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Ephesus City in Turkey

The ancient city of Ephesus is located in Asia Minor in Turkey, south of Smyrna. It is world-famous for its cult of the goddess of fertility, now identified with the ancient Greek Artemis of Ephesus. This goddess has been worshipped for several millennia, but it was not until the beginning of the 6th century B.C. The temple of Artemis was erected in Ephesus, and for many centuries it was one of the famous 7 Wonders of the World.

History of Ephesus

This city appeared on the Aegean coast as a port. It was booming with construction, trading with all the surrounding ancient Greek polities. In the 6th century AD. Ephesus was relocated to an elevated site because The bay in which it stood had grown shallow.

Later the sea continued to recede from Ephesus, and the city gradually fell into decline. There have been periodic earthquakes here that have buried the ruins of the once beautiful Greek city, but have preserved it for archaeologists.

Today, the ruins of Ephesus, located a few kilometers from the Aegean Sea, have been restored and are an ancient attraction visited by millions of tourists from all over the world. This city is often mentioned in the Bible.

The first excavations here were made in the mid-19th century, they opened to the world the beauty of the ancient polis. All the most important artifacts discovered by archaeologists are on display in a museum in the nearby town of Selcuk and in Istanbul.

Ancient Greece

Scientists have established that people lived here in the Neolithic, on the site of Ephesus, archaeologists found human settlements of the Bronze Age. In the mid-20th century, archaeologists discovered an ancient necropolis of Mycenaean era.

As early as the Bronze Age, the ancient Athenian and Ionian Greeks appeared here. The city of Ephesus was founded in the 11th century BC. In it were erected temples in honor of the ancient Greek gods Athena and Apollo.

In the 6th century B.C. Ephesus was conquered by King Croesus, ruler of Lydia, who invited all the townspeople to settle in the valley near the temple of Artemis. It was Croesus who spent his treasure on this magnificent temple.

Ephesus - Ancient Greece

During the time of Kreuz, ancient Ephesus reached its greatest prosperity, it was its Golden Age of Ancient Greece. During the reign of this king, the great philosopher Heraclitus, the famous poet Callinus, who wrote elegies, and other famous Greeks lived in the city.

The city of Ephesus was later conquered by ancient Persia and ruled by King Darius, but in the 5th century B.C. The ancient Greeks drove the Persians out of Asia Minor. Ephesus fought on the side of Sparta against Ancient Athens during the Peloponnesian Wars.

In the 3rd century B.C. the city was overrun by troops led by Lysimazes. He began relocating the city’s residents away from the sea, to the valley, because the sea shore began to silt up. Also in Ephesus were built fortress walls, stadiums, theaters, etc.

Ancient Rome

In the 2nd century B.C. Ephesus became part of the Roman Empire. Taxes increased, uprisings became more frequent, and Roman citizens were murdered. The city was given autonomy for a short time. But in the 1st century B.C. he returned to the Empire, having paid a gigantic contribution to it.

Ephesus City in Turkey

From the beginning of our era under Emperor Augustus, the city was rapidly built and became one of the largest and richest in Asia Minor and the entire empire, ranking second in importance after Rome. It had a marble theater, library, temples, structures, fountains, etc.

The significance of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus also increased considerably. It held the treasures of Asia Minor. But in the 3rd century AD. The city of Ephesus was ravaged by the wild Goths. They also set fire to the famous temple.


In the 5th and 6th centuries Ephesus was one of the largest cities of Byzantium. Emperor Constantine rebuilt and expanded it. The people of Ephesus converted to Christianity. At the beginning of the 5th century the temple of Artemis was finally destroyed, including. Christians.

Ephesus City, Turkey

In the early 7th century there was a serious earthquake near Ephesus that greatly destroyed the city. The political and economic importance of Ephesus gradually diminished as the port silted up and lost its access to the sea.

In the 7th-8th centuries attacks on Ephesus by Arabs became more frequent, and in the 11th century it was conquered by the Turks. By that time it was no longer a beautiful Hellenic city, but a small village. Later Byzantium recaptured it and held it until the beginning of the 14th century.

Ottoman Empire

In the 14th century, ancient Ephesus, which became a village with fortified walls, was conquered by the Ottomans. An Ottoman fleet appeared on the seashore, raiding the Aegean Sea and attacking their adversaries.

The city of Ephesus experienced a new but very short period of prosperity under the Turks. Mosques, baths, etc. were built here. But at the beginning of the 15th century it was finally abandoned by people and was swept away by the sands.

The Cult of Great Artemis in Ephesus

This cult originated in Asia Minor near the city of Ephesus. Here in the Bronze Age people worshipped the goddess of fertility, called the Great Mother. Later the ancient Greeks called her Artemis, and the ancient Romans called her Diana.

Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Turkey

At first a wooden temple was built in Ephesus and a wooden statue of Artemis was made, but King Croesus of Lydia, who conquered the city, destroyed the temple and destroyed the statue, and later a stone temple of Artemis was built in Ephesus at his direction.

In the 4th century B.C. This temple was set on fire by Herostratus, who wished to become famous throughout the world. The temple was later rebuilt and finally destroyed a few centuries later by the Goths. Christians consider the worship of Artemis of Ephesus to be idolatry.

Ephesus sights

The ruins of the Temple of Artemis. The remains of this temple were found in the late 19th century by British archaeologists. Today, some fragments of the temple architecture are in the British Museum in the permanent exhibition or stored in the vaults.

In the archaeology museums of Istanbul and Ephesus you can see the most valuable artifacts made by ancient masters of gold and ivory. Archaeological excavations near the temple in Ephesus continue.

Celsus Library. This is one of the most famous libraries, built in ancient Ephesus under Emperor Andrian in the 2nd century AD. It was looted and destroyed by the Goths who attacked Asia Minor in the 3rd century, and later perished completely in an earthquake. In the mid-20th century, the ruins of the two-story facade of the Celsus Library were reconstructed and given its original appearance. Some of the sculptures are reconstructed according to descriptions from ancient epics and surviving documents of those times.

The ruins of the Agora. This structure was erected during the Roman Empire on the orders of Emperor Augustus. In the center of the Agora many centuries ago there were rows of shops, there was a water clock, which today has been restored. In this part of ancient Ephesus there was a slave market, and various secular and religious celebrations and festivities took place. Today in the ruins you can also see the ruins of an ancient basilica, built under Emperor Augustus.

Sights of ancient Ephesus, Turkey

Bolshoi Theater. The front and sides of the three-story theater building are surrounded by the remnants of the walls, the theater stage is perfectly preserved. The second floor was added at the behest of Nero. Earlier there were many sculptures, reliefs, architectural artifacts, etc. The ruins of this building were excavated in the 1960s. In ancient times, the theater could hold several tens of thousands of spectators. After its destruction its stones were used to build other buildings and structures in Ephesus.

Maly Theater. This structure is called the Odeon, it is located north of the Agora, and was built in the 2nd century AD. The City Senate met here almost two thousand years ago. In between sessions, the public was entertained with theatrical performances. The Odeon was built according to the classical principles of the ancient Roman architecture of administrative buildings. Around the stage is erected in two tiers a semicircle of rows, divided into several sectors by means of stairs, etc.

Temple of Andrian. This temple was erected in the 2nd century AD. under Emperor Andrian. Here many centuries ago stood sculptures of other Roman emperors. The temple portals are richly decorated with antique geometric and floral ornaments and images of people. Here you can see the very podium on which the lost statue of Emperor Andrian stood millennia ago. The ruins of this temple are depicted on the Turkish banknote of 20 liras.

The ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey

Kuretov Street. This is one of the main streets of ancient Ephesus. It has survived in the guise of the 4th and 5th centuries. At that time, the city was being rebuilt after another earthquake, and the street was paved with marble and stone for the last time. On the sides of Kuretov Street you can see beautiful ancient ruins that tell a lot about the history of Ephesus: temples, pedestals, remnants of statues, ruined shopping malls, covered galleries, etc.

House of Our Lady. From the ancient chronicles we know that in the city of Ephesus for a long time lived St. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, after his crucifixion, as well as several apostles. Today, Mary’s house has been restored and houses a Catholic chapel. This house was discovered by archaeologists in the 1990s. Christian historians believe that after Mary’s death this house housed a church built in the 9th century in honor of the mother of Jesus Christ. Today pilgrims come here.

Maps of Ephesus

Ephesus on the map of Turkey

Ephesus City on the map of Turkey

Ancient Greek Ephesus on the map

Ancient Greek Ephesus on the world map

Map of Ephesus in Turkey

Map of Ephesus in Turkey

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