Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kusadasi, Turkey (Ephesus) Part 1

 Kusadasi, Turkey
Tourist gateway to Ephesus
July 2012 
 Our last port, Santorini, was in the Sea of Crete. Now we were sailing in the Aegean Sea and about to dock at Kusadasi, Turkey. Right off the coast was Pigeon Island where a small fort is restored as a restaurant. A paved jetty (extreme left) links it to the mainland. The fort (Pirate Castle) was used against pirates.
 Kusadasi has grown from a tiny fishing village to a sprawling resort center attracting a large number of tourists. Along side the dock, Turkey rolls out its welcome mat to cruise ships.
 Still along the dock, this structure is called a Caravanserai. In the older days, caravanserais served as inns for traders. The doors were large enough to allow camels and other beasts of burden into the interior. Traders could feed their animals and obtain lodgings while at the city.
 The now sprawling city.
High upon a hill is the prominent statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey and his surname, Ataturk (meaning "Father of the Turks") was granted to him by the Turkish parliament; the name is forbidden to any other person.  
Finally it was time for our tour of Ephesus. Note the tree lined entrance to the ruins. This is mentioned as it is the last shade available until the end of the tour.
There is so much to say about Ephesus that it would take up too much space to adequately portray the reconstructed city.
Ephesus is one of the best preserved classical cities of the Eastern Mediterranean, and is considered one of the gread outdoor museums of Turkey. One will understand this statement shortly.
Ephesus was once a seaport but is now 6 miles away from the sea due to silt build-up and other factors. In the Roman period, Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation. It is thought that the Gospel of John may have been written here. What is known is that from AD 52-54, St. Paul lived in Ephesus working with the congregation. One of Christine's greatest thrills was to know that she was walking where St. Paul once walked.  
While we tourists marvel at the remains of the Temple of Artemis, Paul became embroiled in a dispute with artisans, whose livelihood depended upon selling the statuettes of Artemis.   

Vendors still abound outside of Ephesus, however, I will give them high credit for truth in advertisement--Genuine Fake Watches!! While the guide procured our tickets, we had 10 minutes to visit the vendors or use the bathrooms one more time. Needless to say, this was as close to the vendors as I got, so I can't report on the quality of the fake watches.
Immediately upon entering the city, the vistas began. On the right are the Varius Baths, and on the left is the State Agora and the Odeum. 
The Varius Baths
This large stucture was built of cut blocks of marble. Its north and east walls are carved from natural outcroppings of rock in the 2nd Century A.D. Although Ephesus had several bath houses, this structure is thought to be a gymnasium.
The State Agora (foreground).
An agora in ancient Greece was a public square or marketplace of a city.
  In early Greek history the agora was primarily used as a place for public assembly; later it functioned mainly as a center of commerce. Usually in a readily accessible part of the city, it was often surrounded by public buildings, in this case, the Odium. A favorite architectural device was the colonnade surrounding the agora. Note the numerous colonades.
The Odeum
This building in the form of a small theater was built in the 2nd century at around the same time and by the same people, namely Varius Antonius and his wife Flavia Papiona, as the baths beside it.
Built into the slope of the hill, it could seat 2,200 people. The upper closed part of the building was entered by two side doors.
The Odeum was used for poetry-readings, small concerts, plays, and prize-giving ceremonies. It could also be used for meetings of the municipal council.
A Prytaneion was the seat of the Prytaneis (executive), and so the seat of government. The Prytaneion normally stood in the center of the city, hence near the agora we visited earlier.  
 The Prytaneion was constructed in the 3rd century B.C. and attained its final shape during the reign of Emperor Augustus. After it was destroyed for various reasons, its columns and some of its other architectural elements were used in the construction of the Scholatika Baths.
In the course of excavations they were brought back to the Prytaneion.
The function of the seat of government is comparable to that of our town hall. In addition to public functions, it housed important events, receptions, and banquets.
  In the immediate vicinity of the Prytaneion is the triangular-shaped architectural element coming from the Door of Heracles which rises at the start of Curetes Street (we will get there in a moment). The sculptural figure represents Winged Nike, the Goddess of Victory, while she holds a plaited crown in her left hand.
 Temples Dea Roma
Temples of the Goddess Rome and of Divine Caesar
(take your pick of titles)
In this temple a devotee could celebrate the Goddess Rome together with Julius Caesar. It was erected by Octavius (Augustus) during a visit in 29 B.C.
Building the temple in the vicinity of the Prytaneion verified the important role played by Ephesus within the political and administrative organization of this important part of the Roman Empire.
 Pollio Fountain
The Pollio Fountain is located to the east of Domitian Square (we will visit the Temple of Domitian also), next to the western side of the Agora. The wide and high arch supports the triangular pediment and its small pool. Water fell into the pool through the semi-circular apsidal wall (remember apsidal buildings from Olympia?).

The fountain was built by C.S. Pollio in 97 A.D. and provided the water distribution for the city.
 These statutes are often associated with the Pollio Fountain. The top of the Celsus Library can be seen in the background.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Roy,
    I enjoyed reading your post on Ephesus and Kusadasi. I love cruising and cycling and have just written a post about my ongoing love affair with Turkey.
    Please have a read and feel free to make any comments.
    Kind regards,