We booked another tour through our hotel for the ancient city of Ephesus. We started the day with an early drive to Mary’s House, which is a very small stone house on a hill that reminded me very much of the hills around Tempio in Sardinia.
Our next stop was the city of Ephesus. This was a very, very large Roman City whose population reached 200,000 that was the gateway to Asia for the Romans. It had been originally a Greek port City in the 11th century BC. It is a very interesting site today because you can still see the way it may have looked since they have managed to restore elements. Even without the restoration you would still be able to see the scale of the city.
The first thing you run into at the gate we entered was the bath house. Which we were told was part of the way they kept the city healthy. Before you were allowed into the city you had to be bathed and checked by the doctors in the bath house. The bath houses at this gate were probably only for rich guests because the governmental areas of the city were next door. These included a small amphitheater which would have served as a governmental debate house, which we know because the ‘stage’ area has no drainage meaning it would have been an enclosed building with a roof so drainage would have been unnecessary.
A walkway which would have been covered
The walkway leads down to the area that contained many temples and a hospital.
The next area was the shopping street. This was a fairly narrow street with alcoves along each side and shops that had been dug into the hillside behind. This also would have been a covered area.
Shops would have been along the sides One of the alcove’s floors
The shopping street was followed by the communal toilet and the red light district. All of which was across from the library of Celsus. Beside the library was a very large open air market square.
As you head towards where the port would have been you find another amphitheater. This one has been mostly restored and is occasionally used for concerts. From the theater you get a fabulous view of the road to the port. The loss of the port following several earthquakes lead to Ephesus being abandoned in the 15th century AD. The mediterranean is now 6km from where the port had been, so with no port the city became unsustainable.
We stopped at Yuksel carpet factory to learn about how the Turkish double knot carpets are made. We learned about how silk is harvested and dyed. We also got to watch one of the students work on a carpet. They learn the skills at home, but come to the school for two years to that they can become certified and sell their carpets through the dealers. After they complete their training they work at home to create carpets, which can take years to complete. So, after we watched her for a bit they asked if anyone wanted to try to tie knots, I volunteered! The student pulled the warp threaded (vertical threads on the loom) and then I took the silk and tied the knots. I was able to tie the two knots after watching her with no problem! In between doing the first and the second she leaned back and told our guide that I had done a great job to which he responded by offering me a place to study! I can say that if I would have had to pull the warp yarn I probably would have failed that part!
We were then, of course, shown carpets that we could buy. Which if I was in the markets for carpets I would have considered buying from them because they are working with the communities. He also explained that the reason why it is so easy to get a Turkish carpet shipped, is because the government pays for and arranges all of the shipping. I think it is part of keeping the industry alive and healthy.
After our visit to the carpet factory we stopped at the Mosque of Isa Bey which contains several of the original columns from the Temple of Artemis. The temple would have originally been huge but all that is left is the foundations and one partially restored column. This was our final tourist stop for our trip.
Our final day in Turkey was spent wandering around Kusadasi, visiting the small fort on the port and just relaxing before having to go back to Russia and work.
All in all it was a great trip and I think that Turkey is a country that I would like to go back and spend a bit more time in. And not just because more than one person asked me if I was Turkish!