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Monday, August 12: Day 112 – UNESCO aka Turkey

We had breakfast with a delightful couple from India. Their names are Venkat and Harini and they are on their honeymoon in Turkey.

We talked about travel, Turkey, speaking English, diet, and our beliefs.

We told them that we usually pray before a meal and asked if they like to join us. They agreed, and we held hands and said a quick prayer of thanks. Afterwards Harini said, “That was fun. We have seen it on TV but have never done it.” I will now look at prayer differently… fun.

They speak Tamil at home but English in their work. Their vegetarian diet (Jaine) is a stricter version of vegetarianism. No eggs, milk or vegetable roots such as potatoes and carrots…only sprouted things. They were off to find some Indian-friendly food. Safe travels!

Basilica of St. John

The apostle John lived in Ephesus and likely so did Mary, the mother of Jesus since Jesus asked John from the cross to take care of her. A small church was built in the 4th century over the presumed burial site of John.

The Basilica of St. John is in Ephesus and was constructed by Justinian I in the 6th century. It is the first church in the world fashioned in the shape of a cross.

John spent time on this hill writing and returned here in Ephesus from Patmos when Domition was assassinated.

This burial site was looted by the crusaders and his body was taken away as relics.

Pliny the Younger of Bitinya wrote a letter to Trajan about killing Christians. The more we kill, the more people convert. Trajan said to stop killing them just because they are Christians, only if they break the law.

Letter from Pliny the Younger to Trajan

My dad is a musician and he asked me to buy him an unusual instrument while I am travelling. I have to carry it since I am not mailing ANYTHING.

I bought a Zurna here which looks like a small clarinet without a reed and sounds like a recorder. Ertunga says that it is from the region. He tells me that it is played alongside a drum. This will go great with his zebra drum.

Omar dropped us off in a fig grove near the ancient town of Magnesia. Ertunga gave us one to eat. It was delicious and sweet.

This prompted a story from our previous home in Franklin, VA. Our eldest daughter, Ellen, had a favorite tree in the backyard. It was a fig tree planted by the previous owner who had brought it from Italy.

Ellen was supposed to adopt a tree for a school project and write about it throughout the year. When it produced figs, I made fig jam and it was awful. I thought that I must have done something wrong. Now I know why.

The female needs a male to pollinate which is done by a tiny fly.

One doesn’t eat the fruit of the male. If a female does not have a male, her fruit is not good either. I don’t know the sex of our tree, but either way, the fruit was bad.

The male tree is hard to spot and you just need a few. We asked Ertunga to show us if he sees one. Bingo.

The leaf of the male tree is darker. Also, he could tell because the fruit was gone. Pollination has occured and the female is now ripe and ready for harvest.

It is blisteringly hot. 94°F at 11:00 but we tread through the fig grove and turn the corner, and this is what we see.

Hippodrome Magnesia on the Meander River

The upper gate of the city center in Ephesus was called the Magnesia Gate. This city was nearby.

There are the letters on the seats. When one buys a ticket, it is a stone with its seat location on it. One is shown to their seat and the stone is taken and used for the next performance.

Here the view from the best seats in the house.

There were horse races and they had water troughs for them.

Also, gladiator contests took place here. All across the bottom of the stadium were bas reliefs of different gladiators and their weapons. This would be similar to posters of today.

I wonder what HIS weapon was?

Church of Saint Nicolas

The Church of Saint Nicolas is an 18th century church that was built on an older church. It is in the Turkish town of Gullubahce which means Rose Garden.

Here was the sign.

To quote the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, “We’re goin’ in.’

I wondered why this church has been abandoned. There is no evidence of total destruction by an earthquake. It serves as a grave reminder: If we are not multiplying, our churches will become like this. Is your church growing or declining? It is one or the other.


Priene is a huge city. Priene was one of the Ionian cities. It was one of the smaller ones!!!!!!

Hippodamus of Miletus designed this city using a grid system of roads and sewers which is used by cities today. Athens is based on this plan. He is known as the father of urban planning.

The main road was called Athena Road and the houses were the same size. (This reminded me of Nowa Huta in Krakow.)

Greek and local culture together is a the hallmark of an Ionian city. Priene was very wealthy and Athena was her patron saint.

Priene has the best preserved Greek theatre. There are separate spaces for the actors and orchestra. At Priene was a deus ex machina meaning machine of the gods which was a primative wooden tower. It would be raised or lowered for actors entrances and exits. Also, it would indicate when the show is over. Leave! (Although there were no words, this is seems like this when we see credits at the end of a movie.)

Alexander the Great stayed here during some of his nearby military campaigns. Houses in which he stayed contained a statuary head of him noting that he was there. It is kind of like a historical marker!

If Paul went to Miletos, he certainly passed through Priene even though there is no Biblical record.

There was an Agora with a separate food market where meat and fish were sold. There were tables for processing and many different bones were found. Also, it was at the top of the hill with an impressive large drainage gutter.

Apollo Temple at Didyma

We came to the ancient city of Didyma which means twins. Apollo and Artemis were twins.

It was the place where people went to have an oracle. This site is second to Delphi.

All five known Apollo temples are built on a fault line as that would produce emissions from the earth. (That is probably why all the temples are in ruins.)

A priestess virgin has her tongue cut off so she cannot speak herself. (Apparently, this is a big honor.) She is tied to the altar. When the sulfuric gas releases, she screams and tears her clothes and runs out of the temple. This is when they determine that Apollo has visited.

The priest tells the oracle. It never has one meaning so it is never wrong.

In order to hear an oracle, one must sacrifice an animal and then they walk seven times around the temple. Ertunga says circling Mecca seven times originates from this pagan practice.

There are 126 columns.

Some are not finished, but you can see the marks for making the grooves.

The columns get wider toward the top so visually it appears to the eye that the column width is the same all the way up.


Miletos was an important city of philosphers in the 6th century BC. It was home of one of the Seven Sages. (I had never heard of them.) Paul spent some time here.

“Turkey has more Greek cities than Greece and more Roman Cities than Rome.”

In fact, all of Turkey seems like a UNESCO site. Turkey is like an open air museum.

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