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Ephesus Ancient City : Shining Star of Izmir

Story Highlights
  • Where is the Ephesus?
  • History of Ephesus
  • How to get Ephesus Ancient City
  • Ephesus Ancient City Buildings

Ephesus Ancient City started as a simple settlement in 8600 BC. It grew over the centuries and became one of the most important world capitals of its time. The city is very developed thanks to the fact that the Selçuk district of İzmir, where it was founded, is one of the most fertile lands of Anatolia, trade routes pass through here, and a port connecting the east and west of the world. It saw its golden age after being annexed to the Roman Empire in 129 BC. It became the capital of the Asian Province. During this period (2nd-1st century BC), Ephesus turned into one of the biggest metropolises of its age with a population of over 200,000. The wealth accumulated in the city is also reflected in the architecture. It is possible to guess what an impressive city it is from the magnificence of the Celsus Library, which is exhibited once again. It is said to be competing with Rome. The most famous structure of the city with its beauty is the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the world, built by the Lydian king Creseus in 550 BC before the city was conquered by the Romans. Unfortunately, only a few pieces of stone and a column that was joined later are left from the temple today. It is thought that Artemis, a Greek goddess, is the continuation of the Anatolian fertility goddess Cybele and was synthesized into Greek culture. Ephesus was home to people of many religions and races. Trusting the atmosphere of tolerance here, Saint John brings his mother Mary, entrusted to him by Jesus in 36 AD, to be safe after Jesus’ crucifixion in Jerusalem. The house where the Virgin Mary lives today is a pilgrimage point visited by Christians from all over the world. Ephesus was plundered many times, had earthquakes, changed hands, but it always continued. The river’s filling of the port with alluvium caused the sea trade to end and the city to decline. The declaration of Istanbul as the new capital of the Eastern Roman Empire further weakened the already weakened city. Its economy now relied on being a pilgrimage center. The devastating earthquakes in the 6th and 7th centuries were also peppered. The city could not return to its old days again when the people who escaped from the Arab invasion and evacuated the city with the establishment of other settlements.

Ephesus Ancient City Buildings

Varius Bath: It is a bath that was once located at the entrance of the Ephesus Magnesia gate. Since Ephesus is a commercial city, there were definitely baths at the entrance from all land and sea gates.

Basilica: This 117 m long building was the place where priority courts and other official offices were located. It was used as a place of worship with the conversion of Christianity.

Bouloterion: It is a theater-like building with a capacity of 1400 people. It was built for 450 councilors. This building with a roof was used as a theater for the notables of the city when there were no official meetings.

Prytaneon: It was the town hall and also the building where the sacred fire sent by Hephaistos was kept.

Domitian Temple: It has the characteristics of the first pagan temple built in the name of a mortal in history. It was used as a monastery with the conversion of Christianity.

How to get to Ephesus Ancient City?

Ephesus Ancient City is located in the south of Izmir, within the borders of Selçuk district. The ancient city is 83 km from İzmir, 3.5 from Selçuk, 19 from Kuşadası, 552 from Istanbul and 628 km from Ankara. The closest airport to Ephesus is Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport. The closest train station is in Selçuk. The answer to the question of how to get from zmir to Ephesus is to take Selçuk minibuses from İzmir Intercity Bus Station (İZOTAŞ) or to go to Selçuk first by getting on İZBAN from any İZBAN stop. İZBAN is the most practical way for those who do not have intermediaries. First you go from İzmir to Tepeköy İZBAN Station, and  you reach Selçuk from there.

Ephesus is reached by minibuses from Selçuk Bus Station, which is located in Selçuk district center. Ephesus Ancient City is 3.5 km from Selçuk district center. You can reach the ancient city in 15 minutes by minibuses.

Expat Guide Turkey

Expat Guide Turkey is a news website that shares important events in Turkey and news concerning foreigners in Turkey. It also contains a guide to undiscovered places, city and district about Turkey.

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