- Middle east
One Day in Selçuk Exploring Ephesus
I thought I had enough of Roman ruins in Jordan when I explored Jerash. I was skeptical about visiting Ephesus at first but since I was in Turkey and I needed to start somewhere, I decided to put Ephesus on my itinerary. As it turned out, it was pretty dang awesome.
The Library of Celsus was nothing short of magnificent. Walking on top of the biggest ancient amphitheater in Anatolia overlooking the Harbor road was as epic as it sounds. Ephesus is not to be missed.
Where to Stay in Selcuk, Turkey
For Accomodation, I highly recommend staying at the Boomerang Guesthouse. They have a family run restaurant on the side that acted as a lobby for the guesthouse. The restaurant was an awesome place to socialize and the perfect place to grab some beers and shisha during the night while sitting under the stars.
Visiting Ephesus from Selcuk on Foot
From Istanbul, I took an overnight Metro bus at 10PM and arrived in Selcuk at around 6AM. I was dead tired at that point so I decided to spend the first half of the day resting, and the next half exploring Ephesus.
There were a lot of questions as to where I should base myself in order to visit both the Ephesus and Pamukkale. I went with Selcuk just because it was cheaper, but in truth, it did not really matter. I could do day trips from either Selcuk or Pamukkale or even Izmir if I wanted a little bit of city life.Looking for a guide to Istanbul? 4 Days in Istanbul, Turkey.
After a long nap in the morning, I woke up at noon feeling quite energetic. I decided to not waste any more time and went out for a walk to Ephesus.
I walked for 45 minutes through the, what seems to be a small park before reaching the Ephesus. It was noon and the sun was raging as usual, but fortunately the walkway from Selcuk to Ephesus was completely under the shade so the walk was more enjoyable than I thought.
First stop, the Library of Celsus. One of the most iconic landmark in the area hence the non-stop crowds. There were so many people, I decided to come back for the library later.
Comparing this to Jerash in Jordan, the statues and the carvings were better maintained here than in Jerash. Look at the detail of these carvings in the photo. Amazing!
Inside the city, there was separate section called "The House on the Slopes" or "the houses of rich people" that ironically, I had to pay extra to get into. There weren't anything interesting inside except the fact that this house and the detail of wall paintings were still being recovered. The house was so fragile, they built glass floors and metal stairs to keep us from wrecking the place up.
It was hard for me to fathom the historical value of some of the statues without a guide explaining it to me but as you may know, I despise having a guide following me around. All I could do was appreciate the art and the craftsmanship of the people who once ruled this city.
You can totally spend an hour or two walking around this ancient city. I decided to stay a little longer hoping that the number of tourists would decrease to a more manageable size. It did not decrease though.
So I decided to just "fuck it", and waited no more. I went to the Library and pointed my camera upward to avoid getting people in my photos. It was impossible to get a photo of the Library without people in it.
The detail of the Library blew me away. The Romans were really the masters of their crafts.
To tell you the truth, I failed to see how this resembled a library. There were nothing that looked like a library inside, if I could call it inside.
The statue of Arete, one of the most beautiful Roman statues I'd seen so far. It depicted the human anatomy in a belieavable way.
Before I went back to Selcuk, I decided to check out the amphlitheatre. From the top you could see the ruins, the Harbor road, and the amazing landscape that surrouneded the site.
At around 6 PM, I got back to Selcuk and decided to squeeze one last activity of the day, a visit to the Ayasoluk Castle. It wasn't that great though, the castle was not very well maintained, and nothing was interesting around the area. The view was not even as epic as I had hope, so if you have limited time, you can skip the castle.
Right before I left for the castle, I met 2 french Canadian ladies from the hostel and we decided to hang out for the night talking about their studies and my obsessive admiration of Arcade Fire. They were super friendly and delightful.. as all Canadians do.
After we had a few beers, we decided to end the night and went separate ways the next day as I had to go on a Pamukkale day tour I booked from the hostel and they had to go back to Istanbul. For the next entry of our Solo Traveler's Journal, we will explore one of the oldest tourist attraction in the area, Pamukkale. What is Pamukkale and why has it been so popular for thousands of years? Stay tuned for Turkey Part 3.
Further Reading for Turkey
Turkey is a country that stands in the middle of Europe and Asia. Empires after empires rose and fall on this land and in order to see Turkey as a whole, you will have to go further than just Istanbul.
Here is a selection of articles and travel guides that you might need to further plan your trip to Turkey:
- Looking for a complete itinerary and travel guide for Turkey? One Month Itinerary for Turkey.
- You will likely be flying into Istanbul when you are traveling to Turkey. Check out my 4 days itinerary for Istanbul.
- Pamukkale is a popular tourist attraction since the ancient time. People from all over come to bath in these white salt pools along the cascade. It is an incredible sight to behold and if you want to visit, check out my One Day Travel Guide to Pamukkale.
- The southern coast of Turkey boasts a vivid turquoise colored sea, stunning cliffs and the Lycian trail, one of the best long trekking trails in the world that runs along the coast. Check out our travel guide on hiking the Butterfly Valley and Kabak in the Southern port town of Fethiye, Turkey.
- Cappadocia is a big area full of amazing things to do, from hot air balloon to hiking the valleys. Here’s a complete guide on how to spend 4 days in Cappadocia, Turkey.
- Mt. Nemrut and a collection of stone heads of gods atop the mountain are not easy to visit. The question has to be asked, Is Mt. Nemrut really worth visiting? We have the answer.
- It’s time to go off the beaten path with a visit to Van, a city in Eastern Turkey known for its massive breakfast and an Armenian temple on an island. Here’s a travel guide on how to visit Van, Turkey.
- The Northern coast of Turkey, below the Black Sea is also a great place to go off-the-beaten-path. Trabzon is an important ancient port city full of history waiting for you to explore. Check out my travel guide on how to visit Sumela Monastery in Trabzon.
- Kars is a city located on the easternmost part of Turkey and along the border with Armenia, there’s an ancient Armenian ruin called Ani that will blow your mind away. Here is a complete guide on how to visit Ani from Kars, Turkey.
- Not convinced by my words? Maybe these photos of Turkey will help! 45 Photos that will inspire you to travel to Turkey.
- Since you are already all the way east, why not cross the border from Turkey to Georgia and make your way to Tbilisi, a vibrant capital city of Georgia. Check out my Georgia Travel Guide to plan your next trip to Georgia.
- For all articles about Turkey, visit Turkey Travel Guide page.
- Looking for more travel guides for the Middle East? You can find more on my Middle East Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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