Thinking I was taking a short cut while returning from Adnan Menderes airport via Menderes route, I accidentally discovered Klaros (Claros).
To our amazement, we were driving alongside three enormous sculptures inside a hedge. Apollo, if you don’t mind – brother of Artemis, Artemis and Cybele are in their splendour here. Nestled away in this valley with the birds singing, it’s special and you hear the sound of silence too. Being an oratory, this place of consultation with the Gods was mainly done at night. It’s much more beautiful during the daytime, feeling the mountains wrapped around you. There appears to be rock carvings on the mountains but I have yet to venture in that direction. Denizli Universtiy are responsible for the archaeological dig here.
It’s a very nice scenic Aegean coastal drive past Pamucak following the Seferihisar sign. You can catch the Doganbey/Ozdere bus and alight at Ahmetbeyli, that’s the right junction for Menderes route to Izmir. You’ll need to leave the stillettoes at home as it’s a bit of a walk through the orange and peach groves to get into Klaros site.The site is not to be confused with Klaros beach/camping site on the coast, even though that’s a nice place to drop off and swim/ relax for a while too.
We are to be for ever indebted to the people of Sirince for keeping the spirit of Meryem Ana Evi alive. For centuries, the Greek christians held to local traditions despite the
contradictory doctrine of the whole orthodox church, which favoured the Jerusalem tradition of where the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary died after the death and Resurrection of Jesus.
You can catch a dolmus from Selcuk garage to beautiful Sirince.
Truly an inspirational drive up the olive grove covered mountains to reach this old Greek style village. With its village crafts, gozleme and ayran, that’s if you get past the many wine tasters……
Sirince villagers called Meryem Ana Evi “Panaghia – Capouli ‘The Gate of the All Holy’ and used to go on pilgrimage during the octave of the Feast of Mary’s Dormition (15th August), which is also called the Feast of the Assumption.
The Seven Sleepers – Yedi Uyuyanlar, Efes The Seven Sleepers, a Byzantium-era necropolis (burial place) is another favourite and I can get there on my bicycle. Tucked in on the back road connecting the two gates to Ephesus. Be careful of tour buses taking short cuts.
The story goes that seven christians fled from the persecution of Emperor Decius ( 3rd C AD) to a cave here on the NE side of Panayir mountain. Agents of his found the cave and sealed it with an enormous rock. Two centuries later an earthquake awakened the seven persons. They strolled in to town to get supplies and produced old coins to pay. Hence raising questions of where they had come from and how could they have had such old coins. Emperor Theodosius II ruled Ephesus and it had been Christianised at this stage. Apparently they lived out their lives and were eventually layed to rest at the Seven Sleepers. It’s closely associated with Mary
Magdalene and there definitely was a double church and catacombs there. See various photographs taken early in the morning. It’s a special sacred place to visit. You also have a great view of Selcuk Castle from here and the narrow little road is apparently the old silk route that led to The Temple of Artemis which was credited with being one of the 7 wonders of the world. But don’t leave without a sojourn in one of the two gozleme traditional style restaurants. Taste and see.
This article was kindly contributed by one of our guest writers, Margaret Looney and is the last of six of her ‘The Archaeologist’s Passion’ series. With a career in broadcasting production at RTE, Irish National Television www.rte.ie Margaret has now formed her own company. www.looneydreams.com