Only have a day in Turkey? Taking a cruise around the Greek Islands and have the opportunity to visit a port on the Aegean Coast? Take the time to visit Ephesus, the ruins of an ancient Greek city that housed one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, among other breathtaking buildings.
This site is easily accessed by the Adnan Menderes Airport or from the sea port of Kusadasi (this is the way I came). It truly is an easy stop in many cruise options, and the sea port town of Kusadasi shows relics of Greek, Roman, and Turkish ancestry, along with having some of the best shopping you’ll find on the trips. My tip? Haggle or you won’t get a good price. The best places to haggle are found lining the streets where cruise ships dock, you’ll be able to identify them by the handsome men standing out front trying to invite you in.
I was a freshman in High School when I visited, and all this male attention was overwhelming, as they’ll try to charm you to get you to buy souvenirs. Luckily, my grandparents were with me and were able to help me out with prices. Top tip!!!! Look at Turkish rugs/carpets, leather work, and other handmade crafts because they are top quality and beautiful!
Ephesus is not far off the coast and is a popular tourist attraction due to its famous ruins and historical significance. The site, as I mentioned before, housed one of the ancient wonders of the world in its Temple of Artemis, which is now in ruins (now recreated in Istanbul). It also housed the Library of Celsus, which is also in ruins but has a significant part of the building still standing, as well as an amphitheatre and many other buildings.
(Warning, below is a picture of freshman year me and is frightening)
My awkward freshman self is blocking part of the remains of the library, but you can still see the gorgeous detail of the magnificent structure. Access to the ruins are nearly unlimited. You’re able to walk through the structures and step on the same steps where the ancient builders and worshippers stood.
It was told to us that Ephesus went through the hands of different civilizations through the years, and therefore many of the buildings were burned down and rebuilt over time. Passing through the hands of the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and Byzantines (technically an extension of the Roman Empire to start), the ruins show the influence of such cultures.
An important site for Christianity and the Apostles, the church at Ephesus was renowned throughout the word and was the rumored site where the Book of John was written, as it is one of the churches of Asia to be mentioned in the Book of Revelation. There is even a rumor that Ephesus was one of the last places Mary, mother of Jesus, lived before her death.
The site itself was beautiful and a wealth of historical knowledge. I highly recommend going with a tour guide, as they will provide you with this knowledge, as well as how the site currently is holding up through the ages and what the future holds.