This weekend we flew to Izmir and then took a bus to the Aegean coastal town of Kusadasi. This was a city I have never been to before and a beach trip after an exhausting schedule was well deserved by all of us. We spent the Saturday evening relaxing by the beach and enjoying calming waves of the Aegean Sea. At night a few of us wanted to discover the city. We arrived at the city center around 10 pm, and surprisingly the city seemed relatively empty especially the bar streets. Apparently the city doesn’t fill up until around 12 am at the earliest, so a group of mainly american tourists, we attracted a lot of attention from the local people. They attempted to teach us a dance, offered us a lot of free drinks and took a lot of pictures with us. Overall the city was a lot of fun and not as busy as the vacation town that i usually go to called Bodrum. On the bus ride back to the hotel our TA and I serenaded the lucky few that were with us in Turkish with the songs of a famous Turkish Rock band Duman.
On Sunday we travelled to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. During it’s heyday under Roman rule roughly 250,000 people lived in Ephesus and it was the largest city in the region after Constantinople. The city covered a major area(550 acres) and it existed between 10th century BC to 15th century AD. It takes a little bit of imagination to figure out what each building and the streets would have looked like when they were in perfect condition. While we were in the grand theatre (Capacity of 25,000) a group of American High Schoolers started to sing on the stage, showing that the acoustics were great even after centuries of wear and tear. On this trip we also went to the final home of Mother Mary. The claim of the home comes from the fact that it is known that Apostle Paul lived in the region after the crucifixion of Jesus, Paul travelled with Mary and that many Christians went on a pilgrimage to this area. Also a disabled German nun that never travelled to Ottoman Empire dreamed of the exact location where the home was in the late 1800s and finally around 60% of all the cities mentioned in the Bible are located in this region makes a compelling argument that this could be plausible. Whether you believe these or not it was a very interesting experience and overall the trip was fantastic.