Suitcase and World: Ephesus.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Lei and I standing on Curetes Street - main thoroughfare. In the distant background is the the famed Library of Celcus

oday was a day I have been looking forward to for months. Lei and I are visiting Ephesus.

Our day started with breakfast on the terrace at Homeros. Osman, who works in nearby carpet store, was going to give us a ride to Ephesus. After breakfast, we piled into the car. Less then 3 kilometers later and Osman dropped us off at the front entrance.

The first thing that struck us as we entered Ephesus was its size - it is h-u-g-e. In fact, only about 15% of it has been excavated to date. We didn't realize it when we started out, but it would take several hours for us to just walk from one end to the other.

The second thing we noticed was the throng of people. It was p-a-c-k-e-d with both locals and tourists!! Where did all the tourists come from? I found out later on that cruise ships often stop at Ephesus for the day.

....and it was a h-o-t day and the sun was blazing. Thank God we had come prepared with hats and bottles of water!

I think between the two of us, Lei and I must have taken several hundred photos during our short visit to Ephesus so the following are some of the highlights of what we saw as we walked through the complex.

The Odeon - the smaller of two amphitheatres.

As happened to her in Istanbul, Lei was asked to be in photos with locals. She's such a good trooper!

The Pollio Fountain which was built in 97 A.D by the rich Ephesian C.S.Pollio and his family. Water was brought to the fountains of Ephesus a system of aqueducts and distributed from the fountains by a branching system of baked clay pipes - an urban water distribution system. Amazing what the Romans built in those days.

Temple of Hadrian. A monument built in dedication to Hadrian, Artemis and the people of Ephesus. An inscription tells archeologist that it was was erected around 118 AD by one Publius Quintilius.




Mosaic floors. The design is incredibly detailed and color still vibrant after all these millenia of being exposed to the harsh sun. Just stunning.

Lei taking a bit of rest sitting on the latrines which date back to about 1 AD. Toilets from thousands of years ago!

The Library of Celcus, the most well known of all the ruins in Ephesus. The library was built between 110 and 135 AD by the Consul Julius Aquila as a mausoleum for his father, Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, governor of the Asian Provinces. In its heyday, the library held more than 12,000 scrolls.

The carved stonework is spectacular. It's amazing that so much has survived over the centuries though I'm sure that pollution has eroded some of the beautiful handiwork of artisans from so long ago.

The Agora. The central market of its day. The Agora has 3 gates - the one in the photo leads from the Celcus Library. The north side of the Agora is left open, and the other three sides are surrounded by a portico, in which there are rows of shops. At the center of the Agora was a sundial and a 

The Marble Street which leads you from the Libray of Celcus to the Great Theatre.

The Great Theatre. It was first constructed in the Hellenistic Period, in the third century BC during the reign of Lysimachos, but then during the Roman Period, it was enlarged and formed its current style that is seen today. The Great Theatre has the capacity of 25,000 seats and was used not only for concerts and plays, but also for religious, political and philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights.

View of the surrounding ruins as seen from the Great Theatre.

Lei staring out at the milestones. As we use them today, Romans used these stones as distance markers.

Sarcophagi - ancient tombs lying in a cemetery.

After we passed the sarcophagi, we found ourselves at another exit/entrance to Ephesus but it wasn't time for us to leave yet. We doubled back past the Library of Celcus and headed to the Slope Houses. There was yet more to see! Unbelievable!