…When it comes to Ephesus, I’m not just tossing around the word ancient. Established more than 12,000 years ago (that’s 7,500 years before the pyramids, folks!), the biblical city of Ephesus has a long and storied past. Once a major port for ships plying the Aegean Sea, Ephesus was second only to Rome, in size and populace during its’ heyday. Needless to say, prime location and immense riches made Ephesus the target of marauders for eons; from the Greeks to the Persians to the Romans and (even) the Egyptians, not to mention the Byzantines and Ottomans. In short, throughout its’ formidable history Ephesus was continually wracked by war, burned to the ground many times over and decimated beyond recognition by earthquakes (and overzealous home builders).
First mentioned in text more than 8,000 years ago, central Turkey’s Cappadocia region has been a major player in world history for eons. Literally. And while it’s predominately Muslim today, Cappadocia has at one time or another been Greek, Roman and Byzantine, a conquest of Alexander the Great and a sanctuary for early Christians. Encompassing an area of approximately 40,000 square miles Cappadocia is one of the most visually exciting places that I have ever been. Mile after mile reveals a kaleidoscope of snowcapped mountains, lush fertile valleys and fairy chimneys…
Housed in an exquisitely restored, centuries old Byzantine monastic retreat, the Gamirasu Cave Hotel is pure magic – allowing you to step back in time while still enjoying those modern amenities we have all come to expect.
Straddling the mighty Bosphorus Strait, connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, Istanbul is both a commercial powerhouse and a small riverside community. Passenger ferries ply the waterways connecting east to west dodging sailboats, crude-laden Russian oil tankers and the occasional swimmer along the way. Did I just say swimmer?? Oh yeah… that guy was nuts!! Not that there is anything wrong with being nuts.
If you are expecting to see “the Turkey” you first visited, 10, maybe 15 years ago, prepare yourself to be dazzled. Bravo!! Aferin! Turkey… you’ve come a looong way, baby.