Day 6: Friday, September 10: Flight to Izmir, Turkey, Ephesus
Today we flew to Turkey to replace our originally-planned three-day cruise. It was an early morning for the group, departing the hotel at 7 a.m. We read from Philippians 2:1-11 as we left for the airport.
Flight to Izmir, Turkey
Our flight to Turkey went well. We first flew to Istanbul before flying to Izmir (ancient Smyrna). We made our connections without any difficulty, although we did a lot of walking through the brand-new airports in Istanbul and Izmir.
Once we collected our luggage, we met our guide, Eylem (Elam). He is a very nice and informative Christian guide with archaeological experience. He actually dug over three seasons at Ephesus, our lone site of there day.
Ephesus was the fourth largest city in the Roman world (after Rome, Alexandria, Antioch). The city when Paul was here was about 250,000 in population. It was the center of commerce, located on a port. Artemis (Diana) was the primary deity worshipped here. She was viewed in the pagan world as the goddess of fertility.
“Today we crossed into Turkey. We visited Ephesus. I did not realize the site was so large. It was incredible to think Paul was here for nearly three years.” -Tour Member-
We began our site seeing of Ephesus at the top part of the city. We saw an incredible display of marble, columns, arches, and amazing architecture. Among the more impressive ruins was the Library of Celsus and the grand theater. In the agora (marketplace), we read from Acts 19. Paul spent nearly three years here during his third missionary journey. He also wrote 1 Corinthians from here.
Turkish Carpet/Rug Co-Op
Before driving to our hotel in Izmir, we stopped at a carpet-making co-op right outside Ephesus. We were first fed a very nice home-made meal before seeing how they made the carpets. We enjoyed the full display ofthe carpets.
We eventually arrived to our hotel for checkin and overnight. It was a long yet wonderful day! Thanks be to God for the safety of travel.