Yesterday was another full day! We loaded up into the bus once again after checking out of our Izmir hotel and hit the road for Ephesus!
On the way, Ashley and I presented on some sites of interest in Ephesus, including the theater, the temple of Artemis, and the Domitian Temple. Ephesus was definitely different than any of the other sites we have seen.
Ephesus has been essentially abandoned since the seventh century BCE and so much of the foundations and structure pieces have been discovered largely intact. It is also a HUGE tourist destination. We felt as if we were being pushed along a current of people as we strained to hear Macit (pronounced Magit), our tour guide, tell us what we were seeing. And, boy, there is a LOT to see at Ephesus!
Of particular interest was the theater, which we had mentioned in our bus-talk. We walked around it and up the bleachers, taking note of the dug-out channel that would have been filled with fire to keep in animals for gladiator fights. Many of the students had been in LSTC’s Spring musical “Paul and the Early Church,” written and directed by Sara Suginaka and so, at the urging of our group, we performed one of our numbers on the stage! The theater had many other tourist groups who stopped to watch and listen. When we finished, everyone around us applauded and then a Japanese tour group sang their own song for us! It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which we won’t soon forget!
After lunch at a roadside buffet, we visited some local shops for a sampling of Turkish delight and a demonstration on Turkish pottery. When (some of us) had bought ample souveniers and gifts, we headed to St. John’s Basillica. Legend has it that Saint John (traditionally thought to be the writer of the Gospel of John and Revelation, though this is historically suspect), came to Ephesus after leaving Jerusalem with Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom he had taken into his home. This church was large and impressive and there was much of the foundations and pockets in the church for us to explore.
Of particular interest to many of us was the baptistery. It was a cross-shaped hole in the ground with steps leading in and out, through which people would walk and be baptized at the bottom. Many of us got in to get our picture taken and there were even a few “baptisms” that took place!
It was a full day, but we got back to our seaside hotel for a swim in the pool, happy hour and an early bedtime!
M.Div 2013 LSTC Graduate