A Travellerspoint blog

Ephesus Museum

Ephesus and Selçuk


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At the north exit of Ephesus we savoured the air conditioning in the shop for a bit before leaving and taking a bus from the carpark back to Selçuk.

The first thing we did in Selçuk was head to Ephesus Museum, which was excellent. It not only holds treasures from Ephesus, but from the historic sites of Selçuk as well. Highlights included a bust of Socrates (4th cent. AD) and a magnificent statue of Artemis (2nd cent. AD)...

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...the gold and silver coins of the Ayasuluk Hoard (15th cent. AD)...

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...a bronze statue of Eros on the back of a dolphin (2nd cent. BC) and some Bronze Age swords and axe-heads...

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...bone spoons from the Hellenistic or Roman periods and some amber beads and pendants...

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...a curled-up bronze snake from the 1st century AD, an exquisite gold statuette of an un-named goddess (630 - 640 BC) and some gold-leaved diadems (1st-3rd cent. BC).

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Before we went out for dinner, at our hotel reception we arranged a trip for the next day. Ideally I would have loved to do this trip independently; to get a local bus to Pamukkale, spend the night there, look around the twin sites of Heiropolis & Pamukkale the next day and then get a bus back to Selçuk the following morning. But unfortunately we only had one day free, not three, and public transport looked very awkwardly placed for day trips. Oh well, at least we'd get lunch thrown in, and I was still incredibly excited to see the white calcite descending pools of Pamukkale and the historic site of Heiropolis, even if I knew we wouldn't get as much time there as I'd ideally like.

Like the evening before, we ate dinner at an outdoor table next to the aqueduct (at a different restaurant, though). The food was lovely and throughout the meal it was fun to watch the storks in their nests above. We also ended up cat-watching - lots of cats and kittens stalked around the tables and walls, hoping for scraps.

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Posted by 3Traveller 01:45 Archived in Turkey Tagged birds turkey museum dave ephesus storks selcuk roman_remains Comments (0)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Ephesus

Ephesus


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Edit from March 2019: The entrance price for the main site is 60 Turkish lira (£8/ $11/ 9.7 euros). One or two of the individual attractions have their own entrance fees, but no more than 30 lira each I believe.

After an absolutely fabulous day exploring the ancient city of Ephesus and looking round the excellent Ephesus Museum back in Selçuk, I have some tips for any future visitors who might read this.

Arrive at the south entrance and exit at the north, especially on a hot day like we experienced today. Ephesus goes downhill from south to north... we were glad we had heeded this advice when we saw people struggling up past us from the other direction.

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Buy your water from a supermarket in Selçuk first, not at the site itself. You can buy water at the north entrance, but needless to say it is more expensive than what you can get in Selçuk or another nearby town. You will need a lot! We stocked up on water and Diet Coke at a supermarket in Selçuk - between 6 and 8 litres in total - and by the time we left we had only one litre left.

Go independently if you can - unless you have very little time and need to just be zoomed around it by a tour guide, or unless you want a an individual or small group in-depth tour on a particular theme, in which case having an expert to guide you makes a lot of sense. If you've arrived in Selçuk by yourself, it's easy (and in my opinion better) to explore the site independently rather than with a tour group. Here's why;

- Ephesus is only about two km from Selçuk, so it's mega-easy to get a taxi there (or walk or cycle, if it takes your fancy).

- There are plenty of information signs dotted around the site.

- You get so much more time to wander around and see what you want, when you want. No regrets afterwards about things you didn't manage to see properly or at all.

- There are so many surprisingly quiet areas away from the main, crowded ones. Some only a few steps away, some down longer pathways. Dave and I loved this. Seeing as it was July, we expected the place to be jam-packed - we got there first thing, meaning that it wasn't that crowded at first, but later on it did become very busy.

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Sitting high above the Great Theatre, with the circle far below us and the beautiful scenery stretching in the distance beyond, was a highlight of mine.

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So were the Temple of Hadrian and the Temple of Domitian...

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...the Terrace Houses of Roman times...

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...the Library of Celsus...

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...plus just wandering around the peaceful, off-the-main-path parts of the site such as the Bouleuterion (a small auditorium used for musical performances and council meetings), the Water Palace, the Inscriptions Museum, the Church of Mary and more.

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I also loved the wonderful views.

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A couple of other pictures from the site. The first is of a detail from the Gate of Heracles, the second is of the avenue of trees by the north exit, the third is a general picture of the area just inside the south entrance, the fourth is of the Processional Way, the fifth was taken in front of the Great Theatre, the sixth is of the Varius Baths, and the final one is a shot with the Library of Celsus in the background.

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By the time we left, tired but happy, six hours had gone by! Then back to Selçuk to go to the museum, relax and have dinner...

Posted by 3Traveller 05:50 Archived in Turkey Tagged turkey dave ephesus roman_remains unesco_world_heritage_site Comments (0)

Selçuk: aqueduct, storks, basilica and fortress

Izmir and Selçuk


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On Friday morning in Izmir we had time for breakfast before we walked to Basmane Station for our train to Selçuk. The walk was very hot - Izmir was the hottest place yet, even hotter than the interior, something I was surprised about. We passed through a beautiful large park, though, which was nice and shady on places.

The train was very shiny and modern, with more legroom than on British trains. There were TV screens showing some brilliant silent, funny, animated clips of animals saving themselves from predators by grouping together, with a caption afterwards (in English) saying 'better to travel in groups' and then 'go by bus'. When the screens weren't showing those, they were showing clips of whales, dolphins and deep sea creatures swimming underwater - not animated, they looked like they had been shot for a nature documentary.

Our journey was only an hour, but these clips made it seem even quicker. The scenery helped, too; we passed loads of orchards and fields of lush-looking crops with mountains in the background. I couldn't quite work out what some of these crops were, though I think some of the orchards were of fig trees, and some of the fields were of vines.

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I was completely charmed when we arrived in Selçuk and we walked out of the station to be greeted by the sight of what I assumed were aqueduct remains.... and topped with stork nests with storks perched in them! I'd seen storks before in Bulgaria, of course, but the only times I'd seen them in their nests I was in a car and therefore unable to take any photos.

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Artemis Hotel, our destination, was only round the corner. It was very good, and the first place we'd stayed at that had air conditioning in our bedroom rather than a fan. We had showers and rested for a bit before heading out again.

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We walked for about ten minutes to St John's Basilica, stopping for ice creams and cold drinks on the way. Constructed in the 6th century AD by the Emperor Justinian I, it covers the believed burial site of John the Apostle.

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The ruins are quite extensive and lie on a hill with some fantastic views of the valley stretching all the way to the sea less than 10 km away. The scenery looked quite Biblical to me, or at least how I imagine the more fruitful parts of the Middle East might look today. We could see in a field a long upright pillar; all that remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven Ancient Wonders of the World.

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From the basilica we could go further up Ayasuluk Hill to the fortress, so we did. Partially reconstructed, it dates from Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman times; before then there were other fortresses on this site, going back to the Neolithic Age. We saw remains of water cisterns, a small mosque, dwellings and some other things.

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Part of the walls were roped off, but we got even better views from what we could access than from the basilica.

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After another short rest to recover from the heat at our hotel, we had a lovely dinner at a small restaurant round the corner. We shared some stuffed vine leaves, yoghurt with herbs and olive oil and a bowl of 'sea beans' (samphire- not something I expected to find here, but I suppose we are near the coast!) and some complementary bread. To add to that, I had a vegetarian Pide (Turkish pizza) and Dave had a mixed kebab.

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We shared the only dessert on the menu, a gorgeous concoction of coconut, ground semolina and milk squished together into flattened balls, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

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Posted by 3Traveller 03:22 Archived in Turkey Tagged birds trains mosque hotel basilica turkey izmir dave storks selcuk fortifications roman_remains turkish_cuisine Comments (0)

Mediterranean Turkey: Izmir

Cappadocia, Istanbul and Izmir


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Our shuttle to Kayseri airport was due to leave at 8 am; this was exactly the same time that breakfast was supposed to start. Luckily for us, the lovely owner of Star Cave Hotel kindly got some breakfast for us five minutes early!

The airport shuttle stopped at another hotel to pick up another couple. The journey to the airport was rushed; at one point the driver tried to run a red light but had to brake suddenly when he realised he wouldn't make it through if he carried on. The woman in the other couple started shouting and swearing at the driver, who said he was sorry but was in a big hurry because he was also delivering a passport urgently to someone who had forgotten it. The woman wouldn't let up about it, but by the time we arrived at the airport she had quietened down and even thanked him when she got off.

It was another sunny, clear day and throughout our shuttle journey we got a wonderful view of Mount Erciyes, which is an extinct volcano and the highest mountain in Cappadocia. Its peak looked covered in ice and snow.

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We were met by a 40 minute flight delay, but time passed quickly and then we were in the air, saying goodbye to Cappadocia. Our final destination of the day was Izmir, on the western coast, but we had to go via Istanbul. I was lucky enough to get a window seat, so I took lots of photos.

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The views were amazing, especially of the coastline of the Sea of Marmara as we got closer and closer to Istanbul. At one point before that, when we were still fairly near the centre of the country, I saw something strange - a huge area of whiteness, definitely not a cloud. It was quite far in the distance, but it looked like a massive white hole with water pouring inwards from every side - very surreal. I guessed it was probably a salt lake.

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Our 1hr 20 minute flight to Istanbul was followed by an hour's wait in transit and then another 1hr 20 minute flight to Izmir. Izmir is the 3rd biggest city in Turkey and lies on the coast of the Aegean Sea. It was formerly the fabled Greek city of Smyrna...

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We took a train from the airport to a station just round the corner from our hostel. Our room in this hostel - ('Shantihome') - did not have a lock; apparently it went against the philosophy of the owners to have locks on the doors... Oh well - we were only here for one night, so we just took our valuables out with us when we headed out for dinner and a walk-round.

We were in the leafy neighbourhood of Alcansak, next to the seafront - the sea being the Aegean Sea! Neither Dave nor I had been to this sea before. Izmir is apparently a proudly liberal city for Turkey, and I soon noticed a much higher proportion of women not wearing headscarves than we'd seen in Istanbul and Cappadocia. There appeared to be fewer mosques, too.The atmosphere did seem to have a Mediterranean tinge to it, with the liberality I mentioned before, the lemon tree we could see out of our window, the mussel stalls on the pavements in front of nearly every café and restaurant, and the palm trees.

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After Skopje and Ruse, in Macedonia and Bulgaria, it was lovely to see that Izmir has made a lot of their waterfront. It's beautiful, with a wide stretch of well-kept grass and walkways. There's no beach, but rather a very low brick wall laid with wooden planks for people to sit on. Although I think the tide was in, the sea was too low to be able to touch it when I sat with my legs over the edge.

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After walking around for a while we stopped in a pedestrian street parallel to the seafront for dinner at a café. I had a delicious type of kebab I'd never had before, which I think was local to Izmir; it had tomato sauce, yoghurt, parsley and either beef or lamb as well as flatbread. Dave had a mixed kebab which came with rice, salad and yoghurt. To finish, Dave had Turkish tea and I had my best Turkish coffee yet - all the ones I've had so far have been good, but this was the absolute best so far.

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Posted by 3Traveller 14:55 Archived in Turkey Tagged volcanoes hotel airport cappadocia turkey istanbul izmir hostel dave turkish_cuisine Comments (1)

Lazy day

Göreme


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After a week and a bit of being very busy, we decided to do nothing very much today apart from relaxing in the hotel courtyard and strolling around town. We lay in, had a delicious and very leisurely breakfast, wrote emails and just sat around in the lovely courtyard, surrounded by birdsong and grape vines.

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In the evening we had dinner at an extremely atmospheric restaurant called Dibek, where we ate at an extremely low table whilst lounging on cushions.

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We shared dishes such as cacik, which is a yoghurt and cucumber dish similar to tzaziki and tarator; shepherd's salad; grated beetroot (on the house); and the main dish - a pottery kebab with rice! This is a local speciality of meat chunks and vegetables baked for hours (literally - we had to give at least 6 hours' notice) in a clay pot sealed with bread - in such a way that the lid of the pot has to be smashed to get at the food inside. For dessert we shared a dish called Aside or Asida; a local dish of flour mixed with oil and grape molasses. To top off such a lovely meal, I had a delicious Turkish coffee.

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Posted by 3Traveller 11:39 Archived in Turkey Tagged cappadocia turkey dave turkish_cuisine Comments (2)

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