Cayster River

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Cayster River

Cayster River

Cayster River, Ephesus

Situated at the crossroad of major Roman roads and where the Cayster River emptied into the Mediterranean Sea, Ephesus was a major city with population of 250,000 and therefore a strategic base for evangelization.

The road lined with columns leading away in the photo above is the Harbor Street that led down to the Cayster River. The obvious question is:

"Where is the Cayster River?"

The good thing about the Cayster River, which stretches 80 miles inland, was that it brought trade from upstream to Ephesus. The bad thing, however, was that it also brought silt that kept on filling in Ephesus' harbor. After dredging the silt deposits for centuries, the Ephesians eventually moved their city to the new water line, and then repeated the process all over again. Ephesus was in fact moved four times during its history before its fatigued citizens abandoned the city in the 13th century; the last Ephesus harbor sits six miles from today's water line.

The silver lining in Ephesus' serial displacement in pursuit of the receding water line is that unlike most ancient cities, the old Ephesus was simply abandoned instead of rebuilt upon. This left behind an archeological treasure trove that unfortunately was plundered by the locals looking for building materials and by foreign archeological expeditions until just a few decades ago. Still, it is far better preserved than the nearby Temple of Diana, although not as well as Jesus' Tomb.

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