We left Istanbul and took a one hour flight to Izmir, a fairly large town on the west coast of Turkey. From there we drove another hour to Cesme a popular summer resort town on the Aegean Sea. It is on the westernmost end of a peninsula and just a short distance away is Greece. Putting it on the map, link
We were interested in staying in this area because of the proximity to Ephesus and we wanted to check out the local beaches in the area. The first day we went to Ephesus an hour’s drive south down the coast. Ephesus is an important tourism center for Turkey, it is also easily reachable by cruise ship. It is here where the Greco-Roman world comes alive.
Founded in the 10th century BC, Ephesus has a long history of influence in the area. First built by the Greeks it was settled by the Romans in 133BC. In 27BC Augustus made Ephesus the capital of Roman Asia Minor, it developed into a vibrant seaport city of over 250,000 people. During this time it was at the center, the thoroughfare of the world. It also attracted Christian settlers including Paul who live here for 3 years in around 50AD and John who wrote his gospel here. He moved here with Mary the mother of Jesus. It is said that Paul, John and Timothy at one time all lived and had ministries in Ephesus.
At its peak in the 1st and 2nd century’s is was the second largest city in importance and size only to Roman. Over the next several hundred years Ephesus struggled with silt build up in its port, eventually swamps developed and the seaport was lost. This was the end of Ephesus and the decline of the Roman empire.
After almost 150 years of excavation Ephesus is the largest collection of ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. The ruins give a visible idea of the cities original splendor and an interesing insight into life during this time. Putting it on the map, link
M.E. and I arrived mid morning, got the audio tour and spent nearly four hours walking. It is a large site over 1-3/4 miles long from the entrance to the exit. Below are some of the many pictures I took with additional information.