Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ephesus - A "Somewhere Sunday" Post



The Library of Celsus once held an estimated 12,000 scrolls.  

Our "Somewhere Sunday" destination this week is Turkey.  To Ephesus, once a city second only to Rome in size and importance, now the largest collection of Roman ruins in the Mediterranean.




At first glance, you may find Ephesus chaotic.  Building elements the size of boulders seem randomly strewn upon the landscape.  But look closer and you will see that the beauty of Ephesus lies not only in its structures, but in each of the these thousands of elements that are the puzzle pieces of its history. 


With only an estimated 15% of the site excavated, it's difficult to grasp how large this city of half a million citizens really was.  Built upon the ruins of an ancient Bronze age city, Ephesus has had many reincarnations.  Destroyed by invading forces, earthquakes, fires and under the rule of Greeks, Romans, and Goths the city was rebuilt many times until finally succumbing to total abandonment in the 15th century.  But what truly brought an end to the ancient city occurred much more slowly and insidiously.  Ephesus, once a valuable seaport with its harbor the source of great wealth and power, gradually lost its access to the Aegean Sea due to the slow silting up of its harbor. The area around the city became a swamp and malarial epidemics killed many of its citizens. Today, the remains of the city are six miles from the coast.