Recapping Our Journey Through History aboard EUROPA 2
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Today, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2 arrived at dawn in the Turkish port of Kusadasi. It’s the midway point in Voyage 1428 for most guests but for the small press group I am part of, the time has come to say goodbye.
In fact, what we’re doing is not all that uncommon – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises allows guests to largely embark and disembark EUROPA 2 as they wish, provided that local customs and regulations allow for it.
Before our journey came to a close, we set out on an excursion that many other guests aboard EUROPA 2 were no doubt taking part in: a tour of the ruinous ancient city of Ephesus.
In the same league as Petra in Jordan or the Pyramids of Egypt, Ephesus was once a great hub of civilisation, founded around 10 BC. At one time, nearly 56,000 people resided here, and the city was a major business and trading center, not to mention important port city.
If you’ve been to Ephesus before, you may be wondering about that last sentence. Ephesus today is a good 40-minute drive from the nearest ocean, and the port city of Kusadasi. Things started going wrong for Ephesus around the mid-600’s, when the sea began to retreat from its former harbour. Dredging couldn’t keep up with the sea’s recoil, and Ephesus gradually lost its status as a port city. With the ocean gone, numerous merchants left.
Ephesus struggled on until the 1300’s, when the city was largely abandoned. It wasn’t until 1869 that traces of the city were found, buried over time by sand and dirt. Since then, Ephesus has gradually and painstakingly been excavated and restored, but it is estimated that only between 10 and 15 percent of the city has been uncovered. The remainder still lies hidden in the hills.
I had last been to Ephesus on a trip in High School, some 14 years ago. I was amazed at how much more of th