Old stuff day number one in Selçuk

(written by Dave)

Today was our first day being tourist in Selcuk.  We decided to stay in town, saving the bigger site of Ephesus for tomorrow.  Like many of our readers (I’m guessing), we’d never heard of Ephesus before this trip.  The things we saw today in town are all interrelated with the history so first I’ll provide a quick summary of the history of Ephesus.

According to Greek legend, the Ephesus area has been occupied pretty much full-time since 10,000 BC.  It was settled by Androclus (a Greek leader) who was instructed by the actual Oracle of Delphi.  There are confirmed archaeological sites dating from 6,000 BC but Ephesus really came into its own about 1,000 BC.  At that point, the harbor was in a very strategic location and the major temple, the temple of Artimus attracted a significant following.  The city once housed over 200,000 people with the rich folks having running hot and cold water and central heating systems in their homes.  The city fell on hard times after a series of earthquakes in the 300s (AD) and was mostly abandoned around 800AD.

The Virgin Mary and St John are said to have lived here.  In the distant hills they have “Mary’s house” (not officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church) and there is a large temple (we visited – mostly ruins) dedicated to St John.  It is said that St John is buried here but this may also not be “sanctioned”.  There are all sorts of other old things to look at here as well, including the remains of an impressive Roman aqueduct (mostly given over to storks nesting on the tops), a 13th century mosque and a small but informative museum (both of which we visited).  The temple of Atrimus is here as well.  It was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world at one point, said to be the largest temple of its type ever built.  Today it is one lone pillar standing in a field – so lots of imagination is required to see the temple.  They had a model at the museum which helped a lot.

The biggest attraction here is clearly the old city of Ephesus, just 3k west of town.  We are heading there tomorrow and had more than enough to look at today being in town.

We had minimal crowds again today.  Cruise ship season has not yet started yet and the Aussies don’t get here in numbers until April (Anzac day timeframe).  That meant that we had the sites pretty much to ourselves today (except a couple buses of French and German tourists).  This gave the small, but enthusiastic, group of local “sales” guys plenty of time to focus on us.  One helpful gentleman offered to give us a tour of ruins that had been closed for more than 20 years that he mysteriously had the only key.  He also offered to sell us “authentic” 2,000 year old roman coins – for the bargain basement price of only 10 lira each.  He put them into my hand, hoping to close the deal.  I gave them back.

We had lunch again at Mehmet and Ali Baba’s kebab shop (their real names!).  They make a mean gozleme and hanging out on their sundrenched patio is a pretty easy way to kill a few hours.  After lunch today, Nancy tried a Turkish coffee – very much like the Greek coffee, only the first 2/3 thirds are drinkable, the rest is just too thick.  Check back tomorrow for more photos of old buildings and a report on Ephesus.

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2 thoughts on “Old stuff day number one in Selçuk

  1. More on the central heat and hot water. How was it done? What sort of “furnace” and “hot water heater” did they use and how was it delivered (what kind of pipes or ducts or whatever)?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Ephesus was both Greek and Roman – The Greeks invented, and the Romans perfected hypocaust central heating. Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocaustfor more details. As for water, the Greeks invented indoor plumbing as well. Most likely the pipes were clay and straw as few survive but theirtoiletsand baths do. Seehttp://www.theplumber.com/greek.htmlfor more details.

      It would appear that much of this was lost throughout the dark ages. And, though we didn’t really read about it in SE Asia, I know that they had some form of plumbing as well. Several of the museums had fancy “thrones” on display.


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