Tour to Selçuk and Ephesus – Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 April 2014

Day 1

At 8.00 am on Wednesday 9 April 2014 the group met at Oasis in Bodrum and boarded the bus for Selçuk.  Including those we picked up on the way and those who met us in Selçuk there were 26 people.

St. John’s Basilica, Selçuk

On reaching Selçuk, our first stop was St John’s Basilica.  Dedicated to St John the Apostle in the 6 century CE, Emperor Justinian and his wife, Theodora, built a new cruciform basilica with three naves and six domes, earthquakes having damaged earlier structures on the site.  For more information visit www.muze.gov.tr/stjean

Semih Adıyaman, H3A member and our guide for this trip, shared his knowledge of the many features of the basilica with the group.

House of the Virgin Mary

Next we went to Mary’s House, the House of the Virgin Mary.  This is where Mary is reputed to have spent the last years of her life.  Again Semih Bey explained the history and significance of the site which is sacred for Christians and Muslims. Pilgrims come from all over the world to pray and leave messages on the wall below the church.  For more information visit www.wikipedia.com

Şirince

After Mary’s House, we went to Sirince, where we strolled through the narrow streets before enjoying a well-earned lunch in Gullu Konakları – delicious food in a perfect setting (www.gullukonak.com).  After lunch there was plenty of time for shopping on the way back to the bus.

Isabey Camii, Selçuk

On our return to Selçuk in the late afternoon, we visited Isabey Camii.  Constructed 1374 – 1375, it is one of the oldest and most impressive works of architectural art remaining from the Anatolian Beyliks.  In the 19th century it was also used as a caravanserai.  Mustafa Koçyiğit (retired imam of the mosque) explained the history and features of the mosque and showed us photos of the mosque in earlier times. For more information visit see www.wikipedia.org.

After checking into our hotel in Selçuk – the Kalehan Hotel, www.kalehan.com – people were then free to relax before dinner.

Day 2

Ephesus

At 9.00 am, having rested and breakfasted, we boarded the bus again and headed off to Ephesus.  We were privileged to have archaeologist Cengiz İçten – retired curator of Ephesus Museum – meet us there.  He took us on a special guided tour of parts of the site not normally open to the public.  As we walked along these lesser-travelled pathways, Cengiz pointed out the many ancient mosaic stones and glass pieces just lying on the ground. After that of course we were all looking down at the ground trying to find some. Then Bob found an amazing piece of wall art ……..!

Inside the Ephesus Houses, Cengiz Bey told us about the excavation and preservation of the houses, including the fact that the protective roof cost $11 million.

Davutlar, Kuşadası

On our way back to Bodrum we took a detour through Kuşadası to the Değirmen Restaurant in Davutlar. This restaurant – set in a park – specialises in organic food and produce, and is open all year. The building is traditional in style and was opened in 1995. Some of the produce can be bought in the shop on site. For more info visit www.degirmenltd.com

Our journey home on the bus was an opportunity to relax and reflect on a very entertaining and interesting couple of days and to applaud Linda Bennett and Semih Adıyaman for all their hard work in the detailed planning and organisation of the trip.

 

Photos by Helen Franklin and John Carden

Text by Helen Franklin – Translation by Vivian Kohen

 

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