Ephesus Ancient City
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era, it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.
The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Among many other monumental buildings are the Library of Celsus, and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators. The ruins of Ephesus are a favorite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport or from the cruise ship port of Kuşadası, some 30 km to the South.
Ephesus is one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean. The visible ruins still give some idea of the city’s original splendor, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. The theatre dominates the view down Harbor Street, which leads to the silted-up harbor.
Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple earned the city the title “Servant of the Goddess”. Pliny tells us that the magnificent structure took 120 years to build but is now represented only by one inconspicuous column, revealed during an archaeological excavation by the British Museum in the 1870s. Some fragments of the frieze (which are insufficient to suggest the form of the original) and other small finds were removed – some to London and some to the Archaeological Museum, Istanbul.
Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from original pieces, was originally built c. 125 AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107) in the Roman Empire.
At an estimated 25,000 seating capacity, the theatre is believed to be the largest in the ancient world. This open-air theatre was used initially for drama, but during later Roman times gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage; the first archaeological evidence of a gladiator graveyard was found in May 2007.
Ephesus also had several major bath complexes, built at various times while the city was under Roman rule. The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world, with at least six aqueducts of various sizes supplying different areas of the city. They fed several water mills, one of which has been identified as a sawmill for marble.
The Odeon was a small roofed theatre constructed by Vedius Antonius and his wife around 150 AD. It was a small salon for plays and concerts, seating about 1,500 people. There were 22 stairs in the theatre. The upper part of the theatre was decorated with red granite pillars in the Corinthian style. The entrances were at both sides of the stage and reached by a few steps.
The Temple of Hadrian dates from the 2nd century but underwent repairs in the 4th century and has been re-erected from the surviving architectural fragments.
The Temple of the Sebastoi (sometimes called the Temple of Domitian), dedicated to the Flavian dynasty, was one of the largest temples in the city.
The Tomb/Fountain of Pollio was erected in 97 AD in honor of C. Sextilius Pollio, who constructed the Marnas aqueduct, by Offilius Proculus. It has a concave façade.
A part of the site, Basilica of St. John, was built in the 6th century AD, under emperor Justinian I, over the supposed site of the apostle’s tomb. It is now surrounded by Selçuk.