We left Yalikavak with somewhat heavy hearts, because it truly felt like we were leaving family. We had grown so close with Frank, Berna, Amber and Vadot during our month outside of Bodrum, that is was hard to say goodbye, though we loved knowing that we now had a second family in Turkey. We were, however, very excited to see Ephesus, which Michael had seen in high school and raved about, so we set off for a new adventure, on our own again.
We caught a bus from Bodrum and arrived in Selçuk after dark. The bus ride had been very warm and I was feeling sick when we got off, so Michael did most of the talking with people, figuring out our next move. Typical Michael wanted to camp. Typical me was not so into that idea, especially coming down from the high of having spent so much time in such a nice place. When I felt cooled down and better, we made our way out of the bus terminal and set off for food.
We were only staying one night in town, so we found a nice hostel and we were excited to find that it included a breakfast buffet (my favorite thing in the whole world!). The next morning we set off for the famous ruins. Most people take a taxi or join a tour group, but we (are so predictable) walked. Stopping for frequent breaks and to play on the public exercise equipment, we were approached to come tour a Persian rug factory. The man was very nice, we were in no hurry, and he said he’d give us a ride the rest of the way to Ephesus after we toured the facility, so we figured, why not?
Once inside, we were greeted by a British woman who told us all about authentic Persian rug-making and explained to us about the trade schools that teach woman this art form and give them the opportunity to make money and start their own businesses. We met quite a few of the women in the school there, and saw them making the rugs on the looms which was fascinating to watch. It was very refreshing to not be thrown for a loop, and to be driven to the landmark at the end of our tour, no questions asked.
We arrived at Ephesus refreshed and, after paying the entrance fee of about $14, we excitedly pulled out the ipod for our (free!) Rick Steve’s walking podcast guide through Ephesus.
Ephesus was originally one of the largest cities in the ancient Greek world. The city was centered around Artemis (goddess of the hunt)-worship, as many Greek cities of the time were. Ephesus was founded in the 10th century, and destroyed in 401 AD by St. John Chysostom, and then further damaged as the river Cayster slowly demolished its harbor.
It is thought that the Gospel of John may have been written in Ephesus and that Jesus’ mother, Mary, may have sought refuge and eventually died in Ephesus. The great city is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
It is estimated that only 15% of the city’s ruins have been excavated, and it is already the largest collection of Roman ruins in the world. Many will recognize the Library of Celsus, the facade of which has been reconstructed from all of the original pieces. The Temple of Artemis was one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, but is now only recognized by fragments of the frieze and one column. The baths are also noted for their sophistication and comparably modern plumbing systems.
We loved wandering around the ancient city and were completely taken by its huge size and how well preserved it all is. We really enjoyed the Library of Celsus, but also the Amphitheater, which was enormous. Seeing a city like this, which you can imagine in its full glory, standing in ruins, was quite staggering. The audiotour we listened to was also great- props to Rick Steves (as much as I hate to admit that to my parents who never vacation without him).
After leaving Ephesus, we walked back to our hostel along the same shady grove, stopping to get some lunch along the way. We visited The Temple of Artemis inside the city, another ancient ruin site and the famous Mosque in town. We then collected our bags, grabbed something to eat (another amazing mediterranean meal!) and hopped on the night bus to Istanbul!