The Amazing Ruins at Aphrodisias in Turkey

One of the day trips that we took from Kusadasi in western Turkey was to see the Greek ruins at Aphrodisias. Of all of the ruins that we visited, Aphrodisias was actually our favorite even though it is not as excavated as the ones at Ephesus. The cruise ships don’t typically do tours to Aphrodisias, so you will not be surrounded by crowds and will be able to get up close to all of the different sites within the area. The ancient city gets its name from the Temple of Aphrodite that is located at the site, but one of things that makes Aphrodisias so unique is that was the location of the school where artists learned to carve statues, so there is a museum featuring many statues that the students had created.

Memorial Gateway, Tetrapylon
Amphitheater or Bouleuterion
Columns of the Temple
Classical Bust Done by a Student
Very Large Stadium for Chariot Races
Walking the Grounds
View of the Agora from an Overlook

As with many ancient Greek cities, it was later occupied by the Romans who built a large stadium for chariot races as well as Bouleuterion or amphitheater for the leaders to give speeches as well as to hold performances. Unfortunately, because the site doesn’t attract as many tourists, it hasn’t been as restored as other more famous locations. It has also suffered from several catastrophic earthquakes throughout its history, but what has been restored is truly quite stunning.

A Soldier’s Remains in the Museum
Another View of the Tetrapylon
Interesting Architecture
Many Statues
Reliefs on a Wall Near the Museum
Seats in the Stadium
Statue Amongst the Ruins

We would highly recommend visiting Aprhodisias when staying in either Kusadasi or Izmir as it is definitely worth taking time to see. From the monumental gateway, tetrapylon, the Temple of Aphrodite, the stadium, and the museum, there is enough to see to take at least a couple of hours walking amongst the ruins. As with any historical location, it is also a good idea to have a guide who can explain the history and culture of the city. Even in its current condition, one can certainly imagine what it would have looked like during the times of the Greeks and Romans who originally built it.

Looking Up at the Gateway Arch
One of the Many Carvings
Temple of Aphrodite
Wall Full of Carvings in the Museum
Pomegranate Tree
View of the Amphitheater
Getting a Sense of the Scale of Aphrodisias
Interesting Carving of a Family
Looking Up at the Columns of the Temple

Greek Lamb and Rice Dinner

Greek Lamb and Rice Dinner

We enjoy many different types of lamb dishes and one of our favorites are lamb chops. Although they are delicious simply grilled with garlic and herbs, this one pot dinner is an excellent alternative. We used a tajine to cook the dish, but it could just as easily be entirely cooked in a skillet. Finishing the lamb chops in the rice and tomatoes keeps it moist and tender. Similar to cooking with wine, when cooking with olives it is always important to use an olive that you would eat on its own without adding it to a dish.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Tajine

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Lamb Chops
  • 1 cup Uncooked Rice
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 14 1/2 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 cloves Fresh Garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/3 tbsp Fresh Rosemary chopped
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata Olives pitted and halved
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Boil the rice for about 8 minutes, drain and set aside. The rice will continue to cook in the oven.
  • Season the lamb with salt, pepper, and 1/3 tablespoon of rosemary.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown the lamb chops for about 2 to 3 minutes per side (including the fat side).
  • When you pull the lamb out of the skillet, add the garlic and cook for about a minute just allow it to release some of its flavors.
  • Either in the skillet or in a tajine, mix the rice, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary.
  • Nestle the lamb into the rice mixture and sprinkle the olives around top of the rice. Cover with a lid.
  • In an oven heated to 325 degrees, cook the lamb and rice mixture for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the lamb reaches about 145 degrees for medium-rare.
Keyword lamb, olives, rice