Sunday, April 1, 2012

2012 Trip #2 Ephesus, Turkey

This weekend we took a plane ride that was supposed to be a hop, skip and a jump away, although what with it being Istanbul airport and it raining like the dickens, it was more of a short jog away. Our weekend retreat destination?  Selçuk and Ephesus.

It was the perfect weekend to get away - escaping the rain and bustle of Istanbul for the sun and small town.

A little background - these area was first inhabited by ancient Greeks. Ephesus was founded when a royal from Greece had to escape from his hometown. When he asked a oracle where he should build his new city, she told him where he found fish, fire and a boar.  When the royal party stopped, they were frying a fish which was apparently so fresh it jumped from the pan, got in the coals, caught the woods on fire, when a boar ran out to escape the fire.  Ephesus was built upon the site where the boar was killed.

Ephesus is thought to have been one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean, with more than 250,000 inhabitants. This guess comes from the fact that the arena/town hall area holds 25,000 people (so they multiply this by 10 to get a 'guesstimate' of the towns population - definitely scientific, huh?). Ephesus once boasted the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.  While the temple itself is still gone, one lone column remains in Selçuk. There are still a lot of other remains still standing in Ephesus and surprisingly, for the end of March, tons of tourists already!

A few of the key attractions:

Ephesus - Temple of Hadrian

Ephesus - Library of Celsus - built by Celsus' son; it once housed 12,000 scrolls

Aquaducts in Selçuk - March - September is apparently stork season, which is fitting since this is home to the Temple of Artemis, god of fertility. Storks make nests on the aquaducts and other ruins during this time.

House of the Virgin Mary - supposedly Mary lived her during some of the last years of her life, although it has never been formally authenticated by the church. The house was discovered after a nun from Germany described it from a vision even though she had never visited the site.  

1 comment:

  1. I loved the ruins there. Be sure to read the Acts account in the new Testament about St. Paul's trip there.