Ephesus, on the western coast of Turkey, was once a valued metropolis of the ancient world. The city, located in the Izmir province, three kilometres from Selçuk, is one of Turkey’s most famous archaeological sites. Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, The Temple of Artemis, Ephesus should be on every visitor’s itinerary.
One of the highlights of Ephesus is the Temple of Artemis. During its heydey, it was almost four times larger than the Athenian Parthenon. Although only a few columns remain of the ancient structure, it still evokes mystery and mythology which is fascinating to experience. Nearby visit the Great Theatre which once seated 25,000 people. Climbing to the top tiers, visitors can gain breathtaking vistas of the Old Harbour. Venture along Marble Street on the eastern side of Lower Agora. The marble-paved street leads to the magnificent Library of Celsus and is one of the most iconic structures of Ephesus. The tomb of Celsus lies below the façade with the statue of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom watching over. To the rear of the library, note the wall niches, where over 12,000 scrolls, ancient manuscripts and books were once kept. Walking around, little imagination is needed to evoke the atmosphere of ancient times, as the ruins, frescoes and statues seem to come to life once again in Ephesus.
Ephesus can be viewed entirely on foot. It’s an easy site to navigate as paths and monuments are clearly signposted. Tours and public buses operate to the archaeological site from Kusadasi and Izmir to Selçuk Bus Station. From Selçuk Bus Station, it is possible to journey via minibus or taxi to the entrance in around 10 minutes. Energetic visitors can walk from Selçuk to Ephesus in less than 30 minutes.
Once a leading seaport of the region, Ephesus was a great Ionian city with incredible wealth. It was located close to an area where a famous goddess was worshipped, and a large temple was built in her honour. The city changed hands several times throughout the centuries and has a rich history hidden inside the walls. Visitors fortunate enough to explore Ephesus can uncover secrets, delve into its heritage and experience its magical allure.