Sunday, September 6, 2009
On Saturday, we took a guided tour of Ephesus. Outside of Pompeii, Ephesus (efes in Turkish) is the largest and best-preserved ancient city around the Mediterranean. Situated by a fine harbour of the overload trade routes, and beneficiary of the lucritive cult of the Antolian mother goddess Artemis, Ephesus led a charmed life from its earliest times. The worship of Artemis melded easily with that of the indigenous Cybele and the original Ephesus was built in 1000 BC. Alexander the Great visited in 334 BC. Later Christianity took root. St. John the Evangelist arrived in the mid-first century and Saint Paul spent the years 51-53 AD. They continue to unearth portions of the site, after an earthquake and the receding ocean filled in much of the city (a quarter million people used to live there, not counting women and slaves).When you walk around it is amazing to think only 70 percent or so has been unearthed. Much of Ephesus is built from marble and rock from the surrounding area. There are tons of mosaics and pillars still standing after all these years. Also there was an extensive plumbing and indoor water system (both hot and cold). Our favorite part was the Terrace houses and the Library. The terrace houses are the best preserved roman domestic environments. These were huge houses meant for the wealthy. You can see an Huge bathroom, living area, bedrooms and cooking and eating areas. Again, everything was done in marble. There is even a brothel, hospital, shops and public bathrooms.