Sunday, August 25, 2013


One of the benefits of doing a blog is the process of trying to figure out the story to go with the photos.  So I go online and look at travel sites and Wikipedia.  The result is that I have learned as much about Ephesus since coming home as I did the day we did the tour.

This is the Bath of Varius... one of three or more public bath houses in Ephesus.  It was built using cut marble and had three sections... fridgidarium (cold water), tepidarium (tepid water), and caladarium (hot water.)

There is lots of evidence of a pretty sophisticated water system in Ephesus... likely the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world... with four aqueducts of various sizes to supply different areas of the city.  One stream supplied a variety of water mills, one of which has been identified as a sawmill for marble.

Public toilets were adjacent to the bath house.  They may have been the very first "pay toilets."  These were the first flush toilets... with running water constantly flowing thru to carry the waste away... likely to the harbour.  This was long before there was any Environmental Protection Agency!

We are told that this Odeon Theatre was used more for a courthouse and a place to discuss politics and current issues... not as much as a theatre.

It is much smaller than the Great Amihitheater... which you will see near the end of this blog.

But the Odeon is still a very nice building and is in great condition.

The main street we walked down, along which most of these photos were taken, is called Curetes Street.

Curetes Street leads downhill to the Library of Celsus. (tallest building in the centre top)  Between the library and the distant hills there used to be a large bay with a harbour.  Over the last 2000 years sediment deposits from the river filled in the harbour until today the sea is several miles from where it used to be.

Lots of people wanted to have their friends take their picture standing in Heracles Gate. There was no way to get a picture of the gate without people standing in it.

This may not look like much of a fountain today. But this is Trajan's Fountain... and the sketch makes it look quite impressive.

This is an artists reconstruction drawing of what he believed the original fountain looked like.  The fountain was surrounded by three walls over 30 feet high. There used to be a statute of Trajan standing in front of the fountain on the central pedestal with a ball at his feet...

I got a close-up of the ball... but the statute has not survived.

This is the Terrace Houses.  Unfortunately to enter here requires an upgrade fee... not included in our general admission with our tour.  See the new siding top right?  Behind is some amazing artifacts and architecture.  Trip Advisor members rate the Terrace Houses the number one attraction in Ephesus.

This short video will give you a good idea of what these Terrace Houses were like.  Very modern with hot and cold water... even climate control system. Check it out and see why the people visiting Ephesus gave this top billing.  I would not miss this if I ever get another chance to visit this site.

This mosaic floor is used in some of the Terrace Houses and a long hall beside Curetes Street.  This is some beautiful work that has survived many centuries.

Across the street from the Terrace Houses is Hadrian's Temple... built and dedicated to Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD).

During the glory days between 100-200 AD they estimate up to 500,000 people lived in Ephesus.  It was the largest city in the Mediterranean world at that time... with a busy shipping port.

Inside the door of Hadrian's Temple a human figure, probably Medusa, stands with ornaments of acanthus leaves. It is amazing how well some of these artifacts have survived.

I snapped photos from the plaques beside each of the major sites along the street, and often they had artists sketches showing how these buildings may have looked when first constructed.

Shirley and Terri Lang pause for me to snap a shot of them on Celsus Street.

Columns around the octagon.

Sign plaques help to fill in some of the details.

Another artists rendition... the Octagon with it's steep pitched roof.

The Octagon was built to contain a burial chamber in which a young woman was buried in a marble sarcophagus.  The grave was probably Arsinoe IV, youngest sister of Cleopatra, who was murdered in Ephesus.  Architectural decoration dates the building to the time of Emperor Augustus (27 BC to AD 14).

There were a number of marble sarcophagus'... some had names on them... some not.  This young girl was looking more for some shade and rest...  likely getting a little bored with the tour of ruins.

Hadrian's Gate marks the junction of the Processional Way in the direction of Ortygia. Herb Kennedy told us that he learned the Romans used silk ropes to wear in the perfectly formed flutes (grooves) on these types of columns.  Silk ropes!  Apparently silk is very strong and these craftsman obviously had a good system of grinding in those grooves perfectly smooth.

This three story gateway was reminiscent of Hadrain's Gate in Athens. 

Everyone who comes to Ephesus marvels at the facade of the impressive Celsus Library... construction began in 110 AD by Julius Aquila as a memorial for his father Celsus.  It is one of the finest buildings of old Ephesus.

After the archaeological excavation this front facade was re-assembled using the original columns and parts.  They did a great job!

There are four statutes in the front which symbolize the four virtues.  Starting from the left you can see a lady taking a picture of Areti, symbol of virtue. 
Second from the left is Sophia, symbol of wisdom... you can only see part of her.
Third from the left is Episteme, symbol of knowledge.
Last is Ennoia, symbol of faith... extreme right side.

This library was a multi-function building... it was not only built to keep some 12,000 scrolls...

But it doubles as a tomb for Celsus, who was buried just behind here under the floor.  Pretty nice tomb stone, eh?

Columns along Marble Road, which leads to the Grand Amphitheatre.

There are a lot of marble columns along this road.

To see this new fork lift crane machine parked beside Marble Road told me that todays restoration works were not using the ancient methods for moving and handling the heavy marble columns and other parts.

Restoration work under way at one of the entrances to the Grand Amphitheatre. In spite of all the ruins we have seen here in Ephesus, apparently only about 15 percent of the old city has been excavated.

As we got closer to the Grand Amphitheatre we saw some chain link fencing that prevented access into the seating areas.  They said it wasn't safe... but we saw some folks in there who didn't see the signs.

They say the seating capacity here is around 24,000.  From AD 52-54, the apostle Paul lived in Ephesus. His letter to the Corinthians was written between 53-57 AD.  They say Paul preached here, but likely in an earlier version of the theatre.

Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here.  It is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.

Harbour Street runs from the amphitheatre to the to sea.

At the end of our tour we were entertained by a cast of players who rein-acted life here in ancient times.

We watched these two fight to the death.  But they will both be back to do it again tomorrow!

The glory days never last forever. The city was destroyed  by the Goths in 263 AD. This marked the decline of  the city's splendour.

I found this map helpful to find the key places in the ancient city of Ephesus. One day this may become another UNESCO Heritage site.... but they will have to jump thru some political hoops first.

If you haven't seen Shirley's blog on Ephesus check it out. It is totally different... plus she did an earlier post on the Nike symbol which was supposedly inspired by a cool sculpture she saw in Ephesus. I totally missed it.


  1. Yeah, if you had gone into the terrace house exhibit that might have been a whole post by itself.

    re: the Hercules Gate.. if you take me back with you next time I bet I can figure out *some* way for you to take a picture with no-one around. Heh heh..

  2. I wonder what ideas you have to take a picture with no one else around? I'm sure it would be very "interesting."

  3. I have always wanted to do a Paul's life kind of tour. Ephesus would definitely be on the list!

  4. We didn't have enough time to see as much as we wanted to. It is on the list to go back sometime.