If you like your ancient historic monuments, you need to come here!
If you like beautiful architecture, you need to come here!
If you don’t like the heat, don’t come here in summer!
So Ephesus is an ancient Roman city, that’s miraculously intact to the modern day. Think Pompeii and Herculaneum and you’re sort of there....
We were staying in Icmeler which is a 2-3 hour coach drive away from the city. A full up coach but with air conditioning (when the driver remembered to put it on!). We booked through one of the guys on the side of road in Icmeler and thought we’d take a gamble. For a total cost of around £80 we thought it was worth a risk. A risk we’re so glad we took!
If you know your history, Ephesus is the city where the ancient Temple of Diana (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) stood - more on that later. It’s also the city where Cleopatra exiled her sister Arsinowe to (and then later had her murdered according to legend). According to some modern archaeologists, they’ve found the tomb where she’s interred.
Also this is the city from the letters of the apostles (you know - the letters of St Paul to Ephesians?).
In Roman times the city was by the sea but with the silting up of harbours and river deltas and so on, it’s now about 5 miles from the sea. In a valley. With little shade. Also known as an oven. So be warned if you struggle with excessive heat. I wouldn’t be surprised if the temperature was over 45degrees the day we visited.
We were led on a tour of the city at a bit of a pace to be honest. We had 3 hours. But there’s so much here to see that 3 days would probably be more appropriate! It is stunning and some of the detail from the guide was fascinating. The highlights of the city were the ancient library and the amphitheatre where St Paul allegedly conducted his sermons to the people (see pictures for both!)
After that, we went to see what’s left of the Temple of Diana. A sad, solitary column is pretty much all that’s left - with a stork nesting on top! Wonder what Diana and her priestesses would make of that!? So the temple is a bit an anti-climax I guess. But then the Colussus of Rhodes, Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Lighthouse of Alexandria have nothing at all to show these days...
It’s a very early start (6am) and you get back pretty late. But you get breakfast and lunch - both pretty decent meals - and cool drinks later on at the next stop, a pottery place. Interesting but could do without the constant hard selling and not what would swing the trip. This is a day of history - very ancient history. And stunning views from the coach through the region of Muğla.
Final stop is up in the hills where you visit the House of Mary. A place where allegedly, The Virgin Mary came to live after the crucifixion. It is lovely and there’s a shrine where devotees come to make their representations. There’s also a spring where the waters are alleged to be holy.
A really nice end (well final stop) on the journey.
You can probably tell I like my ancient history... As such, I was more than happy to endure the coach journey and the heat to just experience this wondrous place. If you’re not so keen, maybe go out of peak summer season when it should be a bit cooler.
For value for money, this is the best £80 I think I’ve ever spent on 2 people for a day!
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