After another delicious Turkish breakfast, we boarded the bus that took us to Selcuk, the town located nearest to the ancient Ephesus ruins. Three hours later we arrived in Selcuk. Our hotel was nice, and they had a great deal on an Ephesus tour. When we calculated the cost of seeing all the sites on our own, we found that the tour was actually going to save us a lot of money.
After a decent breakfast provided by our hotel, we headed out on our tour. Our first stop was at the House of Virgin Mary. It was a very busy site. We actually had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we were briefly escorted through the small, two room home (no photos were allowed in the house). It was neat that we got to visit what is believed to be the last home of Jesus’ mother. After Mary’s house, we went to see the remains of Ephesus. Unfortunately, Ephesus happened to be extremely crowded as well. Below is a picture of an ancient public men’s restroom. Running water under the stone toilet bench would keep the room smelling good while musicians would play live music in the center of the room. Talk about royalty! On our way out of Ephesus, we stopped to see the remains of the Church of Virgin Mary. The last stop on our tour was the site of the temple of Artemis… one of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the Ancient World. This was especially significant to me because I have been fascinated with the wonders of the ancient world since I was a small girl. The only ancient wonder that remains standing to this day is the Great Pyramid of Giza. The rest of the ancient wonders are all but history.
Below is an illustration of what the temple looked like at it’s prime. For what used to be a magnificent structure, there really wasn’t much to see. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed walking over the grounds of this piece of history. On the way back to our hotel, we stopped by a local shop where the store keeper was trying to sell us some jewelry. He was particularly keen on selling us a silver ring with a precious color-changing stone set in the middle that he claimed came from a special mine in Turkey. The color of the stone changed beautifully depending on the light if reflected. Inside is was a mossy green, and outside is was an enchanting plum. I instantly fell in love with the ring, but wanting to find more options and do a bit of research, we said no and moved on.
After going back to our hotel room, I couldn’t get that beautiful jewel out of my head. I wanted one. We did some research and found that there is indeed a color-changing stone called Zultanite which is only found in one mine in the world–located in Turkey. Zultanite changes color from kiwi to champagne, as shown below.However, we found that there is another imitation gem that Turkish jewelers like to pawn off as the real thing (they look similar, but the imitation gem isn’t nearly as valuable). It is known as Zandrite, which after doing some research and color comparisons, we realized Zandrite was the jewel that was in the ring I fell in love with, as shown below.Knowing this information, we were able go back to the jeweler, tell him we knew it was an imitation gem, and walk away with a great deal (we researched the price of buying a silver ring with a Zandrite gem, and got it for a fraction of the price it’d cost back home). And to say the least, I couldn’t be more happy with my beautiful Turkish souvenir! A huge thanks to my amazing husband for all his research and landing me with a beautiful gift.