Thursday's Child: Ephesus, Turkey

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ephesus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. A Greek city located in what is now Turkey, Ephesus lies mostly in ruins. Over the past 2000 years the port has silted up and the city has lost its importance as a place of culture and knowledge. But a visit to the ruins is evocative of what it must have looked like at its most influential.

Detail on the Domitian Temple, named for a Roman emperor

Stone carving of the Greek goddess Nike
Ephesus was one of the key centres of Christianity in the ancient world, and the city is referred to numerous times in the Bible. Paul's journeys there are detailed in the book of Acts. Later, the Letter to the Ephesians was written by Paul to encourage and support its Christian community.

Memmius Monument

Pollio Fountain
Although there is some dispute about the population at its peak (estimates run from 35,000 to 225,000), it was unquestionably one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. At various times it was under Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Turkish control.



The Temple of Hadrian is one of the best-preserved buildings. Erected in honour of the Emperor Hadrian, it exhibits a stone carving of Tyche, the goddess of luck or fortune, at the top of the marble arch. Directly behind, the face and body of a woman (believed to be Medusa) are carved over the door opening.



The most awe-inspiring building in the area is the facade of the Celsus Library. It was destroyed by earthquakes, and rebuilt from the rubble in the 1970s. This reconstruction also included rebuilding the statues that sit in the exterior niches, honouring four of the ancient virtues - valour, wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. Originally, the library was built to hold over 12,000 scrolls, which were stored in cupboards in the interior walls. Double-layered walls protected the scrolls from heat and humidity.



The Great Theatre is enormous by modern standards. It's hard to believe that it was built in the third century BC, and enlarged by the Romans in the second century to hold 25,000 patrons. One of these patrons might occasionally have been an emperor, as an Emperor's Box was found in the lower area.


All that remains of the Temple of Artemis are these ruins, but it was once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built completely of marble, it was twice as long and twice as wide as the Parthenon in Athens. The Greek writer and mathematician Philon of Byzantium visited most of the wonders, and wrote, "When I saw the Temple at Ephesus rising to the clouds, all these other wonders were put in the shade."

-
"Fellow Ephesians, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven?"

- The Bible, Acts 19:35


20 comments:

Kayte said...

One of Mark and Matt's favorite cities...they found it absolutely magical and awe-inspiring. Your photos are beautiful.

Gloria Baker said...

Beth what amazing and beautiful pictures!! amazing!!
xo

Angie Schneider said...

You have been everywhere, Beth. Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures of Ephesus.

Tricia Buice said...

You have all the fun Beth! What a fabulous trip. The information is wonderful and the photos are beautiful.

Jemi Fraser said...

It always amazes me how such beauty has stood the test of time! Amazing works!

Valerie Gamine said...

It must feel surreal to stand upon a land that's so rich in history! (I didn't know Nike was named after a Greek goddess!)

Monica said...

What an amazing place. You got some great pics, Beth. My son would be very interested in this so I need to show him.

Barbara said...

I'm always astounded and humbled when I visit a site like this one, Beth. Great photos and informative post, as usual.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I can just imagine how spectacular this city must have been so long ago.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Wow! Every one of those pictures just oozes with the history of the place. So gorgeous and enticing! And I love your commentary, too. Yet one more place I need to add to my list of spots to see someday.

Caroline Taylor said...

Lovely photos, I think I went somewhere similar to this in Turkey too!

Joanne said...

Seeing these ruins must be so breathtaking!

grace said...

talk about awe-inspiring! i'm sure i wouldn't be able to contain my goosebumps in places like these!

Marcela said...

What a lovely place! I wish to see it one day! Thanks for sharing, Beth!

Daniela Grimburg said...

Sounds like an amazing trip, Beth. Beautiful pics of interesting sites with a unique historic and cultural background

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Such an amazing place and I so enjoyed seeing your photos!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Ephesus is such an amazing place! We've been once, and only for a day. Not nearly enough time! We'd love to go back -- and I'm sure we will someday! Fun post -- thanks.

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...

I have wanted to go to Ephesus for a long time. It looks incredible with all the ruins. It must be an unbelievable feeling to walk among such great architecture here. Beautiful photos, Beth. Hopefully, Turkey moves up our trip list soon.

Vanessa Morgan said...

What surprises me is that there are no cats in these pictures. Ephesus is supposed to be beaming with cats ;-)

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what a scenery - it must have been such an incredible adventure to visit the city of Ephesus in Turkey.

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