Tulips and History of Turkey Tour 2014
April 14th - 23rd, 2014


April 19. Saturday. Izmir
We are in Izmir…what another beautiful city and our hotel is across the road from the waterfront. We were there during Easter so the lobby was decked out with Easter Eggs and colourful floral designs. Today’s excursion takes us to Ephesus, 7th wonder of the ancient world, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the largest ancient city ever uncovered and yet only 15-17 percent is left to see. Once populated with up to 60,000 people, it has an enormous Amphitheatre, which can still hold 24,000 spectators. Known for its excellent acoustics, it was here that St. Paul preached to the Ephesians, asking them to give up their worship of Artemis and embrace the Christian faith.

As you walk down the marble covered streets (watch for the footprint imprinted in a street slab showing the way to the house of a prostitute and the public toilets), see gymnasiums, bath houses, public latrines, the library of Celsus with copies of the original four statues representing wisdom, knowledge, intelligence and virtue. The Temple of Artemis. We stopped at a wonderful place for lunch, and if not already lucky to be here, they had a great gift shop and bakery!

We continued to the House of the Virgin Mary, where she is believed to have spent her last few days. St. John and Mary came here by horse or donkey. You have to see it to think of them going all the way up to the top of this place through forest. In the 6th century it became a pilgrimage site – still here is the original baptismal pool. Inside the little church there is a fresco of Mary on the wall, very faint but if you look closely at the photo I took you can see it. To this day it is still an active church. Then on to Sevilen Winery for a wine tasting before heading back to the hotel. This is a 3rd generation family run business. Now it was hard to find and afterwards we found out that in Turkey vineyards are not allowed to advertse, any where so they go by the parent name. Getting back to our hotel we found that our rooms had treats in them for Easter….I should also mention that the gardens at the hotel were lovely and restful to walk around. This area is also known for their great peaches and pomegranates.


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