7 ancient ruins of turkey (part 2)

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Following up from yesterday’s “seven” ancient images of Turkey – we are now spending today’s post on talking a little bit about them.

We mean no disrespect to history or the ruins of Turkey but too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad. The first site of ruins that we saw was exciting, the second site was mind-boggling, the third site still brought awe but then by the fourth and those thereafter honestly became a bit of a blur.

But it wasn’t only here that we have experienced this form of saturation or sightseeing fatigue, this has happened to us in several parts of the world. In Europe, there were castles/palaces, cathedrals and churches! And our times in Asia, we have experienced temples saturation. We’ve suffered museum and art gallery fatigue too! Everything begins to blend into one. We tried slow travel and we’ve tried intense travel but it always happens! We have learnt that variety is key.

But back to Turkey, we did see amazing ruins! Please don’t get us wrong, there is no denying the significance of the things we saw. We love history, especially ancient history and we loved what we saw!

1) Troy

It is highly likely that this place needs no introduction. History buffs will know the city of Troy and those that don’t, may have at least seen the movie with Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. If you still have no idea what we are talking about, then maybe you know the legendary tale how Troy came to be conquered by the Greeks in the wooden horse!

This site is probably underwhelming in some respects but we were still excited. As we walked through the clearly marked path, we tried to grasp the size of the walled city. It definitely isn’t big by today’s standards but we knew they were not penetrable. It blew us away how the city wall we could see was only part of it, the height was much taller and the rest was still buried beneath where we stood.

The "top of the city" walls, apparently there is more below...
The “tops of the city” walls, apparently there is more below…

And of course, we needed to do the typical tourist thing, climb inside the horse and have our photos taken.

Not the original Trojan Horse, now that would've been exciting!
Not the original Trojan Horse, now that would’ve been exciting!

2) Pergamum

The most impressive Temple of Zeus altar was discovered here however unfortunately today there is nothing more than rubble. The altar have been excavated and taken back and reconstructed in a museum in Berlin – which is a shame but in terms of preservation, probably for its own good.

Introducing where the Temple of Zeus once stood...
Introducing where the Temple of Zeus once stood…

What we loved about this ancient ruins site, aside the fact you travel on a cable car up to it, is the gorgeous amphitheatre! Looking at our photos now still provides this overwhelming feeling of can’t-believe-we-saw-that. It’s so steep and its sheer size astounds us still. This place is definitely worth a visit. We really enjoyed it here.

The steep theatre, a little nerve racking walking down those stairs
The steep theatre, a little nerve racking walking down those stairs

3) Ephesus

Ephesus is probably most famous for the Library of Celsus and Gate of Augustus. Hate to break it to you, but is all reconstructed with replicas. The originals can be found in Vienna. Sometimes, we wish we didn’t know any better.

Anyway, it didn’t bother us much as we found some other things rather fascinating while here; the mosaics on the paths outside the terraces, the public washrooms, the Fountain of Trajan, the Goddess Nike carving and one of us being from a health background was quite humbled to see the medical and pharmacy symbols. Entering the gladiator arena was also probably a wee bit exciting!

Yep, those were the public toilets
Yep, those were the public toilets
Nike - Greek goddess of victory
Nike – Greek goddess of victory

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ephesus is not far from Kusadasi or Izmir which are ports for cruises. So if you happen to be here when the boats are in, expect to have thousands of other fellow visitors. Although what we saw here was magnificent and mind blowing, it was also extremely crowded.

4) Temple of Artemis

Possibly the most unexciting ancient ruins we have ever seen on any travels. The site where it once stood houses now nothing noticeable except some remains and one lone pillar. In its heyday, there is no doubt based on the reconstructions of its probable appearance that it was a very grand building. It was also once an ancient 7 wonder of the world. But alas, is no more and probably explainable due to it sad state. This might have been where out interest began to wane as is yours, so if you are reading…. thank you, we appreciate it 🙂

5) Aphrodisias

A bit of a mixed bag this place for us. There was the Sebasteion and the tetrapylon which were both reconstructed. So the stadium was our biggest highlight here. It is about 2 football fields long (260 m) and would have been able to house up to 30, 000 spectators. It is said that it is one of the best preserved ancient stadiums. There is an air-conditioned museum which houses all the statues and artefacts found at the site. It is a lovely refuge on a hot day but also very interesting to explore the different exhibits!

Tetrapylon
Tetrapylon
The very long stadium
The very long stadium

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Perge

Seeing the old baths was probably the most fascinating thing here. Firstly there was a water pipe system and that there were visible heating facilities (hypocaust chambers) underground. Perge also has a stadium outside of the entrance gates which is believed could house 12, 000 spectators.

Hypocaust chambers
Hypocaust chambers
"Shops" just outside the stadium
“Shops” just outside the stadium

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) Aspendos

It is noticeable from our photos that our interest here has waned a lot. The heat was probably also getting to us. We don’t have very many photos of this particular area. We have a few of the very well-preserved theatre and a few of the aqueducts. What actually fascinated us most about this area were the cotton fields. Being born and raised in the city, we had never seen how cotton was grown other than on TV and in books. So to see it in “real life” was our highlight here!

Looking up at the theatre stage
Looking up at the theatre stage

Despite possibly feeling a little weary of ruins, there is one thing we always do when we visit historical sites. We pause and try to imagine what life would have been like in the times when the ruins were not ruins. In our heads, we try to recreate the sounds we might be hearing, the atmosphere. We will never know if we get it right but it’s still our way of soaking it all in so we remember it the way we choose to remember it.

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3 thoughts on “7 ancient ruins of turkey (part 2)

    Sony Fugaban said:
    November 3, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Wow! You just made me want to teleport to Turkey now. Those are astonishing architectures.

    Many thanks for sharing them with us.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      November 3, 2013 at 6:12 am

      Thanks! Appreciate you stopping by and commenting! So glad to here you liked it – Turkey is an amazing place. You should go if you have never been 🙂

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