Tree of Life Silk Carpet

Tree of Life Silk Carpet

It is a four hour drive from Gőcek to Kuşadası, a resort town on the Aegean. On the way we stopped at Ephesus Handcrafts for lunch and to learn about Turkish carpets. They grow their own silk worms and save about 10% of the moths for reproduction. They use natural ingredients for their dyes. Local villagers can take a three month program to learn weaving skills. They can learn more advanced techniques in additional three month programs. A bus is provided for transportation, including a trip home for lunch if desired. Weavers can be given a loom and yarn, if needed, for their work at home where they develop their own patterns. Bank accounts are set up with direct deposit in order to give women control of their own money. We learned about the different weaving processes which affect the quality and price of a carpet. We purchased a silk carpet with the Tree of Life design.

Charisma Hotel View

Charisma Hotel View

The Charisma Hotel, located in Kuşadası, only has rooms with views of the Aegean. We enjoyed our deck with its views of the massive swimming pool and buoyed area for swimming in the Aegean. I snorkeled in the Aegean and swam in the pool. We also walked along the coast to a park where students were holding a fair with science and culture-related displays. Along the way, we looked at an interesting sculpture that uses a giant hand to release several birds.

Library of Celsus

Library of Celsus

Dr. Adrian Saunders, Koç University classics professor, lectured us at the Crisler Library in Selçuk on his area of academic expertise, graffiti, especially examples found in the ruins of Ephesus. This ancient Greek city, located on the coast of Ionia near present day Selçuk, was later a major Roman city. With a population of more than 200,000, it was the capital and largest port city of Roman Asia Minor. Our tour of the ruins included the terrace houses which show how the wealthy lived during the Roman period. Especially intriguing were the multicolored floor mosaics showing figures. The façade of the Library of Celsus has been reconstructed from original pieces. It held about 12,000 scrolls which made it the third largest library of the time. The marble toilets near the library are also a distinctive facet of life in this city. Ephesus, of course, also has a great theatre. Did you know Heraclitus came from Ephesus?

St. John Baptismal Font

St. John Baptismal Font

For lunch, we enjoyed the variety of foods at the Bizim Ev Restaurant’s buffet surrounded by beautiful flowers. Then we drove into Selçuk to visit the Basilica of St. John which was built during the reign of emperor Justinian in the 6th century over the supposed site of the apostle’s tomb. Mary, mother of Jesus, is said to have lived and died in Ephesus. The nearby citadel is imposing atop a high hill. Storks make their nest on columns found in this area.

The Selçuk farmer’s market takes place on Saturdays. We wandered amidst displays of eggs, cheeses, vegetables, fruits and other goods. One vendor was selling strawberries at two or three different prices. Many local people were filling their shopping carts. Ephesus and modern Selçuk are, indeed, jewels worthy of all the tourist traffic.

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