It was a brief flight from Istanbul down to Izmir. My illness was holding off thanks to the Pepto, but I was terribly weak and desperately tired. We all piled into the huge family van and our driver safely got us to Ephesus, where we checked into our lovely little bed and breakfast. It was a free afternoon, with suggestions of what to see and do – but I kept thinking all I wanted was a nap. Instead, I powered through the feeling and joined a few others to head down to the beautiful little market and explore the quaint city streets filled with shops and restaurants. But in the end we had an early night because in the morning we had our Ephesus ruins tour lined up.
Ephesus is an ancient Greek city built in 10th century BC, although it didn’t really flourish until it came under Roman rule in 129BC . The city was constantly destroyed by raids and earthquakes and continuously rebuilt. Ephesus is renowned for the Temple of Artemis and is one of the churches in the Book of Revelations. The decayed city is among some of the most impressive ruins I’ve seen on my travels, and I was excited to see some Greek ruins here in Turkey as I didn’t have the chance to see any while in Greece; I was too busy writing (I know, terrible!). We had a wonderful guide take us through the ruins from start to finish, filling our heads with the long and war torn history of the city. We even ventured into the terrace houses, which are still currently under excavation. They were stunning to see and it was incredible that so much of the houses and even the mosaics were still in tact, being over 2000 years old! We even saw an area where someone, probably a teenager, carved graffiti into one of the walls- kids those/these days!
Now, here’s the thing…and don’t judge me, but… what stood out to me the most in Ephesus…. were the cats. Seriously though. There must have been 100 of them living there in the ruins! They were everywhere. They were perched atop broken columns thousands of years old. They were lazily lying across the old worn marble, soaking up the warmth from the sun.
They were sitting on the stairs of the library. They were scattered around the seats in the theatre. They loitered around the public bathrooms in the market area. Everywhere you went, a cat would suddenly come around a corner and meow at you, arch its back, and curl it’s body around your leg, begging for a pet. They way they lounged all over the ruins, you’d swear they were paid models, and I was not the only one who was paying more attention to them than the ruins, trust me!
Now, I in no way mean to diminish the beauty and history of the once great City of Ephesus – this place is absolutly breathtaking to venture through and to learn the history of – as I mentioned earlier, it’s one of the most striking city ruins I’ve been to. If you are in Turkey, you should most definitely make this a stop on you itinerary.
And if you love cats… you’ll really love Ephesus!
I tried my best to listen to the history and absorb as much as I could, but I just couldn’t get over how many cats there were. They were demanding my attention… and my camera lens!
And so, without further adieu, let me introduce to you, The Cats of Ephesus.