Turkey, Efes – Gem of Antiquity
Efes is the most preserved antique city in Turkey and it is rightfully one of the most popular spots. This place was known already in the 2nd century BCE. More than 250 thousand people lived there during its greatest time. In the present, thousands of tourists come here to admire what is left of fascinating buildings. Today, you walk with us on its marble pavement.
You can arrive by car, bus (about 380 kms from Istanbul) or aboard of some boat cruise. Before entering the compound, prepare to be slowed down by “vendors”. They try to sell you all things possible and also hats, a thing you might find useful as there are not that many shades. For entrance you pay about 20 Turkish liras.
Also, “aboriginals” is a thing you would note right at the entrance – by them we mean cats that have not much to eat or drink but sometimes tourists throw something in their way. They say that the Efesians returned in the form of cats and they refuse to leave their city. Well, who knows…
Majority of visitors walk along the main boulevard towards the famous Celsus Library that was dug out in the 19th century as the first landmark in Efes. Originally, this edifice was a tomb, however, it was a library at the same time. It held about 12 thousand scriptures. Austrians renovated the library and rebuilt it in its former glory. There are even many stone blocks with inscriptions in German. And also glass tables where details on renovation are carved in (also in German). Today, one can consider it bit rude but then it was normal, probably.
The Temple of Hadrian is another interesting landmark. It was built in the years 117-118 B.C.E. When discovered in the mid-20th century, the temple was renovated upon what was left. The rest was the matter of complex renovation. Czechs also took part in it. This edifice is precisely remade, one would say it doesn’t even fit in here.
Terraced houses are also very popular. They hold beautiful frescoes and mosaics which were the sign of luxury in the city. These are covered with a massive construction To see them you need to pay about 15 TL first. Also, you can visit the spa with possibly the first roofed toilets and also canalization. The spa are made of marble. The statue of Scholastics guards them. As other statues in Efes, even this one is headless. They had precious gems instead of eyes and some thieves stole them eventually.
While going to the Grand Theater note a foot print, once it was a mark of a brothel. The amphitheater is in great shape with room for 25 thousand people. In case you are lucky, you can hear a talented singer. Then you will enjoy the theater completely. Once you leave the theater through narrow you will note places where gladiators and other performers used.
You go on the other side of the compound if you go towards the exit. As the sea surface went lower, the trade was less and many left the city.
We wouldn’t conclude our trip without adding icing on the cake. Near the compound (towards the town of Selçuk) there is the Temple of Artemis (well, what is left of it) – once one of the seven wonders of the world. In 356 B.C.E., Herostratus (a young man that wanted to make history) started the fire which burned down the temple. On its place, a new temple was built, however, once Christianity came it lost its importance. They say, the temple was about 115 long and 55 wide. Originally, more than 120 18-meter Ionic columns were there. Only one has been preserved until the present. Inside, the 15-meter Artemis statue stood.
You will like Efes, that’s for sure. I recommend you to travel there off season for the temperature rises above 40 degrees in summer, not ideal if you want to visit the landmarks.
GPS: 37°56'27.6"N 27°20'27.1"E
Text and photo: Lenka Bauerová
The cars on highway from Sabiha Airport, distant from Istanbul city a couple of kilometres, move slowly ahead. So, it is time enough for the first quick acquaintance with the biggest Turkish town and way of life there.
As we mentioned in the previous, opening article, the most visitors are far from attracting its historic center to Istanbul. Whether it is the Hagia Sophia mosque, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Topkapi Palace, or just its unforgettable atmosphere in narrow, hilly streets with countless shops. Let's get rid of our article and video.
Many visitors to Istanbul make the mistake of staying in the "European" part of the city. However, just cruising across the Bosporus is one of the unforgettable experiences, on the other side there are plenty of interesting places to see. One of them is the cosmopolitan district of Kadiköy, where tradition blends with the modern way of life.
When visiting Istanbul, you should definitely not miss one of the most interesting sights. Originally a cathedral, then a mosque and today the Hagia Sophia Museum, whose history dates back more than 1500 years. And perhaps much further. Hardly anywhere else in the world would you find a building with such history and atmosphere.
I knew that Turkey's largest city offers a many things to do and to see. But it totally surprised me. One week there was like nothing. I can imagine that I would discover even more of local streets, monuments, gastronomy and modern parts much longer. Let's visit Istanbul through video and photos together.
The enchanting port city of Side with monuments of ancient civilizations is part of the Turkish Riviera. In addition to swimming in the sea you can also visit the treasures of ancient history. So I set out to explore the beauty of this place. Are you coming with me?
Right now I pass a shop with ice-cream made in Bodrum. I cant miss this place. I take sour cherry, watermelon, and tangerine called dondrumu in Turkish. I continue slightly uphill to less glamorous neighborhood in Bodrum. I go up until a low white wall that surrounds famous Mausoleum in Halikarnassos.
Pergamon King Attalos II gave the city its name after wife of Mysius Telephus, the founder of Pergamon Empire, Hieara. The city has thermal springs, the oldest is named Apollonis, in tribute to mother of a king of Pergamon.
Today I arrive from the historical town of Afrodisias to the small village of Pamukkale often visited by holidaymakers.
Right now I have been sitting on a bench on a railroad station. I am waiting impatiently for our bus to get started on a direction to Istanbul. I will see it with my naked eye, finally! This magnificent city attracts every traveler looking forward to fabulous adventure!
We are at the horse market. If you have imagination, you can still hear horses. It is here where the Hippodrome used to stand, it was a racing circuit for chariots of four horses. The race took place every year and the Caesar attended it every time. The audience divided into two groups, greens – regular citizens; and blues – nobility.
With so many memories from yesterday we slept so well. Now we are about to have delicious Turkish breakfast, i.e. white cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, bread… And black tea with much sugar. And we are ready to go. It is like we are invited to see the sultan personally in his Topkapi Palace.
Now we go downhill to the harbor. We embark a ferry and choose a bench on the upper deck. Soon the ship set sail. The name Bosporus means Cow ford. According the legend, there live beautiful princess Io in ancient Greece.
We cruise around the Ortakoy Mosque built by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1853. The construction was done by his architect Nokogos Balayn. It is in the baroque style and it is situated in the European part of the Bosporus. Now we flow under the Bosporus bridge built in 1973 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
I wanted to visit Cappadocia, a land of beautiful horses as the Hittites. I bought a ticket bus and rode from Bodrum to Antalya where I slept over. On the following day I rode across the town of Konya where I visited caravanserai (an oriental pub by main roads where members of caravans and their animals ate) and the museum of Mevlana.
We just enter the city of Konya, the capital of former Seljuk empire. I step off from a bus at a bus station. I pick up my map of the city and head to a tower that shows me the way to the museum of Mevlana. The city spreads on a plateau surrounded with mountains.
Many roads cross Central Anatolia. The most famous is the Silk Road. The Sejluks built there traveller’s inns or also called caravanserais to boost trade as it would protect travelling traders.
For many centuries, Anatolia was a center of Chrisianity, mostly thanks to Apostle Paul and his missionary expeditions. His activity took place mostly around the year 41 AD. Christianity spread due to fertile ground it found in Cappadocia.
My journey now goes across ticket barriers to the museum compound, and then to the St Barbora church, who became a Christian against the will of her father. Initially, he imprisoned her and then killed her. Legend has it that he was struck by lightning for this.
I had my balloon flight above Cappadocia at last. In my perspective, it is there where to do such thing is the best. We were at the place at 5.15 in the morning. There were more than 50 balloons being prepared for flights!
The ancient town of Afrodisias is one of Turkey’s most beautiful place, still not many tourists visit it. I decided I have to visit it...
We have just landed. I take a deep breath. Finally we are at the Bodrum Airport. We get into a bus and 40 minutes later ride downhill to Bodrum. The air has a salty smell of distant lends, colors have numerous shades, and azure horizon seamlessly changes to the sky.
At the theater once again I try to hitchhike a dolmush and continue to Gumbet, another bay beyond Bodrum. I go there to see the Myndos gate. From there a road to the city of Myndos ran. The gate was on a strategically significant location.
Once again I continue by dolmush to Turgutreis to a memorial to an admiral, and than I walk trough a green park to the port. Then I hitchhike another dolmush and go north to Gümüşlük where the flooded city of Myndos is located.
Have you ever heard of the Silk Road? Do you know how long it is or its route? We will join one caravan and will see… We won’t start in China where the Silk Road begins because it would take us 9000 kilometers to its end in Istanbul. Except for Marco Polo not many people walked it through whole. Majority of merchants used just were using a part of the Silk Road, from bazar to bazar where they bought and sold goods.
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