Category Archives: Ephesus

our visit to Ephesus from the port of Kusadasi

Seabourn Day 4, Kusadasi Evening.

This evening Seabourn hosted a complimentary outing for their guests, a classical performance in the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Dinner opened early to allow passengers time to dress for dinner, eat a relaxed meal, dress for an evening out, and disembark. We had a marvelous meal in the Colonnade Restaurant, and took a bit too much time getting ready. We were among the last to disembark and board the busses.

The busses took us to the south entrance which leads through a colonnade of trees to the marble ancient thoroughfare which led from the port to the amphitheater in ancient times. As we approached the marble thoroughfare, a photographer took complimentary photos as a memento of the evening and a waiter offered us a choice of red or white wine.

The main street was set with tables and chairs covered in white linen to accommodate us all. Walking toward the dining area, we saw a stage setup midway between the tables to our right. All the tables ahead of us were taken and we were ushered toward the back, well away from the stage. As we passed the stage, a fellow stepped out and asked, “Seating for two?” “Yes” I said. He directed us to two chairs almost directly in front of the stage.

We shared a table with a grandmother and her granddaughter, neither of whom fit the stereotype. They were fun to talk with. Conversation turned to travel, food, work, retirement.

Then an announcer took stage, welcomed us to the ancient city of Ephesus, reminded us of the famous people who once walked this very street: Caesar, Mark Antony and Cleopatra, the virgin mother Mary, and that the apostles were exiled, came here, and converted Ephesus to Christianity, which is how the religion took hold. Then a chamber ensemble took the stage and tuned up: five violins, a cello, and a base. They were very very good and played some of my favorite classical pieces.

During intermission, we walked to the amphitheater for photography and walked down a side street toward the ancient library. A security guy stopped us, then for some reason let us go. He said, “come back in 5 minutes and you can continue”. There were five of us: Ellen and I, another couple who followed us, and our grandmother (who did not seem like a grandmother). We had the monument to ourselves for about ten minutes. No crowds, just the five of us. Ellen and I had done this in Argentina Sicily when visiting the ancient ruins there. A guard let us walk into the temple at night; we were the only ones there. Here we were again! After taking a few photos and marveling at our luck, we went back an took our seats.

The second half of the performance was easily as good as the first half. They played a number of my absolute favorite classical pieces and a few that I had never heard before. I recorded some of one piece. When the concert ended, most people headed to the busses. We stayed behind to take a few more photos. Sunset painted the sky and the amphitheater was lit up. We were the last few people headed to the busses and among the last to board. It turns out the busses had to wait anyway, so we were not “that couple” who held things up.

Getting back to the boat, we stopped at a shop to look for gifts, but found nothing to our tastes. By now we were the last stragglers. As we approached the ship, we noticed nearly the entire crew lined up outside swaying to a conga beat. Someone on a microphone introduced Mr. Ron Lanett and Ms. Ellen Kane and we swayed and bounced to the conga beat. A waiter offered a nightcap of Baileys as we continued to dance our way back aboard. It was a special evening.

The Seabourn band was playing on the pool deck. We could clearly hear them as we walked up the spiral staircase to deck 6. We changed and went to deck 9, the pool deck and danced until the band closed at 11Pm.

It was a full day and fascinating. Tomorrow promises to be another full day.

We took a number of photos of Ephesus. This is the most complete ancient city I have ever seen.


Seabourn Day 4, Kusadasi Turkey

We had a light early breakfast then off on a tour of Ephesus. Between 300 BC and 500 AD Ephesus was one of the busiest trading ports in the Mediterranean. It’s amphitheater can hold twenty five thousand people. Ephesus is the best preserved ancient city I have ever visited and I had no idea it exists.

We left early and our bus with maybe 24 people arrived well ahead of the swarms. Seabourn was the second cruise ship to dock and we were told there were at least three more on the way. These are large ships carrying thousands of passengers. The thirty minute ride from Kusadasi to Ephesus went by very quickly. Our tour guide, Carney, was great at keeping us entertained and describing ancient Ephesus. We started at the top of the hill where the royalty resided working our way down to the commoner’s area and the library.

Ceylan mentioned that the main street of Ephesus was one of only three streets in the ancient world that was illuminated at night. There were torches setup along the main street from the harbor, now silted in, and the amphitheater. Only three cities were lit a night in the ancient world: Rome, Antioch, and Ephesus. Antony and Cleopatra honeymooned in Ephesus and it is said walked the lighted street in the evening.

We took copious photos of the ruins. The terrace houses are being reconstructed and to preserve the ancient frescos, the Turkish government has erected a roof over the houses. The upper city was amazing, but the lower city and terrace houses are mind blowing. Ancient Ephesus had heated floors, a sewer system, and baths with hot, warm, and cold water. The floors were heated with pipes set in the floors that connected to a fire pit that was kept burning and provided heat through the pipes. The was an eternal flame, a fire that was kept burning to mark the immortality of the city. Throughout the ruins there are status to the gods: Artemis, Nike, Hercules, Medusa.

Trade between Paris and Ephesus is documented by pottery recovered from ship wrecks dating back to BC, with writing such as “red wine from Paris destined for Ephesus” at the neck. A document recovered from the city details one woman’s expenses and a debt a neighbor owed for a loan. The frescos and mosaic floors show extremely well executed artwork with vibrant colors. We took about half of the tour going through the overhead walkway over the houses.

The last part of the tour went by the Library’s facade, a brothel, and the amphitheater. There is a lesser amphitheater in the royal part of the city used by the city fathers to discuss events and to vote to determine courses of action. There was (is?) an underground pathway between the Library and the Brothel. “Honey, I’m going to the library to do some research”, or as a pastor said, “bookish on ;one side and nookish on the other”.

The amphitheater is truly immense. Not so large as the Colessium, but quite large.

What an enchanting place Ephesus is to visit. We are going back for a classical music recital this evening around dusk. We (Seabourn passengers) will have the site to ourselves this evening.

In two words this experience is: Simply Amazing.