 25,000 spectators. This open-air theatre was used for dramas, but latterly gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage.We had our own performers – Ali obliged with a poem and Caroline sang – The acoustics are amazing.They do have live concerts here and that would be amazing – I think the sound would be better than the Dunedin Stadium..
Ephesus also had several major bath houses and an incredibly advanced aqueduct system for houses, industry and even the public toilets – evidently the wealthy would have a slave sit on the marble to warm it up in cold weather!!! Schools and Gymnasiums were part of every day life .
Our visit started off on a very pleasant morning and there wasn’t a cruise ship in today so compared to last year the crowds were good -however by the time we climbed up through the marble main street to the top it was incredibly hot.
So… How do you loose an incredible city like this ..
Being sacked and plundered by Goths, Arabs, Ottomans, Crusaders and anybody else wanting control – plus a huge earthquake destroyed many buildings .The importance of the city as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up. Today, the harbour is 5 kilometres away. With the harbour gone Ephesus lost its access to the Agean Sea, which it needed for trade. Malaria killed many people and they started leaving the city for the surrounding hills.Many ruins of the temples were used as building blocks for new homes. Marble sculptures were ground to powder to make lime for plaster.Ephesus was completely abandoned by the 15th century and was named Selçuk in 1914.
The site today is a huge tourist attraction and work continues with archaeologists and universities from all around the world. Maybe my son Richard would like a survey job here!! We spoke to a girl from Czechoslovakia working on a site and she was a private archaeologist working under contract.They have only uncovered such a small part of the city and I suppose it will never end.
Following our visit to Ephesus we continued on the the unique picture perfect village of Sirince which is about 30 minutes from Ephasus.