Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometers southwest of present day Selchuk in Izmir city, Turkey. Attics and Ionian Greeks had built the city in the 10th century B.C. on the site of the former Arzawan capital. During the Classical Greek period it was one of the 12 cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129B.C. According to estimates Ephesus had a population of 60.000 people during the Roman period, making it the 3rd largest city of Roman Asia Minor.
The historians had famed the city for the Artemis Temple (finished around 550 B.C.), one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. In 268 A.D., Goths had destroyed the Temple in a raid. Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. Following the edict of Thessalonica from Emperor Theodosius I. It remained that St John Chrysostom and his mob had destroyed the temple in 401 A.D. by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom. The town was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 A.D.. The city’s importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River. (Today’s small Menderes River)
It was an important centre for Early Christianity from 50AD. Paul had lived in Ephesus between 52 and 54 AD; he had been working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands. He became embroiled in a dispute with artisans. Their livelihood depended on selling the statuettes of Artemis in the Artemis Temple. (The name of Artemis is written as Diana in Bible): Paul had written the letter I Corinthians from Ephesus in between 57AD. Later He wrote the Epistle to Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (62AD).
Ephesus was one of the Ancient seven churches of Asia that have been citied in the book of Revelation. They had indicated that the church at Ephesus was so strong.. St John had associated Roman Asia was associated. He was one of the chief Apostles and the Gospel of John had to be written in Ephesus. The city was the site of several 5th century Christian Councils. It is also site of a large gladiators’ graveyard. Ephesus ancient city has been very famous and important sight because of its historical importance.
A legend that had been first mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis during the 4th century AD:, claimed that Virgin Mary might have spent her last years in Ephesus. The Ephesians had drawn the argument from John’s presence in the city. Instructions of Jesus to John were to take care of Mary after his death. Epiphanius, however had been keen to point out that while the bible says John was leaving to Asia, it doesn’t tell specifically Mary went with him. Later he stated that her burial place must be in Jerusalem. The House of Virgin Mary which is about 7km (4miles) away from Ephesus Ancient city, is on the top of the Bulbul Mountain. Religious people and some historians has considered this building as the last home of Mary, Mother of Jesus according the Roman Catholic tradition since 19th century, based on the visions of Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich. It has been a popular place of Catholic pilgrimage and three recent popes had already visited there.
Famous ancient buildings of Ephesus Ruins are Celsius Library, Terrace Houses, Hadrian Temple, Grand Roman Theatre which worth seeing impressive buildings.
Famous Sights to visit around Ephesus ancient city are House of Virgin Mary, St John Basilica with Ayasuluk Hill, Isa Bey Mosque, Artemision, Shirince Village, Ephesus Archeological Museum which have been part of Ephesus History and worth seeing impressive places.
How to Get There
This Ephesus as an important world Heritage and easy to reach. There are many daily domestic flights from Istanbul to Izmir every day. Also, it is a really good option for Cruise Ship guests. It is only 20 minutes driving to get there from Kusadasi Cruise Port.
When to Visit
It is so crowded and overwhelming in high summer season because of Cruise Ship groups. It has hot high humid summers and rainy warm winters. I advise spring or fall seasons to visit Ephesus.
- How to Visit
It is full of History and places to visit such as Virgin Mary’s House, Ephesus ruins, Artemision, St. Jhon Basilica, Ephesus Museum, Shirince Village arent all close places to each other. And it is so difficult to reach the places public transportation even by taxi. So, Attending group tours or customized tours with private guide and van are the best choices to understand the region and easiest way.