Ephesus is an ancient Greek city on Turkey’s Aegean coast. It is the most incredible place, especially in winter when you can walk down the marble street to the old port and be the only person there. However I think that you can still feel the presence of the ancient traders and inhabitants of what was a port when Ephesus was built. Now the sea can scarcely be seen in the distance. You can still see the rusted mooring pieces though and clearly it was a wealthy area, as you can tell by the ruined villas and their exquisite mosaics.
The library was burned down, but the facade has been carefully restored, and it is worth noting that there was an underground tunnel connecting the brothel and the library. The prostitutes in Ephesus were self-educated clearly.
The Greeks built the Temple of Artemis (the Artemision), one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world on the site of a temple that had been dedicated to the goddess Cybele. A legend says that Cybele’s temple was erected by the Amazons, although she was a Phrygian goddess. Cybele was the Mother goddess of the ancient Anatolian people.The statue of Artemis is now housed in the nearby museum at Selcuk (pronounce Selchuk) and you can see why early archaeologists thought that this depicted Artemis with many breasts. It was later found that she was decorated with bulls’ testicles.
The scholastic baths were built in the first century AD and these were the public toilets. Men would sit on a long marble bench with holes in it and take care of their bowel movements, while water ran in a hollow gulley at their feet. They would talk about affairs of the city and perhaps of the heart while contemplating on their very public toilet. There was a very efficient underground drainage system.
There is an ancient theatre on the slopes of the hill above the city and this is the largest amphitheatre in Anatolia, seating 25,000 people. One winter I went to a camel-wrestling event there. I was given a very good vantage point because I was a tourist and with three Australians and a Turk – in the ring with said fighting camels. I have to say that I dislike the beasts having been bitten by one, for no apparent reason, while in Morocco! On the occasion in Ephesus, I was picked up bodily from a sitting position by the Aussies because I was in danger of being trampled on by two fighting camels which had their legs and heads locked together. I hadn’t noticed their approach because I was watching the men in the audience placing their bets over distances. After that I left the arena and went to the raki tent which seemed much safer!
Ephesus is not far from Kusadasi and you can get to Selcuk by dolmus (minivan). You can also take an organized tour if you book at any travel agent’s office. It really is worth visiting, although I think it is much better to see it in winter – your imagination can easily people the streets and buildings!