Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Often overlooked - the Ephesus museum

One of Turkey’s most famous landmarks and on top of every visitor’s must see list are the vast and impressive ruins of Ephesus. Located not far from the lovely coastal town of Kusadasi on Turkey’s Aegean Sea, people often come off the cruise ships which dock there and then go on a day trip to Ephesus. The site is immense and certainly well worth a visit, but what is often overlooked and, in fact, rarely included in organized tours, is a visit to the Ephesus museum. The museum is to be found in Selcuk . All visitors to the ruins of Ephesus pass through Selcuk anyway. So, if at all possible, go either by dolmus (minibus) from Kusadasi or else take a taxi and stop at the museum. It’s clearly indicated by a sign reading ‘Müze’. And here comes the secret: the best finds, statues and treasures excavated to Ephesus are not at the site but in the museum. The visitor is greeted by a reconstructed room of an ancient Roman mansion. Original tiles and mosaics cover the floor and walls and, to make matters a bit livelier, cut outs of Romans in their traditional dress populate the room. The museum only has a few rooms which are easy to negotiate and then you turn a corner and there she is: the famous Goddess Cybele, reproduced everywhere is actually standing in a niche in the museum. In duplicate, because a smaller statue was also found. A lovely courtyard with trees and a coffee shop allows for a rest and, equally interesting, a few rooms on the ground floor exhibit paintings by modern day Turkish artists. Don’t miss it.

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