Most tourists visiting Ephesus blow past little towns on the way such as Sirince and Selcuk. And they barely stop at the Temple of Artemis- an ancient Wonder of the World - which is understandable because really it's just a swamp.
I somehow spent the majority of my trip at these places. At Artemis, I clicked pictures until the sunset. Artemis, though not astounding in an archeological sense, was the kind of place where you step on the ground and feel its history. Here are some pics from the first day of the trip:
This is where the temple of Artemis once stood. The temple was built in about 550 BC and was a Wonder of The Ancient World (like the Pyramids of Giza and the Gardens of Babylon). Then a psychopath asshole came and burned it down because he wanted to achieve fame at any cost (reminded me of the guy who shot John Lennon). The temple was rebuilt, but later Christianity started spreading and the idea of having a temple to a Greek Goddess just didn't fit, so the temple was closed. A mob destroyed the place once and for all around 400 AD. Lots of the marble pillars were taken to other sites, including Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (quite possibly the most incredible building in the world). Anyway, now Artemis is just a pillar of its former self. It's home to some ducks, a few storks and one guard dog (see above). Notice the stork that built its nest atop the lone pillar (see below).(photo above) This pillar is one of more than a hundred that used to support the structure. Now it supports one stork's nest.
(photo above) This is an overview of Selcuk, a short walk from Ephesus. Looks a lot like central Italy. And it's known for its apple wine production. Apple wine is like Juicy Juice with a kick and I love it.
(photo above) These are headstones that I saw in a mosque in Selcuk. The mosque was called "Jesus Mosque" (Muslims consider Jesus a prophet of God) and signs near the entryway spoke of the need for interfaith dialogue. Tombstones - these are in Ottoman script which is no longer used - tell the story of the deceased person's life.
(above) Absolutely gorgeous weather last weekend. Anyway, this is the Basilica of St. John, where many Christians believe the Apostle of buried. Christian tradition says John went to Ephesus (with the Virgin Mary) where he wrote some books of the New Testament. Mary would have been very old at the time, so this is disputed by scholars. Below is a picture of the believed burial site of John.
And above we have a young woman walking on the ruins of St. John's Basilica. Honestly, this pisses me off. However, since she's walking on a part of the building that has been recently re-built and since she helps give a scale of the size of the building, I didn't go postal. The funny thing is, in Italy there are guards swarming around Pompeii to make sure you don't breathe too heavily on the rocks. In Turkey, not so much.
Below are some kids who were flying kites.
Photos of Ephesus to come. x Shannon