Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ephesus II

The ancient city of Ephesus is located in western Turkey, near the port of Kusadasi. At it's height in the 2nd or 3rd century AD it had some 250,000 or more people. It was one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. The Apostle Paul spent at least two years there and wrote letters to the Christian inhabitants. Ephesus was a port and when the port silted up it ceased to have any importance and basically withered and died.

On this trip to Ephesus we hired a private guide. Four of us tourists, one guide and one driver in an air conditioned Mercedes van, plus lunch The guide spoke excellent English and was very knowledgeable. The name of the tour group is Magical Steps and can be found at www. Highly recommended. I previously wrote about Ephesus in a blog called, strangely enough, Ephesus, on 10/13/09.

On entering Ephesus you proceed down a long street which was a main commercial street. Shops, a small theatre, a Roman bath, temples and a small Christian Basilica are found along this street. Near the bottom of the street the hills rising to the south have been excavated extensively, revealing what are called Terrace Houses.These were private houses, with some common areas. They were for the well off, sort of like Scottsdale or Beverly Hills condos.

The photo above is some of the ruins on the north side of the street. Below are what appear to be bulls' heads decorating the tops of some columns.

Below is a water pipe. Ephesus had both running water and a sewer system. The sewage was collected and used as fertilizer, according to our guide.

 Below is an early Christian basilica. Note the cross on the lintel.

 Below is a small theatre.

The two photos below reveal some of the construction methods. Interlocking pegs and holes were used. Many of the columns were made of small drums fitted together with the same type of peg and hole technique. Sort of like a giant Lego set.

In the photo below are some bas-relief sculptures, perhaps part of a temple.

The two photos below are two of my favorites, because I can relate to the occupants. The top one is the sign of a physician, the staff of Aesculapius, and the bottom one, which was located directly across the street, the sign of a pharmacist.

 Pictured below is a small temple.

Details from a building, probably a small temple.

Below is a photo of a lavatory. I know I showed this in the earlier blog about Ephesus(10/13/09),
but I need to make some corrections. It was a men's lavatory, not women's, and was part of the Roman bath, which was also men only.

The next series of photos are all from the Terrace Houses. The first shows wall plaster and painted decoration from a Terrace House room.

This next photo is of the small Christian basilica in the middle of the Terrace Houses.

 The photo below shows some walls partially restored. Much of this work is like trying to assemble a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.

This photo shows partially restored exquisite wall paintings.

The photo below below shows excavation and restoration in progress. Note the extensive floor mosaic .

The owner of the house below seemed to like birds.

A broader view of some of the restoration.

This lion is a wonderful floor mosaic.

Another broader view.

A floor mosaic of a woman, along with some wall paintings.

Again a view of several rooms and walls.

Painting of what appears to be a dove or pigeon with a flower in its mouth. Note the water pipe showing on the right.

Another great floor mosaic.

Below is a view of west Ephesus from the Terrace Houses. This area is choc-a-bloc with unexcavated ruins. Only about 20% of Ephesus has been excavated.

 This is the Celsus Library, second only to the library at Alexandria. It is located just west of the Terrace Houses at the bottom of the main commercial street.

Another street with many columns still standing.

 The street below is the main street leading down to the docks.

Another side street.

 Below is a young woman weaving a silk Turkish rug. This was at a government run facility for the encouragement of traditional Turkish arts and crafts. It was very interesting and without any pressure to buy.

Below are some of the ruins of the temple of Artemis, at one time a magnificent place. Very close to the excavated ruins of Ephesus.

I highly recommend Ephesus, and I highly recommend doing it with a good private guide, such as we did this time.


  1. Makes me want to go back and see it with your guide. Ephesus was my favorite part of the Greek Island tour. I have a picture of me walking down that street leading to the docks.

  2. Ephesus is a great place to visit. The Terrace Houses are worth the whole visit.