Ephesus is just the other side of the hill from us, we drive past it every time we go into Selcuk and every time we go diving we see the big bite out of the hillside that is the great theatre and it reminds us we dive in seas plied by man for three thousand years. Yet we rarely go there.
I get picky about it; I want to go when the light is best and the ancient marble glows, when the spring flowers bloom and add contrast to my shots, when deep blue skies and faint clouds make interesting backdrops and few visitors crowd into my frames. You get like that when something amazing is your next door neighbour. The word I’m looking for is spoilt!
Well we can’t always get what we want, yesterday we went and we were probably two weeks early for the poppies, the afternoon skies clouded over and the light was murky and it was still pretty busy for a blustery day in March although nothing on what it will be in a few weeks. But it was amazing and I spent some time kicking myself for not going often enough and being a brat.
The terraced houses are more complete and detailed than ever before, the painted wallpaper bright with muses and birds, garlands and panels, cherubs and fish. We spent a long time in the terraced houses, slowly following the glass floored walkway that rises up the side of the hill, over mosaics and through bathrooms and bedrooms, formal rooms and relaxing rooms.
Because I am in design mode at the moment, thinking about House Elements, I am focused on the building more than being blown away by the age of it all. I see stairwells that are identical to how we build them today, I see the way they laid the fired brick in the thick walls and used earth plaster and lime render, buried pipes in walls, I see arches and niches and all the things I put into houses to make them interesting and useful. (Maybe I was here before, long, long ago!) I fall in love all over again with the earth tones and rich pigments in the paintings, that glorious deep old red, that light just before sunset yellow, that soft green of spring. In some ways it is all so now.
By the time we came out of the terraced houses the skies had clouded over and the light at the Library of Celsus was flat, making the façade look almost sinister against a stark sky.
We wandered down through the old commercial square to the harbour road before turning back past the great theatre with its looming crane and working our way back up the site through the tour groups following their leaders to the best bits.
I should go more often, I really should, but with so much to see here we are spoilt for choice. I want to go back in a couple of weeks and try and get the photographs I want with the poppies but I also want to go to Miletos and photograph that before the floods recede as right now the winter rains have given the site a dramatic bath which reflects the sky. And then I need to go back to Priene again because it is my favourite site and I love the light there and the view over the flood plains and I want to get over to Pamukkale and photograph it before it gets busy and, and, and… So many favourite places, not enough time, how the hell do the tourists fit it all in?
(these are high res photos, they will take a while to load. Sorry!)
Spring and autumn are in my opinion the best times to visit Ephesus. In high summer it is hard work and you need to go really early or the relentless heat radiating from the columns boils you inside your own skin and the crowds mask the scale of the site and obscure the detail in the carvings.
This year the entrance price is 25tl per person and an extra 15tl per person to visit the terraced houses. You pay inside the site not at the main entrance if you want to visit the terraced houses.
Parking in the top car park is 5tl per car and the small restaurants up there have tided up a lot and aren’t as tatty and vulgar as they were, I have no idea of the prices though and at all times of year I would advise bringing water with you as you can’t get it inside the ruins apart from at the wildly expensive little shop just inside the entrance.
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I visited these houses many times a month in the years before I built my house and they influenced me a lot. I had to have a courtyard!
Too true, got to have a courtyard, the last two houses have had one and the next one, love them.
Fabulous photos, Karyn, and reminds me we must make the trip. Haven’t been to Ephesus for 10 years. Shame on me!
BTW. Having a courtyard is something I have always dreamed about. Whether it is accessed by an unassuming little door in a high whitewashed wall, like our friends place in Assos, or by a grand wooden door down a narrow alley, as when we stayed in a charming pension in Avanos, it’s that air of expectation, of what lies beyond.
Ah, one day!
Yes, secret places, hidden away, not flash or in your face, you have to hunt them out, discover them yourselves, thats the same reason I love courtyards. 🙂
I love going, and get there every couple of months. As is my wont, it’s usually with the Lucky Pup Princess who takes it all in her stride, even posing for the Japanese photographers. This is probably why I have never made it inside the terraced houses… but Lucky would agree with you about both Miletos and Priene, and her favourite of them all is Priene. There are less hungry dogs there, though the goats have been known to be scary 😉
If I’d brought Shad it would have taken even longer to get round with people fussing over her! Was amazed how many more cats there are there now, small gene pool too, they all look the same. They were all hanging round outside the terraced houses entrance waiting for the staff to finish their lunch. 🙂
Thank you for the remarkable photos. Unlikely now that I’m retired that I shall ever be able to visit but your pics are the next best thing. As a Christian I was especially impacted as I thought: “Wow, St Paul actually walked on these same streets and touched these walls and preached and chatted and ate and shared time and space with the Ephesian peoples that he loved so much. I know one thing: I have to go back now and reread that precious Epistle only I shall have new insight because of your photos. Thank you very much and from our place to yours: Have a Blessed and a very Happy Easter! DD
That is the thing that gets me, if I stop and think about it it blowns me away, all the sermons I listened to as a child, all the readings…today we take our reading from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians….and now here I am, I live here. Sometimes it still shocks me 🙂 A very happy Easter to you too. Karyn
Oh wow, you’re just over the hill from Ephesus! It’s a place close to the top of my must-see list and your gorgeous photos have whetted my appetite even more. Whenever I see or read something about classical archaeology and architecture, i think how arrogant we can be about our mod cons and how forgetful of the fact that they were almost all devised and implemented millennia ago.
If you ever come you are more than welcome to come and stay here, there is so much to show you, we really do live in a great big treasure trove. K xxx
So jealous! I haven’t been back in a few years. Are those mosaics from the terraced houses? Hmm, maybe they are worth the extra entrance fee after all…
They are from the terraced houses and it is so worth the extra fee, the other day there were only about six other people in there, I thought everybody went but it seems not! xxxx
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