Thursday, 5 June 2014

Ephesus (Efes) and Pamukkale

Day 3 in Turkiye (26.5.2014): Visiting the ancient Greco-Roman city of Ephesus (Efes) and the calcite cliffs of Pamukkale.

Blueberries are in season this time of the year.

Ephesus is incredibly fun to explore with our very knowledgeable guide, Ahmet. After almost 150 years of excavation, the city's recovered and restored structures have made Ephesus the most complete classical metropolis in Europe, and that's with almost 82% of the city still to be unearthed!

The smooth parts of the columns show where restoration work has been done for comparison purposes. The four scrolls (or rams' horns, depending on how you see it) on the entablature show that these columns were constructed in the Ionic order/style.

An Ephesian cat! Is he of the Ionian, Doric or Corinthian order, I wonder? ;)

All the cats are in need of baths and flea treatment. If I come this way again, I will bring 5 bottles of Frontline with me.

The 5000-seat Odeon, with its great acoustics, was used for municipal meetings. Debates and deliberations were carried out here by master orators of ancient Greece and Rome.

The column on the left has simple scroll motifs on its entablature and is of the Ionic order. The one in the centre has acanthus leaf motifs and is of the Doric order. The one on the right has the most elaborate designs of all and is of the Corinthian order.

A monument to Nike, the Goddess of Victory. Spot the Swoosh!

A wild fig tree.

Curetes Way, the grandest street in Ephesus, was once buzzing with shops and people. Statues of local luminaries, emperors and deities lined the streets.

The Nympaheam Triani: This was once a fountain building. It was donated by Tiberius Claudius Aristion and his wife between AD 102 and 114 in honour of Artemis of Ephesos and Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117).

The marble mosaics that we walked on may have lost some of their lustre but the colours have managed to retain their distinctive beauty over hundreds of years.

These were the terraced houses once occupied by the wealthy. Only the wealthy could afford to live closest to Curetes Way.

The remains of the Library of Celsus. Generations of great thinkers studied at this architecturally advanced library, built in the 2nd century AD. It was the 3rd largest library in the world, after Alexandria and Pergamum. It was designed to preserve and protect its contents of 12,000 scrolls.

A view of the Great Theatre of Ephesus from a small slope. 

Ear-tipped local cats enjoying a meal of kibbles provided by shopkeepers and locals.

A view of the Basilica of St John and Virgin Mary’s house from a distance. There is a stork’s nest on the marble column in the foreground.

Stork’s nest.

We stopped by Artemis, a producer and wholesale trader of high quality lokum and sweets, to buy sweets and souvenirs. The sample tray was the stuff of my dreams. I polished off almost half the sample tray on my own. But in my defence, I did spend hundreds buying good quality sweets here.

Legend has long attested that St John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus towards the end of her life (AD 37-45). In 1881, French priest Julien Gouyet claimed to have found Mary’s house based on the visions of a ‘mystic’ bedridden German nun, Catherina Emmerich. A chapel has been built next to this house (which, incidentally, has been visited by 4-5 Popes and has become a Catholic pilgrimage site) and a formal Catholic mass is held at the chapel every week.

The ruins of ancient Hierapolis, adjacent to the white calcite cliffs of ‘Cotton Castle’ at Pamukkale.

The snow-white calcite shelves of 'Cotton Castle', Pamukkale, with their mineral-rich waters.

Soaking in the mineral-rich waters of the calcite travertines of Pamukkale.

A dondurma seller! I’ve consumed enough dondurma on this trip to help most dondurma sellers buy new cars.

Sunset over the swimming pool at our hotel in Pamukkale.


Bookface said...

All those years in Turkey, and I never visited Efes. Your photos are marvellous, and Efes is now back on my bucket list. Thank you!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Oh good, >Amanda ! If you need a travel companion, I'd love to go again!