Selcuk (Ephesus) Turkey, Day 147

At the hotel where I’m staying there is the sweetest, tiniest, most playful little kitten. I can never seem to remember his name in Turkish, but it translates to “no underpants.” I was having breakfast this morning and observing this family also having breakfast. They had a little boy, maybe 5 years old? Anyways, this kid was totally out of control, and the parents were oblivious. He was chasing this poor kitty and screeching with delight, or murderous rage, not sure which. Shrieking at 8 am doesn’t really agree with me, but I just took it with a grain of salt.
Then he managed to catch the kitten and wouldn’t let it go. He was holding it with both hands around it’s stomach and you could see the kitty trying to get some leverage to get out of his grasp but wasn’t able to because the kid was just squeezing harder as he struggled. I was watching and wondering if I should say something because now the parents friends had shown up and they were paying even less attention to what their little hellion was up to.
Finally I could take no more when he started shaking the kitty up and down and swinging it around over his head and back and forth really quickly. I just said, “Hey little guy, that’s an animal, not a toy. It looks like he wants to get down.” The parents just stopped and gave me a death glare, and the kid immediately dropped the kitten and skulked over to mommy. They didn’t speak English (they were Italian) so I don’t know if they knew what I actually said but they got the idea. Why do people have kids if they aren’t going to teach them how to be polite and behave in public? It’s not all about you people, believe it or not….
Ephesus.
The worlds best preserved and most intact ancient Roman city. It is pretty amazing. But so very, very busy with throngs of people. Holy cow! I actually enjoyed Hierapolis a little more because it was so much quieter and easier to see the sights without having to push and shove your way to get there. Having said all that, I’m glad to have seen it. It’s remarkable how much of it remains in such good condition considering it’s age. In the 1st century BC Ephesus had a population of over 250,000 making it the second largest city in the world at the time.
It had all the modern conveniences one could want… baths, shops, a huge library, a brothel (yes, the oldest profession in the world!) and public toilets. Probably the oldest public toilets in the world. So different than out toilets of today though. People wouldn’t just go there to have a quick pee. They’d go to socialize, gossip, do business (well, ANOTHER kind of business than the one at hand) and there was zero privacy. No cubicles or doors here. And the rich could pay the slaves to warm up the marble seat for them before they had to put their delicate behinds on it, and to have them sponge them off when they were done. Apparently this was a communal sponge, so clearly hygiene wasn’t all that important to the Romans.
This is the Bouleuterion. This is where council meetings, concerts and shows were held. It dates back to about 100 AD.
This is the Memmius Monument. It was built between 50 and 30 BC and was built in honour of Gaius Memmius who was the grandson of the Roman dictator Sulla.
As you can see, very busy! Although I guess accurate to what it would have felt like in Roman times…
Part of the Heracles Gate.
These kind of monuments were put up to honour the rich if they made a financial contribution to the city. This guy lost his head though.
Beautifully preserved mosaic. 100% original.
The public bathroom. A bit too close for comfort for me!
The library. There was a tunnel that led from the library to the brothel, so the men could tell their wives they were going to the library when really they were… well, you know!
This is supposedly where the Virgin Mary spent the last years of her life. The actual house is gone but this church was built on the site which is now a shrine for both Christians and Muslims to visit. I think if you were religious, a visit to this place would be more meaningful than it was to someone like myself. The building itself wasn’t very exciting, and the shrine inside was sort of interesting, but again, didn’t hold very much meaning for me as an atheist. I’m better able to appreciate the more impressive Gothic cathedrals and 2000 year old temples.
An Italian man told me I looked like the Virgin Mary today. Um, OK. He also wanted to take me for a ride in his Ferrari but appeared to be selling souvenirs for a living…. hmmm, I guess business is good!
This is the Temple of Artemis. It was one one of ancient Wonders of the World. It’s been almost completely destroyed, but was still worth a look.

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One Response to Selcuk (Ephesus) Turkey, Day 147

  1. Anonymous August 31, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Now here is one of the places I spent a lot of time when I lived in Turkey…. it looks like they have excavated much more than when I was there. I remeber the Virgin Mary’s house – they were hawking souvenirs just outside the door. It re-enforced my cynicism about religion but it was a beautiful spot andbecause it was higher up, cooler. I liked that because even then, I was always too hot.
    xo Mom

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