Ephesus and Kusadasi
This is the concluding part in the Turkey series.
The final pitstop in our Turkish sojourn was the coastal town of Kusadasi. From here we went on a day trip to Ephesus, one of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in the mediterranean region. Ephesus was a thriving port in its times and was one of the largest cities in this side of the world.
We entered the complex and the difference between the ruins of Hierapolis was extremely obvious. Ephesus is much grander, bigger, better preserved and generally much more impressive. You wonder about the days gone by as the guides start telling you the stories about the people and this once great city. Now all there is left is stone and dust, but which still have enough power to leave one mesmerized.
The main walkway to enter the city. All the royal processions were held here. There were stately columns on either sides and statues of gods to bless those coming into the city.
This is a marble carving of Nike, the goddess of victory from whom the swoosh was also apparently inspired. The mosaic work on the ground is still bright as if they were laid yesterday.
The great Theatre which could hold 24,000 people in one go, the largest in the ancient world. The arches of the Temple of Hadrian. Beautiful relief work on the arches.
Medusa again. Guarding the temple against evil spirits.
Finally, a glimpse of the great library of Ephesus named after Celsus, a Roman senator who built the library from his personal wealth. The building faces east so that the morning light can come into the library. Also the facade/entrance of the library is much grander and bigger than the actual library itself behind it.
Secret tunnel opposite the library which led to the local brothel. “Dear, I am going to the Library for a few hours” meant something entirely different.
The architecture and the carvings are awe inspiring.
There are four statues which stand between the columns. These four goddesses are supposed to personify the virtues of Celsus himself. Apeth signifying virtue, Sofia signifying wisdom, Ennoia representing intellgence and Episteme knowledge. The original statues are all in a museum in Vienna and these are replicas.
After spending some time in the great library we bid farewell to Ephesus and headed back to Kusadasi for some R&R. Kusadasi is a lovely little coastal town full of cafes, bars and restaurants along the waterfront. The days were warm, the skies were blue, cloudless and the waters calm. It was a lovely way to end our trip with a couple of days of just chilling by the Aegean sea.
There are so many other places to see in Turkey which we could not cover in this trip. Konya, one of the heartlands of the Sufi movements, Fethiye and the entire Mediterranean coast, more of the Anatolian region.
Till I go back, Turkey will definitely be on my mind.