Our tour took us into Ephesus, driving through what used to be submerged in water, but now is an almost Californian landscape. Brown rolling hills, dry and smattered with trees.
Once we arrived in Ancient Ephesus, we were greeted with a large area of excavated ruins.
Our tour guide took us along the main thoroughfare where Cleopatra and Mark Antony once paraded through town on their chariot.
Ephesus was my second ancient city, last year we toured Ancient Corinth.
There is something about seeing with your own eyes, and walking with your own feet, in towns you have only read about in the Word of God.
One of Ephesus' theaters, the Odeon, or small theater.
Among the ruins and rubble were so many marble pieces, and columns. Two that stood out to me because of their familiar carved symbols.
First, Nike, the winged goddess of victory.
The second was probably once a part of the hospital, the snake and staff medical symbol.
What I loved about Ephesus was that you could see how life played out thousands of years ago.
It seemed to come alive before my eyes.
I mean look at this thing. Only the facade remains standing, but how incredible is it?
It might have been the fact also that it made the biggest shadow and was the only relief from the sun on this blazing hot day in Turkey.
You can see the fillers in the columns where they helped make them complete, but all in all, this structure is pretty intact.
I could absolutely imagine this place back in its golden day.
And finally, as we walked away from the ruins, and back to our buses we passed this shady path, the commercial agora.
I know the picture is blurry, and sadly its the only one I have, as this is likely where the Riots of Acts 19 occurred, due to the loss of business from silver idols the Ephesians were buying and selling, which Paul had reprimanded.
(Here is an awesome site with a lot of historical and biblical references for Ancient Ephesus)
As we drove out, we passed the Great Theater.
It was huge. Imagine the days long since past, and this theater full of Ephesians, the crowds and excitement bustling through the ancient city.
All of these sites combined are only 15% of what has been excavated to date. And the excavations continue.
Compared to what I had seen in Ancient Corinth the previous year, which was awesome, but not even close to what I saw here, this was unbelievable.
I may never return to Turkey, but if I do, I would love to see more of what has been uncovered.