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Ephesus – The Best Preserved Ancient City in the World

Ephesus – The Best Preserved Ancient City in the World
Ephesus is the second most visited attraction in Turkey after the Sultanahmet district in Istanbul. If you are travelling to Izmir or Kusadasi we highly recommend you take a visit here. You will need approximately 3 hours for the trip and we strongly advise you take water with you when visiting during summer and dress for the weather noting there is little shade available.

Visiting Hours

You can visit Ephesus between 8:30am and 6:30pm during summer months and between 8:30am and 5:30pm in winter.

History

 Ephesus was built in 1000 BC on the slope of Pion Mountain (Panayir Dagi) and after the death of Alexander the Great, Lysimachus moved the city centre to its current location. As Ephesus was the capital of Asia during Roman times, magnificent public buildings were constructed, the majority of which can still be seen today.

Christianity spread very quickly in Ephesus as St. Paul lived in the city between 51 and 53 AD, and was also home to St. Mary Magdalene, the mother of Jesus.

Popular Sites to Visit in Ephesus

The Cave of the Seven Sleepers

According to legend, 7 young Christian Ephesians' who had refused to sacrifice to the emperor, hid here and fell into a deep sleep. They were awoken during a huge earthquake and on returning to the city centre realised 200 years had passed by and that Christianity was now the religion of the state. At a later date a church was erected here.

St. Mary’s Church Meryem Ana Kilisesi

St. Paul arranged for this house to be built here and then moved Mary into it, and it is believed that this is where she died. For reasons of privacy the house was located just outside of the city. This church is a very important place for Christians and when Pope VI visited here in 1967 he stated that every Christian should visit this church.

The Arcadian Way

This path is named after the Byzantine Emperor, Arcadius, who actually had it rebuilt, and from here you can reach the harbour baths, the gymnasium and the theatre.

The Library of Celsus

The library was built by the Gaius Julius Aquila in memory of his father, Celsus Polemaeanus. It is the grandest of buildings in Ephesus and has several columns. However, and unfortunately, the personified intellectual virtues here are actually copies as the originals were stolen and are currently in Vienna.

Marble Street

Marble Street starts from the library and heads south to the lower agora and the Serapic Temple, along the street stunning marble mosaics are visible.

Curetes Street

On this street are the Byzantine fountain and the Temple of Hadrian. The temple was donated by a wealthy citizen to honour Hadrian, Artemis and the city of Ephesus in 118 AD. You can also visit the Scholastica baths from here.

Terrace Houses – Best Preserved Section of Ephesus

This section was renovated in 2006 and is sheltered under a steel and Plexiglas structure. The building has 62 rooms all displaying stunning mosaics. Some of the relics from Ephesus, such as the golden figure of an Egyptian priest and other items found here, are on display at the Selcuk Museum.

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