Day 17: Now that's more like it!

Ephesus Travel Blog

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in front of the library
Bergama had been somewhat of a disappointment, so I didn't have much high hopes for the site of Ephesus, where I was heading today. I need not have worried. Ephesus is definitely on par with the Roman sites I visited in Jordan and Syria, offering a great glimpse of what a Roman-era big city must have looked like.

Ephesus started out as a Greek harbour city, back in the 6th century BC, after which it became an important trade centre for the Persians, and later the Romans.
These days the sea may have retreated and the city is no longer a natural harbour, it still remains an important city for the Turkish economy, as this is the single most visited historic site in the country.

The place was just teeming with group tours. Japanese, Australian, American, Dutch, French, German, every possibly conjurable nationality was present.
Curetes way
And this is supposed to be the low season!
As my guidebook rightfully points out though, the crowds do give a good impression of what this city must have looked like when it was inhabited by 250,000 people. Though I am not so sure they had a lot of loud Kiwi's walking around in their swimwear back then...

I picked up an audio-guide, which turned out to be really good. Usually I just wonder around such site and listen in with some of the tour groups to get an idea of what it is I am looking at. But with this audio-guide (basically an MP3-player) I was able to walk around the site at my own leisure, avoiding the main tour groups, using the recorded information to learn about what it was that I was actually looking at.

The highlight of Ephesus is the wonderfully restored entrance to the library, which shows Roman architecture in all its grandeur.
biig theatre
Back in the day it rivalled the great library of Alexandria.
Leading to the library is a stunning sloped marble road with columns and remains of villas on both sides.

Like other Roman cities I have visited, the theatre is another highlight (strangely enough, the only Roman city where I didn't think the theatre was the highlight was Rome itself...). The Ephesus theatre is very wide and steep, which apparently gave it great acoustics.

The present day town of Selçuk lies three kilometres from the ruins. Immediately I regretted having stayed in Izmir instead of spending the night here. Though touristy, this town is so much nicer than Izmir. The people are friendly (though undoubtedly more interested in my money than in me) and the town is a very nice place to stroll around.
random pillar
And there is a lot more to see than just the ruins of Ephesus. There are also ruins of an ancient basilica, smack in the centre of town, there's a fortress perched on a little hill, built from the stones of nearby Roman ruins, and modern day Selçuk is the site of one of the original wonders of the ancient world: The temple of Artemis.
That said,  a single pillar is all that remains of this great temple, which apparently was larger than the Parthenon in Greece (mental note: must visit Greece on my to be visited countries list).

pms70 says:
So did you take another taxi to get here? :-P
Posted on: Sep 19, 2010
edsander says:
> I picked up an audio-guide, which turned out to be really good. < If you should go to the Amber Fort in Jaipur, make sure you get the audio guide as well. It's quite funny since it has the building talking to you as a character. ;-)
Posted on: Apr 25, 2010
Biedjee says:
Nope, apparently there isn't much left of Troy, so I'll pass. Did Afrodisias instead, which I found even more impressive than Ephesus.
Posted on: Apr 24, 2010
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in front of the library
in front of the library
Curetes way
Curetes way
biig theatre
biig theatre
random pillar
random pillar
more random pillars
more random pillars
State agora
State agora
Curetes way
Curetes way
ruins of Ephesus
ruins of Ephesus
mosaic floors in one of the ruined…
mosaic floors in one of the ruine…
ruins of Ephesus
ruins of Ephesus
library
library
detail of statue on library façade
detail of statue on library façade
library building
library building
remains of the acropolis
remains of the acropolis
Harbour street
Harbour street
necropolis
necropolis
Theatre from a distance (look at t…
Theatre from a distance (look at …
souvenir shops and restaurants at …
souvenir shops and restaurants at…
well, at least they are honest...
well, at least they are honest...
Ephesus
photo by: EmyG