Day 17: Now that's more like it!
Ephesus Travel Blog› entry 24 of 260 › view all entries
April 22nd, 2010 – by: Biedjee
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.
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.
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.
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).
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