The look at the north-eastern side of the Curetes Street offers us a glimpse into the secrets of water supply to Ephesus as in this part of the city numerous monuments dedicated to this function were erected. The first one of them, as one walks down the street, is the Trajan's Nymphaeum. It has the shape of a pool surrounded on three sides by a two-storey structure. Like Rome, also ancient Ephesus was a city of fountains. Nowadays, with the running water readily available in our kitchens and bathrooms, we frequently underestimate the function of public fountains, treating them as a purely decorative element of the cityscape. However, in ancient cities of the Roman era, the majority of households had to draw drinking water from such fountains, and every day citizens, servants, and slaves rushed with vessels and buckets to fill them at the public fountains. These structures varied from simple ones to the elaborate monuments paid for by wealthy sponsors to commemorate their names or pay respects to the rulers of the Empire.
Water Cave of Wilusa is an artificial cave, not a work of nature. A 160-meter-long corridor was cut in the rock, heading eastward. It is connected to the surface by four vertical shafts with a height of up to 17 meters. The corridor was made in the third millennium BCE. It means that in the heyday of Troy VI, the cave had already been in use for a thousand years.
2020 was the year lived under the shadow of the world pandemic and many major plans failed to come into fruition. The same can be said about the situation in Turkish archaeology and travel industry. While some of the excavation projects were continued, others came to a halt as the foreign archaeological teams did not manage to arrive to Turkey. This was the situation, for instance, in Didyma and Ephesus.
In December 2020, archaeologists continued the works in ancient Prusias ad Hypium where the grave of a baby and a number of statues were found. The ongoing restoration works at the Topkapı Palace revealed decorations with simurg and dragon motifs. Moreover, the preparations began for the 3,000-year-old Şamran Irrigation Channel, which was built during the Urartu Kingdom period, to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry brought back a statue of Kybele, pre-historic goddess of fertility, which was smuggled to Israel in 1960s and sold there.
As the travel plans of so many of us collapsed with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the only possible way to visit the archaeological sites and museums is to go online and check which collections have already been digitised. In the case of Turkey, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism established Sanal Muze website that offers a 3D experience of some of the best-known state-run archaeological and ethnographic museums. The downside of this project is the fact that even though the museums offer descriptions of the exhibits, they are only available in Turkish at the moment.