April 20, 2005 - May 04, 2005

Day 12 May 1,  2005 Selcuk, Ephesus Turkey
The text and the picture is submitted by .Elaine Squeri

An early morning ride over the mountains: field patterns, Meandres valley, many wildflowers (rock roses, Scotch broom, yellow mimosa, flowering fennel and lavender). One of these two days was the poppy field day.

Mary’s House (Meryemana) on the wooded slope of Mt. Coressos (Bulbul Dagi), the handsome stone building represents the last home of Mary where she lived from AD37-45. In spite of controversy, it has been a long-standing tradition that Jesus on the Cross had asked St. John to care for his mother which he did and toward the end of her life she accompanied John when he came to Ephesus. Continuous practices include daily Mass said in many languages depending on the congregants; the “holy water” which believers bottle and bring home with them, even as gifts; an Intention board on which people leave a swatch of fabric as memento of an intention for which they pray or a wish they offer re: e.g. a recovery from illness, loss of a loved one, good marriage, etc. The Franciscan Capuchin Order manages the site as it does holy sites in Jerusalem; and, working with them, we saw the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate (SMMI), a new religious order founded in Rome in 1985. ( a site with visitor comments that includes Isa Bey Cami and Ephesus).

Ephesus Museum – home objects from Ephesians, samples of statuary from Cyclops remnant to delicate Eros head; the god Priapos whose distinguished anatomy is as prominent as his “responsibility” of fertility (gardens, vineyards) and protection (beekeepers, fishermen, and against the evil eye).

The star of the museum was the statue of Ephesian Artemis, a 2nd century AD Roman version. Diverse religious groups of that era varied too much; gradually a composite of the mother goddesses formed:
Astarte or Istar, Isis, Rhea, Cybelle, etc. with their various symbols:

crescent moon – Astarte (stars or moon same to people of Mesopotamia);
hands outstretched – Isis – protective posture;
deities carved in her bosom Apollo, Aphrodite, etc. – Rhea, Zeus’ mother
lions for power and wisdom – Cybelle or Kubaba (like Athena has ram)
zodiac necklace and wheat garland - fertility
testacles covering her chest – fertility, prosperity (blood of the bull)

Isa Bey Camii stands at the foot of Ayasuluk hill, an unusual mosque built in 1375 by the Emir whose black bust is prominently displayed amidst the surrounding stands and shops. The theme of layers: the Roman column, Greek Corinthian capital + Seljuk design elements; behind it rose mosque minaret. In the courtyard, building remnants, grave stones, some with turbans marked by a rose. Inside is striking: the Seljuk style - window decoration; gigantic capitals, one was from the temple of Artemis; mihrab design with some tile; arresting design in black on the stone wall above the mihrab; wooden minbar with bright green curtain; and wooden ceiling structure. The floor was marble at the entry and then what most of us expected to see in a Mosque: a multitude of individual prayer carpets. The dismaying news was that the mosque was due to be locked up, closed, as of the next day, reportedly due to structure instability. A poignant touch were 2 sets of shoes left on the edge of the carpet: a father’s and a 3-year old girl’s pink pair; while the father prayed, the child played, stopping now and then to imitate her Dad.

Misc. Sites In Selçuk, 13th c. baths or hamam present interesting ruins due to their 3 beehive-like domes with apertures that in the past had been covered with a type of glass jar.

In another field is the lone standing column of the 127 columns of the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the World. This temple in honor of Artemis/Cybele was larger than the Parthenon and Ephesus profited greatly from the sums paid by pilgrims doing homage to the goddess. It was located here between Ephesus and Selçuk.

Two bonus items to the column:
on top of the column, a stork nest with the storks in graceful flight. We had hoped to see flying lessons for the young in which the parents fly under the fledgelings as “back up”

in front of it, on the street, the reproduction of the street lights of Ephesus: ie, a short stylized column with the head of a lion and paws at the base, the round light globe on top

Lunch Uzun family-owned Selcuk Koftecisi : homemade grilled bread, Yogurt, beef meatball dish, and pudding. Saw truck filled with country family and a goat.

Background: matriarchy – economic base was agriculture, self sustaining and self sufficient; spirituality was perhaps organized religion or perhaps individual. Their values were imposed on a goddess, e.g., Cybelle, represented by rocks or orchards. The Amazons – matriarchal phenomenon, South America and Black Sea. Also the Meteor – “Reflection from Heaven” Acts. 19 - cultural subconscious. Rich culture allowed trade of the extra produce, both in Anatolya and in the Tigris Euphratis Valley. In 1200 BC a dynamic change: great trade, based on availability of sea vessels and good roads. The exchange of goods could lead to better life: obtain what was needed or wanted: i.e. gold, iron, copper
or … oil today. But tanother way to get it war.
Ephesus was built by Greeks 1000 BC between two hills; current city is the 5th city and dates back to 4th centruy BC, established at Alexander’s command (after clever negotiation by town council with Alex.) by his general and successor Lysimachus who paid for it by levying heavy taxes on town! Flourished under Romans to a population of 200,000. Silting, not only of the Aegean but also of the Kestra River, upper and lower, closed down this port city. The city was buried until 1876 when Mr. Wood of British Rail found part of Artemis’s Temple; he changed career to archaeology. Only 12% of the city is currently excavated.

1.The terraced homes with frescoes, mosaics, amazing size under the impressive shelter
2. Temple of Hadrian – huge structure incomplete at his assassination AD 123 and rebuilt in 5th century.
3. Curetes Street: upper or political area, lined by statues of civic noteables, covered colonnaded street; lower or commercial area starts once through two storey Gate of Hercules and continues on down to Lirary and then Agora
4. Gate of Augustus leads into the Agora and starts the Sacred Way at the Library of Celsus, the Roman governor of Asia Minor in the 2nd Century AD. His son erected this library in his father’s honour. Celsus was buried under the western side of the library. There were 12,000 scrolls in niches around its walls with a 1 m gap between the inner and outer walls to protect them from moisture.
5. Great Theatre at one end of Harbor Street could hold 25,000 people. Excellent acoustics. Stilll in use.