Ephesus or Efes in Turkish , dates back to the 10th century BC, founded by Greek colonists. In 129 BC it came under Roman reign and became a flourishing city, the third largest of Roman Asia after Sardis and Alexandria.
Ephesus is one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean. The many still visible and partly rebuilt ruins, give some idea of the city’s original splendour. The theatre dominates the view down Harbour Street, which leads to the silted-up harbour.
You problably have seen the Library of Celsus before, because that’s the most shared photo of this site, used in almost every touristic material of Turkey. But know this: if you haven’t been there and have stood before it, you never can tell it’s real beauty. The architecture alone is so impressive. And knowing that it once held nearly 12,000 scrolls gives an awesome impression of the refined and far developed culture.
The city became famous for the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction in 401 AD. Only foundations and sculptural fragments of the latest of the temples at the site remain. Artemis or Diana, is often interpreted in encravings and statues as a woman with many breasts or “eggs” — denoting her fertility. In Ephesus. A statue of Artemis, called The lady of Ephesus, dating back to the 1st century AD, is exhibited in the Ephesus Archeological Museum.
Once an important harbour at the Aegean Sea and one with military importance in the Ottoman era now lies a mileage from the coast. The once flourishing city of Ephesus was completely abandoned by the 15th century.
Ephesus is next to Selcuk in Turkey and nearby Kusadasi (1/2 hours drive) and Izmir ( 1 hours drive). The site is big and it can be really hot in the summer time. So it is best to visit it in the Spring or Autumn, or go there really early in the morning. Water is sold at the main entrance (along with all the other touristic souvenirs 😦 ) Remember to bring enough water with you. And if you’re really interested in the history you might consider an audio guide.
Because we have a summer house in Kusadasi at the Aegean coast, I’ve been to Ephesus more than once. It is so big that everytime I visit it I see new things and enjoy it as if it were my first time. We’ve made it our goal to visit as many ancient Greek and Roman sites at the Aegean Coast as possible. But if you have less time to spent, don’t miss this one. Ephesus must be on your bucket list!