May 20, 2008

Ephesus, Turkey

Stopping off in Selcuk to visit the sprawling roman ruin site of Ephesus is on almost every itinerary through Turkey. My eyes were in slight withdrawal as it had been a good three days since the last ruin sighting and so, in an effort to quell these symptoms and continue comparing the degree of preservation between Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns, I made my way there in a caravan with my three new Australian friends.
We tried to arrive early as we had heard stories of how impossibly crowded it could become, but lucked out, perhaps because it was a Monday, with a more than manageable amount of fellow tourists which made exploring the sight really enjoyable.
We walked the road to Ephesus and arrived at the gates ready for an audio tour, of which I became suspicious when my device starting ringing and beeping loudly and was convinced the Turk working the counter was trying to detonate me after I handed him identification with my obvious Greek name. I luckily survived the attempted assassination and went on to learn the solid history about Ephesus from the audio tour such as the fact they have no clue when it was built or by who or why. They do know, however, that it was a vibrant city with a population of almost 200,000 complete with promenades, stadium, hippodrome, library, temples and hamam. It is situated in a peaceful green countryside and even with the large amount of ruins excavated it is estimated that there is still another 3/4 of the city to be uncovered.
At the beginning of a journey sights are contemplated with full consideration and timelines, dates and names seem very important, but after some time on the tourist trail it becomes necessary to lighten up, find some humor and not get too serious about sightseeing. My companions and I did just that and carried on a game started by my friend Tim in Egypt whereby you try to snap a photo of someone getting their photo taken to add to your anonymous “family album” or to capture the “Best Dressed” tourist. Much to our enjoyment, this site provided countless opportunities for both these objectives and after all our serious ruin picture taking was complete we competitively entertained ourselves by trying to capture the true essence of present day Ephesus.

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