Saturday, June 9, 2007

Selçuk and Ephesus

From Kusadaşi we headed up to Selçuk for a couple of days with the primary objective of seeing Ephesus, one of the most well preserved examples of an ancient city ın the world. Selcuk was a very chill town and we enjoyed wandering around. We got a few blocks off the maın streets and we felt that we were deep into rural Turkey - the women were clearing rocks from theır land to plant crops, cutting wood and building outdoor fıres to cook dinner and poundıng laundry wıht rocks (ıt was a Sunday, so of course all of the men were ın town drinking tea and playing cards). Gil got attacked by a little dog who liked the cuff of hıs pants, whıch then got a goat all rıled up at which point one of the women had to come to our rescue.

Ephesus itself was amazing. We spent the better part of the day exploring the ruins and eaves dropping on tour groups to learn more about the history of the place. We really got a sense for what city life would have been like back then. Essentially, if you were rich, it would have been off the hook - the wealthy living areas were full of ornate mosaics and other beautiful objects and were nicely situated by the bars, hamams (spas) and main shopping areas. If you were a slave, you were stuck warming up the marble toilet seat for some rıch dude. Maybe things have improved a bit?

We also saw the aqueducts throughout town whıch have now become the home of giant storkes and the remains of the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World and way bigger than the Parthenon. Pretty much all that is left of the Temple is one column and a pond full of turtles. Thıs land has changed ownership so many tımes and it ıs interesting to see how various buıldings are reused over and over again - we also visted a mosque in town and there were clearly blocks that were pulled from Artemis.

Selçuk had some other interesting sites as well - like the remains of the huge Church of St. John (where he is buried) and the supposed fınal home of Mary, whom St. John brought to Turkey late in her life. When we were at the Church, a grass fıre broke out rıight outside the ruins and we saw a church group from the States come to the rescue and put it out with branches (after which the fire department showed up with a garden hose....). I am sure the fact that they saved the church ruins from disaster was the highlight of theır trip!

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