Day 12: Ephesus - October 23

Hey, at least they're honest, right?This is the Bath of Varius. It dates to the Roman period, 2nd century A.D. Built out of marble, we see the frigidarium (cold water), tepidarium (warm water) and caldarium (hot water).
The area in which Ephesus (Efes in Turkish) lies has been inhabited since about 6,000 BCE. There is a very long and complicated history attached to what we call Ephesus. But I'll condense things for the sake of this blog and your patience. Ephesus is pretty darn big yet only about 15% has been excavated.
One of the first things I spotted were these clay water pipes. Some appear practically new. Clay has been used to make piping since about 4,000 BCE (in Babylonia). Below is the Bouleuterion, or Odeaon, a small theatre where we sat a spell and soaked in the scene.
Hey, you've heard of St. Paul, right? Well, he visited Ephesus a couple of times back in the day while traveling through Anatolia. He was born Saul in Tarsus, still a city in Turkey. Tarsus is also the location of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

Anyway, Saul, a Jew, converted to Christianity along the road to Damascus when he had a vision of a resurrected Jesus. Then he traveled just about everywhere preaching Christianity. His Letter to the Ephesians is one of his fourteen epistles in the New Testament.
This piece reminded me of a Lego block. I'm pretty sure the pattern is just a building technique.
The Temples of Dea Roma and Divus Julius Caesar. It was an Imperial Cult from the 1st century. Erected with permission of Augustus, the temple honors his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, and Rome.
Our first view of the Library of Celsus.
The Gate of Heracles above and below.

Trying really hard to find info about these serpent carvings. Anyone have any ideas? Is it really a serpent? Is this a torch? A menorah? Posted my queary on the forum board at Turkey Travel Planner, a fantastic site about all things Turkey.I received two suggestions: we're looking at the Staff of Asclepius or St. Daniel the Stylite. The Staff of Asclepius named for the Greek physician of (most-probably) myth who was eventually revered as the God of Healing.St. Daniel the Stylite lead an aesthetic life, a life of seclusion, and he was a pole-sitter or pillar-dweller.Apparently, Daniel dwelt on his pillar for thirty-three years. People flocked to him to receive blessings and healings. I found this icon image of St. Daniel on the web and, I must say, I'm leaning towards this suggestion as being my answer.
Of course, I can't be 100% sure but when I enlarge either of these photos I can see similarities. Please weigh in if you have ideas.
Winged Victory. Here is Nike, Goddess of Victory.
Walking down Curates Street, towards the Library of Celsus.
Probably a Christian symbol. Very earl Christians often used symbols to mark a safe place for other Christians (before Christianity was legalized). Often, these symbols incorporated Greek letters piled on top of one another in every which way.
I couldn't resist snapping a shot of this "V" just sitting there. Not sure what it was once a part of, if anything. But I liked it.
A detail of the mosaics on the pathway leading to the Terrace Houses. This pathway is off limits. Makes sense because these mosaics are in great condition.
On the way to the Library of Celsus we spot the Terrace Houses (Slope Houses), enclosed while they are being excavated and restored. We'll see more later.

Temple of Hadrian. A Roman imperial temple constructed in 118 AD and reconstructed in the fifth century. Its tympanum bears an interesting frieze that may depict Medusa. Click to enlarge the image. Once enlarged, the photo will show a bust of the goddess Tyche, protectress of the city. She is the goddess of fortune and fate. Look for (probably) Medusa in the background (and in the photo below) and
Tyche in the foreground.
Some of the relief work on the frieze on either side of Medusa.
The Library of Celsus.
Library of Celsus built in honor of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. Built to house 12,000 scrolls. OK, in this shot below, I need help identifying what lies behind the latrines. See the latrines behind those three large pillars in the foreground? You can see the holes cut into the stone bench. Well, I've been all over the Internet looking for a map, a drawing, a photo, anything, to tell me what the hell I'm looking at. the trouble I keep running into is that some sites identify the same photo as a couple of different things. So I'm stumped.

The swastika (from the Sanskrit word svastika meaning a lucky or auspicious object), as a symbol, has been around since Neolithic times. Does it represent a comet screaming across the sky? The sun? A wheel of life? A stylized yin and tang? A good luck charm? Depends who you ask.

Unfortunately, the Nazis left quite a stigma on this shape. In some European countries and Brazil, it is illegal to display if the intent is at all related to Nazism. And for plenty of people the world over it is a symbol of great tragedy. Because of the stigma and tragedy surrounding this symbol, generations have no knowledge of this symbol's rich, varied, and ancient history. It would be quicker to list the cultures who have not used this symbol than try to credit all of them that have and still do.

Just know that the Nazis used this symbol for a mere moment in time compared to how long it has been around. I would like to think that five or six millennia of positive vibrations prevail over a few years of evil madness.
The obligatory latrine shot.
This is pretty cool because is has survived. This metal ring embedded in this stone was used to tie up a horse, a chariot, whatever. But it's a far more intimate piece than a ruin and that's why I liked it.
More well preserved inscriptions. In spite of not knowing what they say, I love to look at them.
More symbols.

The Terrace house or Slope Houses (because they occupy the slope of Mt. Coressus) is an exhibit still in the process of excavation and probably will be for years. The extra admission was covered by the tour. You walk through the still being excavated site. Inside, not only do you see the fabulous ruins and artifacts, but you see real people at work putting pieces together, literally.

These houses were occupied from the 1st century to 7th century AD and they were swank. The haves lived in these house. There was even running water. Ironically, it was the soil from landslides which ocurred after the homes were abandoned that preserved what we have today.
I like this scallop shell fountain near the entrance. Below, this is how you piece together a centuries old marble jig saw puzzle. Lots of glue and lots of clamps.

Stacks of bricks and crates full of marble pieces.
Notice the great condition of this floor.

Frescoes still adorn the walls.

An aerial shot to illustrate the order and organization of a project of this scale.

Check out the claw feet on this marble table. Click the image to enlarge.
I think all of the mosaics and tiles on the floors are beautiful.
So I'm waiting for Sally outside of the restroom. Of course, there are feral cats everywhere. This one was very friendly. I turned my back for a moment and she had stepped from the stone wall I was leaning against onto my shoulder bag. Even walking around this way didn't seem to rattle her. She was perfectly comfortable. So I simply switched on the camera, held out my arm and shot this pic. And i stood there with this cat on my bag for several minutes. No one seemed to notice and when she was through with me, she leapt down and walked away.
This is where we had our farewell dinner.
Rafet and Mine (who got to dress like a girl!).
Roasted peppers and eggplants (without the skins).
OK, I did not do a good job of this shot but I was well into a large bottle of Efes by this point and it takes very little for me to be tipsy. Each platter was for two people. We had variations of kebap, rice, roasted tomatoes, peppers, and a meat filled "pastry" like one of the many sytles of borek.
There was entertainment. A handful of the group wrote poems and songs dedicated to Mine and Refet. Here is Karen and Herb reciting an ode to Mine.
We finally serenaded the two of them with a personalized rendition of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" but we would sing "Hadi Gidelim - Hadi Gidee Yay!" Hadi Gidelim (ha-DIH-ga-day-LIM) basically means, "Let's go" and this was usually the last thing Mine would say after giving us her tour guide lesson in front of a particular site or right before we all got off the bus. Mine gave us each a card with an enlargement of the group photo we took in front of Old Greek House. We all chipped in and made sure to tip Mine and Rafet, though not at all required. We really enjoyed them and they made the trip so much fun. They deserved it.
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