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Sunday 22nd May

Following advice from a pair of young American women staying in our pension, we got to Ephesus as early as possible in the morning: it opens at 8 and we got there at 8.10. Going in at the bottom entrance, where the local bus (dolmus) dropped us off, instead of at the top, where the tour buses drop groups off, we had the bottom area almost to ourselves for half an hour.

the theatre at Ephesus

The theatre at Ephesus is the setting of a famous scene in Acts.

The capital of Roman Asia Minor for centuries, Ephesus may have had a peak population of 250,000 or more. It was abandoned eventually because the harbour silted up and (I think) the site wasn't as defensible as the much smaller castle back at Selcuk.

we had the place to ourselves for some time
the Harbour Street

the Terrace Houses
One separate area, which you have to pay extra to get into, is the "Terrace Houses". This is a 4000 square metre residential development, climbing up the hillside, with six dwellings complete with central heating, plumbing, mosaics and frescoes, and so forth — some of them were later subdivided, or extended with ensuites. I was definitely imagining the real estate agent's spiel for this one! It's an active restoration project, under cover for protection, and you can see people at work as you climb around the walkways.

It was overcast, making it quite pleasant to walk around. If it were boiling hot — or pouring with rain — then the Terrace Houses would make a good escape from the weather. And hardly anyone else was in there, just one large archaeological specialist tour group.

the crowds descending
the Library of Celsus
Curetes Way

The Library of Celsus was one of the great libraries of the ancient world. There's not much left, but the facade has been reconstructed. Curetes Way had shops on either side, and here it was easy to imagine the spruikers yelling out their sales pitches to passers-by.

an Ephesian cat
Turkey is full of cats, most of which seem in surprisingly good condition even amidst the ruins, though something has to be limiting the population.

The preference for cats over dogs is one area where Anatolian farming has triumphed over nomadic ways. I'm sure the remaining nomads still have their dogs, however.

my Greek is rather rusty
The religious mix was fascinating. There's a temple to Cybele/Artemis — two famous statues from here are in the museum in Selcuk — plenty of Roman temples, and of course the Christian churches. The residential complex mentioned above had a little chapel, and near the bottom entrance there's the ruins of the famous Church of Mary, which may date to 431 (when the Third Ecumenical Council decided that Mary was the Mother of God). Ephesus is of course the location of some of the events in Acts, and the church here was the target of the letter attributed to Paul.

After four hours we were just leaving when a torrential downpour hit, which we sat out having lunch in a restaurant before catching the bus back to Selcuk.

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