I have not been on this schedule since the sixth grade. Alarm at 0600, breakfast at 0630, leave suitcase outside door at 0700, get in the bus at 0800. I’d skip breakfast but there’s no coffee pot in the hotel room. Or potable water. When you visit Turkey, remember that water is not free, even in restaurants.
Ephesus the ancient Greek, then Roman, then Byzantine, then Seljuk, then Ottoman city in Anatolia (Asia Minor) has two reigning tourist attractions, both female divinities.
The more recent one is the Virgin Mary, who is believed to have lived in this nondescript house on a hill. There are no records to support this claim: the BVM is supposed to have traveled to Asia Minor with the apostle John after Jesus’s death, but there was no forwarding address. This house reportedly matches the description provided by a German nun, who saw it in a vision. It is now a pilgrimage destination.
I suspect that Ephesus was the best candidate for the BVM’s address because for centuries before Christianity the city had been associated with another, much older female divinity—the Greek goddess Artemis who was merged with the Anatolian goddess Kybele to become the Lady of Ephesus, who is portrayed as a woman with many, many breasts (though some think they might be testicles).
This is all that remains of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: pieces of stone piled into a column in Selcuk. The original temple was burned down by one Herostratus, who wanted to be remembered for something, anything. This makes him the first fame whore on record. “Why didn’t Artemis protect her temple?” people asked. Tradition says the goddess of fertility was busy that day, helping a woman who was in labor. The child grew up to become Alexander the Great. The temple was rebuilt, the size of a football field. Later it was destroyed by a Christian mob.
The ruins of Ephesus give you some idea of its grandeur and sophistication. Its main avenue is lined with the remains of shops, you can see the pipes in the ground for the indoor plumbing, and there are holes in the street where large torches were planted at night.
Scholars think this is an ad for a brothel. There’s a foot to tell patrons where to go, a woman and a heart indicating what they could get, and a bill (credit card?) reminding them that it wasn’t free.