Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kusadasi & Ephesus

The next morning we more or less rose with the sun. I zombie-walked to breakfast with my sister and drowned myself in coffee until I perked up. We were ushered along quickly and disembarked in Kusadasi, Turkey promptly at 9AM.

We were whisked away in a big bus towards our first stop.

We cruised around green mountains and through hazy skies.

And pulled up outside the final home of the Virgin Mary.

Now, religious ideas aside, Mary did exist. Some believe she was a virgin mother and some do not, but one way or another she is a historical figure and a cultural icon. This in itself made walking the ground seem incredibly sacred.

 For the last years of her life she lived in this small home.

It has since been restored and converted into a chapel.

Just outside is a series of small structures where visitors are encouraged to light a candle for a loved one. While it is no strange sight - as a similar structure can be found in just about any cathedral, Catholic church, sanctuary, chapel, etc.

I find it to be an incredibly small thing that carries a wonderfully big intention.

There is little to see beyond that, and you quickly meet a set of stairs that leads down to three wells.

Each well serves a different purpose. There is one to provide you with health, one with love, and one with wealth. I followed the trickle of visitors and drank from each one, wishing for each to fulfill its promise.

Beside the wells a huge wall stretches out. The wall is covered in paper, cloth, and plastic shreds with scribbles of words in every language.

This is the prayer wall.

 A thing of beauty, isn't it?

I love seeing something so universal. People from every corner of earth, people with nothing in common have walked this path and left their words on this wall because the one thing we all share is struggle.

All too soon, we were ushered back to the buses before seeing the whole property, and were whisked away on another scenic drive to Ephesus.

We were released outside of a small strip of shops, so we dipped in and out of the huts and picked up souvenirs.

Soon we had tickets in hand and were allowed to march freely through the ruins.

Ephesus was a thriving city in its day. It is nothing more than beautiful ruins now, but still holds incredible historical significance.

There are dozens of places in the Bible where Ephesus is discussed. Particularly the book of Ephesians which was written for the people of Ephesus. It is mentioned in the book of Revelations and it is presumed to be where the book of John was written. As I said, quite significant.

It is also holds the ruins of the Celsus Library, the Temple of Artemis, the gladiator graveyard, the Odeon theatre, and a number of other famed sights.

We made a handful of friends along the way.

I reckon I could've written a whole post on the cats!

We continued our long winding walk through the ruins.

 ^ The remnants of the Temple of Artemis

The Celsus Library- this bit completely knocked my socks off. I can only imagine how beautiful it must've been back in its prime!

We tore away from the library and moved on.

It was incredible to hear our guide bring to life the ruins. She painted incredible images of the packed and thriving city, of the educators and gladiators, and even of the riots that took place in this very field.

We soaked up as much as we could before the heat started making our heads spin. We swore to hurry through the rest to reach the promised shade and cold water, only to stop immediately.

The theatre was so grand and imposing that we wove through tourists staring slack jawed at the ruins.

 I mean look at it.

We couldn't manage much longer though, so we dove into the shade path that led out of the the ruined city.

We were treated to bottled water and some more cats. And a few dogs :)

We found relief from the A/C that blasted inside the bus as we popped over to St. John's Basilica. It is technically part of the ruins of Ephesus, but lies a short car ride away since city buildings have built up between the Basilica and the rest of the ruins.

It doesn't look like much at first.

But the views are pretty lovely.

We gave up gazing at the rumbling city and distant mountains to explore the good stuff.

It is a bit hard to orient yourself into understanding what stone wall used to be a part of what room, but it is incredible nonetheless to stand in such history.

I particularly loved this bit of tile. Though broken up and 'ruined', you could tell it was something spectacular in its day. I never tire of imaging what these wrecked buildings once were.

We soon boarded the bus and rumbled back to Kusadasi for a sales pitch like no other.

We were shown an example of the weaving process for fine Turkish rugs.

And dozens of beautiful, intricate rugs were rolled out before us.

Once the pitch had ended, we roamed the halls and poked around the rooms.

We couldn't deny having something in common with Bill Clinton, so we plucked up a rug, signed the papers, and followed the coast back towards the boat.


1 comment

  1. amazing pics
    Posts online about Dubai, Jesolo, Buenos Aires...


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