• Alex van Terheyden

Izmir Turkey & a Wonder of the World

Updated: May 16

Izmir, Turkey - had you heard of it before today? You probably had. But, there's a small chance you may not have heard of it. Some people live lives where knowing every city in every corner of the planet isn't that important. I was reminded of Izmir just over a year ago when I was last in Turkey. I recall learning about it when I studied Latin at school and then looking at this dot on the map and Wondering if I would ever go there. After that Wonder - I have to admit - I kind of forgot all about it. Then, the opportunity came about to go there post Vienna. The flight was reasonably priced so I decided to book it and go see what Izmir and the surrounding area was like. Once again - I decided to document that adventure.

It may not have the fame Istanbul has or the power Ankara has (I will be posting a video on Ankara soon). However, it is a charming city and a lot bigger than I expected it to be. My one regret - I simply didn't stay in the city long enough - I feel to really know a place you must spend weeks maybe months in the city you are trying to get to know. Maybe another time - however the brief tour of the city was enjoyable and rewarding. Post Izmir I rented a car so that I could go and find one of the seven wonders of the World.

The Temple of Artemis or Artemision (Greek: Ἀρτεμίσιον; Turkish: Artemis Tapınağı), also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to an ancient, local form of the goddess Artemis. It was located in Ephesus (near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey). And this is exactly where I decided to drive. First to the town of Selcuk where I could learn more about Artemis and the local history before taking in One of the Wonder's of the World. If you watch the video - you will see what it looks like today - but some background on the place - It was completely rebuilt three times, and in its final form was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. By 401 AD it had been ruined or destroyed. Only foundations and fragments of the last temple remain at the site.

The earliest version of the temple (a temenos) antedated the Ionic immigration by many years, and dates to the Bronze Age. Callimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, attributed it to the Amazons. In the 7th century BC, it was destroyed by a flood. Its reconstruction, in more grandiose form, began around 550 BC, under the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes. The project was funded by Croesus of Lydia, and took 10 years to complete. This version of the temple was destroyed in 356 BC by Herostratus in an act of arson. The next, greatest and last form of the temple, funded by the Ephesians themselves, is described in Antipater of Sidon's list of the world's Seven Wonders:

I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, "Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand".

And now The Wondering Englishman has set his eyes and his camera on this wonder. Check out the video and let me know if its a place you now want to see or not.

©2020 by Alex van Terheyden  AKA   The Wondering Englishman