Turklish travels: Ephesus, one of the seven wonders

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I’m not going to lie, I have little interest in history.

I tend to only be able to last in museums for one exhibit at a time, and our past visits to historical sites tend to lead to grumpiness and boredom.  As we were driving around Turkey earlier this year we decided to drive to see Ephesus, which was pretty exciting as we don’t tend to go and “see” things when we are in Turkey.

Ephesus (or Efes in Turkish, you know, like the beer 🙂 ) was an ancient Greek city pretty close to Izmir, but the site had actually had previous historical importance too.  Anyway it was a large city during Roman times too and was thought to be the third largest Roman city.  It is most famous for having a temple (the Temple of Artemis) which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, however unfortunately this has since been destroyed through time, political instability and earthquakes.  It was one of the locations of the seven churches of Asia which are (apparently) mentioned in the Book of Revelation so it’s a pretty big deal!

It was perfect weather for our first proper day out with the boy (sunny but not too hot) and although I was a bit dubious about taking our pre-loved Freecycle buggy with it’s missing wheel that we’re too stingy to replace around an ancient monument we headed out.

The ticket price was reasonable (TL30, approximately £10 each adult – no charge for the baby), we also paid around TL8 for parking.  We had read on the internet that the charges would be much higher with separate charges for entering different parts of the site so we were expecting to be ripped off but had decided that this was a one off thing that we would be foolish to miss given we were passing by so we were pleasantly surprised, I don’t know if it was just because we went out of season or whether we were just misinformed by the internet.  Anyway we gave the museum, pony rides and tours a miss and wandered around ourselves.

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Wikipedia tells me:

Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15% has been excavated.  The ruins that are visible give some idea of the city’s original splendor, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. The theater dominates the view down Harbor Street, which leads to the silted-up harbor.

It was pretty strange to see this amazing walkway which would have led to a harbour, having driven through the mountains to reach it with no sign of water!

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It is the site of a theatre which is HUGE apparently has around a 24,000 seating capacity and is the largest known theatre of the ancient world.  It was quite awe inspiring and even had buggy (possibly not original…) access!  There were three or more entrances to explore, of course not all ideal with a baby but it was pretty awe inspiring even having visited the Colloseum in Rome.

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We followed the path along to the Library of Celsus, I am used to historical things not being particularly well identified or explained in Turkey, but there was good signage throughout (not too much info though – I like that!).

The facade of the library has been carefully reconstructed from the original and apparently was built to face East so that the light would illuminate it for reading.  Jem had rather lost interest by this point so we took the opportunity to ruin his clothes stretch his legs.

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We next  wandered through one of the former Agoras where we saw a tourist giving a cat some water (adorable) and a section of the site set aside for those with visual impairments, which was a great idea…although I’m not convinced it was that great:

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There are other things on site:

Basilica of St John;

Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world although only one column remains – we may have seen this…we may not…we’re not sure!);

The Odean (a small theatre);

The Temple of Hadrian;

Ephesus Archaeological Museum;

The Temple of the Sebastoi;

The Tomb of Pollio.

I am not sure what we saw and what we didn’t, but there was a lot of stuff and if you’re interested in the history I would really recommend going with a guide.  For us we did what we could manage and didn’t try and worry too much, just took in the views.  There were plenty of paved areas but it is an ancient ruin so not the smoothest of rides, but I’ve seen much worse.  Of course the advantage of bumps with buggies is sleep!  As the boy was in the land of nod we walked over to the Church of Mary (Meryem Kilisesi) which is an important religious site close to what would have been the Harbour.  Once we got up to the church we had to carry the buggy up and down some steps and the pushing got a little more difficult, but we managed as we wanted to see it (even if Jem didn’t!):

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After this we decided to call it quits and headed back to the car and had our packed lunch.  We introduced Jem to some of the horses in the car park and trundled off to Izmir.  We did pass this amazing plant on our way back to the car – any ideas what it is?  There were loads they are really large!

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