Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Remains at Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mitchell Gallery Education Trip to Greece and Turkey

I have just returned from the Greece and Turkey trip hosted by The Mitchell Gallery September 24-October 2. It was fabulous to be in such good company to see so many important historical and archeological sites. I shared hosting duties with St. John's College tutor Thomas May and between us, we were a force in action! There are still many things I am sorting out for recall, as we visited at least one site a day. Gohagen & Company, the travel agency located in Chicago, made all the arrangements for us to be on a small French ship, the M.S. L'Austral. The size of this beautiful 5-star ship enabled us to get into ports inaccessible to the larger cruise ships, and also allowed us to dock early in order to be at the sites right at opening times. 

The site trips provided us an opportunity to get a concise history of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, but also to sort out the many gods and their spouses and offspring. The gods are not an easy crowd to keep happy--lots of passion and revenge among them, so I can see why there were temples built to placate their dispositions. Of course, it's difficult to narrow down the experience to a few words, but one of most impressive sites was that of Ephesus, a city originally built by the Greeks and then taken over by the Romans.  This UNESCO World Heritage site located in Ismar Province in Turkey has remnants from 

Mosaics in the "Terrace Houses" in Ephesus
settlements from the Bronze Age, but the Temple of Artemis built in the 6th century was initially it's "claim to fame." The sheer scale of this former municipality of about 50,000 people is over-whelming, and only about 10% of the site has been excavated, beginning in the mid-1800s. The level of sophistication of their society and the thoughtful ness of their "urban planning" is remarkable. It was an important site for Christians as well, as it is thought that the Gospel of John was written there. The remains of the Library of Celsus is beautiful, as are the surviving mosaics found throughout the site.

It is through the good offices of Pamela McKee that this second education trip was arranged. Other college and university groups were included in this trip of which The Mitchell Gallery had the largest representation. The program was full, and besides the site visits led by well-informed local guides, there were lectures, performances, dinners and receptions--all made easy by the incredibly comfortable suites aboard ship and a most gracious staff. 

Of course it is wonderful to be back home and have the Karl Schrag exhibition Memories and Premonitions still on the walls to keep me company while I reminisce. It was a memorable trip in all the best ways and it is with great enthusiasm that I share the news of another trip planned June 18-26, 2014, "Coastal Life in the Dalmatian Coast," which begins and ends in Venice. For more information about the upcoming trip,  contact Pamela McKee at pmckee7@verizon.net . 

Lucinda Dukes Edinberg
Art Educator