Our next stop of the day was at the ancient city of Ephesus. There are so many intact ruins here; the best of them all probably being the Library of Celsus. It was such an important port and trading hub in the ancient world, that now it has become an integral part of Turkish tourism today. It was also a center for Christians of the time, so you can also see sites where Jesus’ disciples, Luke and John, frequented and preached. There is also Egyptian and Greek mythological sites here, like the Temple of Isis, Hadrian’s and Hercules’ Gates, and the Temple of Serapis.
We walked along where Anthony and Cleopatra once trod: the Arcadian Street. The ruins of the ancient city were immaculate. So much detail stood the test of time. Kittens sunbathed throughout the entirety of the excavation site. There were palm trees, fig trees, pear trees, and olive trees. Walking down Marble Road was incredible, but we had to watch our step as it was slippery from being polished by feet after a couple thousand years. The Odeon was a near perfect theater from which John preached to the Ephesians, and concerts took place.
After walking out of the archaeological site, Baba was offered 30 camels for me (they liked my blonde hair and pale skin) from one of the men near the exit. We tried to avoid the shouting of the merchants who were trying to get our attention to buy from their shops. We hurried on to the bus.
John’s burial site was next; we saw signs of the early Christians. There were ixthus (Jesus fish) etched on to the columns, showing this was a Christian place, although it wasn’t allowed to be spoken outright. We didn’t spend very long exploring these ruins. Across the street, there were a couple tourist shops where our guide told us we could shop. I purchased a silk scarf for 30 Lira (about 15 CAD) that I had bartered down from 65 USD. I sort of doubt the scarf is real silk, but it is beautiful all the same; I have worn it often since.
Next the bus took us to lunch at a tourist outlet mall. Films played on the walls of the buffet style restaurant, showing life in ancient Ephesus. The buffet had the most wonderful varieties of Turkish food. It was hearty and an excellent new experience. The food definitely had the usual Mediterranean flare, just as Greece had. For dessert, we sampled Turkish delight, cream puffs, and baklava. The baklava was scrumptious and my absolute favourite dish of the day. After eating and chatting with other Canadians that ended up sitting with us at our table, we headed out into the mall to check out the Turkish shopping.
There were intricate Turkish hand-painted ceramics: pots, plates, dishes, bowls, cups, and figurines. A wide display of tapestries, bags, and children’s toys all made of sheep’s wool showed off cute felt designs. 100% pure white cotton clothes were available in the Middle Eastern style of dress. Turkish costumes and slippers, Mediterranean bath products, and jewelry with Turkish stones could also be found.
It was all very beautiful and well-made, truly encompassing this country that is so steeped in tradition. These malls in particular were not as cheap as Turkey was described to be, so beware. It is truly worth what you are paying for though, and they know this, so don’t expect too much of a deal.
We found that they love the American dollar, and but they also accept Canadian and Euro’s, really any “good” currency might work. Bartering was still accepted, even though it was a fancier place. Turkey Part III will be posted next Tuesday!