Written by Linton Hutchinson
Ever wonder where the Virgin Mary lived? Many think the Ancient city of Ephesus was her hometown. It wasn’t a bad location given the times she was alive. It had running hot and cold water, steam baths, heated homes, a sewer system, wide streets and I’m sure the bus system was also pretty swell for the times.
The down side? Where do you think all that sewage ended up at the end of the day? Well, follow the stream to the harbor. After the first five hundred years of the city, the harbor filled up with silt and whatnot backing up the entire system.
Stagnant waters resulted with a plethora of mosquitos resulting. A fertile breeding ground, swarms of the little but deadly insects carried malaria to the town and surrounding area.
The inhabitants never figured out the connection between malaria and mosquitos and praying to the gods had little effect on the plague. In the end, they citizens of Ephesus abandoned the town for higher ground.
Ephesus was deserted lock, stock and barrel as people considered it cursed, a ancient replica of our modern day Sleepy Hollow. Over the next hundred years, marble was stripped from many of the structures but all in all, the city remained intact to present times.
The tour guide makes all the difference in Ephesus so try hard to find someone that can speak passable English.
Our guide, April, went to school to become a tour guide specializing in archeology and spend many of her formative years in California. Her valley girl accent not withstanding, April made the city come alive with her commentary and anecdotes regarding the life and times of Ephesus.
One bonus of visiting Ephesus is that fact that you start at the top of the mountain and from there on, everything is downhill. Everything of course, except the tour. Five stars we loved it!
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