Ephesus- Mediteranean Cruise
This is a continuation of trip reports from our Mediterranean Cruise. The other trip reports listed at the bottom.
Our cruise ship actually docked in Izmir, Turkey which is about an hour north of Ephesus (aka the main attraction). For this reason it is imperative to hire a guide or take a cab to Ephesus because public transportation is not efficient. We chose to hire a guide. We found one by asking what other people were doing on the Cruise Critic board. The tour was called Ephesus Shuttle. http://ephesusshuttle.com/Private-Tours/Izmir-to-Ephesus/7 The cost of the 2 person private tour was $76/ person plus $10 to see the Terrace House. Payment was due at the end of the tour in cash USD. I also did a little research online at trip advisor and person recommend a guide by name. When making my reservation I requested this guide too and they were happy to comply.
We arrive in Izmir at 7am and were the first passages off the boat. I think we might have surprised our guide for being so prompt. But they were at the gate waiting for us with a sign with our name. When we got to the car our guide that we request was at the car with another guide. She greeted us and told us that she was sick and another guide would be taking us on the tour. I felt bad that she woke up and drove all the way just to greet us even being sick. Our new guide was informative but in some cases it was hard to understand him. We drove in a private mini bus for about 50 min through the farmlands outside of Izmir. Our driver dropped us off at the Upper Entrance of Ephesus. At one time these Roman ruins were an major port city for trade routes into Asia. The city is now complete inland and not near water. The cost of the tickets was 20TL but was included in our tour.
Travelmista near the upper entrance
Prytaneion was type of town hall
Ephesus street leaving to the Library of Celsus
Hercules Gate entry to the upper portion of Ephesus, the upper class resided in the upper portion. The gate was too tight to let chariots pass and marks the transition to the pedestrian only section.
Sacred Way (marble streets)towards the Aegean Sea
Travelista at the entry to the Library of Celsus
As we walkthrough the marble streets our guided pointed out the highlights and told us what these building once looked like. We personally like the community bathrooms but other highlights included the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus; it was built in the 2nd century AD by Gaius Julius Aquila to be a memorial to his father Gaius Julius Celsus Polemanus., the Temple of Hadrian and the Grand Theater are two of the most impressive buildings in Ephesus.
Trajan's Fountain where commoners would come for water.
Temple of Hadrian
Public Toilets turning into a 40 person social party.
The Grand Theater could hold 24,000 spectators and was a place where St Paul Preached. It was really hard take in all the history. Around every corner there were ruins of impressive building. It was amazing to see. The walk through the ruins to the low entrance is approximately 1.5 miles. We were one of the first tour groups through so it was not very busy and we got great pictures because of the lack of tourist. Highly recommend first off the boat in this location. We ended up not visiting the Terrace Houses and continuing on the tour. There were lots of shops outside the gate selling Turkish gifts but we got our magnet and continued with the tour.
Inside the Grand Theater
From inside the Grand Theater looking towards the sea that once bordered Ephesus. The road is called Harbor Road
The commercial Agora- the market place
Next our guide took us to see how carpets are made. While the presentation was interesting it was a sales presentation and Travelmista fell hook, line and sinker for it. We ended up buy a small run for $200. I knew we over paid for it and everyone was taking a commission on our purchase. I didn't appreciate it but we did end up with a nice expensive rug. If you really want to buy a rug save your money for a rug in Istanbul at the Grand Bazaar. In this location we could have also gone to see the House of the Virgin Mary but opted to skip and return to our ship early to look for WiFi. Our cruise ship was only dock in port from 7am to 1pm and we didn't want to miss the boat. So we headed back early. We paid our guide for the tour plus we tipped the driver and the guide. There was no WiFi in cafes near the port so we had to wait for the next port, Istanbul, Turkey!
Stay tuned for more trip reports- Mediterranean Cruise
Naples, Pompeii, Sorrentto- Mediterranean Cruise
Rome- Mediterranean Cruise
Cinque Terra, Pisa- Mediterranean Cruise
Toulon- Mediterranean Cruise
Barcelona- Mediterranean Cruise