We had an early start to travel south east to Izmir and then on to the ancient site of Ephesus. With the exception of Pompeii, this is the largest and best preserved ancient city in the Mediterranean. Once again I'd been to this area before, to the seaside town of Kuşadasi, but time hadn't permitted a visit to the site. I’m so glad I spent the day there today.
Even though only a small proportion of the city, whose population is said to have numbered more than 250,000, has been uncovered, the site is vast. Parts of the city date back to B.C. but the wealth, richness and splendour of this open-air museum is easy to see and quite magnificent.
The engineering, the craftsmanship and the sheer scale of the construction is literally breathtaking, especially on a hot day. Luckily for us the sun shone gloriously and it was a welcome change from the cold of Istanbul.
The highlight for me was the Grand Theatre, which would have seated around 24,000 people. Standing on the 'stage' and delivering a piece to the camera crew, who were up near the top, was eerie. They could hear every word (including my mistakes) even though I didn’t raise my voice! The acoustics are amazing even though this was built nearly 2,000 years ago.
Some of the temples are remarkably intact and some have been repaired to give you a better idea of how they would have looked. There are also some (as you will see in the pictures to come) that look like they will come crashing down if someone sneezed! If you ever get the chance to visit here bring sunglasses, water and a hat, and prepare to be amazed.
We will film at the temple of the Goddess Artemis tomorrow morning before heading back to Istanbul. There are photos and a video to come…