Ephesus, Turkey: Cats, Cats, Everywhere!

Our next stop on the cruise was Kusadasi, Turkey, situated very close to the ancient city of Ephesus.

The first place of interest that our tour led us to was the supposed house of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is believed that St. John and Mary came to Ephesus so that Mary could live out her final years in peace. Of course, this is a reconstruction, but it was still rather interesting.

Many individuals took part in lighting a candle, very customary in the Catholic church.

And, if desired, you had the opportunity to fill up a little souvenir vase with Mary’s “holy” water. I’m not quite sure why the water was holy, but it was a good excuse for souvenir sellers to offer their vases to collect the water in.

And something that particular struck me was Mary’s wall, something that had become somewhat of a local tradition  Here, many visitors write a prayer  to Mary on cloth or paper and tie it to the fence. People shared honest pleas for hope, love, and peace. And although it was not something that I personally celebrated in my own beliefs, it was quite magical. Sometimes, tradition is quite moving.

We then had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful landscape as we departed from Mary’s house. The Turkish landscape is quite lovely, something that I had never realized before I traveled here.

And of course, I was mainly in it for the food, which we enjoyed at another 5 star hotel.

Turkish food is comprised mainly of vegetables, with significant amounts of cucumber and okra (which I enjoyed raw for the first time).

The cuisine is much like Greek food, so we enjoyed kebab meet, cheese pie, baklava, etc.

That lunch was really really great. In fact, I told myself to get whatever looked good and if I couldn’t finish it, no problem.

Well, I finished it.

And then went back for this.

Oh Baklava. I love you.

It was dripping with sugar and butter, yet retained an extremely crispy shell.

It was heaven.

And then, after our bellies were full, we made our way to Ephesus, where we were greeted with cats.

Cats, cats, everywhere.

There were tiger cats.

And gold cats.

And white and gold cats.

And sleeping cats.

We then realized that it was only natural to take a picture with a cat, since they consumed most of our time at Ephesus.

And after the cat takeover, we had a nice tour of the ruins.

The ancient city of Ephesus is extremely impressive. The ruins extended much father than I ever had expected and experts believe that they haven’t even excavated 70% of the city yet. Something they have yet to discover is the synagogue that Paul visited when he was in Ephesus.

Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

One interesting thing about Ephesus is that Paul was actually imprisoned here. Because the city was known for its idol worship, the tradesman of the city a (and consequently the economy) thrived due to the purchase of gold and silver. With Paul’s message of the Gospel, he was threatening the economic stability of the city. Because of this, he was thrown in jail.

It was interesting to see the reality of the Gospel preached in an ancient area. I had never realized the economic implications that preaching the Gospel could have meant to these people. It was understandable that they felt the way they did. It was like the Gospel had been reenacted for me. It seemed as if I was watching it unfold just by being in the ruins. I was able to gain an entirely new perspective into the scriptures in Acts. It was real. Paul was dealing with real issues and real people. It gave me an incredible respect for Paul.

This is the reconstructed Odeon, a typical theater where small events would have been held. Local musicians, small dramas, etc, would have happened in this type of venue.

This arch, our tour guide stated, was made of all original ruins.

This “public” toilet area (meaning only for men) was the socialization epicenter of Ephesus. Men would come here, do their business and talk about politics, struggles with the wife, or anything relevant to how they were feeling.


Below, the library of Celsius, is an impressive building that was built after Paul visited the city. Archaeologists worked for 8 years piecing the remains together and were able to reconstruct the entire face of the library.

Below, right across from the library, was the “so-called House of Pleasure” (as the signage states). Put a bit more bluntly, this was the town brothel. It was actually connected underground to the library.

Ancient Man: Honey I’m going to study at the library

Wife: Ok, I’ll meet you outside when you are finished

Ancient Man: Underground passage way to the brothel, back to the library, check out a book. Everything looks non-suspicious.

Even the ancient people were tricky tricky tricky.

I guess the moral of the brothel story is next time your man needs to go to the “library,” check for suspicious underground paths leading to strip clubs or McDonalds.

And last but not least, the theater  which seats roughly 24,000 guests, meaning that the city of Ephesus must have been quite large. Although rumors have it that Paul actually preached in this there  there is unfortunately no mention of it in scripture. The only incidence of this is in Acts 19:30, where is states that he did NOT go to the theater to defend the gospel.

To take in the splendor of the theater, our guide instructed us not to look at it as we were passing, but wait until we were in a location where we could actually view it in it’s entirety.

Actually, he told us we would turn into pillars of salt if we looked back.

Which really made me WANT to look back just to see if I would.

Once we arrived on top of a surrounding hill, our guide told us to turn around.

Wow. I wish I could explain how incredible it was. It literally took my breathe away.

I think visiting Ephesus (and Athens) took my faith to a different platform. It was hard to take in the fact that I was seeing the New Testament come to life. I was walking the steps of Paul, viewing things that had been built long before Christ, and was surrounded by ancient countryside.

It was just remarkable.

Ciao for now!