Ephesus; one of the most important regions of Izmir and Turkey and the most famous Greek city of the ancient times with a heritage dating back to 6 thousand BC
The ancient city of Ephesus located close to Seljuk, a district of Izmir was established near to Küçük Menderes river during the Neolithic period.
As one of the most important 12 cities of the classical Greek period, Ephesus was a crucial religious center for both Paganism and Christianity. Today, it is still possible to see the relicss belonging to this period.
Thanks to its fertile lands and its position as a gateway of trade between East and West, Ephesus became one of the most important cities of antiquity and retained its value throughout the centuries.
Another factor that makes this site important is that the largest temple of Artemis is located in Ephesus. The cult of Artemis was a variation of the ancient cult of the Anatolian mother goddess Cybele.
Together with Milet, Ephesus was one of the two most important centers of science, art and culture. The ancient site was the birthplace of many prominent names such as the philosopher Heraclitus, the diviner Artemidorus, the poets Callinus and Hipponax, the grammarian Zenodotus, and the physicians Soranus and Rufus.
Part of the ancient city was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 614 while the other part remained fairly well preserved until the present day. Just like Izmir, Ephesus is rather hot and dry in the summer and mild and rainy in the winter as typical of an area with a Mediterranean climate.
Ephesus is waiting for all travel enthusiasts who want to explore the cradle of civilization and its incomparable architecture!
Ephesus is the site of the most beautiful examples of ancient and natural architecture well preserved until the present day. The ancient city welcomes visitors from all over the world every year.
Established for the first time 8000 years ago, the antique city was restored several times even progressing further every time.
The amazing structures, majestic pillars and columns, the library, the streets and the temple, constructed with a view and technique ahead of the time, carry the deepest traces of the history of ancient times.
The Temple of Artemis, one of the most important monuments of Ephesus, retains its value as one of the Seven Wonders of the World since the ancient times.
The most important feature of this great temple is that it belongs to the Hellenistic period and is the first and largest structure entirely made of marble. Today, only few blocks of the temple are left. Yet, the structure still reflects its ancient glory as in the old times.
The Library of Celsius, on the other hand, is a structure of the Roman period that was both a library and mausoleum. Constructed with a technique ahead of its time, to preserve valuable books, this great library was built in the name of Gaius Celsus Polemaenos by his son and bears also Celsus’s tomb.
Saint John Cathedral which is one of the finest examples of Seljukian architecture was established by using the stone columns from the Temple of Artemis and Ephesus. Visitors of Ephesus should not leave before seeing the earliest example of both Turkish mosques with courtyards and Anatolian style mosques with columns.
Another site of Ephesus is the St John’s Basilica built in honor of St. John by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It is assumed that the six-doomed basilica harbors also the tomb of St. John. The largest structure of the period, the basilica is located in Ayasuluk and of great importance to Christians.
The Magnesia Gate, Eastern Gymnasium, Odeon, State Agora, Prytaneion, Memmius Monument, House of Love, Hillside Houses, Theater, Ayasuluk Castle are among the other well-known structures of Ephesus still intact in the present day.
Of utmost importance to Christianity, the House of Virgin Mary, where Virgin Mary took shelter together with St. John after the death of Christ is located at Bülbüldağı. The House is situated amidst a majestic forest in pristine nature and is supposedly the site where Mary had lived until she died.
According to legend, prior to the legalization of Christianity, seven young people running away from the persecution of pagans took shelter in a cave and slept there for two centuries. The site was later on referred to as the site of Seven Sleepers and turned into a mausoleum in memory of the sleepers. The ruins of four-layered structure of the monument are partially preserved.
Enthusiasts of ancient civilizations should definitely not miss the opportunity to explore the fabulous monuments of ancient times!
Ephesus, which has been the most important cultural center for centuries, is also the venue of major festivals.
The Seljuk Ephesus Culture and Art Festival is held in September each year to introduce the historical heritage of the region to the world.
Apart from that, audiences listening to the concerts performed amidst the magical and historical atmosphere of the ancient theatre of Ephesus leave the site with unforgettable memories.
Indeed, holiday makers who want to connect with the ancient times are more than welcome in Ephesus!
How can I get there?
One of the most important ancient cities of history, Ephesus is within easy reach of Aydin and Izmir.
There are direct flights to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport from many destinations around the world. Shuttles and other means of transportation stationed outside of the airport gate will be in your service to take you to Ephesus.
Ephesus is 3 km away from Seljuk near to Izmir and on the route of many bus companies as it is situated on one of the major intersections of the area. The site can be reached easily via transportation vehicles that leave from the central bus sation in Izmir and Aydin.
Furthermore, it is possible to get to Ephesus by getting on a minibus from Seljuk district terminal to Ephesus or by renting a bicycle in Seljuk whereby you will have the chance to explore the local area.