Wednesday 03 May 2023.
Highlights: Learning about Turkish Carpet making, exploring Izmir, exploring Ephesus ruins in depth, visting the ancient Library of Celsus
A very big day started with a visit to Carpet and Kilim Weavers Assoication based near Bergama. We got a detailed explaination of how Turkish carpets are made starting with the vegatables used to created the coluring, to how the silk is harvested, to how the double knot system works (on Turkish carperts use double knots) and watched some local woman creating new carpets.
Some of the larger carpets take up to 18 months to create. I was amazed at the craftmanship on display. Several group members purchased some smaller carpets.
While a stop at Izmir wasn’t on the tour plan it is the home of our CEO Isik and he wanted to show off his town. We walked about the coastline and then visited a stunning local market which was buzzing with people and activity. A nice lunch was to help us have the energy for our afternoon exploration of the Ephesus ruins.
Ephesus was originally an ancient port city. The city was once considered the most important Greek city and the most important trading center in the Mediterranean region and changed rulers multiple times. It was first established in the 10th century BC.
The city came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. Amongst its many wonders was the the Library of Celsus and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators, which lead to an estimate the city held 250,000 residents at it’s peak.
During our time here Isik took us to the Ephesus market places, the ruins of the court, the old Parliament meeting place, the anicent brothel, the Library of Celsus (across from the brothel!), the massive threatre, numerous dedications to Greek and Roman Gods, and points out several secret Christain signs from the days when the religion was outlawed.
The Library of Celsus is an architectural marvel, and is one of the only remaining examples of great libraries of the ancient world located in the Roman Empire. It was the third-largest library in the Greco-Roman world behind only those of Alexandria and Pergamum, and was believed to have held around 12,000 scrolls. The interior and contents of the library were destroyed by fire in 262 AD.
Only 25% of Ephesus has been uncovered, even with only that precentage on display the area is massive and a true surviving gem of the ancient world.
We checked into our hotel in Selçuk after 7.30 pm and after dropping our bags in our rooms headed out for a group dinner at a local restuarant. I had Turkish lamb shish which was brillant.