Civilization through the ages


Ephesus, one of the most famous cities in antiquity, was founded on the harbor where the Küçük Menderes (Kaistros) River flows into the sea. Selçuk grew to be an important city because of its fertile fields well-suited to agriculture, because of its location at the center of an important commercial crossroads with connections to the East, and because it was a significant religious center both in the polytheist period and the Christian era. Many famous historical figures lived in Ephesus, such as Artemidorus, who wrote an important work on the interpretation of dreams; poets such as Kallinos and Hipponax; the physicians Soranus and Rufus; the philosopher Heracleitus the painter Parrhesius and the grammarian Zenodotos.


The artifacts recently found at the huyuks (mounds) at Arvalya and Çukuriçi demonstrate that the history of Ephesus dates back to 6000 R.C. the Chalcolithic Period. Excavations at the Ayasuluk Hill brought to light a settlement from the Early Bronze Age. Thus ancient Ephesus was first located on the Ayasuluk Hill. It was first settled by the Hittite and Anatolien tribes, for Ephesus is mentioned in Hittite cuneiform tablets under the name of Apassas.


The ancient geographers Strabo and Pausanias, the poet Kallions, and the historian Herodotus claim that Ephesus was founded by Amazons, and that the native tribes of the area were the Carians and the Lelegians. Like colonists elsewhere in the Mediterranean basin, Androklos and his men arrived in Anatolia around 1050 B.C. and settled Ephesus and its vicinity. Destroying the Temple of Artemis, the Cimmerians attacked this colony in the seventh century B.C. in 560 B.C., under the sovereignty of Lydia; the Ephesians began to inhabit the area around the Temple of Artemis.


The ancient city of Ephesus whose ruins are visible today was established by Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the great, in 300 B.C. The city of Ephesus moved back to the Ayasuluk Hill, where had been its earliest settlement, during the Byzantine period. The Turks conquered the city in 1304 and it became there after a part of the Ottoman territories. The city name of Ayasuluk was changed to Selçuk in 1914 for a period after the War of Turkish independence. The city was called Akıncılar. In 1957, Selçuk became a city with in the province of İzmir.