Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Ephesus is the most popular destination in the region. At one point 250,000 people lived there. On a busy day, 3 cruise ships, or tens of thousands of tourists, visit the site, and the road in the picture below would be packed shoulder to shoulder. Thankfully, we visited after the peak tourist season and there were no boats in port.

A backgammon board:


The figure at the top of the gate is a Medusa. There are Medusas and evil eyes everywhere in Turkey.

Public toilets:

At a lot of the tourist sites in Turkey, there is the option to pay extra (buy another ticket) to see some small portion of the place. The temptation might be to say 'I just paid X to see this, why should I pay X more just for this one thing.' In every case, it was totally worth it to pay extra. Always pay the extra. At Ephesus, the extra ticket gets you in to see the terrace houses. While the rest of the site shows you the public places -- the theater, the baths, the temples, and the library -- the terrace houses show where people, well the very rich, actually lived. Even better, there is a very large structure built over the whole site (the ruins of 7 or so houses), so you'll be in the shade.

In ancient time, the most famous building in Ephesus was the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Nowadays, the most famous sight is the Library of Celsus:

The Theater:

Ephesus was also one of the seven churches of Asia and associated with John the Apostle. In the 19th century, a German nun reported a vision of the house John had built in Ephesus for Mary, the mother of Jesus, including a number of detail about the location of the house. Based on the description, a French priest went to Turkey and found the ruins of a house on a mountaintop near Ephesus. The ruins have been restored and the house is now known as the house of the Virgin Mary and is a big tourist attraction.

Nearly every tour includes a 'shopping stop' on the itinerary. That means we ended up looking at leather coats, onyx and turquoise jewelry, and ceramics. Mostly it's useless filler time. On the day we went to Ephesus, we went to a carpet co-op. Everyone in Turkey asks every visitor (constantly) if they're planning on buying a carpet. For the first week, we always replied 'no way, carpets are expensive.' But, in the end, we did. At the carpet co-op we visited, the government teaches rural women to weave carpets in traditional styles, and we might hope that the money we spent went to the weaver and not middle men. It's a pretty carpet.


DY said...

Always pay the extra.

Good advice!

My favorite piece of advice is "never give up" from the episode of the Office when they go on the booze cruise. :-)

I hope you're having a nice break. Happy new year (in advance).

Jackie said...

DY - Happy new year!