We had a late night flight out of the Cappadocia region, and although we were sad to leave that beautiful place, we were also very excited to get away from the cold and join the Sun on the coast!
We couldn’t see much of Kuşadasi in the dark, but it certainly felt nice and warm. We could almost sense the sea. This morning we started early and joined a group tour that first took us up the mountains to the House of the Virgin Mary.
The visit held no religious meaning for me (I am a Secular Humanist) but the mountainside was beautiful, full of colour and fresh air. And if I didn’t light a friggin’ candle my Catholic grandmother would have literally killed me.
The next, and much more anticipated, stop on our tour was Ephesus: an ancient Greek, and later Roman, city that once housed a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC. It was incredible.
This is me, blinking on Curetes Street. We saw partiality re-built ruins of fountains, monuments, statues, houses, and shops lining a street which had lanes for horses and people. The street was complete with gutters and columns that once held up a roof to protect man and beast from sun and rain.
Why yes. Yes, that is exactly what you are looking at. Ancient *marble!* communal toilets. Underneath the seats water was running for a constant flush, which seems like remarkably advanced technology. In front of the seats fresh water was also running along the gutter so that users could dip a sponge-on-a-stick to wipe themselves! More eco-friendly than TP, but unless you’re the guy on the first seat, kinda gross. That was actually the best seat in the house, reserved for people of high stature.
Our tour guide considered himself a comedian and told us lots of funny stories. I question their integrity. Apparently, in the winter the marble would understandably get cold, so the gentry would have slaves sit on their seat all day to keep it warm. This was considered a great job for a slave. He also told us that the pond in the centre of the toilet room held bullfrogs to mask the sounds emerging from the patrons! So yeah …
An absolutely breathtaking sight (and flight of stairs) was the Odeon. Used for government and theatre, the Odeon was constructed in the 2nd century A.D and had capacity for 1500 spectators. Even under-reconstruction it was a sight to behold, looking down on the giant stage that would have been the hub of the great city.
The road you see in the above picture is Harbour Street, and would have ended at a port on the Aegean. Now the ocean is kilometres away, pushed back by silt from the mountains which land-locked Ephesus while burying it.
Probably the most recognizable sight in city is the Library of Celsus. This is the most beautiful structure in Ephesus. It was built in 117 A.D. as a monumental tomb for Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. The grave of Celsus was beneath the ground floor, and covered with a statue of Athena, the goddess of the wisdom.
More than 12,000 scrolls and manuscripts were kept in cupboards in niches on the double thick walls of the building that protected them from the extremes of temperature and humidity. It was the third richest library in ancient times after the Alexandra and Pergamum.
It was awe-inspiring, visiting this uncovered ancient city that was a nursery for democracy and civilization. But probably the most memorable thing that happened on our tour was that we stopped at a “Leather Making Factory” which was really just a way to get us to buy leather goods … which we did.
But before we entered the sales floor, we were treated to a “fashion show”, also known as a sales pitch, showcasing said leather products. Of course, Liam was asked to take part in said fashion show, dragged backstage, and forced to dawn this little number: