Big crowds at Ephesus. And some ruins, too.
Selcuk Travel Blog› entry 151 of 251 › view all entries
July 19th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
The drive from Izmir to Selcuk was only 80km (50 miles), and well marked. We found Hotel Bella, checked in, threw our stuff in our rooms (small but spotless), and headed upstairs to the terrace. The hotel owner served us tea and let us know about his rug shop, which is conveniently attached to the hotel. But, no pressure! He said heâ€™s not like those rug dealers in Istanbul. He mentioned the rug shop so many times we decided he was worse than the rug guys in Istanbulâ€¦ at least we could get away from them.
He also gave us an overview of the town, and the nearby site of Ephesus, the areaâ€™s main draw.
For lunch we had gozleme, a local specialty that is a bit like a crepe. It was made by hand and cooked in a wood fire by three old women sitting on the ground. Each one had her own part in the production. Lisaâ€™s and my gozlemes were filled with spinach, and Steve had meat filling. Considering all the work that went into it, it should have tasted better. It was just OK, not that great. Iâ€™m glad we got to try a new local dish though.
The lunch spot was located at one of the townâ€™s ancient sites, called Graves of the Seven Sleepers.
This was a small area and took very little time to explore. Just eight holes in the ground really (the guys were buried here when they died), and then a partially excavated cemetery nearby with other exposed graves. Not too much to see.
After that, we went to Ephesus, the ancient ruins of a former bustling port city. Settlements here started very earlyâ€¦hundreds of years B.C. The city was basically abandoned in 6th Century AD when its harbor silted over.
I will remember two things about Ephesus:
1) the incredible Library of Celsus, a two story faĂ§ade that has been partially restored. The carvings on the columns are in excellent shape, and it is just beautiful.
2) the hoards of visitors there. No surprise, right? It is tourist season. But it was a new twist, as a majority of the people were brought in from cruise ships. The passengers were labeled with numbers, and they were in groups of about 50, following their guides who carried a placard with a matching number. It was incredible. I am not a fan of cruise ships â€¦ 3,000 people being unloaded all at once for a one-day period wreaks havoc on local businesses and services. And it didnâ€™t improve our experience at Ephesus one bit.
Steve and I couldnâ€™t help but continually compare Ephesus to Jerash (in Jordan). We actually liked Jerash betterâ€¦more restoration had been done, and there were far fewer people there. (Both places were really HOT, by the way. )
After Ephesus, we went back to town to visit to St. John Basilica (2nd Century). It was late afternoon and it was cooling down, and there were only a few other people there. All three of us really enjoyed our exploration of these ruins. Very nice visit.
Then, back to the hotel to get ready our dinner in the mountainside village of Sirince.
(So that my map and photos work out, Sirince will be a separate entry. )
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