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Ephesus (Ἔφεσος), Turkey

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Celsius Library, Ephesus, TurkeyCelsius Library, Ephesus, Turkey
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authorshipJulien LOZELLI
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Ephesus (Ἔφεσος) is an ancient Greek city in Asia Minor. Today the archaeological site is located near the modern Turkish city of Selçuk in Izmir Province. At one time, it had a population of 250,000 people and was the second largest city in the world. In its long history, it was inhabited and colonized by various peoples including the Greeks and the Romans. Today however, it is just a collection of ruins located about 3 km to the southwest of the town of Selçuk, in Izmir Province, Turkey.

The area around Ephesus has seen human habitation going back to the Neolithic Age, some 6,000 BC. Archaeological excavations have yielded traces of early settlements from the early Bronze Age at the Ayasuluk Hill, a burial ground from the Mycenaean era (1500-1400 BC) near the ruins of the basilica of St John, and many other pre-historic sites.

Site of the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, TurkeySite of the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, Turkey
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authorshipAdam Carr
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During the Dark Ages, in the 10th century BC, Ephesus was a colony founded by Androklos, a prince of Athens. The Temple of Artemis, an ancient Greek temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis was built here. It was rebuilt three times before being destroyed completely in AD 401. During its time, it was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The site of the temple was rediscovered in 1869 during an expedition sponsored by the British Museum and led by British archaeologist John Turtle Wood.

Ephesus featured prominently in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. It was the location of an early church. The Apostle Paul lived there between AD 52 and 54. He also wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians while being imprisoned in Rome in AD 62.

Ephesus was the site of the Councils of Ephesus of the early Christian Church, which include the First Council of Ephesus in AD 431, held at the Church of Mary, the Second Council of Ephesus in AD 449, and the Third Council of Ephesus, in AD 475.

Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus, TurkeyTemple of Hadrian, Ephesus, Turkey
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There are a number of sights in Ephesus worth visiting today. The most famous is the Library of Celsus, built in AD 114-117 by Consul Gaius Julius Aquila for his father. Other sights include the Theatre, which was carved into the flank of Mount Pion, the Gate of Hercules, the Temple of Hadrian and the Colonnaded Street.

Getting there

Your base for exploring Ephesus is the town of Selçuk. From there, you can take a minibus or shared taxi (called dolmuş in Turkish).

Sights in Ephesus

  1. Colonnaded Street
  2. Ephesus Theatre
  3. Gate of Hercules
  4. Library of Celsus
  5. Temple of Hadrian

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