Antiquity at my feet

Before I journey back over the Sufi Tour I completed in the first half of my trip, I wanted to share my days here in Selcuk near the coast of Turkey, just a short distance from Ephesus, one of the most complete ancient cities restored in this region. There are ruins everywhere in Turkey and in fact there is no more building allowed that involves digging because invariably ruins will be found. Just steps from my pension there remnants of an ancient hamam, Turkish bath, the aqueduct that provided water to Ephesus, the Basilica of St. John where he is proported to be buried, the Selcuk Castle, and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Sadly only one column of this amazing place remains, its pieces destroyed in earthquakes and/or carted away to build other later buildings.

On a hill 7 kilometers from the centre of town is Mary’s House, and the final resting place of the Virgin Mary (right). This place holds significance for Muslims as well since Mary is mentioned in the Koran as the mother of the Prophet Jesus. It was a lovely, quite place, not the large overbuilt basilica of John, but a small square building that spoke of humility.

Next was Ephesus. Here is the view (left) I had yesterday as I ate my lunch of olives, cheese, bread and fruit. Not bad, eh. Sitting in front of the library which was built nearly 900 years ago, I felt such a smallness, an awe that was immeasurable. The quiet of a winter visit was perfect. Silence filled the space for a short sudden respite and all I heard were birds and a cow bell in the distance. I watched the clouds move through the openings in the building, bringing sun, then wind, then the brilliant blue of a perfect Turkish sky. It was resplendent.

Walking the streets where once 200,000 people lived, worked, shopped and watched plays and heard music in the great amphitheather was remarkable. I visited the Ephesus Museum today in Selcuk. There was a sadness that these great works of art had to be removed to protect them. Knowing that so many of the finest pieces of antiquity are not in Turkey but in the great museums of Europe, taken by treasure seekers who felt an entitlement to all found in this cradle of civilization.

I took this picture in the museum. Even the museum people must be a bit embarrassed by him; you have to push a button next to the display to illuminate it. The humour of it, the fact that perhaps the joke was on the treasure seekers who missed this little guy, the symbol of abundance and fertility throughout the region, seems a nice way to end this post.

Masallah. Blessings to you.

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~ by Tess (Piyadassi) on December 22, 2009.

One Response to “Antiquity at my feet”

  1. I touch my heart as the Easterns do: May the Peace of Allah abide with you – as you travel to your next destination. Your image cast in the glass and the symbol of abundance and fertility sitting in your center bodes well, I think. Continued safe passage, dear friend.

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