Eucalyptus, mulberry, a pine variety, olive, and a very few cypress trees shade the landscape during our drive to ancient Ephesus. Only 20% of the ancient city is uncovered, which is amazing because it is the most beautiful of the ruins that we have seen. The white marble streets are still almost level, most of the columns still stand, the Great Theatre built into the side of the hill still is used and can seat 24,000, and the tall multi-story front of the Library of Celsus is still intact. One's imagination doesn't have to run as wild as we've been stretched so far this semester. Ephesus is majestic - my favorite of the ruin sites we've visited so far. This was where Paul left Aquila and Priscilla who met with Apollo whom they taught the ways of the God more adequately. We discussed Paul's questioning of the baptism the people there received and their acceptance of the Holy Spirit. We walked through the shop area where the scene would have happened where It was stated that man-made gods are no gods at all. Paul wanted to speak to the people. It was down this path that Paul's traveling companions were shuffled and pushed as the crowds shouted, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" And he was kept safe on a hillside that we saw in the distance. It was a moving morning.
The Ephesus Ceramic production center welcomed our group after our journey through ancient times. We watched a master sculptor and painter demonstrate their arts in their workshops. After being served pomegranate juice, we had the opportunity to shop among the ceramics. The building was filled with handmade beauties that were incredibly tempting. It was scary to turn if one carried a purse or bag on her back! Many students bought souvenirs that were carefully wrapped for packing. The workshop owners were so kind and appreciative; I took careful notes to ponder for future purchases for our new home here and am already looking forward to returning!
Our lunch was special today. We went to a restaurant nestled into nature. Surrounded by olive and peach and citrus trees among the hills, we were a bit out from the city. The buffet was three or four dishes deep and eight to ten dishes long with traditional Turkish foods. The restaurant was owned by the chef, and she was a gracious lady. Her cookbook came out a couple of years ago. I can't wait to share these recipes with my Aunt Petrecia, who we say is the best cook east of the Mississippi River.
St. John's Basilica was only a few minutes away. John was the disciple whom Jesus loved. He spent time in this area and finished writing his gospel account here in Ephesus. After a tour at the Basilica, we made a quick stop at another wonder of the ancient world - the Temple of Artemis. The background there was picturesque, and we had some reflection time. It's been a full day.