Ephesus – the 3000-year old city

Ephesus was built in the 10th century BC by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. It was a city that flourished quickly, making it the third largest of Roman Asia Minor, famous for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. Ephesus was abandoned in the 15th century AD, has been excavated in the second half of the 18th century (only 15% of it!) and has  been a frequented museum ever since, being the largest collection of Roman ruins in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The day was hot and a little bit special because the day we visited Ephesus was exactly on my 23rd Birthday. Although at first I felt a little sad that I was away from all my loved ones, among strangers I’ve only known for a couple of days, I’ve gotta admit that the place made me forget all about everything else. Walking among the ruins you can’t help but think back to the past, to what was once here, a city full of life, and what has come of it – a ghost town, practically.

Having studied architecture in college, and being a big fan of it, I couldn’t help but shoot tens and tens of shots of different details of the building’s remains and the ruins lying all over the place. The artwork here just fascinated me, and to think that this is only a mere 1/6th of what Ephesus has once been, I can’t even imagine how beautiful it must’ve been in it’s glory days.

There are two arena-like buildings, a smaller one – which probably hosted theater-shows and readings were held, and a larger one which could host approx 10000 people, showing entertainment at a larger scale. Both arenas proved to be very appealing photo-shooting spots as you can see below:

As you slip among the three thousand year-old stones, and try to absorbs as much as possible, you almost fail to see where you’re heading (as you’re looking sideways, trying to keep up and listen to the tour guide and take photos at the same time). But once the alley of Ionian art ends, a truly magnificent piece of artwork stands in front of you as you hold your breath for a few seconds – the Library of Celsius. The facade has been carefully reconstructed into its supposedly original self, and I read that it hosted an impressive number of 12000 scrolls.

I forgot to mention that the ancient historical site of Ephesus was hosting a wedding the day we were there  (yep, you read that right, a WEDDING), so that explains the white chairs and tables on my photos (oh, not to mention the elegant and shabby locals in formal wear).

Another popular site was the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World which was destroyed by a flood (the first building), then rebuilt three times before it’s final downfall in 401. Here’s how it looks today:

All in all, Ephesus was an amazing experience (and what a birthday present!) – to walk among these stones and ruins is quite a journey! I wish I had a little more time on my hands though (it was an organized tour and as all organized tours you tend to miss out on some things by trying to keep up with your group), so to read some of the info signs that were hung amongst the different buildings, which all had their own key role so that their little community could survive and thrive through history.

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