A fiery debate has been sparked in Turkey over the alleged use of the ancient city of Ephesus in the Aegean province of Izmir for wedding and circumcision ceremonies and other events.
Images of decorated tables and chairs in front of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, had drawn ire from the public, with some reports claiming that the site had been used for wedding and circumcision ceremonies.
According to Turkish daily Hurryiet , the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry claims that only cultural and touristic ceremonies are allowed at the site.
Hurriyet quotes Culture Minister Nabi Avcı denying that any circumcisions, weddings or engagement ceremonies are held at the site.
However, he admits that “there may occasionally be concerts where public institutions and tourism companies — especially cruise visitors — are hosted in compliance with our regulations and under the supervision of the authorities.”
Ephesus comprises successive Hellenistic and Roman settlements. Excavations had revealed grand monuments of the Roman imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theater, as well as the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.”
Ephesus was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List on July 5, 2015.