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Published: April 30th 2014
Day started with good Turkish breakfast ..at 9:00 met guide, Seda, for short ride to Ephesus. One of the best preserved classic cities in the Mediterranean .
Ephesus was once ancient Ionia where colonists from Greece arrived around 1000 BC. It was not until the Romans took the city in 129 BC that the city flourished and became the main port on the Agean Sea.. The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the Harbour was slowly silted up by the river.
Ephesus played an important role in the spread of Christianity. It is believed that the Virgin Mary spent her last days nearby and that St. John the Evangelist came to look after her. St. Paul also visited Ephesus and later wrote his letter back to the Ephesians after his exhile.
Upon leaving Ephesus we drove to the top of a great hill overlooking the Agean Sea to visit what is believed to be where the Virgin Mary spent the end of her life. A tiny chapel is erected on the old foundation walls of her humble dwelling. Below the chapel is a long stone wall covered in torn rags, bits of paper and cloth containing
wishes left for Mother Mary. It was a very lovely serene setting we left our wishes on her wall....I thought of May in secret life of Bees.
Our lunch stop was at a Textile and Weaving School where local girls are taught the craft of carpet weaving. We watched the process as the silk threads were extracted from the cocoons, saw the fibers dyed with all natural dyes...then the very intericate process of tying the knots and weaving the fibers into beautiful works of art. A 4x6 carpet takes a skilled craftsman around 2 months to weave, tie and trim. Many are still made by village women in the smaller towns.
It was believed St.John wrote his Gospel here at the end of his life. In the 6th Century a magnificent church was built to honor him using many of the columns and stones from the ruins of the early Temple of Artemis. The St. John Basilica ruins sit atop Ayasoluck hill with breathtaking views of the Valley below. To the West at the foot of the hill sits Isa Bey Camii Mosque built in 1375. Beyond the Mosque you can see how the Ageans Sea once covered
the plains allowing Ephesus to prosper from Maritime commerce.
The city was once famous for the ancient Temple of Artemis (550 BC) one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Built entirely of marble. The temple was later destroyed.....but much of the columns and stones were re-used in later ancient structures. Only the foundation stones and one re- erected column remain on the site today. Artemis was a mother goddess of the moon and the hunt.
We had a gorgeous day for our adventures through the ancient ruins .... Huge clouds in the sometimes vivid blue sometimes stormy gray skies....a blustery wind blowing while the sun warmed our shoulders and backs and clouds floated us from sun to shade. Our young guide was very knowledgeable and enjoyable. We also toured with three new friends from Vancouver Island whose company we very much enjoyed. Upon return to our welcome Hotel we were served Apple Tea.....sorry to admit it is the tourists tea :-(. But we are excellent tourists by now)..... Had a nice dinner, wine and dessert....late to bed. Blog had to wait a day!
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