Bloggin' the Vaca - Ephesus, Turkey

Now, I wasn't exactly the most excited about visiting Turkey of all of the places we would be going on our vacation. Maybe it was due to my lower expectations or maybe it was because everything fell so perfectly into place this day - whatever the reason, this was the most amazing, memorable day of vacation for me. We docked in Kusadasi, Turkey, found our guide, and began the best tour ever.
We were all looking forward to seeing the ruins of the biblical city of Ephesus, where the apostle Paul preached, and later wrote to, which comprises the book of Ephesians. The city, for me, took my breath away. It was so easy to imagine people walking down its marble streets 2000 years ago - even though they are still excavating the ruins. These people we so advanced too! They had plumbing, indoor toilets, baths, and basically their own billboards. We got to stand where Paul preached in the amphitheater, saw their amazing library, and literally walked down marble streets that are thousands of years old (and they were slippery too!) Check out these photos:
Pipes used for plumbing
Part of what used to be a market place

View into the city

Inside the library

Inside the amphitheater - this is where gladiators would come out

Tunnels in the amphitheater

Shops and homes - can you see the ground? That is a mosaic - still in tact and colorful! These would advertise what services or products the shop provided, so as people were walking down the street they could just check out the mosaics.

They wanted us to buy a hat, but I opted for a parasol - I think it worked better, plus it didn't ruin my hair. :)

Hubs and his mama, standing where Paul preached to the Ephesians

The fam in front of the library. When they were excavating, archeologists found a tunnel that lead from under the library to the brothel across the street. So, men could keep up good appearances by "going to the library"

The secret symbol for early Christians - the letters stand for "Jesus Christ the Son of God" The word they spell is "fish" and the symbol is that circle thingy is all of the letters written together.
Symbol for Pharmacy (still used today people!)

And across the street - the Hospital.

Love this picture because it shows the streets and how HUGE the city was AND my super cute parasol :)

The library

The fam in front of the amphitheater
After being awed in Ephesus we were taken to see where the Virgin Mary spent her final years. They have rebuilt the home, which was found (according to our guide - I didn't look this up) due to a nun having the stigmata phenomenon and dreams of the location maybe 100 years ago. They found the foundations of her home near a natural spring, up in the mountains above Ephesus. I'm telling you, I would've lived there too. It was beautiful. You can see the ocean, there is beautiful natural foliage, and a cool mountain breeze. It was at least 10 degrees cooler at Mary's home than on the streets of Ephesus. Also, the men's bathroom at Mary's is on some list of the 50 Best Bathrooms of the World because of the view from the urinals. You better believe we sent the men in to take pictures! They have Mary's spring hooked up to pipe now, so you can fill up bottles of water with Mary's holy spring water. There were so many reverent people filling up their bottles with this precious holy water. Yeah - my family filled up our bottles and drank it... we are going straight to Hell. haha

Mary' home (rebuilt from about 2ft high foundation)
Mary's wishing wall - people would leave prayers here

Close up of the wishing wall
Bathroom photo (of course) :)
After Mary's house we asked our guide about a place to go to lunch. He basically said, "Oh I know just the place..." We pulled up to a school for young women learning how to make Turkish rugs. They led us to the garden, which they had set up as a restaurant where the girls work while they are weaving and learning about the rug making. Once they learn, they will make money by selling their work, but until then, they earn money through the restaurant.  We had a fabulous meal of authentic Turkish foods and then got to learn all about Turkish rugs. They showed us how silkworms fibers are taken (did you know that the ancient Greeks and Romans used SILK fibers to cut those marble slabs used in construction?! Apparently silk is the strongest natural fiber...). Then, of course, they showed us the rugs. They kept bringing out more and more rugs and flipping them out in front of us. By the time they were done the entire floor way layer with these fine rugs.

Lunch. It was so beautiful we thought it was set up for a wedding or something


Part of the rug school

Hand dyed fibers

The showroom assistant showing off the rugs

So much beauty...

We were incredibly blessed with our guide

- Kennan - 
He was fluent in English, grew up in the area and had played in the ruins of Ephesus as a child, read the Bible as a history book, and just all around nice, nice man. What an amazing day...


B. Wilson said...

How incredibly awesome/gorgeous/amazing/wow!

I would love to see all that you saw on that day. Did anyone buy a rug? We have friends who did this same cruise and definitely came back with a rug!

AshleaD said...

My mom-in-law def. bought a rug - but a mini one (like 2X3) to hang on the wall. She's currently redecorating her foyer to match it. lol

Steve Parry said...
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