8-10, 1998 Ephesus, Turkey
of the highlights (and there were many), of our trip here to Turkey, is definitely our
tour through the ancient city of Ephesus. Stretching almost as far as the eye can see, it
is the most complete and well preserved archaeological ruin in all of the Mediterranean.
It is so vast. There is just so much. Streets, columns, and walls skillfully chipped away
from millions of blocks, of various shades, of marble in every direction we turn.
The sun is hot this day. We sit
to rest, and take in (as best we can), all that weve learned about this once
bustling center of commerce and trade, from our vans tour guide. Its a
welcomed break. While sitting here on one of the smooth marble ledges of the Fountain of
Trajan looking down Curetes Street (the main street of Ephasus, running from the upper
market down to the library), its very easy to imagine. To imagine what it must have
been like to sit here, at this very spot almost 2,000 years ago. . . .
Excuse me!" "Huh, oh, sorry." I was sitting here daydreaming, apparently in
the way of a very thirsty farmer. I stand as to clear my spot so he can throw his bucket
into the fountain for some soothing refreshment. He must be at the agora, or market, today
selling his crops and buying supplies for his family.
While he knows his
vegetables may not fetch top money in this very competitive market, what he does earn will
give him a huge selection of choices in the biggest, and one of the only, trading centers
within miles. The agora has really gotten enormous, I remember, it seems like only
yesterday, when it was just what seemed like a few shops.
Now just the public section of the market wraps all the way around
the top of town. Not to mention the other half, the merchant to merchant only section down
by the seaport. Its grown so much they have no more room. Heck, they cant
build into the sea. At least I dont think they can.
Anyway, I dare not
stand too far away from the fountains edge, for I might get run over by one of those
speeding chariots. Theyre not too bad going up the hill, but man do they fly on the
way down! They think they own the road. And noisy! The clickity-clack, clickity-clack of
those hooves, and the knocking of the wheels against the marble slabs, all hours of the
day, enough to drive you crazy. Hey, Ive got an idea!
Maybe Ill get that guy (the one whos always on the next
corner making speeches to anyone who will listen), to give a discourse about turning this
into a pedestrian only street. Yes, thats it. The soft sounds of swishing togas and
nice leather sandals passing by. Rather than those darn chariots. Of course then again,
maybe I should be happy with the way things are. The town elders call it progress.
This city has come a
long way since it was moved and rebuilt for the gazilanth time. Plagues, temples burning,
every time something happens, the city moves. It wasnt until the Romans invaded that
things really started happening. Last I heard, we had almost 250,000 people living here.
Heck, on the weekends,
or after a big play in the theatre (it seats 25,000), I sometimes have to wait 20 minutes
just to get in (let alone sit down) at the public latrine house (it only seats 25).
Its just nuts. On top of that, real estate prices have gone through the clay roof.
You can just forget living up on the hill across from the newly remodeled bathhouse.
Nothing but rich snobs. They think theyre so cool. Word is that theyre talking
about resurfacing the sidewalk on that side of Curetes Street with fancy mosaics. Now
Ive heard it all.
On the other hand, those rich folks do help
pay for some of the nicer conveniences of the city. For instance, theyve donated
some of the books in the library. Hey, now theres an idea! Ill go to the
library and read a little. Nice and quiet. But theres so much to read, so much to
learn, and so little time. O.K., O.K., youre right, I could read a little faster if
I didnt always choose a seat next to the window. Its just that with the girls
gymnasium right next door, it makes it hard to choose any other seat other than one of
those on the second floor in the corner.
The scenerys much better
there than from on other side. It makes me tired just watching those two guys build
that huge gate to the city center all by themselves. Especially in this heat. It IS HOT.
Id give any thing for a nice, cool drink of . . . .
"Here Hun, want the rest of this water?" Laura says as she
taps me on the shoulder with the bottle. "What? Huh?" "Yeah, sure, I guess
so. You know, I think I drifted off for a minute." I offer. "By the way, where
did our guide go?" I ask. "Oh really - down towards the library? No kidding?
What a great idea, wish Id thought of that."
House of the Virgin Mary