Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kousadasi and Ephesus Turkey

Sailed overnight from Patmos to Asia Minor, arriving in Kusadasi Turkey for breakfast.  A secular, tolerant country, Turkey’s economy is growing at a rate sufficient to make it the 4th fastest in the world. 

We boarded a bus at 8AM for the 20 minute ride to fabled Ephesus.  Inhabited for thousands of years, the city proper was founded by Greeks in 1045 BC on the estuary of a river that gave it a natural harbour.  Eventually conquered by the Romans,  the city became the second largest in their empire.  The port silted up about 600 AD and the city declined.  In its heyday, it was visited by such luminaries as Cleopatra and Marc Antony, the gospel writer St. John wrote his opus and died here,  even Mary and Joseph are known to have stayed for a while.

Ephesus today is hot, dusty and arid.  It is about 25% excavated (since work began in 1845) and truly spectacular.  Nearby is the church of John the Apostle who wrote and died here at the age of 100.  He was the only Apostle to die of natural causes and his tomb is in the ruins of the church.

On the way back to the ship we stopped at a government-run school where young girls are taught the vanishing art of weaving Turkish carpets.  Double-knotted, the carpets are available in wool on wool, wool on cotton, and finest of all; silk on silk with 250 hand-tied, double knots per centimetre.  It literally takes years to weave the finest carpets.  We treated ourselves to a small souvenir wool-on-wool carpet which only took two months to make.  They are reputed to last hundreds of years.

Back in the port of Kusadasi a city of 65,000, we wandered through the bazaar, lunched on Kebabs, visited the Duty Free zone and re-boarded in time for the afternoon ice-cream social in the lounge.

Greek Night tonight!  Opa!

The Agora in Ephesus

Main street of Ephesus

Library detail

Library facade and gateway to Agora

24,000 seat theater

Marble street

Our Turkish carpet

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