Saturday, 29 November 2014

Ephesus

It is impossible for me to do justice to the splendours of Ephesus, a flourishing metropolis from the days of antiquity. 
We approached it from a high plain surrounded by hills and let the glories of its architectural remains unfold before us as we walked down through the city.
In the background a small theatre - the Odeum which originally had a wooden roof and in the foreground the Basilica, a municipal building where the Congress of Councillors met.
The city was originally thought to have been founded in 1000 BC but excavations carried out in the 1990s now date the original foundations to 3000 BC. 
steps leading up to the small Odeum theatre
Holding 1500 spectators this small theatre was used for concerts. It was also known as the Bouleuterion - a council chamber for Senate meetings 
One of the exit arches
Prytaneum, where religious ceremonies, official receptions and banquets were held. The sacred flame symbolising the heart of Ephesus was constantly alight in the Prytaneum
The Monument of Memmius situated on the north side of Domitian Square was constructed during the reign of Augustus in the lst century AD by Memmius, the grandson of dictator Sulla. The figures are his father and grandfather. Dictator Sulla was a hero to the Romans in Ephesus
A surviving stone base situated on the street known as Kathodos (the Way Down) carved with the symbol for physicians and hospitals - a snake entwined around a staff
On the other side of the same stone base it shows Hermes holding a ram and a caduceus also a symbol of medicine 
The Fountain of Trajan was constructed in honour of Emperor Trajan. It had a statue of the emperor in the central niche overlooking a pool surrounded by columns and statues.
Temple of Hadrian
Built before 138 AD the temple was dedicated to Hadrian who came to visit the city in 
128 AD
Hadrian's Gate is located at the junction of Curetes Street and Marble Way
650 years ago the ancient city of Ephesus was completely vandalised and its inevitable disappearance began. Over the following centuries it became covered in detritus, rubble, shrubs, scrub land, and brambles. Travellers knew of its existence as it is mentioned in the New Testament, Acts 19:34 - St. Paul was shouted down by a mob chanting "Great is Diana of the Ephesians". A British engineer, John Turtle Wood was designing railway stations for the Smyrna railway in Turkey, and became interested in finding the remains of the Temple of Artemis (also known as the Temple of Diana). In 1863 he relinquished his railway commission and began the search. The British Museum granted him a permit and a small allowance for expenses in return for property rights to any antiquities he might discover at Ephesus. Ever since then Ephesus has been slowly reclaiming its past.
Our arrival at the outstanding Library of Celsus made us gasp with delight. It was built in the 2nd century by the Roman consul, Gaius Iulius Aquila in honour of his father, senator Tiberius Iulius Celsus Polemaeanus. The library used an ingenious method of humidity control - it had air channels running behind the niches in which precious rolled manuscripts were stored. The correct interpretation of the library is a 'heroon' as it was built over the burial chamber of the deceased father.
Artists impression of the interior of the library 
Wisdom (Sophia)
This close up photo reveals the libraries monumental scale
The statues in the niches symbolise Wisdom, Knowledge, Intelligence and Virtue. They are copies of the originals which can now be seen in the Ephesus Museum, Vienna
Virtue (Arete) 
The three-arched gate beside the library was built in 40 AD by the slaves Mazeus and Mythridates for their emperor Augustus who gave them their freedom
A walk along Marble Way
to the Great Theatre located on the slopes of Panayir Hill. It has a seating capacity for 25,000 people and is the largest theatre in the Anatolian region. Originally constructed during the Hellenistic period in third century BC it was enlarged to its current size by the Romans
It is difficult to convey the scale of the Great Theatre, but this photo must represent about one third
Arcadian Street led down to the harbour. Entering from the port, all traders and sailors would first arrive in this street. Constructed in the Hellenistic period it was restored during the reign of Emperor Arcadius. On both sides of the street were shops and galleries. I read that it was one of only three lighted streets at that time, the other two being in Rome and Antioch. I am presuming that it was lit by flaming torches. There were water sewerage channels running beneath the marble flagstones down to the sea. 
 These monumental gates along with large warehouses stood at the entrance to the harbour 
Today the area where the harbour stood is now at least 8 km away from the Aegean coast
As our walk through Ephesus draws to its close we pass the remains of the house of the Virgin Mary.  A typical Roman example of architecture which is said to combine her house and grave. It is known that she came to the area with St. John who spend several years spreading the word of Christianity. It is where they both ended their days and is a place of pilgrimage, not only for Christians, but for Muslims too. Muslims recognise Mary as the mother of one of their prophets
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A Brief Time line
Early Ephesus 6000 BC - 334 BC
Hellenistic Ephesus 3rd - lst century BC
Roman Ephesus 133 BC - 2nd century AD
The city was destroyed by Goths in 263 AD
Byzantine Ephesus Emperor Constantine l rebuilt the city 4th - 14th century AD
In 1403 Ephesus was completely ruined by 
Timer-Leng, a member of the Turkish Barlas Tribe (descendants of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire)

56 comments:

  1. There are many details to now beautifully preserved. Beautifully that you showed on the pictures. Regards.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment Giga

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  2. That is long ago that I was there, must have been in the seventies, but I still remember the beauty of Ephesos.It was the first excavation of antiquities I visited.

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    1. I think that you are right - once seen, the beauty of Ephesus is remembered forever

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  3. Dear Rosemary, Your photographs of Ephesus are outstanding. We approached Ephesus from the Sea. It was full of beauty and mystery then and still is.
    I don't know which of your photographs is my favorite. They are all so wonderful. But your photograph of Hadrian's Gate with blue skies is one of your best.

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    1. Dear Gina - I am pleased that this post has reminded you of your own visit to Ephesus - I think that we must have approached the city from different ends. We walked down whereas you must have walked up.

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  4. Thank you for the tour. Massive Theater and one wonders how they built in way back then. All photos show a magic place.

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    1. You are correct Margaret it is indeed a magical place

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  5. Hello Rosemary, In Ohio I have a book an Ephesus, and marveled at the beautiful ruins. You are lucky to see it in person. The Library of Celsus is truly magnificent; if only the scrolls it contained could miraculously have been discovered intact!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - Ephesus was far more impressive than I had ever imagined it to be - there is still so much more to be excavated and discovered there

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  6. A marvelous post, thank you! I'd love to visit Ephesus some day.

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    1. I hope that you get the chance to visit one day Debra

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  7. Well this post brought back a few memories. I went there with my husband on our first holiday together. He hired a scooter and drove me there. We wore no crash helmets and he wasn't exactly experienced with scooters, but we made it back to our hotel in one piece. Although he did tip the scooter over on to it's side going around a small round about. I just clung on the back for dear life. Jean x

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    1. I am pleased that this brought back memories for you Jean - we did thing in our younger years that we would never consider doing today

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  8. What an incredibly beautiful and interesting place to visit. It is wonderful. I especially liked seeing the pictures and reading your information about the library, I had no idea that such things existed. Truly fascinating to me. Thank you so much Rosemary! xx

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    1. Dear Amy - I am delighted that you found Ephesus so interesting - a great aspect of blogging is that we continually make new discoveries from each other.

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  9. Great shots of Ephesos. I've never been there, but maybe so e day... Happy Advent, Rosemary!

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    1. Ephesus lends itself perfectly to some good photos, the main problem for me is getting shots without people in them.

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  10. Hello Rosemary
    You certainly have done justice in your concise descriptions and images of this historic place. I enjoyed learning, through you, of the history and your personal experience. I greatly admire your style of writing and detail.
    I am returning to re-read this post.
    Have a great week
    Helen xx

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    1. Hello Helen - going on the computer this morning and discovering your lovely comment has made a great start to the day for me - thank you very much. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the post sufficiently to want to re-read it♡

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  11. Absolutely fascinating Rosemary. You are bringing Turkey alive for me. The library is stunning and I can imagine your reaction to it. Much like I felt coming through that gap in the rocks on the entrance to Petra.

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    1. Dear Jessica - Turkey has so much to offer the traveller, much more than I realised when I first visited Istanbul a few years ago. I have never visited Petra but can well imagine the dramatic moment when you first set eyes on Petra through the rocky entrance.

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  12. Everything is so wonderfully preserved - quite magnificent - I can't help wondering about the hundreds of poor souls involved in the making of it all - thank you for sharing so many beautiful photographs.

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    1. The preservation is amazing when you consider that it has all been covered over for so many centuries.

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  13. Fantastic photos! Reminds me of how much I love these ancient places. When I was there, I had a small child in tow so had something of a fractured experience as all journeys with little ones tend to be.

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    1. I wonder if your child still remembers visiting with you? it is often surprising how much somewhere like this can impact on youngsters memories.

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  14. What a spectacular tour of Ephesus you have given us, Rosemary. I have always wanted to see it, and now I feel I have. The library is so beautiful, in fact the whole city looks wonderful. The house of the Virgin Mary was a surprise to me, I have never heard of it before. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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    1. Dear Patricia - I had no idea that the Virgin Mary house was there either or that she died in that area. It is surprising as you travel just how many extra details you discover and absorb. The intermingling of Christianity amongst the Pagan made for an interesting mix.

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  15. Beautiful photo's you shared Rosemary. A very interesting post.
    Have a wonderful sunday.

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    1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the post Marijke - for me it was a very memorable day.

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  16. Amazing beauty , a real feast for the eyes, I never stop admiring and pondering at how extraordinary their architectural skills were.

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    1. Same with me Jane - I wonder how long todays buildings will be around?

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  17. I loved going through this wonderful post. Ephesos, never been in Turkey until now, but may be in the near future......

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    1. Thank you very much Janneke - I am so pleased that you enjoyed the post

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  18. A fantastic place. We have also been there but it was very crowded. I find your pictures better than mine.

    http://filipdemuinck-kristelpardon.blogspot.nl/2011/10/ancient-town-of-ephesus-with-library-of.html

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Hello Filip - we visited first thing in the morning before many people arrived. However, I tend to use pillars and stones etc to cut people out of the photos - I like people but not in my photos!!!

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  19. What a beautiful place and your pictures are absoluely stunning Rosemary. I keep scrolling up and down just enjoying the beauty of it all.♥

    Take care sweet Rosemary.

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Dear Charlie - sometimes you visit places and they do not live up to your expectations - Ephesus far exceeded mine. Thank you for your kind comment, I am delighted that you enjoyed scrolling up and down the post♡

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  20. You saw some very impressive places during your travel Rosemary!

    Have a good week!

    Madelief x

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    1. Ephesus will be a memory I shall carry forever

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  21. An amazing city whose ruins still speak loudly of the accomplishments of the ancient builders and inhabitants. What a fascinating history it has. It must be somewhat mind boggling to wonder through these ruins and imagine what has gone before - makes us feel rather small and insignificant in many ways.

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    1. The whole city must have looked impressive and also very elegant with its classical proportions along with the wonderful statuary and stone carvings.

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  22. Dear Rosemary,

    What a wonderful tour, and I didn't even need to leave my house! I did not know that any of those theaters were roofed, and can imagine that the timber for that alone would have been monumental. One detail that I especially enjoyed from your photos was how the columns of the Library of Celsus aligned, but the two levels of porticos alternated — very elegant!

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    1. Dear Mark - my understanding is that it was unusual for such a theatre to have a roof.
      Your observation regarding the Library of Celsus is interesting and thank you for pointing it out, it is a very clever feature.

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  23. As a fervent lover of history, especially of the ancient kind, there are two places in the world that never cease to amaze me every time I visit. One is the ancient ruined city of Pompeii in Italy. The other is Ephesus. You really have done this justice Rosemary with stunning photos and an equally stunning descriptive tour. P x

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    1. Dear Patricia - I am pleased that you enjoyed your virtual tour of Ephesus - a visit to Pompeii was my first awakening to the architecture of classical antiquity and I remember the feeling of awe to this day.

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  24. Your photos are spectacular - thank you for sharing them, Rosemary! Seeing people in the photos of the Great Theatre gives us the scale and breadth of this monumental masterpiece. Speaking of masterpiece, the Library of Celsus' rich carvings are stunning and impressive. This post makes me think of Mark Ruffner's Pompeii inspired mural.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing the photos Loi - I managed to get most photos without people on them by crouching behind rocks or behind pillars, but it was impossible with the Great Theatre, however, they do help give a sense of scale.

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  25. That looks an amazing place to visit. It looks so impressive and not as well known as sites in other countries. Sarah x

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    1. Turkey has some very impressive remains from antiquity.

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  26. Ephasus must have been an impressive place during those different periods. The buildings would have had a great impact on the traders and travellers walking up Arcadian Street from the former port. It seems amazing that those large ruins were 'lost' in the vegetation after the vandalism and now the remains can be seen thanks to John Turtle Wood's discovery. It's a place I'm interested in especially because of Paul's time there. Thank you for this post Rosemary as your photos show what Ephasus is like today with important antiquities still standing.

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    1. Dear Linda - there must be years and years of discovery still to be made at Ephesus - the main excavation work currently seems to be being carried out by the Austrians.

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  27. It takes me a time, to get my head around how advanced the Ancients were.. The Romans too.
    What an amazing place Rosemary.
    You have shared your visit to Ephasus with the most amazing photos. What a place to visit.
    I can imagine, that this wonderful place, will be in your memory for ever.
    I so enjoyed reading this post Rosemary.
    val xx

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    1. Dear Val - the more I discover and see regarding the ancient world the more I am amazed at their achievements. This is especially so when I remember that they had none of the modern day machinery and aids to assist them in their monumental tasks.
      Glad that you enjoyed the post, and thank you for your kind comment♡

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  28. A wonderfully illustrated and informative post, Rosemary. Given the vicissitudes of history, I'm amazed so much still survives.

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    1. It is, and there is still so much more to discover - it is hard to imagine that when John Turtle Wood began his excavations there was nothing to be seen.

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