Port of Kusadasi (Republic of Turkey) & the Ancient Biblical City of Ephesus
As I write this chapter of our journey it is almost 3:00 pm here on Saturday afternoon, 7:00 am in Houston. We have just left the Turkish Port of Kusadasi after touring the ancient Biblical city of Ephesus. It was thrilling to think that we were walking the same streets and seeing the same columns, same artifacts and even the same library that the apostle Paul did some 2000 years ago.
Our day began early. The Ruby Princess arrived in port right at dawn. I was already up, camera ready and watching another cruise ship enter the harbor. We’ll post those pictures when we get back. We had requested a light breakfast that was delivered at 7:00. Afterward we made our way to the Princess Theater where the Ephesus tour groups were assembling, all 1,200 of us. We were Red Group #11 and our bus was ready on shore.
The guide’s name was Aykut and his English was excellent. He gave us audio receivers and earplugs so that no matter where we wandered off to on the tour, we could hear Aykut’s commentary. He first told us that we would be taking a 20 minute bus ride to the ancient city of Ephesus. Along the way he explained some of the history of Turkey and emphasized that it was a modern secular Islamic republic.
We arrived at the entrance gate to Ephesus and Aykut gave us 20 minutes to visit the WC ($1 Turkish Lire) or look at some of the shops at the gate. There is one chain of shops that you will see a lot in Turkey. They are called “Genuine Fake Watches” shops. MA and I passed on that but I had forgotten my hat on the ship so we went shopping for a cap. I found a tan ball cap with Ephesus embroidered on the front. The price started at $10 and we just laughed and started to walk away when MA went to work and we ended up paying $4. The ship’s tour commentators told us to expect to bargain, just like in Mexico I guess. We really don’t like doing that, but heck! $6 saved is $6 for ice cream later! Don’t get into an argument about money with MA. She wins, in a nice way of course.
We met our group at the gate and the walking tour of Ephesus began. I thought that the Acropolis was crowded yesterday, but there must have been thousands of people here today. I was determined to get some really good photos of the place because I wanted my Bible study class to see this. It took a bit of doing to get the pictures I wanted without thousands of people in them too.
I have studied the book of Acts and read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians many times and tried to picture in my mind’s eye what it must have been like in those early years of Christianity. Looking at how the Ephesians lived, their culture, and way of life, Paul faced a monumental task of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles.
The walking tour starts at the top. It was warm today so going downhill for the tour was good. Entering Ephesus you walk by Varius Baths, the State Agora, the Basilica, Palace of Council, Temple of Dominitian, Memmius Monument, Temple of Hadrian, Public Toilets, open air and seating for thirty (I’m not kidding), the Agora, the Grand Theater, and Harbor Street which eventually leads to the Aegean Sea. At one time Ephesus was right on the coast. When the rivers silted up it ended up 5 miles inland and this in turn led to its demise.
Our tour ended around 11:00 am and we made our way back to the bus. As we walked through the ancient exit gates we were greeted by carpet salesmen, Turkish Delight candy salesmen, and souvenir hawkers. You name it they were trying their best to separate us from our money. We bought two cold waters and two ice creams and got on the bus. Back at the port we went through security, got on board and headed straight for lunch where we were joined by a really nice couple from, of all places, Sugarland, Texas and the wife was born in El Campo, same place I was born. Small world! MA and I are taking it easy this afternoon relaxing by the pool. See you tomorrow in Istanbul.