I arrived in Selcuk on 17 November. On the bus from Bergama I met an Australian, Matt, also planning on a stay in Selcuk. For the sake of economy we decided to split a double room in the Artemis Guest House. My half of the double came to about five dollars, and it was a nice room with a private bath. Matt moved on after a few days and I got a large room and private bath to myself, still for just five dollars. That's the best deal I've had since Thailand. Artemis Guest House was a nice place; it had a common area with chess and backgammon boards, a video library, and a beer cooler. All the guests hung out there because there was nothing else to do in Selcuk at night. If you ever get the chance, watch the movie "The Castle" with a group of Australians and some beer.
During the day there was plenty to see. Selcuk is in an area with many historic sites. In the town is the remains of the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately the river that had made Ephesus a harbor city silted up, turning the surrounding land into a marsh. The temple, made of lots of heavy stone, collapsed and sank in the marsh. All that's standing now is one lonely column.
Also in Selcuk is the Church of St John. The Bible tells of John preaching in Ephesus, and Biblical scholars agree that John, and possible Mary, died in Ephesus. St John is believed to be buried under the remains of the church. The last photo is where his burial spot is marked.
Switching religions and attitudes somewhat; now is the time I will bring up something that can't be avoided when viewing Roman antiquities--the Romans were a randy lot. They liked nude statues, pictures, and knick-knacks, often with exaggerated features. They attached religious and mystic significance to these items, but I suspect their thinking wasn't always spiritual. Selcuk has a small but excellent museum of artifacts from Ephesus, and the picture shown below of the museums most famous artifact demonstrates the Roman randiness. This is Bes, a very famous figure found in a well near Ephesus' brothel. Bes is an Egyptian derived deity who was supposed to bring prosperity and good luck. Feel free to provide snide comments.
The first statue below is of Aphrodite, the Greek god of love. Even without the head and limbs she is a cute goddess. After her is an anonymous man, the famous nine foot tall statue of Artemis, and a slightly smaller Artemis. The Greek Artemis is the goddess of the moon and hunt. However the Ephesus Artemis evolved over time from a much more ancient Mother Goddess, worshiped before recorded history. The Ephesus Artemis was the principle diet of Ephesus and was counted on to bring general prosperity. The lumps on her are a subject of debate--some scholars believe they are multiple breasts signifying abundance, others believe they represent bulls' testis offered in sacrifice. Interesting idea either way.
While in Selcuk I got a haircut. It had been a few months and I was told this was a good place for it. I recalled that the last time I had a haircut outside of the U.S. was in Thailand. In Thailand my barber was always a woman, who would usually give me a face massage and sometimes clean my ears. No kidding. In Turkey the barber was definitely not a woman, there was no face massage, and he didn't clean the ears but did trim the hairs with a wad of flaming cotton. Kids, don't try this at home.
I stayed in Selcuk for a little over a week, leaving on 25 November. Mostly I toured the remains of ancient cities, but while there I also visited a couple of local villages, Tire and Sirince. I needed to see something besides ruins. The first shot below is of Tire on market day. The next is of Sirince, sort of a traditional village with lots of crafts shops. No gripping tales to tell; I walked around, enjoyed the view, and bought an antique knife for no particular reason.
However most of my time was spent touring the ruins of Ephesus, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, and, in a guided one day tour, Priene, Miletos, and Didyma.