Ephesus, rug & pottery artisans

The tour of Ephesus with Tuğrul (“TOO-rule” – The ğ is silent. It just elongates the preceding vowel.) today was very informative, but I think we enjoyed the next tours even more. Tuğrul tries to bring attention to local artisans who he says generally go unnoticed and unappreciated. At the rug maker’s facility, we watched silk thread being spun from cocoons and watched a really fast-fingered weaver. Tuğrul is also the name of owner of the the rug facility, and he spent a while showing us the difference in the angora and merino wool, cotton, and silk rugs that he makes. Some of the silk rugs have thousands of knots per square inch.
The potter isn’t far from the weaver, and we had fun there, too, although the salesman who showed us each step of production and led us to their two large showrooms said that I was obligated to make a purchase and then seemed highly insulted when I bought a teapot and three mugs. He kept trying to push an expensive, decorative fish on me.
Tuğrul (the tour guide) has a Masters degree and is working on a doctorate. I didn’t get a picture of him today, but we’ll see him again next week when he takes us on another tour. He knows a lot about many subjects, teaches at the local university, and plays several instruments. He enjoyed talking to Charlie about music when we ate lunch at an outdoor cafe run by the weaver’s employees. Tuğrul and his wife live in the countryside and have many olive trees whose oil they sell locally. Turkey is the world’s fourth-largest producer of olive oil, and some local restaurants list the olive farmer’s name on their menu or oil cruet. Turkish olives have the lowest acidity and thus the highest quality, so sayeth Tuğrul.

I’m typing this on my phone whose software does not allow for captions, as far as I know. The photo below is of some delicious baklava we bought in Selcuk today.


Below is a photo from Wednesday night in Kuşadasi.


I have a slow, somewhat unreliable Internet connection in this apartment; so I’m not going to place as many photos on here as I’d like. But to sum up Ephesus…Many peoples over the course of several thousand years lived in the area which the Greeks named Ephesus and which the Romans ruled starting in 129 BC. The Menderes River, from which we get the word “meander,” zigzagged from central Turkey to the Aegean Sea at Ephesus. Ephesus is now five or six kilometers inland because this meandering river dropped so much silt at Ephesus that it stopped being a port city. Another tidbit we learned from Tuğrul today is that Samos, the nearby Greek island that I mentioned in the last post, was the birthplace of Pythagoras (Pythagorean theorem guy) in 570 BC, and he designed underground aqueducts that couldn’t be destroyed by enemies.

Below is a photo of the amphitheater.


Below is a photo of the ancient Roman public toilets that important men used when thinking things over and conducting business. There was a plumbing system that had water always flowing through and marble seats that were prewarmed by slave butts. Emperor Vespasian implemented a urine tax which allowed for the extraction of urine from the public sewer to be used as a dye and the ammonia to be used to clean togas.


We toured the enormous, beautiful terrace houses (owned by very wealthy government officials) whose excavation began in 1967. Tuğrul says that laser imaging of the nearby hillside shows there are hundreds more of these homes to be unearthed.
Below are some of the tile mosaics on the floor of one of the houses.


Below is a carving/relief of the goddess Victoria who was the equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike. We couldn’t get any closer because there were a bazillion tourists swarming by then, and the heat-reflecting rocks made us anxious to leave by 10:30 am.


At the rug shop…spinning the silk from the cocoon:



And Laurel learning to weave:


This silk rug with its ancient, intricate design costs $17,000. I bought a less expensive design (but forgot to take a picture before they mailed it).


And at the pottery facility:




We drove through the surrounding countryside and saw grape vines and olive, pomegranate, and fig tees. Tuğrul got out of the van and picked some figs for us to sample. Tasty!


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