As my post on the other article
on how many ruins are there in the Turkey, I wanted to explore some of Turkey’s best ruins, and Ephesus was on top on that list.
Ephesus is a Greek at first, but became a roman city in 133 BC. But the Ephesus are actually have surpassed ages started Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Greek Migration Period, Archaic period, Classical Period, Roman period, Byzantin Era, and last but not least Turkish Era. Ephesus reach its peak on 1st and 2nd century AD with 400,000 inhabitants in 100 AD and became the largest city in Roman Asia. However, since the land gradually silt up, Malaria swamp grew up and the seaport was lost. On 263 AD, Germanic Goths took over Ephesus and it started losing its glory, as well as Roman Empire.
In 1860s, European archeologist found the ruins and began the excavation of the site. The Ephesus site that we saw today is only 15% of the overall Ephesus site in the past. Is a vast site and has three entrance gate.
Most of Ephesus ruins are still showing its original structure, stand tall and grandeur. Some of the prominent architecture include the main street where on both sides flanked by the classic roman pillar, the Library of Celcus, Temple of Artemis, Basilica of st. John, Temple of Hadrian, and Ephesos Amphitheatre. Following is each ruins step by step when i came from east entrance.
The Ephesus Site Map
1. Square of Verulanus and Great Baths. Not far from the entrance, you will see this courtyard ruins that was once dedicated to train the athletes. Beyond this building is bath built in 2nd Century AD.
2. Street Scene Upper Agora. Picture above is the situation on the Ephesus ruins which was once the main street. As you can see there are many pillars flanked on both side of the road.
3. Odeion. This semi circular Amphitheater immediately caught the attention once we passed the main street and it’s the first open amphitheater in the site if you’re entering from the East entrance. This semi-circular structure can fit about 1500 people.
4. Prytaneion. This building was built on 3rd century BC and was dedicated to Godess Hestia and legend has it that it contains sacret flame of the city that was never allowed to go out. It is in this place the statue of Artemis was found now is stored in Ephesus Museum.
5. Temple of Domitian. After passing upper Agora, on the left side we can find the ruins from Temple of Domitian. The original building was two stories and the stairs can still be seen. It has eight columns on its short side and thirteen columns on its long side. This temple was built to respect the emperor Domitian, hence the name follows.
6. Street of Curetes. The end of this street will bring us to the famous Library of Celsus and along the way on both side of the road were the remains of many historical buildings and temples as well as monumental statue facing the road. The name “curetes” referred to a class of priests in Ephesus.
7. Temple of Hadrian. This 2nd Century temple is located on the right side of the Curetes Street. In the front as you can see in picture above is the four columns, and there’s also sculpture of the medusa in the inner side of the semicircle wall.
8. Library of Celsus. This is probably the most magnetic architecture around the Ephesus complex. It stands tall and majestic and you can’t help but admire its sturdy structure and all the details it encrypted on its structure. The building was three stories high, and dated back in 117 century AD by Tiberius Julius Aquila. There are four statues among the pair of the pillars that represents wisdom (Sopia), knowledge (Episteme), Intelligence (Enoia), and Virtue (Arete), all of which encrypted on the bottom of the statue. Along the wall inside the building are rectangular niches to hold parchment books.
9. Lower Agora. This area is situated after passing the library of Celcus
10. Marble Street. This is the street you’re going to pass if you want to go to the theater from the Library. As the name indicates, the street is made from Marble. The picture above was taken slightly after passing the Marble street.
11. Ephesus Theater (The Great Theater). This theater was built on the slope of Mountain Payanir back in 98-117 AD. This theater can contain up to 25,000 people.
12. Church of the Virgin Mary. This building is almost the last building on the complex if you entering from east entrance. This Church also known as Double Church or Council Church. This building was once also served as center of research and teaching.
Still part of the Ephesus but outside of the main complex are the Temple of Artemis, Isabey Mosque, and Basilica St. John. The following map is the more bigger picture than the first map on the top of this page.
13. Isabey Mosque. Using our tour bus, we exited the main Ephesus complex and went to this beautiful Mosque. The building was built on 14th century with the ruins of the Ephesus and Temple of Artemis. The unique part of the mosque is the courtyard inside of it and exterior art that painted in front of the entrance gate.
14. Temple of Artemis. This temple was built in 650 BC to pay homage to the Artemis. This temple attracted many worshipers that came and gave treasure to the Artemis. The temple was once burned and after sometime in 263 AD was destroyed by the Goths. There were attempts to restore the temple but eventually it was abandoned, and the marbles were used to build another building in its surrounding.
Despite being ruins and scattered structure, some of those ruins still showing its originality and beauty. It’s hard not to be amazed by the advance civilization that was performed long before centuries. Given the plentiful of ruins and its history, Ephesus is definitely a site we must visit in Turkey. The site can be reached by bus from Selcuk, or you can follow private or group tour to the site. That day, we took a group tour that was indirectly booked by our Tour Agent in Canakkale, the same agent that did our Anzac Gallipoli Tour (TJ’s Tour). TJ then booked another agent specialized on Ephesus to guide us. It is named Hermosa Tour. The guide was very kind, full of humor and very knowledgeable about the Ephesus.
In case you wonder, the tour took place on 2013, May 28th. I do some digging on my photos on this trip and read some articles in the internet to remind and give some background about the places i visited in Ephesus. If you’re interested in the Ephesus History, this, this, and this site are very well structured to educate us about Ephesus history.