Kuşadası, Turkey. Day 5. Ephesus/Efes, Turkey. Day 6. Part 2
Harbour Street, Ephesus
After the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers, we headed for Ephesus. If you typed Ephesus in Google, you will get sites which all starts off with "Ephesus, the best preserved classical city on the Mediterranean". Even Lonely Planet starts off with the same line. But it is true. It is an awesome sight to see all the preserved buildings of Roman times now, in the 21st century. We started on the other end of Ephesus, walking back towards our car. Most people (tour groups) were headed in the opposite direction (they had buses waiting for them at the other end, whereas for us, we will have to pusing balik and walk the long road back!). It was a hot, hot day. First view of the city were the remains of Harbour Street, a marble paved road which was the most celebrated street at that time. It was a grand sight during its heyday with shops, baths and streetlights along its sides and water and sewerage channels beneath.
Next up was the Great Theater (between 41 AD to 117 AD), at the eastern end of Harbour Street. The Great Theater is still used for performances nowadays amidst protests. It was orginally a Hellenistic period building which was later restored by the Romans. It can seat up to 25 000 people.
Footprint, woman with a crown and a heart
You will see this grafitti on the marble paved road on your way from the Great Theater. There are many interpretations. One was that it was an advert for a brothel: the woman with the crown symbolizes the woman who is as beautiful as the queens, the footprint, showing the direction and position of the brothel.
The Library of Celsus (left) and the Gate of Augustus (right)
One of the most photographed buildings in Ephesus and I am sure many of you had seen it before either in pictures, mags etc is the Library of Celsus on the left. It was built by Gaius Julius Aquila to commemorate his father, Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the proconsul of the Province of Asia during 2C AD. Celsus is buried inside the library.
Library of Celsus, lower story
The facade has two stories, with three entrances at the lower story. They are flanked by statues of Sophia (Wisdom), Areté (Valor), Ennoia (Thought) and Epistémé (Knowledge).
Up to the sky view
From the inside
The marble columns
The columns at the sides of the facade are shorter than those in the middle, giving the illusion that the facade is bigger than it actually is. The Gate of Augustus, seen in the first picture, is also known as the Mazaeus-Mithridates Gate. It opens into the commercial agora and was built by Mazaeus and Mithridates in honour of Augustus according in the inscriptions in Latin. Both these buildings are earthquake proof.
Temple of Hadrian
The Temple of Hadrian was built in Corinthian style and later, renovated and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian. There are beautiful friezes with scenes depicting the foundation of the city and a statue of Medusa.
This street is between the Library of Celsus and Hercules Gate. The temple of Hadrian lies at the side of this street.
Fountain of Trajan
This is a two story building, built in the memory of Emperor Trajan. There used to be a huge statue of the Emperor Trajan but now, only a foot remains. Water will cascade from beneath the statue.
This gate is easily recognized by the two carvings of Hercules which depict him wearing a lion's skin. Constructed in 4th century AD, it was made narrow to prevent wheel vehicles from entering the city.
This Odeon was built in the 2nd century AD and is one of the last few buildings you will pass as you head back. Looks like a mini version of the Great Theater, it was used for theatrical performances as well as a Senate House.
Lunch at Şirince
Sleeping St Bernard (I think) at the restaurant
After Ephesus, we went to a quaint town called Şirince for lunch. It is famous for its stone and stucco houses and wine. We had lunch at this restaurant which makes Gözleme which is lavas (bread) folded over potato or cheese.
Şirince's Red wine
It was a nice lunch, the gözleme was tasty (I love the combination between the potato, meat and cheese) and the red wine was delicious. It was rich with the taste of grape when compared to other wines I had tasted (this is not to say that I am a wine connoisseur)
After lunch, we went walking along the streets of Şirince town. The place is getting to be quite popular with tourists and you can see a lot of tourist shops everywhere which spoilt the feeling and view somewhat. If you are interested in table cloths and curtain fabrics, this is the place to shop as the fabrics are really quite pretty. If you are into wine, then you should try Şirince wine shops.
Church of St John the Baptist
Fresco on the wall
Church of St John the Baptist - door
The Church of St John the Baptist is located in the town. It is a small church and is currently being restored by an American foundation. The inside is bare except for a fresco.
From the churchyard, there is an excellent view of the Şirince houses. They date mostly from the 19th century. They typically have two stories with the lower floor serving as an animal shed and the upper floor as the living quarters. However, these days, some of the houses are being restored by wealthy families making them into their holiday houses.
Pigeon Island, Kuşadası
After Şirince, we left for Kuşadası again and stopped by the Pigeon Island. The island is a favourite attraction for migrating birds, therefore it was named Bird Island, which is also the name of the town, Kuşadası (Bird Island). It was then changed to Pigeon Island.
Sunken boat along the way
There is a castle situated on the island which was used for military purposes during Ottoman times and was at one point, used against pirates. Hence, it is also known as the Pirate Castle. From the castle, you have an excellent view of the Aegean Sea and Kuşadası town.
Enjoying the view from the castle
We stopped for some drinks in one of the cafes situated near the castle. This place would be perfect for watching the sunset.....I think....er...was it east or west??
Kuşadası town at night
We walked again in Kuşadası town, window shopping. I passed by this restaurant which had this colourful cloth lamps hanging from the two trees in front. I have seen this cloth lamps in those ethnic shops in Japan as well as in Malaysia and this is the first time I had seen them put to good use. It was so colourful...I like colourful stuff. Too bad the close up pictures I took were blur. We had dinner at a kebab restaurant and then headed back to hotel.
We didn't go to two famous places though, the Basilica of St John and the Temple of Artemis, both situated in Selçuk. Haha, I can use this as an excuse to visit Selçuk again!
Next up Pamukkale and Hierapolis.