After we wandered around the remnants of the Church of the Virgin Mary, we found ourselves standing at the end of the Harbour Road, perhaps standing roughly where the white marble stones of the road met the sea and sailors and labourers unloaded the cargo from the ships docked here.
We approached the city from the end of Harbour Road, and the view is fantastic. As you head away from the harbour, you see the immense theatre looming in front of you. It is a massive structure, and just as it does today, it must have really impressed those who had just arrived in Ephesus.
The road was once completely lined with marble columns that supported coverings for the shop porches along the way. This was once the grandest street in the Ephesus. In its glory days, water and sewer channels ran underneath the marble paving, and the road was lit by 50 street lamps stretching along the colonnades. You can still see bits and pieces of the many columns, along with the remains of ancient shops. Off to the left as you head away from the harbour, you can see what’s left of the harbour baths. These Roman bath houses had hot and cold running water for the various baths and pools, steam rooms, toilets, etc. Pretty luxurious as well as being hygenic. In my personal opinion, they are one of the greatest things ever invented. As you know if you’ve read my previous posts about my passionate love of Turkish baths, they are just the current incarnation of the Roman baths, which once existed all over the Roman world, including western Europe. Sadly, the public baths died off in the west, but thankfully they are still very much alive in Turkey.
Back out on the road, I really love that you can still see the foundations and some of the brick walls and doorways of the shops. They are all quite small, but I can sort of picture them being a bit like the shops and stalls in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. They certainly know how to use the space effectively. And I can picture the Harbour Road alive with the hustle and bustle of a busy shopping street, humming with the banter and lively sales-pitches of the shopkeepers and merchants trying to entice the many passers-by. Being located in one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire, these shops must have been full of quite a variety of beautiful and exotic goods from all over the world.