Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient World

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient WorldOne of the items on my bucket list has always been the ruins of Ephesus. If one is at all interested in the history of the Ancient World, as I am, then coming to Turkey is a must. They have a wealth of sites to explore with Ephesus being the best known.  For thousands of years this has been a crossroads of cultures and empires….Persians, Lydians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and finally the Ottomans.

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient World

The Library of Celsus

The entrance to the south gate of the ruins are about 3 Km from Selcuk and are accessible by walking if one is the outdoor type or by a bus for $1.5.  The entrance fee is 25 TL for most of the site but an additional 15 TL is charged for entrance to a Terraced House excavation which is totally worth the additional cost. So for 22 US dollars you get to see the whole thing. It is a 3 Km walk from the South to the North gate and if you start out at the south gate the walk is up hill. Not a problem in cool weather but in the heat of the summer it might be easier to just stroll down hill….I stayed long enough to do it up and back.

While the city started to grow under the Greeks it reached its zenith under the Romans…eventually reaching a population of 400,000 or 500,000 people by the second century AD. It was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean World and was an economic and political center in the Asian Empire.

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient World

South gate of the Agora..2 BC

I suppose I could write on and on about the history, but that is easy information to come by on Wikipedia so I won’t take your time up with a litany of historical dates and facts. But it is an amazing place to visit and I fell into my usual mind game of trying to imagine the life in this ancient metropolis.

Some of the things that make this city special are the theatre which is massive for the times and seated 25,000 for plays and later gladiator games,  huge public baths supplied with water by the most advanced aqueduct system in the ancient world, libraries, elaborately decorated temple complexes and large public markets (Angora).

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient WorldThe principle buildings have been restored in part and offer a glimpse into the splendor and grandeur that Ephesus once possessed. The Library of Celsus with its intricately carved 2 story facade is the quintessential image for Ephesus but the smaller Temple of Hadrian is also worth a study as the carvings are equally stunning. What we see is only 15% of the original city but what we do get to see is glorious.

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient WorldThe surrounding hills with their cypress trees spiking up against the blue Mediterranean sky is an elegant backdrop to the bleached gray stones of the ruins. As I wondered the ancient Roman roads and picked my way through the fields of sorted stone blocks and tombs I could almost picture it all. Roman Citizens and slaves filling the markets and squares, the sounds of cheering spectators pouring forth from the stone theatre, and the smell of incense coming from the temples were the festivals for the pagan gods drew penitents and petitioners alike to seek favor. It’s not too hard to imagine the noise, color, smells and vibrancy of this ancient crossroads at its apex.

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient WorldIf you are coming to this part of the world and have any interest in Ancient History and Architecture then the little town of Selcuk and the ruins of Ephesus are a must see.

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient World

Paved road in Ephesus

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient World

Library of Celsus

Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient World

Temple of Hadrian

About Larry Bosco

In 2010 I had one of those “Is this all there is” moments and so in January 2011 I retired from Real Estate Appraising, sold off all my worldly goods and headed out as a solo traveler in search of a new place to live. Since then I’ve traveled around the world, made new friends and had many great adventures and some not so great. After staying almost a year in Cuenca, Ecuador I have headed back to South East Asia where I began the journey in 2011. Currently I am living in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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4 Responses to Ephesus…a crossroad of the Ancient World

  1. Nancee E. Petersen says:

    Larry, this is the most interesting place so far. Your pictures are fantastic as I can see the detail of the carvings and the different colors of the stones. Through your eyes, I can picture myself there, and imagine how exciting life was living there in that time. Isn’t it amazing that their construction was so good that much of it still stands? What an interesting life you have carved out for yourself, Larry. You rock, fellow! Enjoy it; this isn’t a dry run – it’s a one-time shot!
    Nancee E. Petersen/Cuenca

  2. bert emke says:

    I dropped my smart phone at Ephesus. The screen cracked, but the phone still works
    Does that qualify as a miracle?

    • Gene says:

      No, just good technology. We enjoyed Ephesus as well. We were hassled a bit by guides wanting to take us through the ruins, but we did it on our own.

  3. Diane Kimsey-Minor says:

    Your photographs are so sooooo good! By the way, I talked to an old friend yesterday and he will be contacting you soon.

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