Discover the ancient city of Ephesus
The city of Ephesus is one of the most interesting and extensive ancient sites in the world. This is the center of attraction in the Aegean region. Here, you can see a successful application of grid plan, invented by the city planner Hippodamus. During the last years of the Ottoman Empire, Ephesus was excavated by British archaeologists. Today, you can see the most valuable sculptures from Ephesus in the British Museum.
The History of Ephesus
The earliest settlers in the region are the Carians and Lelegians. However, the city in the real sense, was established by the lonians, in the 9th century B.C. During the Persian invasion, Ephesus was under the Achemenid rule. Like all other lonian cities, the Persian dominance came to an end with the arrival of Alexander the Great. After Alexander’s death, Lysimachus, one of his generals take over the leadership. Then Ephesus was moved to the valley between Mt.Bulbul and Mt.Panayir where it is located today.
The Romans rules Ephesus after the Pergamum Kingdom. This is when the city had its best times during the rule of the Roman Empire. Many emperors adorned the city with exquisite works of art and architecture. The archaic Temple of Artemis is among the seven wonders of the ancient world. St.paul came to Ephesus many times to spread the word on the new born religion. Ephesus witnessed the rise of Christianity with the foundation of the Courch, as the cult of Artemis constantly faded away.
The Apostle John settled in Ephesus and wrote his book of the Bible as he lived in the city until the end of his life. Its obvious that Mother Mary came to Ephesus together with John the Apostle, after Jesus was crucified and spent the last days of her life here in Ephesus. In the 3rd cen.AD. Ephesus was devastated by the Goth raiders and never retrieved the importance, nor the splendor of the past, even though the courch council in 431 AD. was held here. The continuous silting of the harbor and the epidemic diseases caused an overall decline in the commercial activities.
The Ruins of Ephesus
The city is located in the valley between Mt.Bulbul and Mt.Panayir. It starts at the Magnesia gate in the east and continues west towards the ancient port. The Magnesia gate was built by Vespasianus in the 3rd century AD. on top of the Lysimachus city walls.
As you go past the ruins of the Magnesia gate, you will see the lofty walls and the vaulted structure of the Varius bath.
The remains of the earthenware water pipes which are a part of the worlds most advanced water distribution system are located nearby. You can also see a large area called the Upper Agora and the buildings around it. The Odeon is located behind the stoa to the north of the State of Agora, adorned with fancy columns with Corinthian and Ionic style capitals.
Built in the 2nd century A.D. the Odeon was the assembly hall for the administrators of the city, the senators. A capacity of 1400 seats on 23 rows tells us that it was used for other purposes as well, such as concerts. The marble seats on the top rows are gone, but the bottom rows are still intact and the griffin feet designs by the stairs outline the beauty of the Odeon.
Next to the Odeon is the Town Hall, or the Prytaneion built in the reign of Augustus, over the earlier structure dated back to the 3rd century B.C. In the sacred area dedicated to Artemis, burned the perpetual fire that was kept alive by the priests known as Curetes. The ruins of the halls where the high ranking officials and judges used to meet are also seen closeby. The two well preserved Artemis statues found in the excavations are kept in the Selcuk Museum today