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

Tower of the Winds in the Roman Agora

One of the ancient sites in the city of Athens in Greece is the Roman Agora. An agora is simply a public space for people to gather, but they also often contained monuments to the gods and other important features. The main feature at the Roman Agora is the Tower of the Winds, which is considered by some people to be an early version of a weather station. There was a weather vane on the top of the tower that indicated the wind direction that would have been visible from throughout the city. What we found most interesting about the Tower of the Winds was the water clock that was housed within the tower. In a way, it is an ancient version of the clock towers that have become common throughout the world.

The Floor of the Tower with the Hole in the Center
The Large Well-Like Hole on the Side of the Tower
Looking Up at the Tower

The water clock works very much in the same way that a sand timer works in that the flow of water is controlled and as a vessel is filled at a specific time measurement. Today, in the center of the tower floor is a hole with channels coming from what looks similar to a well on the side of the tower. We aren’t sure what the inside of the tower would have looked like when it was in use, but we certainly enjoyed seeing it in its current form. The ingenuity of the ancient Greeks is certainly something fascinating to see in these modern days. All around the top of the tower are carvings of the eight wind deities that were worshiped in ancient times.

Hole in the Side of the Tower Wall to Allow Water to Enter the Tower
View of the Tower of the Winds and the Roman Agora