Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck
It’s easy for Pete and I to become jaded at seeing ancient archaeological sights given that we have been traveling for so long.
They all fundamentally carry a pretty repetitive story: People lived here long ago! Look! They left stuff behind! After awhile, centuries blur and artifacts become indistinguishable.
But then there are some sights that are so staggering that they serve to ignite the spark. They transport you back thousands of years and leave you longing for more information and understanding of how and why.
ephesus is such a place.
With no prior knowledge before arriving to this wonder of the ancient world, its grandeur simply stunned us. Our conversations were quickly reduced to one word exclamations along the lines of: wow and amazing.
But most of the time, we were left completely speechless.
Established by the son of a Greek king in 10 BC, the city of Ephesus changed hands many time during history, sustained damage from earthquakes and fire, and played an important role in early Christianity.
One of the most impressive structures, the Celsus Library once held more than 12,000 scrolls.
The Street of Curetes was one of three important streets in Ephesus and led to the Celsus Library. On either side were shops, fountains, homes, monuments and statues.
The Temple of Hadrian is one of the best preserved in Ephesus, built before 138 A.D.
Some artifacts appear randomly scattered in open fields, although many still have well preserved, intricate details.
Arcadian Street was a half kilometer long and led up from the port. Marble slabs and colonnades decorated the street, shops and galleries lined either side.
Arcadian Street led from the port to a massive theater with a capacity of 25,000 people. It housed speeches, plays, gladiator fights, and more. One of the most famous speeches was given by Saint Paul who had spent two years there, converting pagans to Christianity. During his final speech, Paul declared that “gods made by human hands are not gods at all,” essentially causing an uproar among silversmiths who manufactured shrines and idols of the pagan goddess Diana. He left soon after (some reports say his exit was by force).
And the best part? Keeping guard of the grand Theater, and many parts of Ephesus, are a band of kitties, often looking quite statuesque themselves…