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Ephesus (Efes) is believed by many to have
existed since the 11th century B.C., although historic records of the town
can be traced back only the 7th century B.C. Ephesus is regarded as
one of the premier archaeological sites in the world. It is a well
preserved (most building are reconstructed) and extensive site, possessing a wide
variety of buildings. In addition, there some unexpected finds including
a well- preserved latrine and an advertisement for a brothel carved into
the paving stones.
Although now located inland, Ephesus was originally a port whose harbor and river silted-up to such a degree that the location became landlocked. Many visitors to this area think they will see the grand Temple of Artemis (a Greek goddess), which was regarded as one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". Unfortunately, the Temple of Artemis was destroyed and its location is marked by a single column. It is well recorded, however, that the cult of Artemis was a force in the early history of Ephesus.
A view of an ancient aqueduct and one of the many public bath areas in Ephesus.
The history of Ephesus involves an amalgam of nations including the Persians, Greeks (Alexander the Great captured the town in 4th century BC),Romans and eventually the Turks. At one point Ephesus was a noted Christian enclave. St. Paul and St. John visited the city and the Virgin Mary's final home was a short distance from Ephesus. The town was destroyed by the Goths in the 3rd century AD and never again regained its glory.
These gates, next to the Celsus Library, marked the entrance to the Agora, which served as both a marketplace and a meeting place. The gates date from the 4th Century B.C.
You can find many of the treasures from Ephesus in Vienna, Austria at the Ephesus Museum in the National Library Building. The Austrian Archeological Institute was allowed to excavate the site with the approval of the Government of Turkey. See our Vienna Guide for more detail.
The Celsus Library, reconstructed using its original materials, is located in one of the most interesting sections of Ephesus. The two-story building once housed a great library that was destroyed in the 3rd century A.D.
Located to the south of Ephesus is what is believed to be the last residence of Mary, Mother of Jesus. The present building is thought to have been constructed over the foundations of the original house, which, according to legend, was built by St. John the Baptist.
Most tourists see Ephesus during an excursion from a cruise. If you are on a cruise tour, your that time will be limited. We urge you to see as much as you can during your brief visit. If you can control your schedule, you will want to spend the night in Selšuk, Izmir or Kusadasi to allow an entire day wandering the Ephesus site.
During summer the heat can be very oppressive at mid-day, so be sure to take water, wear a sun hat and use a good quality sunscreen.
If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index or Googling ThereArePlaces.
The Trajan Fountain was built in the Second century A.D.
The Grand Theater, built in the 1st century A.D. seated 25,000
The Marble Road was used for transportation and a sewer ran underneath. There is a sign carved in the marble indicating directions to the local brothel.
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