Big crowds at Ephesus. And some ruins, too.

Selcuk Travel Blog

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Tea and a rug pitch at Hotel Bella.
Still DAY ONE of the Beaches & Ruins Road Trip, SELÇUK and EPHESUS.

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 he’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 Istanbul… at least we could get away from them.

He also gave us an overview of the town, and the nearby site of Ephesus, the area’s main draw.
My lunch, a local specialty called gozleme.
Then he offered to drive us to the site, with a stop for lunch on the way. This was very nice and we took him up on it. He only mentioned the rug shop once or twice during the ride.

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.  Lisa’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. I’m glad we got to try a new local dish though.

The lunch spot was located at one of the town’s ancient sites, called Graves of the Seven Sleepers.
Just a few people showed up today...Ephesus.
Legend has it that seven Christian men hid in a cave to avoid religious persecution in the 3rd Century AD. They fell into a sleep that lasted 200 years, and when they woke they went in town to buy bread. They quickly learned that Christianity has since become the official religion…good news for them. There is bad news too…they weren’t able to buy bread with their outdated coins. Ha ha.

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 early…hundreds of years B.C. The city was basically abandoned in 6th Century AD when its harbor silted over.
The highlight of Ephesus... the Library of Celsus.


I will remember two things about Ephesus:

1) the incredible Library of Celsus, a two story façade 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 … 3,000 people being unloaded all at once for a one-day period wreaks havoc on local businesses and services. And it didn’t improve our experience at Ephesus one bit.

Steve and I couldn’t help but continually compare Ephesus to Jerash (in Jordan). We actually liked Jerash better…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. )

skippyed says:
Sounds like the ruins along the Nile in Egypt, the cruise ships take over!
Posted on: Mar 26, 2010
stabber911 says:
Your lunch even make me hungry again!! Waw! Lots of people turn up.
Posted on: Dec 10, 2008
cmgervais says:
That day at Ephesus was 102F (39C), if I remember correctly... Ugh!
Posted on: Jul 28, 2008
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Tea and a rug pitch at Hotel Bella.
Tea and a rug pitch at Hotel Bella.
My lunch, a local specialty called…
My lunch, a local specialty calle…
Just a few people showed up today.…
Just a few people showed up today…
The highlight of Ephesus... the Li…
The highlight of Ephesus... the L…
Hotel Bella in Selcuk.
Hotel Bella in Selcuk.
Our room at Hotel Bella.
Our room at Hotel Bella.
The cooks.
The cooks.
Slicing, dicing and chopping.
Slicing, dicing and chopping.
Cooking our gozleme on the fire.
Cooking our gozleme on the fire.
Graves of the Seven Sleepers.
Graves of the Seven Sleepers.
The cemetery around the Graves of …
The cemetery around the Graves of…
View from the terrace at Hotel Bel…
View from the terrace at Hotel Be…
Me and Lisa cooking at Ephesus.
Me and Lisa cooking at Ephesus.
Street of Kuretes at Ephesus.
Street of Kuretes at Ephesus.
Steve in the Odeon at Ephesus.
Steve in the Odeon at Ephesus.
Ephesus tour group (one of many).
Ephesus tour group (one of many).
Ephesus.
Ephesus.
Marble columns at Ephesus.
Marble columns at Ephesus.
Ancient carvings at Ephesus.
Ancient carvings at Ephesus.
Reconstructed arch at Ephesus.
Reconstructed arch at Ephesus.
Carving detail.
Carving detail.
Its all Greek to me.
It's all Greek to me.
Ornate arch of the Temple of Hadri…
Ornate arch of the Temple of Hadr…
Community latrine.
Community latrine.
Typical tourists.
Typical tourists.
Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus detail.
Library of Celsus detail.
Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus.
Getting our bearing.
Getting our bearing.
Statue at the Library of Celsus.
Statue at the Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus.
Theater at Ephesus.
Theater at Ephesus.
Lisa checks out the ancient distan…
Lisa checks out the ancient dista…
Isa Bey Mosque.
Isa Bey Mosque.
St. John Basilica in Selçuk.
St. John Basilica in Selçuk.
Arches at St. John Basilica in Sel…
Arches at St. John Basilica in Se…
Cool cactus plants.
Cool cactus plants.
Karl made his mark on the cactus.
Karl made his mark on the cactus.
View from St. John Basilica.
View from St. John Basilica.
St. John Basilica in Selçuk.
St. John Basilica in Selçuk.
Steve at the Tomb of St.John.
Steve at the Tomb of St.John.
Lisa does QC on the tile work.
Lisa does QC on the tile work.
Selcuk
photo by: peterbc2