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Ruins of ancient Ephesus (photo gallery)

During my Viking Star ocean cruise to the Eastern Med, one of the top highlights was a guided tour of the ancient ruins of Ephesus in Turkey, about a 35-minute bus ride from the port of Kusadasi. (Viking included this tour at no extra cost.)

Ephesus figures prominently in the New Testament (I'm a recovering Catholic), and I remember those homilies about Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, and John the Apostle lived in Ephesus and was buried there. The city was settled in the tenth century B.C. and had a population of 33,000 to 56,000 people during the Roman era. 

The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Wikipedia tells us. But it's gone now. 

For me, the highlight was the awe-inspiring Library of Celsus, built around 125 A.D. in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107) in the Roman Empire. Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth and is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it. The library once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. In front of the Library of Celsus are four statues depicting Wisdom, Virtue, Intellect and Knowledge.

Bring some sunscreen and a hat, it gets hot! 

JD Lasica
I'm Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Cruiseable. Follow your cruise bliss to any land where it may lead. Let's connect! I'm @jdlasica on Twitter.