Monday, 30 May 2011

Holiday Snaps: To Ephesians Long Gone

The fame of Ephesus

Turkey has much to offer in terms of history and antiquity, the basic issue of tourism that derives from good weather hardly does justice for the diverse culture of this vast land.

I had decided I would visit Ephesus [1] or what remains of it in its ruins near Sel├žuk in the Izmir Province of Turkey from 220km from my coastal resort and a good 3-hour drive.

At the back of my mind, I thought about the significance of this city in New Testament times, the epistle of Paul to the Ephesians in which he prayed [2] that the “eyes of their understanding be enlightened” and then the reference to the church in the Book of Revelation as one of the 7 churches in Asia to whom Jesus Christ had a message.

Ephesus gets addressed first as the church that had forsaken its first love but all the seven sites [3] or churches of Asia; Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea are located in modern-day Turkey.

In Verse 24 of Chapter 19 of the Book of the Acts of Apostles the state religion from which craftsmen derived trade and fortune was threatened by the advent of Christianity, the renown of Ephesus is expressed in these words, “Not only is our little business in danger of falling apart, but the temple of our famous goddess Artemis will certainly end up a pile of rubble as her glorious reputation fades to nothing. And this is no mere local matter--the whole world worships our Artemis!” (Message Bible Version)

The temple of Artemis was one of the 7 wonders of the world in Antiquity. Artemis was the Greek goddess referred to by the Romans as Diana.

The city of Ephesus

It was against this background that my interest was kindled to see what great monuments of man had been erected in this prosperous city that was second only to Rome.

It was built on a slope and the smart thing was for us to arrive at the top end and walk through the ruins over a period of 2 hours in the sun on at times slippery marble and there was lots of marble on columns, walls, standing structures and paving – it all took careful negotiation.

Our tour-guide who saved us the tongue-twisting dilemma of pronouncing his name helped with the simple name of Sam, he was both humorous and knowledgeable.

Apart from photo opportunities with the many who were interested and curious, I met such wonderful people on the tour and besides the side shows of a pottery and other shops, a visit to the Ephesus museum made it such an eventful day.

I suppose more blogs will be written about this visit and pictures will be published soon.

Sources

[1] Ephesus - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[2] Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, Chapter 1, Verse 18

[3] Seven churches of Asia - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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