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Ephesus in Turkey: Glory in the ruins




Ephesus is an ancient city located near the town of Selcuk, about 44 miles away from Izmir, in the Izmir province. The city was once famous for the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Lying in ruins, the city is now an archaeological site. Originally founded as a port on the river Cayster, Ephesus has had a long and interesting history. The city is said to have been founded by Androclos, the son of Kodros, the King of Athens. According to legend, in 10th century BC, Androclos, who had to leave Greece because of the Dor invasion, was looking for a site to establish a new settlement for himself and his accompanying people. It was predicted by a Greek oracle that a boar and fish would guide them to the site of their new settlement. One day Anroclos was frying fish in an open pan, when the fish flew from the pan, and landed in the nearby bushes, where a wild boar was hiding. Scared, the boar came out of bushes and started running. Androclos killed the boar, after pursuing it for some time. The place where he killed the boar was where the city of Ephesus was established. Androclos later on died in a war with the Carians. There was a mausoleum built in the memory of the first king of Ephesus.
Ephesus was ruled by the Lydian’s in the mid 6th century BC, under the Lydian king, Kreisos. This was the golden age of Ephesus. Kreisos even restored the Temple of Artemis, which had been razed by the Cimmerians. His signature is can still found on an excavated column of the temple. The Lydian’s were later defeated by the Persians. Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in the year 334 BC and took over Ephesus. During his reign, the Temple of Artemis was destroyed during a rebellion. Ephesus prospered greatly under Alexanders rule.
After the death of Alexander the Great, Ephesus was ruled was by his general, Lysimakhos, in 287 BC. He moved Ephesus further west, because of the destruction of the port on the river Cayster, due to silting. Lysimakhos changed the name of Ephesus to “Arsinoeina”, after his wife’s name, and built huge stone walls around the city. After his death, the people of Arsinoeina broke down the walls, and Arsinoeina became Ephesus again.
Then the Romans arrived in 190 BC. Ephesus was at the peak of its power and wealth during the reign of Augustus in 27 BC. It grew into a metropolis with a population of around 500,000 people, becoming the most important centre of commerce and culture in Asia. Ephesus was the most powerful and advanced city in Asia during this time, second only to Rome for the Romans. The city remained famous for the Temple of Artemis and the Library of Celsus and its open theatre.
In 263 AD, the whole city was destroyed by the Goths, including the Temple of Artemis, marking the decline of the city’s glory.
In 395 AD, Ephesus became a part of the Byzantine Empire. Constantine I rebuilt most of it, and it was their most important city in Asia. In 406 AD, the archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom, ordered for the destruction of the Temple of Artemis.
An earthquake in 614 AD partially destroyed the city again.
As time went on, silting of the harbour, made it unusable and the city became unfit for trade. Slowly, people started abandoning the city. The remaining locals started using the ruins of the once magnificent temples, including the Temple of Artemis, for domestic and other purposes. The Arabs sacked the city in 645 AD and again in 700 AD and 716 AD. The Seljuk’s took over Ephesus in 1090 AD, with the Byzantines regaining control in 1100 AD.
But now Ephesus, remained nothing more than a small village (called Ayasalouk) with the Temple of Artemis completely forgotten. In 1304 AD, the town Ayasalouk saw some good times under the Seljuk’s, who built some monuments of their own. By the 15th century AD, completely abandoned, Ephesus just remained a name in history for people to talk and write about. Ephesus has also played an important role in the spread of Christianity. In 52 AD, St Paul arrived here, and with a lot of struggle and persistence, was able to make most of the Ephesians accept Christianity. The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, is said to have made Ephesus her last home. The house of the Virgin Mary, about 4 miles from Selcuk, is an important place of pilgrimage for the Christians.
The ruined city of Ephesus is the most important tourist destination of Turkey. It attracts millions of people every year, who can still see the glory, splendour and magnificence of Ephesus, in its ruins.

Climate and best time to visit:

The climate of Ephesus is typical Mediterranean with long, hot and dry summers and cold, rainy winters. During the summer months (May to August) temperatures can reach as high as 40 degrees C. Winters can be chilly with temperatures dropping as low as 5 degrees C. The best time to visit Ephesus is during spring (Mid Feb to April) and autumn (September and October), when the weather is mild.

Location on Google Maps:


View Larger Map

How to get there:

By plane: There are flights to Izmir International airport from all major cities of Turkey and Europe as well. From the airport you can take a bus from Izmir central bus station to Selcuk or if you decide to stay in Izmir, your hotel can provide you with shuttle buses to Selcuk. Or even still, if you are tight on time and don’t mind spending some extra bucks, you can take a taxi from the airport to Selcuk.
By sea: You can also get there via ferry from the port of Kusadasi. Take a bus from Kusadasi bus station or a taxi from Kusadasi to Selcuk.

Places to stay (Hotels / Restaurants along with website / Contact details):

There are almost no hotels in Ephesus itself, but accommodation is available is available in the nearby towns of Selcuk and Kusadasi. If you are on a tight budget, some families also give away rooms on rent to tourists. Some nice hotels near Ephesus are given below:

1. Hotel Bella
Ataturk Mah. | St. John Street No: 7, Selcuk, Turkey
2. Hotel Nazar
S.M.Tavaslioglu cd. 2019 SK. No: 14, Selcuk 35920, Turkey
3. Aqua Fantasy Hotel & Aqua Park
Ephesus 35920, Turkey
4. Richmond Ephesus Resort
Pamucak, Selcuk 35920, Turkey

Source: Trip Advisor

You would find many small restaurants and fast food joints in Ephesus near the gates. Besides this, there are plenty of restaurants on the way to Ephesus from Kusadasi or Selcuk and in the towns itself, selling all kinds cuisines.

Some nice restaurants are given are given below:
1. Ejder Restaurant
9 Cengiz Topel Cad. Selcuk 35920, Turkey
2. Mehmet and Ali Baba Kebab House
4A, 1047 Sok. Selcuk 35920, Turkey
Phone: +902328923872
3. Amazon
Anton Kallinger cad 22, Selcuk, Turkey
4. Okumuslar Pide Salonu
Sahabettin Dede Caddesi 2, Selcuk, Turkey

Source: Trip Advisor

BLOGS / SITES ABOUT EPHESUS (WITH SMALL EXCERPTS FROM THESE BLOGS):

1. A brief history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesus
Ephesus was founded as an Attic-Ionian colony in the 10th century BC on the Ayasuluk Hill, three kilometers from the center of antique Ephesus (as attested by excavations at the Seljuk castle during the 1990s). The mythical founder of the city was a prince of Athens named Androklos, who had to leave his country after the death of his father, King Kadros. According to the legend, he founded Ephesus on the place where the oracle of Delphi became reality (“A fish and a boar will show you the way”). Androklos drove away most of the native Carian and Lelegian inhabitants of the city and united his people with the remainder. He was a successful warrior, and as a king he was able to join the twelve cities of Ionia together into the Ionian League. During his reign the city began to prosper. He died in a battle against the Carians when he came to the aid of Priene, another city of the Ionian League. Androklos and his dog are depicted on the Hadrian temple frieze, dating from the second century. Later, Greek historians such as Pausanias, Strabo, the poet Kallinos, and the historian Herodotos reassigned the city’s mythological foundation to Ephos, queen of the Amazons.

2. Things to do, sightseeing and attractions:
• http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/templeofartemis.htm
The temple of Artemis is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. It has been built in the areas of Ephesus on a flat area which has over the centuries turned into a swamp. Today one can only see the ruins of the foundations of this marvelous construction of the Hellenistic Age, entirely made of marble and full of sculptured columns’ capitals and shafts. The most beautiful remains of this temple are today exhibited in the London British Museum.
The oldest remaining found date back till the 6th century BC. It was surrounded by 36 huge columns, later enlarged upon the orders of the Lydia King, Kreisos, during the 6th century BC. Most of the exhibits in the London British Museum belong to this period.

• http://www.turizm.net/cities/ephesus/celsus.html
Library of Celsus: Although the building is of a mainly cultural character it is also a funerary monument. After the death of Celsus Polemaenus, a former consul who had been appointed governor of Ephesus, his son erected a magnificent reading room over his tomb. The building, which dates from the 2nd century, was attacked by fire in 260 but the facade suffered no damage. It is 21 m wide and 16 m high. Equestrian statues stood on pedestals on each side of the main staircases and there are also indications that statues were placed in the niches on the upper floor. The main room measures 16 x 10 m. The burial chamber under the ground floor contains a sarcophag s in an excellent state of preservation. Excavations carried out by Austrian archaJologists at the beginning of the 20th century revealed a 4th century fountain in the front courtyard and very valuable carvings in high relief depicting the wars waged by Marcus Aurelius and ucius Verus against the Parthians.

3. Map of Ephesus: http://www.ramtur.com/images/map/ephesus_big_map.jpg

4. Photos of Ephesus:
• Huge photo gallery of Ephesus: http://www.turkishclass.com/turkey_pictures_gallery_45
• Another picture gallery: http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/ephesus_photos.htm

5. Videos on You Tube:
1. A tour of Ephesus:

2. Temple of Artemis (small video clip):




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