G’day all. Yes, I’ve opened with the Australian vernacular for a change. Why? I have no idea I guess I am just a crazy cat! Anyhoo….
Today’s destination is an ancient city which was part of the Greek Empire, but is located in modern day Turkey, that is the ancient city of Ephesus. Southern Turkey is a destination I haven’t really explored aside from Gallipoli (how very ‘Aussie’ of me!), Selcuk and Ephesus. Selcuk is the town that you stay in (and it’s a very pleasant place too) when you want to visit Ephesus, as it is only around 3 kilometres from Selcuk.
So if you are interested in visiting the ancient ruins of Ephesus, best to book yourself some accommodation in Selcuk. I stayed in a hostel there, I’ve done ye olde internet search but I can’t find a hostel in Selcuk which looks similar to the one I stayed in. But it was a great place to stay – there was a girl in the lobby weaving all the day every day, there were cooking facilities but also the hostel did meals and I remember chatting with various people there in a great common area. Selcuk has a market and plenty of carpet shops, and I was invited in for tea expecting a hard sell but in the end the guys were just really friendly.
So before you even take a shuttle from your hostel (as I did) or taxi to Ephesus, you’ve already got a pretty cool place to explore. Ephesus is set out in a sort of ‘orderly fashion’ for the visitor. You enter from one side, walk through the entire site and then come out the exit at the far side where transport waits for the visitor.
So what do you find at Ephesus? It’s interesting that these ruins aren’t as famous as some others, because they are very impressive and a lot of stuff, whilst a long way from how it used to be, still gives you a clear picture of how it used to look and indeed feel back in the day.
You walk past a lot of different ruins, along ancient stone paths, you’ll see amphitheatres and other important buildings, including baths and toilets – which I still remember to this day – sit down toilets in a semi circle so whilst the no doubt ‘wise men’ of Ephesus debated the topics of the day, they could also have their regular ablutions! I mean sure… now THAT’S civilised!
The main building of interest is the library of Celsus. I will warn you that bringing your library is a bit pointless these days as all of the books appear to be out, permanently. The Turkish Government should look into that. But the façade is a couple of stories high and somehow is still standing, being the most commonly used image of Ephesus for any promotional material.
The history of Ephesus stretches back to the 10th Century BC when the Greeks built it. Since then it has be ransacked by Goths, taken over by the Romans (129BC – and you can certainly see the Roman influence) and hit by an earthquake in the early 7th Century. Today it’s reasonably easy to reach, not far from the coast and cruise ship patrons, when cruises are running, often stop in for a looksee. Interestingly, it took until 2015 for Ephesus to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site.
Whatever you interest may be, a visit to Ephesus is certainly something I would recommend to you! Thanks for reading, take care – and May the Journey Never End!