Tag Archives: Selçuk

Enjoying the Arts

Piano Recital

Meanwhile back home in Turkey, we will have more to say on Kerkini and Greece later.

June is our time for the Arts scene here in Selçuk.  It is the International Izmir Festival.  Some events are always staged locally, which means in Ephesus.  This year, two concerts in front of the Library of Celsus and one in the Odeon, (upper theatre) so sadly none in the great theatre, but no matter, these make for great nights out.

It is all a bit haphazard with semi random seating, we never get tickets with seats next to each other, but as long as we sit in the right block it is all fine.

So this year we have a Piano recital, mostly Chopin and Debussy, a chamber orchestra doing Bartok and Liszt, and an Italian Ensemble.  The recital was interesting, and was a lovely evening with friends and a bottle of wine.  We still have the other two to look forward to.

There are also events in Izmir and elsewhere, but concerts in Ephesus are just wow.  More details can be found at    http://www.iksev.org/en


Gone Fishing

After what has been a cold March, cold in the UK, then cold here, the weather is finally warming up.  The storks have arrived, the first of the swallows have arrived, but as the say, one Swallow does not make spring.

So, on the first warm and sunny day, we decided to take a stroll around some of the local archaeological sites.  Ephesus on a Sunday is never going to be empty, but it is nice to stroll through, laugh at some of the tours and, well we have Muze Kart so it costs nothing.

The Artemis Temple is now as deeply flooded as it ever gets.  There are a few guys selling post cards, guide books, and dodgy coins.  Mostly it is a quiet place, the tours rarely stop and those which do move on pretty quickly.  So we were left with the geese, the turtles, frogs, a snake, storks, and a visiting heron.

Confirmed by a friend and others as a Night Heron, this one clearly did not know is was early afternoon.


Ephesus Museum

museum-marble-aThe museum was closed for about two years whilst the building underwent renovation.  For quite a while it was just a huge hole in the ground.  Nobody was very sure precisely what was going on but a modern building gradually went up and finally, in December 2014, the museum re-opened.  And finally, earlier this week, we got around to going to take a look at what had been done inside.

The ethnographic section appears to have gone, leaving it as a purely archaeological museum.  Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.  The oldest finds from the area are pre-6000 BC, there are bronze age items and, of course, plenty from the Greek and Roman eras.

The museum now contains displays arranged in chronological order which does make the progressions easy to understand.  The labeling still leaves something to be desired as it can be difficult to identify the items to which the labels should apply.  The rooms are darkened.  Quite honestly, it is a while since we last visited the museum, we visit a lot of museums and we didn’t think that it was all that different!

Which is not to say that it is unimpressive…


Selçuk Castle


Some years ago it used to be illuminated at night.  Then this stopped, apparently something to do with a dispute between the Belediye and the electric company.  Most holidays it gets decorated with huge banners of Ataturk.  Now it is illuminated again.  Recently a lot of work was done on restoring the walls and shoring up dangerous structures.  Through all of this the castle has been closed to visitors.  This has now changed, it is open.

It has actually been open for a month or so, but were were busy.  So recently, as we needed to renew our Muze Kart (easiest done at the entry gate to the Basilica which is also the entrance for the castle), we thought it time to visit.  We did not actually get new Muze Kart (another story for another time), but since we were there and the things had not quite expired we braved the tourists in the Basilica and went to the Castle.

It is interesting, an old mosque, a church converted to store water.  Some other buildings, and imposing walls.  Not all of the castle is open and it is not possible to access most of the walls – probably a good thing given how narrow the walkways are.  Well worth the visit.

Given we had to walk through the Basilica we took a few shots.  Some more restoration is being done, including quite a few new marble blocks.  We are not sure what the plan is, it seems to us to be more like reconstruction than restoration.  It got us talking, in our younger days we were taught that it should always be possible to distinguish between the old parts and the reconstructed, often by using concrete.  The model in Turkey seems to be more to restore or reconstruct to how the monument was.  We guess both are equally valid.  Anyway taste aside, some basilica photos (before the next stage of restoration) and a shot of Isa Bey Mosque and the Artemis Temple from the Castle gate.




Camel Wrestling – Fun in the Sun

Last year it was cold, the ground muddy.  I remember my feet getting freezing cold, but at least it was not raining.  This year Selçuk Camel Wrestling Festival took place in glorious warm sunshine, unseasonably warm perhaps but we are not complaining and neither were the large crowds out for having a good time.  A good time seemed to include drinking vast amounts of rakı, outdoor cooking, gambling, dancing and music.  It was all very loud, colourful, entertaining, chaotic, good natured, and great fun.

It is almost impossible to convey the sights, sounds and smells of camel wrestling in words.  The cheering is very loud, the music louder, the commentary often barely audible.  The smells of camels, barbeques (both commercial and personal), rakı and people packed tightly together.


The best dressed camel…..?

It is quite hard to imagine the concept of the most beautiful and best dressed camel.  No matter what the added finery, garters and all, they are not exactly going to the ball.  The following day they will be off to Pamucak for the camel wrestling, but on market day it was the best dressed camel competition.  We have no idea which camel won or what the standards for judging are, but as ever when camels are about there was much excitement, playing of drums and wind instruments as loudly as possible, and freshly cooked sucuk.

A Random Day in January

JasmineThe jasmine in the garden is still flowering, OK, not like it does in summer, but there are still some flowers.  Today there were honeybees on the jasmine.  We Camel2014were going to spend some time in Cafe Carpouza sitting outside in the warm sunshine and drinking tea but all the tables were taken by others with the same idea.  So instead we wandered around for a bit, found a camel, got given some camel meat sucuk which was delicious, and then made tea at home.