Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The ruins of Ephesus, Turkey

Once a thriving seaport of about 250,000, the ruins are several miles from the Aegean Sea because of silt build up.

At Ephesus' spectacular ruins we got caught in some rain--badly needed in that area, so we weren't really sorry. Fortunately, I had tucked in a package of cheap rain panchos and eventually put my arms inside also. Notice the dog in the background. We saw stray dogs everywhere--quiet, calm, and mostly asleep, but undisturbed. Someone asked our guide, "Do you have a stray dog problem?" "No, we don't have a problem," she responded. "There are 175,000 stray dogs, but now a group takes care of them, neuters them, and feeds them." We noticed pretty much the same attitude about cats. Although they seemed to be feral animals, they weren't wild or frightening. Someone was looking after them.

As you can see there is a lot to be done in restoration--much is still buried--it's like a giant puzzle. Shops, homes, public buildings, beautiful frescos and mosaics, statues, etc. all jumbled.

This, with a few rain drops on the lens, is the Library of Celsus, built in 115-25 AD, and is believed to be the standard architectural form for Roman libraries, holding about 15,000 scrolls. I love to visit libraries, but in the rain on crooked marble steps, it was a tad treacherous.

Paul wrote a letter to the convert Ephesians, and his preaching was a threat for economic reasons--particularly among the silver smiths who made images for the Greek goddess, Artemis. Our guide told us he probably walked 20,000 miles in his 38 years of missionary work. No wonder he sometimes sounded a bit cranky. Tradition suggests that the apostle John and Mary, Jesus' mother, settled at Ephesus.

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, but only the foundation and one column of the 106 remain. We had a one column photo, but I can't tell if it's the right one. According to the website, How things work, Artemis was the Eastern interpretation of the Greek goddess Diana (called Phoebe among the Romans). In Greek mythology, Diana is known as the goddess of the hunt and of fertility. She is typically portrayed as a very athletic figure. The Artemis of the Temple of Ephesus looked nothing like the goddess of the hunt. Her likeness was based on the Anatolian Earth goddess Cybele. The temple, built around 800 BC, was burned in 356 BC and rebuilt.

Theaters were built to hold about 10% of the population, our guide told us--or this one about 25,000. Designed for theatrical performances, it later held gladiatorial contests.

1 comment:

Hokule'a Kealoha said...

they eat the problem