Touring Turkey: Ephesus & Pamukkale

Touring Turkey: Ephesus & Pamukkale
A man does not seek his luck.  Luck seeks its man.
-Turkish proverb

 

Days three and four of my Turkey trip took me to two amazing UNESCO sites: Ephesus and Pamukkale. Traveling between the two was quite the experience because I was able to enjoy Turkey’s gorgeous mountains, country, and coast from the comfort of surprisingly posh public transit. Enjoy my photos of these spectacular sights!

 

Ephesus

UNESCO World Heritage Site Ephesus is an ancient Greek city founded in the 10th century BC that was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The beautiful ruins of the Library of Celsus are the site’s most notable attraction and it reminded me of a scene from ‘Indiana Jones’ (sans the swarm of selfie stick-wielding tourists); the library was built in 125 AD and held nearly 12,000 scrolls at one point. Despite the library getting the most photo ops, the Great Theatre was also a grand sight to behold with its 3rd century BC structure remarkably intact and its overwhelmingly large size (seating capacity of 25,000). According to my guide, Ephesus played an important role in Christianity because 52-54 AD the apostle Paul lived there; also, the Gospel of John may have been written there, and Mary (the mother of Jesus) may have spent the last years of her life here.  So, Ephesus was kind of a big deal back then, if you ask me.

 

 

Pamukkale

Pamukkale, meaning "cotton palace," is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Turkey’s many natural phenomena worth visiting. The water from the area’s springs has a high mineral content of chalk, limestone, and travertine and this mix cascades down and collects on the mountain to form what looks like frozen waterfalls. The clear, sky-blue pools of water contain large amounts of hydrogen, carbonate, and calcium, a combination that results in the precipitation of calcium bi-carbonate. Beyond the stunning infinity pools, the site includes Roman ruins from 2nd century BC and the luxurious thermal spa Hierapolis.  Having an hour to myself to roam the expansive site, I chose to take a relaxing dip in the thermal waters and let tiny, warm bubbles cover my weary body.  Ahhh :)

 

 

Temple of Artemis

Less than 1.5 miles northeast of the central site in Ephesus lay the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and built in the 6th century BC.

 

 

Selçuk

Selçuk is a typical small Turkish town (population: 30,000) on the west coast and close to Izmir.  It is unique for its breadth of history and the architecture from those periods, including buildings from the Romans, Turks, and Ottomans.  On the eastern side of town's main road is a cute downtown, with pedestrian-only areas and parks full of families celebrating a local holiday.