“What good is a Bill of Rights that doesn’t include the right to play, to wander, to explore, the right to stillness and solitude, to discovery and physical freedom?”
Ephesus, which has taken 150 years to excavate, is Europe’s most complete classical metropolis even though less than twenty percent of the city has been unearthed. At one time Ephesus boasted a population of 250,000 inhabitants (though many historians believe this to be an exaggeration because back then people didn’t live in such dense cities, and there isn’t enough room in the surrounding area to expand), though between the traders, sailors, and pilgrims (to the Temple of Artemis) visiting the area, this diverse city could have hosted even more. Due to Ephesus’ wealth and importance, it’s Temple of Artemis (which is now little more than one single column) was at one point the biggest on earth, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Though the Ancient Greek city of Ephesus city began in the tenth century BC it really flourished once it became part of the Roman Republic in 139 AD which is why many of the ruins we visited were from that time. This here is a stadium which is said to hold 25,000 people, making it the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world, and since they recently found a huge gladiator graveyard, they know that this stadium was used for fights as well as concerts.
The Library of Celsus, which was built in 125 AD was one of the most beautiful buildings we saw since they have reconstructed the grand building from the original pieces. It once held 12,000 scrolls, and many of the rooms face east as to capture the morning light.
Like most ruins you can visit, often there is little more than a bunch of the pro gal building pieces in rows on the ground.
This here use to be the main road leading from the harbor to the theater.
Here are a few other ruins we passed.
Though I enjoy learning about the history of each country we visit, ruins simply aren’t my thing. Seeing a picture in a textbook gives me the same sense of a place as when I visit it in person, and personally, I would much rather spend a day alone in the mountains or by a river than surrounded by tourists wandering through some ruins. That being said, it seems like we picked the best ones to visit, because Myra said that this was the most complete ruins city she had seen even after a month of touring in Greece.
After our sightseeing excursion we decided to walk out of town a bit in order to camp. Since Myra and Nevin wanted to travel as we do (though without bikes) we figured it would be a good experience while cutting down on hotel costs for a night. We ended up setting up our two tents in a mandarin field, and as always, we cooked a meal of pasta and tomato/pepper/aubergine sauce. We hope to camp a few more nights within the next few weeks as well, it’s definitely one of the aspects of cycle touring I miss most while we are on this mini vacation.
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