Personal · Storytime

The Ones Who Can Bring Peace (Part II)

“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg



          Historians agree on the fact that recreational and educational travel already existed in the classical world and, even earlier, in Egypt under the pharaohs. If we want to talk about proper traveling in the antiquity, we have to start with the greeks who were famous for their curiosity and innovation. They were the first great travelers because they were willing to share the findings of their discoveries and observations with the rest of the world. They didn’t travel only for economic and spiritual purposes , but also for pleasure: “A number of Greeks went to Egypt, some, as was natural, for trade, some on the expedition, and some to see that country” (Herodotus, cited in Dillon & Garland, 2010, p. 275). Still, there is a thing we should keep in mind: travel opportunities within the ancient Greek world largely depended on status and profession.

          In the earliest oral traditions of Greek mythology, many of the tales, such as the myth of Charybdis which warned of the possible risks of voyaging into the unknown and the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece which celebrated the benefits to be gained from travelling were talking about the purposes of travelling and it’s benefits but also about the risks that people were facing during their journeys.

          In the Greek literature dating from the eighth century BCE, both Hesiod and Homer describe traders, in particular, as great travelers. Works such as the Odyssey illustrated that the authors themselves had clearly traveled or at least spoken to those who had. Later, in „Crito”, Plato illustrates that travel was widely considered a useful activity.

          In these times traveling was associated more with commercial and religious purposes but we shouldn’t forget about the so-called traveling for culture. There were people who were traveling to see the great athletic events of the Panhellenic games, other people traveled for their education to famous centers such as Plato’s Academy in Athens and also there were people who traveled from rural areas to participate in life in the city and the of opportunities offered there.

          Tourists were those who traveled for no other reason than to see for themselves the cultural sights made famous by literature, theatre, story-telling, warfare and even coinage. Travel in the Greek world, then, just as today, was considered an important way to broaden the mind, learn about other civilizations and cultures and see for oneself the places made so famous by literature.

          Later, the Romans were the first who built roads to facilitate traveling. They summed up around 400,000 kilometers, of which over 80,500 kilometers were stone-paved. In our days some of them are overlaid by modern roads.

          Because people traveled in that period of time, their societies were able to develop thanks to the fact they have initiated cultural and material exchange, thing that they were able to do because of traveling. It is visible that even in these times people understood that the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.


… to be continued.


Discovering the Ancient City of Ephesus

   Since I am in love with history and archaeology is what I am doing on a daily basis, the fact that I felt in love with Ephesus doesn’t come as a surprise. It lays on the Aegean Coast of Turkey, near the popular coastal resort of Kusadasi. Ephesus is to Turkey what the Colosseum is to Rome and the pyramids are to Egypt.


   The first thing I visited when I arrived there was the church of Mary. It is located in the south stoa of the Olympieion next to the harbor of Ephesus (close to the car parking lot). The church is dated to the early 5th century and some archaeological evidence suggest that the church was built on the ruins of an earlier Roman basilica-like building abandoned around the 3rd century. Mother Mary’s House is said to be the last house where the Virgin Mother lived before Her Assumption.


   The next stop was The Magnesian Gate also referred to as the south gate. There are people who say it’s the best to start here and make your way down to the north gate, a thing with which I tend to agree.


   Everything you will see around you is impressive and one of the most beautiful things are the massive columns. Some of them are broken, some were well restored, but nonetheless, they are beautiful. There are columns elevated on pedestals, ones that are 13 m high, columns with capitals that are works of art.





   The city has a very diverse timeline but historians have dated the first signs of habitation back to the 10th century BC. It flourished after it came under the control of the Romans in the second century BC. Also, Ephesus is mentioned in the Bible and it is known as being one of the seven churches of Revelation which were seven major churches of Early Christianity. You don’t have to associate the modern concept of a church to these ones but to see them as local congregations of Christians living in each city, and not merely as the buildings in which they gathered for worship.

   Walking around the site you will be able to see places such as the Library of Celsus, The Temple of Artemis known as being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the  Temple of Hadrian, the public latrines or the brothel. Aamazing architecture will surround you all over the place and last but not least, you will meet the citizens of Ephesus – the cats.

   These are the approximate prices but as far as I know, you can pay only in Turkish lira.

Ephesus: 10.5 euro per person
House of Mary: 7 Euro per person
Terrace Houses: 5.5 Euro per person
Basilica of St. John: 3 euro per person
Archeological Museum of Ephesus: 3 Euro per person

   Note: If you are going during summer make sure you don’t forget to bring a bottle of water since you will have to walk around for a couple of hours.

Personal · Uncategorized

Take A Risk

     There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to face some choices, some of them difficult, some of them easier. It might be about changing your career, about having a child or moving to a new place, or it can be anything else. All of these are lifechanging factors and just like these ones, there comes another one which is easier do deal with but it will still change the way you see things: travelling alone.
The first step is to have the courage to travel alone. If it is the first time you are doing it you should start planning your trip: book your tickets and your hotel/hostel room and try to make a plan for each day of your staying. Of course you won’t be able to respect everything as you planned but at least the most important things are fixed.

Wandering the world by yourself is like gambling: you can never know if you will win or lose, if it will be good or bad. It is a risk you are willing to take and by that it means you are ready to face the problems that might appear. Even though it can be difficult to travel by yourself and having no friend to accompany you, you will see that you are able to handle things better than you thought you would be. A journey on your own will make you return as a new person: you will feel more independent and confident and you will realize that you are capable of so much more. All of these will make you want to explore the world more and by exploring it you will actually learn new things about yourself.
If it is your first time to travel alone and you don’t want to take a big risk you should choose a destination that is not so far away from your home. You can have a city break in a city close to yours, you can go camping for a couple of days or you can make an itinerary and visit some places close to your hometown which you never visited before.
     Things you shouldn’t forget to take with you: your ID card/ Passport, cash (since there are places where you can’t find an ATM or you can’t pay by credit card), phone charger or external battery, personal hygiene products, pills (especially pain killers), sunscreen, wet wipes, towel. If you know you might get involved in some activities you should also take with you the necessary things for doing them: sports gear, camping equipment.