First the Greeks 3,000 years ago, then the Romans, now these days the only people with their sights set on conquering Ephesus are the nearly 1 million tourists who visit each year. One of Turkey’s most popular travel attractions (a 20 Turkish lira entrance fee), at first approach the site looks like nothing spectacular. It’s as you walk down the ancient streets, and realize after every turn how extensive the ruins of Ephesus are, that makes it stand out in the “ruin-overload” that can happen in countries like Turkey, Greece, and Egypt.
I try to post at least a photo from every major city and site I happen to travel to but this picture could have been taken from any one of the nearly 4 times I’ve been to Ephesus since I was a child. The first was when I was 15 where I recall nothing but a crowded mess of people taking pictures of stones that looked like ancient footstools.
Having been in and around nearby Fethiye for much of the winter, Ephesus fell along my path several times with me playing unofficial tour guide occasionally. Things start to look and feel the same after a few visits – ruins don’t change much – except when you wander up to Ephesus on a winter’s day right before closing. This dog (who didn’t get me lost like this Cappadocia canine) and a shepherd leading his flock down into the settlement for the night were the only other folks in town.
Once the Roman Empire’s second largest city, Ephesus – Efes in Turkish – is also familiar sight in Turkey as its most popular beer takes its name from the ancient settlement. Strangely enough, I’ve had Efes many [many] more times than Ephesus, but that hasn’t quite lost its appeal.
You can see more of Ephesus right before (and slightly after) closing in the gallery here.