Where East meets West
Where legends like Alexander the Great use to roam
Where the Trojan War took place
Where ancient ruins tell stories
Where dynasties and cultural legacies are still prevalent in a modern times
By far one of the most fascinating countries I have ever visited!
Turkey is a new country in an old land.
Modern Turkey emerged not that long ago with the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 while the land has been inhabited since the dawn of man and nomadic Turkish tribes can be traced back to the sixth century A.D. The land has been ruled over centuries by Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires! How cool is that??
Turkey afforded me many “head explosion” moments as I called them, where I often felt overwhelmed by the depth of rich history of a fascinating land where dynasties and cultural legacies are present in a modern world.
At a junction of two very different continents (Europe and Asia) Turkish culture is a uniquely dynamic and often clashing.
A lover of history and culture, I enjoy exploring a country’s heritage as much as I love exploring for adventures. Growing up in such a young country in comparison to the rest of the world, I am always mesmerized by all things old, be it a 12th century castle, an ancient ruin, or a 1000 year old church. I love a good architectural feat pulled off in ancient times.
My fascination with Turkey during my visit prompted me to continue to learn more about the history of the country after my visit.
As Dasha and I roamed the ancient streets of Ephesus near modern day Selcuk, I marveled at the ruins for their age, detail, precision, beauty and mark on history. The city changed hands more times than Henry the VIII changed wives but always remained one of the most vibrant cites in the ancient world with over 300,000 inhabitants at it’s height in second century A.D.
Today it is inhabited daily with about as many tourists, but the awesomeness of walking in ancient footsteps overshadows the loud German walking beside you.
I found the city’s affiliation with early Christianity to be very interesting, Ephesus being the first place I have visited in the world that was mentioned in the Bible. The oldest references to Ephesus in the New Testament are found in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians and is again mentioned in the book of Acts. Many claim that the Virgin Mary spent her last days just outside the city and many influential Christian leaders were attracted to the city at the end of the first century.
Ephesus’ greatest claim to fame was its temple to the goddess Artemis. One of the “seven wonders of the ancient world” in it’s prime, it was almost four times larger than the Parthenon in Athens. According to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul preached in Ephesus, prompting a riot led by silversmiths who crafted shrines to the goddess Artemis. They feared for both their livelihoods and the future of the temple understanding that the success of Christianity would lead to the demise of Artemis worship. Christianity demanding a total allegiance by followers, a revolutionary concept during pagan times when Ephesians worships many gods.
There are only a few columns remaining of the temple today, but there are many other ruins throughout the archaeological site that conjure the city’s former splendor.
To see more photos of Ephesus CLICK HERE.