November 4, 2011

Turkey : Ephesus

Continuation from here ...

Our next stop was Ephesus, located about 3km west of Selcuk. 

For many years, this ancient city was the largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome, the empire’s capital. Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it the second largest city in the world.

There are two entrances; the North Gate which is above the hill whilst the other one, the South Gate is downhill.

Entrance is 20TL per person. We entered from the North Gate, and the first thing that caught my eyes as we went in was this Odeon.

My excitement level rose up, anticipating what's more to come. 

As we continued walking, my jaw dropped in awe looking at the surroundings. 

Walking through the ruins was surreal. Seeing how intricate the pillars and the buildings were made me wonder… how did they do it? How did they build all these structures thousand years ago? Amazing indeed!

We then walked down the hill through the main street.

main street

I could wander here for hours, imagining how the actual city was like during its glorious days. The hustle and bustle of it. The city was actually located near a harbour but over time, the harbour silted up.

entrance to the temple of Hadrian

mosaic tiles 

The Romans left behind a legacy of fine buildings including the massive 44,000 capacity Theatre which is believed to be the largest outdoor theatre in the ancient world; and the Library of Celsus, which has become a symbol of Turkey tourism industry. These two ruins are definitely the highlight of Ephesus.

The library in all its glory stunned me with amazement.

the crowd!

the Library of Celsus

It was still in impeccable condition. Some say it looks very much like Petra in Jordan but I haven’t been there so I reserve my comment. Should plan to go there someday.

Then there’s the public toilet; which my guide said was like a social meet up place.

People would gather there to exchange news, chat and generally have a great time. I asked, wouldn’t it be smelly? I wouldn’t wanna be in the toilet for long. But his answer was unexpected; those Romans had an excellent water system that masked the smells.

A great place like this, you may want to engage a tour guide to have him explain the history or the details of the ruins to you. Alternatively, you can bring a guidebook or buy one at the entrance. Otherwise, your visit is not fully beneficial, not knowing what is what. Also, bring your own bottled water. There aren’t any stalls inside.

The last thing we saw before exiting was the huge amphitheatre.

Woahhh... man, it was really huge! Can you imagine how great the architecture was before?

After we exited, there was of course a place to buy souvenirs. I saw this.

Genuine fake watches. Fake watches. But they are genuine. Then are they fake or real? Hahaha...

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