The Library of Celsus in Ephesus

Ephesus (Turkey). Just few days ago, Ephesus (Efes, in Turkish) has been officially included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It’s an important achievement, and honestly I was a bit surprised that this incredible site was not yet included.

I visited Ephesus some years ago; although it was tremendously hot, the place was packed of tourists: it draws 2 million visitors a year, most of them come from cruises sailing around the Mediterranean and Aegean sea (and passing from Izmir). However, the site is so big that it didn’t give me a feeling about something of too crowded and even its most popular attraction – the Library of Celsus photographed here – was still enjoyable.

In any case, it must be considered that Turkey is very rich of archaeological sites: if Ephesus is one of the largest, most beautiful and most popular, there are many other so called “minor” places with an incredible history and very well preserved. So, if today I’m happy that Ephesus has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, I look forward to reading some of the other ancient archaeological sites scattered around Turkey included in this list too. I firmly believe that Turkey deserves it!

For the moment, Turkey counts – with Ephesus – 14 listed sites:
(1) Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia; (2) the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, (3) the historic areas of Istanbul, (4) the Hittite capital Hattuşa; (5) Mount Nemrut; (6) Hierapolis-Pamukkale in Denizli; (7) the ancient city of Xanthos-Letoon between Muğla and Fethiye; (8) the city of Safranbolu; (9) the archaeological site of Troy; (10) Edirne’s Selimiye Mosque and its social complex; (11) Konya’s Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük; (12) Bursa’s Cumalikızık village; (13) İzmir’s ancient city of Pergamon and its multi-layered cultural landscape and – now – (14) the ancient city of Ephesus.

However, for today it’s a big new! Efes, Unesco Dünya Mirası Listesi’nde hosgeldiniz!

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Ex Perfosfati (Stazione di Portogruaro)

Portogruaro (Italy). I have been watching this building for several years: every time I was arriving to or leaving from the small train station of Portogruaro (a town in the north east of Italy), my eyes were totally captured by this huge sample of industrial archaeology.

Surfing the web, I discovered some interesting things about this building. First of all, it dates back to 1949 (imagine: the Second World War was just finished and Italy was trying to resurrect) and it was built on a former industrial area operative since the beginning of the XX century. The shapes of the two ceiling were two huge paraboloids (37 meters wide, 28 meters high and 70 – the first building – or 90 meters long). These buildings were hosting the activities of the Perfosfati – a large Italian company specialized in producing fertilizers – and their operations ended in 1989, with the closure of the entire complex. Since then, the area was reclaimed (not completely, though) and then abandoned, as it is now.

However, – do not ask me why – I love these buildings! Behind their architecture and their shapes, there’s a long industrial history. The idea that every day hundreds of people were coming here to work, clashes dramatically with its current abandoned status. It looks like a “devastated cathedral” or a ghost town, but it contains the heritage of an industrial past and can therefore be seen as a monument to hundreds of workers that spent part of their life here.

For this reason, when some days ago I arrived here several minutes earlier than my train’s departure, and behind the building there was an amazing sunset coloring the cloudy sky of an intense red, I thought it was the perfect moment to capture this photograph. But I hope that the next photo I will take from here, will talk about the restoration (and development) of this abandoned area.

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And Suddenly, Petra

Petra (Jordan). It happens that you walk for some kilometers, along a narrow and high canyon. So narrow that it seems its sides are touching each other in some points. So high that you don’t see the sky. And then… The canyon opens itself and discloses one of the most beautiful, breathtaking, unique place in the world. The Treasury is not only the symbol of Petra, in Jordan. But also one of the most incredible archaeological site you can see in your life… Simply amazing!

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Pamukkale, the Ancient City of Hierapolis

Pamukkale (Turkey). I found some minutes to take this photo during a hectic business trip, in turn happened in a hectic period of personal issues. For this reason, perhaps it’s not my most accurate shots, but I like it for what it represents to me: some minutes of pure freedom, doing one of the things I love the most. Photographing!

To be honest, the Theater of Hierapolis – the ancient city adjacent to Pamukkale, in the Denizli province – has been in my “to do” list for a long time, but for many reasons I could not visit it before. That’s why, despite the tight schedule of a business trip in the area, I tried not to miss this opportunity. I climbed the hill where the theater is located almost running, and still panting I captured this image from the top of its tribunes. There was nobody around, it was truly magic.

Then I walked down to see the famous hot spring pools, but I think you won’t see any photo of them – not exactly what you can see on flyers and other promotional materials.

Pamukkale (Turchia). Ho trovato il tempo di scattare questa foto durante un intenso viaggio di lavoro, a sua volta capitato durante un intenso periodo di cose personali. Per questo motivo non è probabilmente il mio scatto più accurato, ma mi piace per quello che rappresenta: alcuni minuti di vera libertà in cui ho fatto una delle cose che amo maggiormente. Fotografare!

Ad essere sinceri, il Teatro di Ierapoli – l’antica città vicina a Pamukkale, nella provincia di Denizli – è stato nella mia lista di cose da vedere per parecchio tempo, ma per diverse ragioni non sono riuscito a visitarlo prima. Per questo, nonostante il fitto programma di un viaggio di lavoro nella zona, ho cercato di non mancare questa opportunità. Mi sono arrampicato su per la collina dove c’è il teatro praticamente correndo, e ho scattato questa foto dalle tribune del teatro quando ancora ansimavo. Non c’era nessuno attorno a me, era veramente magico.

Successivamente ho camminato giù verso le celebri piscine termali, ma non penso che vedrete alcuna loro foto, dal momento che non sono esattamente come nei volantini e nelle varie pubblicità.


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