To the ancient city of Ephesus we went. I thought of the Paul and his travels. There was a thriving early Christian church here. Paul visited as well as spent time in jail in Ephesus. It is here that the artisans became upset when they felt Paul was impinging on their profits by supposedly speaking against the Goddess Artemis (Diana). It was their concern that the sale of statuettes of Artemis would decline due to the teachings of Paul. It should be noted that Paul did not speak to the crowd that gathered in the theatre and shouted "Great is Diana of the Ephesus."(KJV)
Ephesus began in the 10th century B.C. In 129 B.C. it became part of the Roman republic. From historians and demographers, we get the estimate of between 33,000 to 56,000 people living in this port city at that time. It was the third largest city of Roman Asia Minor. Ultimately, the port silted up and with earthquakes and diseases, namely malaria, Ephesus declined and disappeared.
There were several things that stood out to Greg and I as we toured this ancient site. Both of us were really impressed with the water works. Four aqueduct systems crisscrossed the city carrying fresh water and taking away gray and black water. Clay pipes were used to move water around the city.
There were at least three bath houses in Ephesus plus public toilets. Gray water ran underneath these to remove human waste material. Of course, there were public fountains so households could fill their large containers with water. Those rich administrators who lived up the hill had their own fountains and bathrooms.
Three structures really impressed us. The first was the Library of Celsus. It was actually built as a mausoleum to a Roman senator. It was later repurposed to be a library which contained 12000 scroll manuscripts. Philosophers and scientists from all over the Roman empire would arrive here to study at the Library of Celsus. Unfortunately, it burned down. What you see in the picture is a reconstruction.
The second structure is the largest of at least three theatres in this city. Look in the background of this picture. What you see is only a portion of the largest theatre of ancient times. It would allow 25,000 people to view its productions. Also notice that I am standing in a "street". This is the original Roman pathway and it was virtually complete.
G kept saying "I can't believe I'm walking on their roads." It wasn't the only one that Ephesus had. All of the city's roads (of those excavates so far) are intact. Only about 12 percent of the city has been uncovered to date.
The last buildings that took our breaths away are what archeologists call "terrace houses". These were built into the side of the hill and are seven levels high. Each terrace house should be considered a separate level of condominiums. There would be up to six condominiums per level. The excavations of the hill revealed bathrooms and private plumbing fixtures.
The walls had frescoes on them; the floors had tiled patterns. Some of the units were over 5000 square feet. A nice size dwelling for that time period (close to a mansion for them)plus think of the amenities. You did not have to traipse down the hill to use the public toilets. On top of all that it was location, location, location. You were on the hillside and could see the sprawling city of Ephesus. You could look all the way to the port on the Mediterranean Sea. Wow!
P.S. Did some Christmas shopping for my loved ones!