As I wrote before, we stopped at the ancient city of Aphrodisias on the way to Kusadasi. It was a tour we were planning since winter.

In Turkey, Ephesus is the most well known and most visited ancient city. However its rival Aphrodisias is a rather recent phenomena. As it is not easily reachable as Ephesus, its not on the list of many travellers.

Well, to tell you the difference between two cities, one of my guidebook gives a very nice example. ‘Aphrodisias is like Florence where Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raffaello worked while Ephesus was like New York where Wall Street, Manhattan and World Bank located.’

So Aphrodisias is the city of artists, and you are realizing this when you enter the city and saw the beautiful theatre masks on the way. It’s museum considered as one of the best statue museum from the Roman World.

Julius Caesar was a devotee of Venus and favored this city and known to be visited here, and the emperor Augustus granted it the high privileges of autonomy and tax-free status, declaring Aphrodisias “the one city from all of Asia that I have selected to be my own.” So even at that time it was a pretty special city.

But for me the biggest surprise was its huge stadium made for 30.000 people. It’s said to be the best preserved stadium of the Mediterranean region.

It was a very hot day and after a while I quit and sat on a stadium bench for a little time to meditate and enjoy the magnificent structure.. It was so quiet and very easy to imagine hearing the sounds of the races and games held here and the cheers of the thousands of people coming from thousands of years ago. It was a pretty special moment.

Originally written for Turquoise Diaries