Ephesus

Ephesus lies near the modem town of Selcuk, a short distance from Kusadasi. Dolmus run regularly from Kusadasi to Selcuk, and stop at Ephesus, so it is an easy matter to visit some of the most impressive ruins in Turkey. Alternatively, take one of the many organised tours available.

Ephesus lies on the Plain of Cayster, where at one time it had an outlet to the sea. The silt carried down by the river Cayster caused the site to be moved further and further westwards as the sea receded from the original site. The ruins you see today are Hellenistic, with a Roman overlay acquired after Rome made Ephesus the capital of the province.

The original site, occupied by Lydians and Carians, was on the northern slope of ancient Mt Pion (Paniyir Dagi). The lonians arrived in 1000 BC and occupied the site. The new settlers modified an existing shrine to Cybele, the Anatolian mother goddess, and made it a shrine to Artemis, the Greek fertility goddess. The town prospered until King Croesus of Lydia destroyed it, in 550 BC, and forcibly moved the lonians to the plain below.

Ephesus survived Alexander's conquest and the squabbling that went on amongst his successors. Its greatest period of prosperity began when it was made capital of the Roman province of Asia.

As the Roman capital, it became the principal commercial city of Asia, supported by its excellent harbour. In it was erected one of the two wonders of the world to stand in Asia Minor, the temple of Artemis. (The other was the mausoleum in Halicarnassus.) The temple was rebuilt many times, the most famous occasion being after 365 BC, when Herostratus burnt it down in order that he might achieve immortality. (He did - his name is remembered to this day.) The rebuilt temple was enormous, four times the size of the Parthenon, and was ranked among the seven wonders of the world by Philo of Byzantium. It was destroyed by the Goths when they sacked Ephesus in 263 AD.

 

Kusadasi

Approaches

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