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I consider myself lucky since I live nearby Ephesus Ancient City and I literally grew up in these ruins. Frankly to tell the truth we ”the modern Ephesians” see ourselves as the descendants of the ancient people who lived in these ruins.
Once upon a time, Ephesus was the world’s second-biggest city after the great capital of the Roman Empire. It was not just big also it was officially the capital of the Roman Empire’s Asia Minor state and following this Ephesus was the cultural and economic capital in the east.
Location of Ephesus Today
Today Ruins of Ephesus stand nearby the coastal city of Kusadasi, and it is about a twenty-five-minute drive. Ephesus always keeps its place among the five most visited attractions in Turkey, so I definitely recommend my guests to visit this beautiful city early morning. Also, Summer visits can be hard due to high-temperature conditions, regarding this early visit will be more convenient for you.
The entrance fee to Ephesus is one hundred Turkish Lira on the day this article was written. Also, there is a parking fee depending on the size of your transport. The smallest parking fee is 20 Turkish Lira, and it goes up to one hundred Turkish Lira for the big buses. Ephesus is open all year round.
Read more about the location of Ephesus and the distance of Ephesus from certain cities.
Meaning of Ephesus
It is believed that Ephesus was built by warrior women who were known as Amazons. Some historians speculate that the name of Ephesus city originates from an Amazon princess or an Amazon city called Aphasas.
History of Ephesus
The roots of Ephesus are supposed to go back to the Bronze Age. We believe the name of Ephesus comes from the name “Apasas”, which is the name of an Amazon warrior queen. The first settlement location of Ephesus Ancient City is thought to be the hill where the Basilica of Saint John is located today. (There are recent unpublished excavations carrying the founding of Ephesus to the 7th ct. BC but these are not confirmed yet)
The original Ephesus which was a pure Anatolian settlement was later occupied by the Ancient Greeks in the twelfth and eleventh centuries, and later the Greeks, who mixed with the local people here, established an ancient city-state. This is how we believe Aphasas became Ephesus.
Lysimachus became the ruler of Ephesus in the third century BC after the occupation of Ephesus by Alexander the Great. Lysimachus moved the city of Ephesus from the location where Saint John’s Basilica stands today to the valley between Nightingale Mountain and Panayır Mountain where today’s Ephesus ruins are located. Ephesus became a very important port city and finally the capital city of the Asian province of the Roman Empire. Also the second largest city in its time.
The port, which brought its wealth and prosperity to Ephesus, started to be filled with alluviums carried by the Cayster River. Emperor Hadrian started various projects and opened canals to prevent this port from being filled in the 2nd century. Eventually, the Port of Ephesus became unusable and the ancient city of Ephesus was abandoned in the 4th century AD.
Attraction to See in Ephesus
Ephesus ancient city hosts attractions from different eras and cultures. All the attractions listed below are located within the borders of Ephesus Ancient City. A single ticket bought at the entrance of Ephesus will cover the entrance fee of all these attractions except the Terrace Houses of Ephesus. Ephesus ancient city is open every day of the week and the entrance fee is one hundred twenty Turkish Lira.
- Odeon was a small theater in Ephesus where concert and meeting were held during the Roman era.
- Mazeus and Mithridates Gate stands between Tetragonos Agora and Celsus Library.
- Temple of Artemis was one of the greatest temples of the ancient world and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
- Library of Celsus was the third biggest library of the Roman Empire and today stands perfectly restored.
- Ephesus Latrines (Public Toilets) might be the strangest sight in Ephesus with toilets seats which were not designed for privacy.
- Grand Theater is the biggest and the most majestic building in Ephesus with great history which is even mentioned in the Holy Bible.
- Temple of Hadrian standing in the middle of the Curetes street is one of the two emperor temples in Ephesus
- The Synagogue in Ephesus is mentioned in the Holy Bible as the place where Apostle Paul was preaching to Ephesians.
- Tetragonos Agora is a massive open air market standing nearby the Celsus Library today and was the center of commerce in Ephesus.
- Milestones of Ephesus can be seen on the lower entrance \ exit of the city and still tell us our distance from some certain Roman cities.
- Gaius Laecanius Bassus Fountain is one of the several fountains which can be visited in Ephesus today.
Attractions Nearby Ephesus
The attractions listed below are located nearby Ephesus ancient city. There are separate entrance fees for these attractions. Entrance fees are as follows; House of Virgin Mary is 60 Lira, Basilica of Saint John 35 Lira, and Ephesus Archeological Museum is 35 Lira. Isa Bey Mosque is free of charge since it is a place of worship.
- The House of Virgin Mary was the resting place of Virgin Mary for three years during her stay in Ephesus.
- The Basilica of Saint John still hosts the grave of Saint John and this place is officially accepted as the Saint John the Evangelist’s passing spot.
- Isa Bey Mosque is one of the oldest mosques you can visit in Western Turkey and still operating today.
- Ephesus Archeological Museum had a vast collection of artifacts which were collected from Ephesus ancient city and around.
Ephesus and Christianity
Ephesus had one of the earliest Christian communities of the ancient world. Apostle Paul, Saint John the Evangelist, Virgin Mary, Saint Timothy, and many more disciples visited Ephesus. You can explore the Christian legacy of Ephesus by checking the articles below.
- The House of Virgin Mary was visited by three popes so far and remains to be one of the most important religious attractions in Turkey.
- The Basilica of Saint John is the place where Saint John the Evangelist ascended into heaven and left his mortal body behind.
- Apostle Paul in Ephesus, Paul spent nearly three years in Ephesus and today we can visit the Grand Theater where he used to preach.
- Saint John the Evangelist came to Ephesus after he had to leave Jerusalem with Virgin Mary following the stoning of Saint Stephen.
- The Burning of the Books on Magic in Ephesus which was leaded by Apostle Paul is mentioned in the Holy Bible.
- Popes visited Ephesus, So far three popes visited Ephesus Ancient City, House of Virgin Mary and Saint John’s Basilica
- Miracles at the House of Virgin Mary occurred several times through history were witnessed and recorded by many people.
- Synagogue in Ephesus was the central spot where Apostle Paul gave his speeches to the Jewish community of Ephesus.
- Apostle Gaius
- Polycrates of Ephesus
- Apostle Hermione of Ephesus
- Memnon of Ephesus
- Apollos in Ephesus
Famous People from Ephesus
- Gaius Laecanius Bassus
- T. Claudius Flavius Dionysius
- Zenodotus of Ephesus
- Heracleides the Sculptor from Ephesus
- Alexander Lychnus
- Soranus was a famous gynecologist from Ephesus whose works are still living today.
- Rufus the Doctor
- Hermodorus was a philosopher who was known with two of his works which were called On Plato and On Mathematics.
- Chersiphron and Metagenes
Important Events Happened in Ephesus
- Battle of Notium
- Battle of Ephesus in 498 BC
- The Burning of the Books on Magic in Ephesus
- Miracles at the House of Virgin Mary
- Battle of Ephesus in 1147
Literature Created in Ephesus
Animals and Plants Around Ephesus
Various Articles about Ephesus
Tour Guide for Ephesus
I will be happy to host you here in my hometown and offer you some insider tips, knowledge. I guide groups going to Ephesus departing from Kusadasi Cruise Port, Kusadasi Hotels, Izmir Hotels, Selcuk Hotels, Izmir Hotels, and Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport. Contact me to hire a professional licensed tour guide for Ephesus Ancient City and attractions around Ephesus. You can also always contact me to have a tailor-made itinerary for your Ephesus tour. See you soon!