At the end of March, Smarty Pants went to an academic conference in Izmir, a port city on the Aegan in south-west Turkey.
I’d never been to Turkey, so I joined him – not for the conference, but for four days of relaxing and wandering around the city searching for the best cafe.
On our last day, we went together to the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus. Many people will know of Ephesus from the New Testament book of Ephesians, which claims to have been written by Paul (though biblical scholars debate this).
Whether Paul wrote the book or it was written in his name later, Paul was almost certainly involved in setting up the Christian church in Ephesus.
But he’s not the only important historical figure who once strode through the ancient city. It was a Greek city under the rule of Athens, then Sparta. Alexander the Great won the city from the Persians. It was later ruled by Egypt, then Syria before becoming Roman.
The city was lost for centuries, but about 100 years ago it was discovered again and excavations started. It’s under constant restoration now, and it’s a stunning site to be able to walk around. It really is like living history.
I hope you enjoy this little tour!
This column is pretty much all that remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Behind it to the left is a local mosque. Behind to the right is the Basilica of St John, where John is said to be buried. Amazing to see pagan, Muslim and Christian buildings so close to each other. The column is now the home of storks (check out the top – you can see their nest).
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