Friday, January 18, 2013
Ephesus: Reconstructing History
(Above: A panoramic view of the theater at Ephesus.) Out of all the incredible sights to see and sites to visit in Turkey, the one for which I was the most excited was Ephesus. This city has been around for over two thousand years, although it spent most of the past millenium underneath several yards of dirt, rocks, and the erosion and time. Even today, after over a century of excavations, only about ten percent of the city has been unearthed. Imagine the priceless knowledge awaiting this and future generations of archaeologists and lovers of history, just under the surface.
(Above: A major Ephesian street.) I was fascinated to discover that the rows of columns lining the ancient streets were not discovered like that at all. Archaeologists found the columns, broken and buried in the ground, and reset them in their original positions. As much effort is put into reconstructing these historic sites as there is into discovering them.
(Above: The Library of Celsus.) And these sites were incredible. There was a huge theater, used for performances and public events, that could hold twenty-four thousand people and stood for a thousand years. The hyrdreion, a fountain, was used in conjunction with the ingenius underground sewer system as both a source of water and a street cleaner for special occasions. We saw the odeon, a small concert hall; the Roman baths; the gorgeous Library of Celsus; and so many other beautiful remains.
(Above: The theater.) The stories behind these places truly made Ephesus come alive for me. I stood in a spot where, almost two thousand years ago, thousands upon thousands of Ephesians rioted over the actions of the apostle Paul. This city is rich in Biblical history, as well as other interesting tidbits of information. I learned that at certain hours of the day, the public toilets would have musicians playing inside - one gig that I, as a musician, would almost certainly turn down.
(Above: The temple of Hadrian, which was actually just the facade of a temple.) I don't have the time or the energy after such an exhilarating day to write about everything I saw or experienced. But I can say that walking down the great streets of Ephesus is like walking through the fabric of time itself. This is one visit that I will certainly never forget.
(Above: Sean is the Greek god of making the rain stop.)
(Above: The symbol for a hospital in ancient Rome, along with our guide Saba and one of the many stray cats roaming around Turkey.)
Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for more awesome posts by the other students on this trip!