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Western Turkey 101
Tour Group Journal

Day 12 Sunday October 5, 2008 Kusadasi Submitted by Lisa Goldsmith"  lisalgoldsmith@msn.com
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  • 9 am depart Charisma Hotel

    Passed remains of Temple of Artemis, once one of the 7 Wonders of the World. In Selchuck passed Turkish Bath built in 1372 excavated out of the silt. Our visit to Ephesus was a magical trip back nearly 6000 years narrated with tales and details by Meli. Meli’s magical stories unfold in one of the most fascinating ruins we have seen. her tales weave and re-weave the stories she has shared since Istanbul. The plot develops as we learn the mother goddesses that we saw in Ankara. The Amazon women dating back to the origins of this great city. We learn of the legend of the Oracle of Delphi who told Androcles how to find Ephesus – where he found fish and boar. =o:p> Ephesus was a port city, on the road from Sumaria to Assyria, at the foot of the Meander River valley the land was very fertile and had access to the sea. The location was perfect to build a prosperous city. The city became so rich it attracted others and differences developed that divided the people. The leaders announced a solution to build one big temple; the Temple of Artemis. Again the mother goddess was venerated as a protector of the people, Isis, Cybele, Kubaba.

    The people gave their valuables every year in spring and earned interest and recognition. This became the first known bank in history. Again the success attracted people to migrate and grow this great city. Ephesus became politically stable and powerful. The leaders of Ephesus wanted to conquer neighboring city states. They sent to the other 11 Ionic cities, Miletus, Pirene, Didyma, etc., many cities that we had visited or seen in our travels. This was the beginning of democracy, each would have equal shares in the Pan-Ionic confederation. A philosopher named Thales of Miletus recognized the threat of the Persians to the stability and the bank. A tax was negotiated, but eventually war broke out and the federation weakened. Small, weak Ephesus shrunk but survived. However the river silt blocked the harbor and trade. Worse yet the Temple of Artemis burnt to a pile of sandstone and ruined the banking business. (How appropriate as the world financial crisis was happening while we traveled and escaped our real worlds.) And then Alexander the Great comes into the story. He learns of the burned temple and wants to finance a rebuild. However, the leaders won’t have that control. They tell him they can’t have a God build a house for another God. This appealed to Alexander’s ego and he financed building of not just the temple, but the entire city.

    Visitors such as St Paul, St John, the Virgin Mary, Luke, Mark, Domitian were hosted by the Emperors of Ephesus. The population was 250 thousand at one time. In 432 AD the Ecumenical Council was held in Ephesus where it was determined that Mary was the mother of God.

    5th Century when the Aya Sofia was being built. The Meander River silt was filling the harbor. = mosquitoes and malaria hit the area. The people didn’t understand the =ever. The city was evacuated leaving everything, wine in cups, food in =ots.

    St John met God – Alpha and Omega – Settled in the Church of Ephesus – one of seven churches of Revelation. The Basilica of St John was built when Justinian sent his architect Isidore =o build a church on the site of John’s tomb.

    Ephesus has the look and feel of a complex metropolis well worn by it’s 250 thousand inhabitants and 2000 years of time. There are remains of plumbing and cisterns and latrines. The evidence of marketplaces and hospitals and temples. Town Hall with pillars, Temples of Vestal Virgins, Altars, torch-lit streets, roads that Jesus’ Disciple Paul walked.

    We walked these streets and reflected on Meli’s continuing tales of medical practices of the time that were simply mind =ver matter, power of suggestion, bathing in sacred waters as physiotherapy, psychodrama spas where cautious doctors only allowed well people to enter.

    Looking down into the residential area you can imagine the blue Mediterranean Sea and the sky reflecting on the white marble. =ou can feel the roman crowds in the colonnaded sidewalks and shops. You can see the people relaxing on the mosaic patios sipping wine and watching the crowds. You can imagine the public latrines with neighbors sharing =heir daily ritual and the music playing in the courtyard. The ultimate =n aesthetic appreciation, latrines with frescoes on the walls, mosaic floors and fountains in the center and running water to add to the ambience. =o:p>

    And around the corner is the “Marble Street” leading to the monument to Celsus – the library with double walled construction to house the parchments of Pergamun and the Egyptians papyrus and the pre-Socratic Ionian records. The virtue statues are still evident – knowledge, friendship, understanding, and wisdom. After the Library is the commercial agora that housed 250 shops. There is a full size construction crane and active excavation rebuilding this area. =o:p>

    The finale of our walk in Ephesus is the Great theatre, built 2300 years ago, having the capacity to seat 24,000 people, the largest of its kind. Paul attempted to speak to the Ephesians here, but was stopped by Demetrius convincing the crowd that it would be bad for business. Apparently Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians from a fortress where he was sent for his own protection. From the theatre we could see down =he harbor street to a column still standing that would have been the water mark. On our way out we saw the remains of a Roman bath that has rarely survived earthquake after earthquake.

    This day was as full and intense as any in our trip. After a morning full of history and experience we went to Meli’s =arm for lunch. Meli and Asli together with Huseyin and Birsen prepared lunch in Meli’s terrace. What a beautiful compound Melis is building. And we met her darling donkey.

    We spent the afternoon at the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk. After losing much of the relics and ancient artifacts to The British Museum, the Turkish Republic forbade taking antiquities out of the Country and founded this museum. On display are every day artifacts and monumental artifacts from Artemis to Domitian to Hadrian and of course Included Mother Goddess statues.

    We ended the day by visiting the Virgin Mary’s House. There are different stories of how and where Mary died Throughout the world, but the best one is that she died in Turkey as told by Meli. The story follows the bible and is supported by the Ecumenical Council. And we saw the home which is now a chapel for many and varied pilgrims who come to celebrate the assumption every year on August ,5th.

    What an amazing day to end an amazing trip with an amazing guide in an amazing country