Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 155 - Ancient Ruins of Ephesus and the Village of Sirince

I set off early in the morning to get to Kusadasi in time to visit the classical city of Ephesus, where ruins lay that are over 2,000 years old. I set off my dolmus from Manisa to Izmir, and then took a larger bus from Izmir to Kusadasi. I contacted a couchsurfer in the city to see if he had a place available, but he was in the process of unpacking into a new apartment and told me his friends would be willing to host me. It's incredible how people can go out of their way to help someone they don't even know...

Upon arrival, I met up with Cagla, Elif, and Fatma, three university students who offered to host me for the night! They were a fun and energetic bunch of girls who were enthusiastic to host me and offered to be my tour guide for the day. I would be their first couchsurfing experience, and I hope I was a good surfer.

We met up with their friend Ahmet, who had a car and offered to drive us from the seaside town of Kusadasi to Ephesus. At Ephesus, we took a horse carriage ride around the sights in the area. Our first stop was the Cemetery of the Seven Sleepers, which was a graveyard area near Ephesus that was built inside a natural cave. The name comes from an ancient legend where six religious people and one dog hid inside the cave to shelter themselves from the pressure of Paganism and slept there for 200 years.

Afterwards, we headed to the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, which was once a Roman city that was populated by 250,000 people – the second largest city in the Roman Empire (after Rome) and also the second largest city in the world at the time. The city underwent numerous restoration periods due to earthquakes, wars, and time. It was also home to one of the seven ancient wonder of the world – the Temple of Artemis. Check the pictures below for further descriptions.

The last stop of the day was to the small village of Sirince, first inhabited by Greeks before the population exchange in 1922. It is known for its wine production and minor tourist draw. We had a wonderful lunch/dinner atop one of the hills, overlooking some of the houses scattered throughout the other hills and mountains. I also purchased a cherry/strawberry red wine for us to enjoy in the evening.

Later on at night, we walked around the city of Kusadasi with some of the girls' other friends, enjoying the cool weather after the long and hot day in the sun. They were all students at the nearby university and all were studying tourism, hoping to one day travel both around Turkey and internationally. I showed them some of my photos from my travels, and they especially liked the ones in Bagan, Myanmar, and the ladyboy caberet pictures from Bangkok.

Ephesus - Celcus Library (built 115-117 CE)


Kusadasi Street Vendor

The Cemetery of Seven Sleepers 

Ephesus - Small Theatre

Ephesus - Memmius Monument

Ephesus - Kuretler Main Street

Ephesus - Hadrianus Temple

Ephesus - Celcus Library

Ephesus - Great Theatre


The waiter wanted to feed me some dried red chillis since I was curious about them. He ended up forcing me to eat two whole ones, and afterwards, I needed a cup of Ayran (yogurt drink) to help neutralize the heat.

Wine Tasting with Elif

Kusadasi at Night

The Ladyboys were a Big Hit at Home

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