The Ancient City of Ephesus

Selçuk / İzmir

The Ancient City of Ephesus

Ephesus Ancient City is located in the Selçuk district of İzmir. Ephesus was one of the twelve cities of Ionia during the Classical Greek period. Residing in Ephesus dates back to the Neolithic Age, 6000 BC. Ephesus was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. Terrace Houses are located in the center of Ephesus. Access to these houses is provided through a narrow ladder street.


The history

Ephesus (Ancient Greek: Ephesos) was an ancient Greek city located on the west coast of Anatolia, within the borders of the Selçuk district of today's İzmir province, and later became an important Roman city. It was one of the twelve cities of Ionia in the classical Greek era. Its foundation dates back to the Polished Stone Age 6000 BC. Included in the World Heritage Tentative List by UNESCO in 1994, Ephesus was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2015. Since Ephesus has been displaced many times throughout its history, its ruins are spread over a wide area of approximately 8 kilometers. The ruins in four main regions, namely Ayasuluk Hill, Artemision, Ephesus and Selçuk, are visited by an average of 1.5 million tourists a year. The main structures and artifacts in Ephesus, the first city made entirely of marble, are explained below: The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world, is the first temple of the ancient world built of marble and its foundations date back to the 7th century BC. Built by the Lydian king Croesus, dedicated to the goddess Artemis, the building was decorated with bronze sculptures designed by the Greek architect Chersiphron and made by the greatest sculptors of the period, Pheidias, Polycleitus, Kresilas and Phradmon. Its size is 130 x 68 meters and its façade faces west like other Artemis (Mother Goddess) temples. The temple was used both as a marketplace and as a religious institution. The Temple of Artemis was burned on July 21, 356 BC by a Greek named Herostratus, who wanted to immortalize its name. On the same night, Alexander the Great was born. When Alexander the Great conquered Anatolia, he offered help to rebuild the Temple of Artemis, but was refused. Only a few marble blocks have survived from the temple. Excavations on the Temple of Artemis were initiated in 1863 by archaeologist John Turtle Wood with the contributions of the British Museum, and in 1869 the foundations of the Temple of Artemis were reached at a depth of 6 meters. Celsus Library, one of the most beautiful buildings of the Roman period, served as both a library and a tomb monument. When Celsius, the governor of Ephesus, died in 106, his son had the library built as a grave monument in his father's name. Celsius' sarcophagus is under the western wall of the library. Its facade was restored between 1970-1980. In the library, rolls of books were hidden in niches in the walls. The House of Virgin Mary is the church in Bülbüldağı, where it is believed that the mother of Jesus, Mary, spent her last years with John. It is a place of pilgrimage for Christians and has also been visited by some popes. Although it is thought that the grave of Mary here is also in Bülbüldağı, it is believed that Mary's tomb is in today's Silifke in the predecessor of the period, as described in the Bible. Seven Sleepers (Ashab-ı Kehf) This place, which was turned into a burial church in the Byzantine period, is believed to be the cave where seven Christian young people who escaped from the persecution of the pagans during the time of Decius, one of the late Roman emperors, took refuge in the foothills of Mount Panayır. Although there are 33 cities in the world claiming that the cave is within their borders, according to most Christian sources, the city is Ephesus, which is considered sacred by Christians. The cave that is best known and visited as Seven Sleepers cave in Turkey is in Tarsus, an important center of the period and the birthplace of St. Paul. Afşin, whose former name is referred to as Efsus in Arabic sources, increased his claim with a report he had prepared by a delegation of scientists and a discovery case he filed at the local court. The other Ashab-ı Kehf in Turkey is in Lice. A church built on this cave in Ephesus was unearthed during an excavation between 1927-1928, and graves belonging to the 5th and 6th centuries were also found at the end of the excavation. Inscriptions dedicated to the Seven Sleepers are found both on the tombs and on the church walls. Isa Bey Mosque was built in 1374-75 by İsa Bey from Aydınoğulları on Ayasuluk Hill by Architect Şamlı Dımışklıoğlu Ali. It is located between the Temple of Artemis and Saint Jean Church. The mosque, which exhibits the first examples of Anatolian mosque architecture, has rich ornaments and tiles. It was also used as a caravanserai in the 19th century. Other structures Hadrian's Temple were built as a monumental temple in the name of Emperor Hadrianus. The Corinthian is regular and the foundation legend of Ephesus is engraved on its friezes. The picture of this temple with the Celsus Library was used on the reverse side of the 20 million TL and 20 YTL banknotes. Domitian Temple - The temple built in the name of Emperor Domitianus, which is thought to be one of the largest structures in the city, is located opposite the Trajanus Fountain. It was determined that there were columns on the sides of the temple, whose foundations have only reached today. What remains from the statue of Domitianus are parts of the head and an arm. The Temple of Serapis, one of the most interesting structures in Ephesus, is the Serapis Temple, right behind the Celsus Library. It is thought that the temple, which was converted into a church during the Christian period, was built by the Egyptians. The other temple in Bergama is more well-known as it is among the Seven Churches in Christianity as the Temple of Serapis in Turkey. Mary Church (Consul Church), where the 431 Consul Meeting was held, is the first church built in the name of Mary. It is located in the north of the Harbor Bath. It is among the first Seven Churches in the Christian religion. St. John's tomb in St. Jean Basilica. Built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great and one of the largest buildings of that period, it is claimed that the tomb of Jesus' favorite apostle St. Jean (John) is located below, in the central part of the basilica with 6 domes, but no findings have been found yet. There is also a monument erected in the name of St. Jean here. This church, which is considered very important for Christians, is located in Ayasuluk Castle and to the north is the treasure house and baptistery. The Upper Agora and the Basilica Built by Emperor Augustus, it is the place for official meetings and stock exchange transactions. In front of the Odeion, the Octagon is a monumental tomb belonging to Cleopatra's sister. Senate (Odeon) Efes had a bicameral administration. One of them, the Advisory Council meetings, was held in this closed structure and concerts were given. Artemis statues in the Ephesus museum were found here and later brought to the museum. The buildings next to it were reserved for the official guests of the city. Marble road It is the street that extends from the library square to the theater. Domitianus Square is a building thought to be the Pollio Fountain and a hospital to the east of the square located to the north of the Domitianus Temple, and the Memmius Monument on the street to the north. Magnesia Gate (Upper Gate) and East Gymnasium Ephesus has two entrances. One of them is the Magnesia Gate on the Virgin Mary's House Road, which is the eastern gate of the city walls. The Eastern Gymnasium is right next to the Magnesia Gate at the foot of the Panayır Mountain. Gymnasion is the school of the Roman Age. Heracles Gate This gate, which was built at the end of the Roman Age, turned Kuretler Street into a pedestrian road. It was named after Heracles, the God of Force reliefs on the front. Mazeus Mitridatis (Agora South) Gate was built before the library, during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Through the door, one passes to the Trade Agora (Lower Agora). Monumental Fountain The square in front of the Odeion is the 'State Agora' (Upper Agora) of the city. In the middle of it was the temple of the Egyptian gods (Isis). The Monumental Fountain, built by Laecanus Bassus in 80 BC, is located in the southwestern corner of the State Agora. From here, you can reach Domitian Square and structures such as Pollio Fountain, Domitian Temple, Memmius Monument and Heracles Gate, which are clustered around this square. Traianus Fountain is one of the two-storey monuments on the street. The globe seen under the foot of the statue of Emperor Traianus standing in the middle symbolizes the world. Heroon is a fountain structure built in the name of Androklos, the legendary founder of Ephesus. Its front part was changed during the Byzantine period. The rich people of the city lived in multi-storey houses built on terraces. These houses, which are the most beautiful of the peristyle house type, were in the comfort of modern houses. The walls are covered with marble coverings and frescoes, and the floor is covered with mosaics. All houses have a heating system and a Turkish bath. The building, located at the end of the Big Theater - Marble Street, is the largest open-air theater of the ancient world with a capacity of 24,000 people. The ornate and three-storey stage building has been completely destroyed. Seating steps have three sections. The theater became the venue for St. Paul's sermons. Palace Building, Stadium Street, Stadium and Gymnasium The Byzantine palace and part of the street have been restored. The stadium in the shape of a horseshoe was the place where sports games and competitions were held in ancient times. Gladiator games were also held in the late Roman period. The Vedius Gymnasium next to the stadium is the bath-school complex. The Vedius Gymnasium is located at the northern end of the city, right next to the Byzantine city walls. Theater Gymnasium The courtyard part of the large building, which functions as both a school and a bathhouse, is open. Here, marble pieces belonging to the theater are listed for restoration purposes. Agora: It is an area 110 x 110 meters open in the middle, surrounded by porticos and shops. Agora was the commercial and cultural center of the city. It is the starting point of Agora Marble Street. Bath and Public Toilet are among the most important social buildings of the Romans. There are cold, warm and hot parts. It was repaired during the Byzantine period. The public toilet structure with a pool in the middle was also used as a gathering place. Harbor Street (Arcadiane Street), which extends from the Grand Theater to the ancient Harbor, which is now completely filled, is the longest street of Ephesus, with columns and marble floors on both sides. Monuments were built on the 600-meter-long street during the Christian era of the city. The Four Apostles Monument, with four columns, each with a statue of one of the apostles, is almost in the middle of the street. Harbor Gymnasium and Harbor Bath are the large groups of buildings at the end of Liman Caddesi. Part of it was excavated. Yuhanna Castle: There are glass and water cisterns in the castle. It is the highest point around Ephesus. In addition, the hill where this church is located is the first settlement area of Ephesus

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