The cities the goddesses built


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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Selçuk
May 31st 2016
Published: May 31st 2016
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Yesterday and today were a tale of two goddesses. After leaving Pamukkale I visited Aphrodisias, a fascinating site originally based on a sanctuary of - guess who - Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. In its heyday it was a major centre for stone-carving, and many beautiful relief panels have been found.

Today I saw Ephesus, which was famous for its huge temple to Artemis, the virgin huntress (and no friend of Aphrodite!) The Artemision was one of the seven wonders of the world, but is now sadly reduced to miscellaneous chunks of rock and a single standing column.

Very different places, both then and now. Ephesus was command central for the Romans in this part of the world, whereas Aphrodisias became a bit of a backwater. But the most obvious difference was the presence of invading hordes (usually wearing identical t-shirts or baseball caps) at Ephesus and the total lack of same at Aphrodisias. I'm not sure where the crowds are coming from - they're not staying nearby hotels. I seem to be the only person staying in my hotel tonight. Perhaps they arrive at the port nearby in armoured cruise ships and make a day trip in reinforced tour buses.

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