Notes from the Trip; Kusadasi, Turkey
History is the name of this stop. Many things are unique about this former little fishing village, that now boasts the second largest bazaar in Turkey, to the Castillo de Santa Catalina, a Genoese castle that was constructed in the 13th Century, that has the claim to fame of being used by the pirate Barbarossa.
Tourism has caused Kusadasi’s exponential growth. With its proximity to Ephesus and the entire Aegean coast, it is a hub that distributes people to what they want out of a vacation. This area was settled by Ionian Greeks in 10th century BC, and the influence is apparent today. This area is the beginning battle zones for the Greek-Persian wars, and out of that is thought to be the home area for Homer.
We traveled over the same paths that were traveled by important figures such as Apostle Paul, Mary, and others over the last 4 millennia. Early artifacts from Ephesus indicate settlements as far back as 2000 BC. Thriving communities of Greeks, then the Romans used and built upon layers of civilizations. Through political and natural turmoil, earthquakes and finally the silting in of the main river leading from the sea, effectively sealing off the port, and cancelling the trade. That caused abandonment of the areas and plunder by all sorts of peoples. Evidences of the re-use of columns and things throughout other structures today show a leaning towards recycling, even by the Romans and other settlers.
Standing in the Odeon where the Apostle Paul spoke was pretty awe inspiring. The sheer magnitude of building a theater with the acoustics of this one all those centuries ago is incredible. It would hold 25000 spectators, and seated halfway up, I could hear conversations going on down on the stage floor with very little effort.
Several present day performers have used The Great Theater, including Joan Baez, and Sting. Interestingly enough, the amplified music from Stings performance in the mid 1990’s caused large cracks to form in the seating areas, and so now all amplified concerts have been banned.
Seeing the areas of a town that held that many people, when throughout history you get the sense that all communities were small villages, is an awakening to just how far in civilization these people had progressed. Yes, there were slaves, and women were not equals, but the cultures of arts, buildings and architecture, the sciences, and others were progressing well.