Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Ancient City of Ephesus

Monday 15 June 2015. Continuing our excursion from the Thomson Majesty cruise ship, we arrive at the ancient city of Ephesus.

Fran and I have been here twice before, in 2009 and 2010. After a gap of five years though we immediately notice the results of work that has been done in the intervening time. This area was just rough scrub. It has been cleared, levelled and excavated stones stored waiting to be matched and identified and perhaps re-erected.

The pathway was rough gravel but this has been improved also and extended. On the extreme left are some Japanese girls in vivid scarlet. They are taking photos of each other against the backdrop of the ruins.

They do look very decorative but we can't bring ourselves to take their photographs so brazenly. But wait! David has found a cat!

We come to two standing columns and David decides to do his Samson pose. Unfortunately his arms are not quite long enough... Why, why, why...? Delilah...

The Odeon was a small roofed theatre. It held 1400 people and was also used as a debating chamber. Whilst it would be impressive on its own, it almost pales into insignificance here, given the theatre that we will see at the other end of our walk through Ephesus.

I wasn't paying much attention but suddenly heard O.J. in mid explanation mention my name. I looked round to see everyone grinning at me. "What???" I stuttered.
"I love you really John!" she called.
"I applaud your taste!" I said which raised a laugh amongst the party. I've still no idea what she said first...

The Pollio Fountain dates from 97 A.D. and is the tomb of C. Sextilius Pollio who constructed the Marnas Aqueduct that brought water to Ephesus. We saw a chunk of it from the hill when we stopped by the golden statue of the Virgin Mary.

At various places in the city we saw groups of archeologists working. Universities all over the world contribute willing diggers and experts.

O.J. is talking about the Temple of the Vestal Virgins. "They served in the temple until they were forty years old and then they left to live as free citizens," she explained, "hence the saying 'life begins at 40'!" She nudged me and said brightly "There you are John - life begins at 40!"
"I'll look forward to it!" I said.

We are at the top of Curetes Street which descends down the hill to intersect with Marble Street, leading to the Great Theatre and ends in a large open space before the Library of Celcus.

The Trajan fountain, Trajan being the emperor before Hadrian. The fountain was erected between 102 and 104 A.D. It is one of several public baths. Water flowed through the arch into a pool in the foreground.

The Library of Celcus is an awesome reconstruction to two storeys. Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus between either 105-106 or 106-107 AD was the proconsul of the Asian province, the capital of which was Ephesus. When he died in 114 AD at the age of 70 his son, Tiberius Julius Aquila, built the library as a mausoleum for his father.

It is assumed that the construction of the library was completed in 117 AD. It was destroyed by fire following an earthquake in 262 AD. The facade was left standing but it too was toppled by earthquake in either the 9th or 10th centuries. The facade was reconstructed with as much original stone as possible between 1970 and 1978.
"Why have they rebuilt it then if it might be destroyed by another earthquake?" demanded an idiot of O.J.

The Great Theatre, 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 as seen today. It seats 25,000.

"It's awesome isn't it?" enthused a young lady with an Australian accent, "Michael Jackson performed here!"
"That's a bit sad..." I said, "both St Paul and St John the apostles preached here and you're more excited by Michael Jackson???"
She looked confused and said hesitantly, "But he was really good..."

Harbour Street runs from the Great Theatre to what used to be the harbour. With the silting of the river, the sea these days is six miles away. Mark Anthony walked hand in hand with Cleopatra down this street. It wasn't to be a love affair with a happy-ever-after ending though...

Huge amounts of uncovered stone has been laid out here to be matched together and re-erected perhaps at some point in the future.

We rejoin the coach and head back towards Kusadasi and the end of our excursion. We stop on a hill overlooking Kusadasi for a photo stop. It's just a two-minute photo stop but the Clicky-Monster hairs off enthusiastically for the horizon and the mythical lure of the viewpoint-around-the-corner, leaving Jeannie to have to hurry after him to bring him back.

A couple of planty-like things are growing here for the benefit of my own camera!

We get back to Kusadasi and we leave the coach and say goodbye to our excellent guide. "A round of applause for me and John!" she says over the mic... A couple of score passengers point me out during the next few days saying things like "Who does he think he is...?" duh...

As we pass through the cruise terminal we see some new crew members heading for the ship.

Hellenic Classics Index

1 comment:

  1. Visiting an ancient civilization is the most exciting and unforgettable experience. Turkey has the beauty which you can relish for your entire life. Istanbul, Ephesus tours are very popular among people. These two places attract most of the visitors from all over the world. We visited the ancient city safely with a travel agency “About Ephesus”. It was a memorable tour for us and we enjoyed very much.


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