Discover all Greece : Ephesus ancient city history

Ephesus ancient city history takes place in the west coast of today . Ephesus city state was Greek and it became famous for the Temple of Artemis built on the 6th Century BC, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 


The Library of Celsus (Photo above) Ancient Roman building (135 AD)

How to go to Ephesus, today Efes ? Ending my holidays at Samos island in Greece in June two years ago, at 8.30 am I took one of the 2 ferries from Samos to Kusadasi (journey duration is 90 mns, around 35 euros). Arrived at Kusadasi, I took a taxi to Ephesus (25 euros). If you arrived at Izmir airport, you can take a bus to Kusadasi.

Where to stay near ephesus ? Actually, I loved so much Ephesus that my family and I decided to stay in a hotel and leave after our 2 days visit at Ephesus from Izmir Airport to Athens. We found nice hotel named Amazon Petite Palace.  A lovely hotel in Selkuc village. The triple room we booked for just one cosy with very nice rustic decor. Very good breakfast. The very good thing also was that we were about only 3kms from Ephesus site.


Where is Ephesus or Efes (in turkish) ? Ephesus is in Selcuk, not far  from Izmir in western Turkey.
Kusadasi is 19 km. far away from Ephesus.

Where was ancient Ephesus located ? The ancient city of Ephesus built in the 10th century BC by Greek Ionian colonists had port on the Cayster river but over the centuries, the coastlines moved seaward and the ruins of Ephesus are now some 10 kms inland from the coast. Ephesus was the richest Ionian centre and one of the most important cultural centre of Mediterranean area. 2.000 years of history, yes.

Religious background of Ephesus :  Ephesus was one of the Seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation . At Ephesus John Apostle wrote part of his Gospel and Virgin Mary Mother of Jesus died in Ephesus area. The House of Virgin Mary is about 7 km from Selçuk town and it is s the last home of Mary, mother of Jesus according to the Roman Catholic tradition, based on the visions of Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich. It is anywat a very popular place of Catholic pilgrimage (see photo below)

   House of the Virgin Mary

Ephesus the most visited place in Turkey : Three million visitors per year discover one of the bigger open archaeological museum with monuments which refer to Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Actually, Ephesus has the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 13% has been excavated. Roman Emperor August made Ephesus the capital of proconsular Asia instead of Pergamum. Ephesus entered an era of prosperity, becoming both the seat of the governor and a major center of commerce, under Roman August’s empire. According to Strabo, it was 2nd in importance and size only to Rome. Population of Ephesus in Roman times was estimated to 225.000 people. Can you imagine the size of this town on the 2nd Century AD ?

What to do in Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey ? See the below Ephesus map and visit the below places :The site is open every day from 8.00 am to 18.30 pm and last time, I paid around 10 euros. Not expensive if you think of all the fabulous things you will see. My advice : Have sport shoes, large hat, white colour clothes and some bottles of water with you.

  18. Curetes Street :  It is one of the 3 main streets of Ephesus between the Hercules Gate and the Celsius Library. This street took its name from the priests of Temple of Artemis

  19Hercules Gate Ephesus (AD 5th cent). In these reliefs Heracles was depicting with the skin of the Nemean lion in mythology.

 26. The Agora (Trade centre) on the southern part of the Basilica is the State Agora was built in the Roman Period in the first century B.C

 17. The Nymphaeum Traiani fountain building was donated by Tiberius Claudius Aristion and his wife between AD 102 and 114 in honour of Artemis of Ephesus

  23. Τhe Prytaneion (3rd century B.C), where religious ceremonies , official receptions and banquets were held. The sacred flame symbolizing the heart of Ephesus was kept constantly alight in the Prytaneion.

   14. The Scholastica Baths built in the 1C AD were the public toilets of the city (with entrance fee).

  15. The Temple of Hadrian is one of the best preserved monument (built 138 A.D), dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian who came to visit the city from Athens.

  7. The Grand Theatre of Ephesus, the most magnificent structure in Ephesus ancient city (built in the 3rd Cent.BC) during the reign of Lysimachos. During the Roman Period, it was enlarged and formed its current style that is seen today. It is the largest in Anatolia and has the capacity of 24.000 seats and perfect acoustic !! This theatre is traditionally where St. Paul Apostle preached against the pagans. Today, during summer season, the Great Theatre of Ephesus has been host to many great artists for Cultural festivals or other cultural event.

  16. The houses on the slopes of Koresos hill were the houses of the rich people of Ephesus and they consisted of two storeys of rooms surrounding yard. They were built on terraces. Wonderful… Have to be seen…

To be continued…

To know much more about Ephesus area, I suggest you the very good Travel guide « Lonely Planet Discover Turkey », edition 2013, 400 pages. To buy it, just click on the below frame on the left.

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