Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Day 5: Izmir, Ephesus

On Day 5, we went to Izmir, Turkey. Izmir is the third most populous city of Turkey and the country's largest port after Istanbul. But compared to the port of Istanbul, Izmir is more geared towards industrial ships, so the captain of Carnival Freedom had to manually navigate this busy port.

After we docked, we boarded the tour bus. Cruise ships usually assign a number to each group and the group boards the corresponding tour bus as seen below.

We went to Izmir to visit Ephesus, one of the most important port cities in ancient time. It had one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis. It was destroyed by a fanatic on the same day Alexader the Great was born (356 BC). When it was rebuilt, it was again destroyed. This time by the Goths (262 AD).

Base of Christianity
If you are a Christian, you should definitely visit Ephesus. Paul used it as the base of his operations. In fact, he had some problems with some of the local population because he was converting people from false gods to Christianity. Local tradesmen were getting angry because they were losing their income -- nobody wanted to buy the idols of the false gods anymore.

The Riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:23–41 NIV)
23About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."

28When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" 29Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. 30Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

32The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

35The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash. 37You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. 38If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. 39If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of today's events. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it." 41After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

John, the beloved disciple and Mary, the mother of Jesus

Before Jesus died on the cross on Friday, rested on the Saturday (Sabbath), and rose on Sunday, He told John to take care of Mary. This is why many scholars place Mary in Ephesus, the same area where John was living and where John died.

The hill below is the supposed burial area of John. The Turks built fortications near the church years down the road.

More from Ephesus

On this hot summer day, there were thousands of visitors!

Ephesus had public pools and public restrooms. This guy was nice enough to show how it was done 2000 years ago. And no need to flush back then, there's constant running water underneath from the acquifer.

Forget the movie theater, they had live performances in this ampitheater. Carved on a mountain, this was an incredible feat for people that didn't have jackhammers and other modernized tools. Click on the picture and take a close look how big the people are compared to the ampitheater.

Celsus Library completed around 135 AD.

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