Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Walking Izmir 2

The pastries all gone, we decided to leave the cafe/bakery and continued to explore this street.
As I was shooting I noticed this guy waving at me, most likely wanting me to stop and check out what he's selling. Unfortunately, we walked on by.
No paucity for eating establishments. However, my appetite wasn't with me that day.
I love the narrow streets in Izmir, like the ones in Barcelona.
Another place to eat. I love the pink color and the ironwork on the windows.
There was a church but it was gated and the gate was closed. The gate was high too so this was the only part of the church that was visible.

~This is a scheduled post. I will visit your blogs when I return. ~

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walking Izmir

After the taxi delivered us back to the port and said goodbye to our traveling partners, my husband and I were in no hurry to get back to the ship. It was far too early in the day we thought to be cooped up in this floating buffet. And just outside the port was what looked like a bustling seaside town, why not explore as much as time would allow us. Plus husband was in search for a raki to bring home.

So we walked and walked and found a street that was mostly pedestrian and lined with stores and eats. We were not hungry, not at all, but we saw this small cafe - mostly bakery that has a few tables. The people who worked there were so friendly that a cursory peek on our part ended up over 30 minutes of eating and talking.
This is Zelda. She spoke no English. But her warmth and congeniality crossed any language barrier. She managed to get our orders correctly. She inquired where we came from and when we replied SAN FRANCISCO. She gave us a very big smile and said I LIKE, which I took to mean she like to visit SF someday.
I didn't get this guy's name, but he was preparing the pizza. They wanted us to wait for the pizza, but we weren't in the mood for pizza that day. All we wanted to try were Turkish delights, yummies that we couldn't get home. Although on hindsight maybe we should have waited for the pizza. I've never had Turkish pizza before. Anyone had Turkish pizza before?
We ordered two different types of pastries with our Turkish coffee -the best coffee I had so far. When our pastries arrived, there were five pastries on the plate. I told my husband they have made a mistake. We tried to explain to Zelda that we only ordered two kinds. It was not a mistake. They gave us those three other pastries to try for FREE. They wanted us to try what else Turkey has to offer in terms of pastries. Isn't that touching gesture? How very kind to strangers.
They don't look fancy, but they are really good.
The display has a feel of those bakeries back home where as a child I pressed my face on the glass shelves to take a closer look at the bread with unknown fillings.
What a lovely experience for me and my husband. Zelda and every one in the cafe were very friendly. A memorable time.

~ This is a scheduled post. I am currently away. Will visit your blogs when I get back to my regular schedule.~

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roadside Attractions

What I thought was a ho-hum ride back to the port turned out to be a something of a taxi sightseeing tour. For one, Alonzo stopped by a roadside fruit vendor to purchase a kilo of citrus. Then he passed the bag to us to share. We didn't even think about not biting into something raw from a foreign land. We went ahead and ate the fruits given us. It was Alonzo's hospitality that wow me.
We didn't take the same route. Alonzo said he'd show us the ocean view - never mind that we've been here via a cruise ship, he was insistent. And I'm glad he took us at the top of the hill where there was a sweeping view of the Aegean Sea - I believe. For the most part, we drove thru rural scenery. Then to some colorful housing complex.
Here's a closer look at those units. I simply love the vibrant colors.
And as part of the history portion of the tour, Alonzo took us to where we would drive by the bust of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (carved on a hillside rock) - most popularly known as the Turkish hero. He was Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and founder of the Republic of Turkey. And oh he was also the first president of Republic of Turkey.
When we entered what obviously looked like city limits, I started shooting as well. I liked to see all the advertisements even though I don't understand what they say.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Random Shots

Before I put an end to this series, I found three more shots I wanted to share. Like this gate for instance that is situated to the left of the Library of Celsus.
Or this gatelike structure that I gave a cursory nod and a click of the shutter.
And this beautiful tile work that I am guessing was either part of a flooring or could this be a road of some sort. It's amazing how this could have lasted all these years.

With this photos, our too short a time in Ephesus ended. We were met at the southern gate by our friendly taxi driver and driven back to the port.

CORRECTION: At the beginning of this post I mentioned that our friendly driver was Albanian. My mistake. I read back my journal and realized that he is Bulgarian who spoke Turkish and a little Italian and his name was Alonzo. Thank heavens for journals.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Great Theatre

We finally got near the end of our tour, the Great Theatre was the last one we visited.
The ramp is the way to enter the theatre.
From the "stage" to the seats, nothing is prohibited to tourists. I particularly like that sole tree on the top.
Here is the stage from one of the upper seats.
And this is the theatre from the street view as we were nearing the south gate, where we will be exiting.

This is the most magnificent structure in Ephesus ancient city. The Great Theatre is located on the slope of Panayir Hill, opposite the Harbor Street, and easily seen when entering from the south entrance to Ephesus. It was first constructed in the Hellenistic Period, in the third century BC during the reign of Lysimachos, but then during the Roman Period, it was enlarged and formed its current style that is seen today.

It is the largest in Anatolia and has the capacity of 25,000 seats. The cavea has sixty six rows of seats, divided by two diazoma (walkway between seats) into three horizontal sections. There are three sections of seats. In the lower section, Marble pieces, used for restoration, and the Emperor's Box were found. The seats with backs ,made of marble, were reserved for important people. The audience entered from the upper cavea.

The stage building is three-storied and 18 meters high. The facade facing the audience was ornamented with relieves, columns with niches, windows and statues. There are five doors opening to the orchestra area, the middle one of which is wider than the rest. This enhanced the appearance of the stage, giving it a bigger, monumental look.

The theatre was used not only for concerts and plays, but also for religious, political and philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights. [source]

In addition to the last paragraph, I read that in the early years of Christianity one of the big combats between the followers of Artemis and of Christ had taken place in this theatre, and as a result, St. Paul was put into prison on the hill named after him, and he was then obliged to leave Ephesus.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Library of Celsus

We arrived at the centerpiece of this ancient city, the Library of Celsus. This was the reason why I wanted to see Ephesus because I wanted to see this in person. Whatever is left of it, the facade is truly stunning. In the ancient time, they said that the leading libraries were Ephesus' Library of Celsus and Egypt's Bibliotheca Alexandrina (post coming up). While the latter has been completely destroyed and now rebuilt, the former is still standing tall in her glory.
In the land that is now Turkey, a wide marble road slopes down to one of the largest libraries of the ancient world. Between 12,000 and 15,000 scrolls were housed in the grand Library of Celsus in the Roman city, Ephesus.

Designed by the Roman architect Vitruoya, the library was built in memory of Celsus Polemeanus, who was a Roman senator, General Governor of the Province of Asia, and a great lover of books. Celsus' son, Julius Aquila, began the construction in 110 AD. The library was completed by Julius Aquila's successors in 135 AD.

Celsus was buried beneath the ground floor in a lead container inside a marble tomb. A corridor behind the north wall leads to the vault.

The Library of Celsus was remarkable not only for its size and its beauty, but also for its clever and efficient design. [source]
The library is another one of those ruins that you can touch, enter, and practically do with whatever you feel like. Of course I am not suggesting you do whatever you like, respect these ruins.
We were so busy looking at details that when I came down the stairs of the library, red flag came off my brain as I see a throng of black tied men coming my way. By the time I was a few feet away from the library, the whole place was cordoned off. I was helped out of the cordon by a paparazzi, yes, he did extend his arm and pulled me up, tiny legs and all :)

Later on we found out that the vice president of Italy was visiting. No wonder we saw inside the Mazeus and Mithriadates Gate (first pic, the arched gates on the left) that the area was a set up for what looked like a garden party. We ventured there without knowing that it's off limits, until a guy who looked like security barred us from further exploring the grounds.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


In the ancient city of Ephesus there are two theatres, the Grand Theatre (post coming soon) and this, the Odeon, Bouleuterion. Both of these structures can be explored by tourists. Let's go in.
"This building has the shape of a small theatre with the stage building, seating places and the orchestra.It had double function in use. First it was used as a Bouleuterion for the meetings of the Boulea or the Senate. The second fuction was the Odeum as a concert hall for the performances.It was constructed in the 2nd century A.D by the order of Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife Flavia paiana, two wealthy citizens in Ephesus."
"It had a capacity of 1500 spectators. It had 3 doors opening from the stage to the podium. The podium was narrow and one meter higher than the orchestra section. The stage building was two-storeyed and embellished with columns.The podium in front of the stage building and some parts of the seating were restored. The Odeon used to be enclosed with a wooden roof.

Two councils administrated Ephesus. These were Demos or the parliament which was open to the public was taken place in the great theatre and the Bouleia which gathered in this small theatre. The members of the boulea were chosen from the aristocratic class of Ephesians. The most important decisions and city matters were discussed here."

It looks well preserved, and again I must reiterate my concern about the harm that tourists like me could bring to these ancient structures.
From the seats this is the view of the street outside.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Moving On With the Exploration

This is Harbour Street, it led to the harbour from the Great Theatre (post coming soon) and was lined with columns along each side for its length of 530 m, width of 21 m. The street was the most important one of the city. The middle section was paved with marble and is 11 m wide; both pillared side sections of the street are 5 m wide each. According to the knowledge acquired through excavations, the street, decorated with statues, was illuminated by candle-like street lamps at night. There was a harbour gate where the street came to the sea. (Did not see any body of water close by.)
The Fountain of Trajan is 12 m high and had two storeys. The first storey was 7 m high and the second storey 5 m high. The fountain was erected in dedication to Emperor Trajan in the 1st century AD. (No the fountain is no longer there)
Walking around historical places like this one can be both surreal and mind blowing. It hits you one moment and the next all you can think of is I should stop daydreaming and try to photograph all these reliefs.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bath of Varius

The Bath of Varius was restored by Skolasticia and so this bath is also known later on as Bath of Skolasticia.
One of the few structures in Ephesus that you can enter and explore to your heart's content. I wonder if that is a wise move on the government's part. I am sure that the many tourists who come here and trample on these ruins would do more harm in the long run. I have only seen minimal clues of restoration, unlike in Acropolis where one can see that restoration is ongoing.
Here is what the Ephesus book had to say about the Bath:

The upper part of the bath, which formed a salon and had central heating, is ruined. There was a swimming pool, having a hot bath (caldarium), a warm bath (tepidarium), a cold bath (frigidarium) and a dressing room (apodyterium). Though the first builidng of this bath, which had three floors, belonged to the 2nd century, a woman named Skolasticia adapted it into the present condition, making it available to hundreds of people in the 4th century. There were not only public rooms, but also private rooms. Those who wished could stay for many days. The furnace and the large boiler of the heating system which provided heat and hot water for the salon, the rooms and for a very large bath were on the first floor.

So you are seeing the ruins of the 4th century spa. This is way too cool. Apparently this was a place where people congregate and talk about politics, etc while soaking their feet in warm water - their own version of foot spa.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Because we did not sign up for any organized tour, we were lost at what we were looking at. All we could do was look and photograph and hoping that when I go back home I'd find the information I need online. And to supplement that, we bought an Ephesus book at one of the souvenir shops outside. You can identify the tour guides. They carry the orange umbrella.
NIKE GODDESS OF VICTORY. The relief of Nike, winged goddess of victory, comes from the Roman period and was discovered among the ruins on the Square of Domitian.
This is the Memorial to Memmius decorating the Square of Domitian. The sign says: Tomb of Memmius, grandson of Sulla, 1st cent BC.
Another angle.
Here's one that I couldn't identify. I don't know why very little is on the net about this place.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Temple of Hadrian on Curetes Street

Also along Curetes Street lies the Temple of Hadrian, a Roman Emperor. Lysimachos, who rebuilt the city, restored this street, which was regarded as sacred, preserving it's original shape in 290 BC. Lysimachos was Macedonian officer and successor of Alexander the Great and became king ruling Macedonia, Thrace, and Asia Minor.
More details up close. Amazing how they still stand today.