Incredible Ephesus, an ancient Greek city on the Turkish coast near present-day Selçuk, an archaeological paradise, on the UNESCO World Heritage list, showcasing spectacular monuments excavated from the ancient Roman port city. Timeworn pillars, Roman baths, Ancient temples, theatres, fountains, and a library can all be seen at this world wonder.
A scenic drive of approximately 30 minutes through the country from the seaside town Kusadasi brought us to Ephesus, tucked from view in the rolling hills of Selcuk. The entrance was packed with tourists visiting the historical site, as well as several vendors selling souvenirs. A large modern ticket booth offering several types of passes was located at the gated entrance. We purchased a day pass and entered with excited anticipation.
It is hard to describe how spectacular it was to see the numerous ruins dating so far back in history! Said to date as far back as 6000 BC, the Neolithic Age, Ephesus was a prosperous port city boasting a large commercial centre.
Odeon or Odeion Bouleuterion Theatre also known as “The Small Theatre”, was built around 150 AD. With a seating capacity of around 1500, the dual purposed theatre was used for both Political Meetings and Concerts/Shows. The Greco-Roman Odeon underwent reconstruction in the 1970’s and again in the 1990’s. The ancient assembly hall boasted two tiered marble seating, a wood and tile roof, a sunken orchestra and a small stage.
Unearthed in 1956 excavations, the 2nd Century AD excellently preserved Temple of Hadrian was rebuilt by the Austrian Archaeological Institute. Located on Curetes Street, the temple was named in the 4th Century AD after Roman Emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus. Adorned with Greek Mythology goddesses, it is a historical treasure.
Trajan Fountain, built in the 2nd Century AD to commemorate Emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajanus. It had an original height of 12 meters, an enormous statue of Trajan and a pool in front.
Actually built as a mausoleum, the Library of Celsus was constructed in 110 AD by the son of Governor Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus to house his father’s sarcophagus and commemorate him. Marble was used as the main construction material and the library was able to hold over 12,000 scrolls; statues representing virtues adorn the doors of the Library. Detailed photos can be found in the photo album.
Built in the Hellenistic period, the Great Theatre was remodelled in the Roman period. Constructed on the slopes of Mount Panayir, the three tiered stands could hold an incredible 24,000 seated spectators plus standing room for an additional 1,000. Still used today, greats such as Sting, Elton John and Pavarotti have performed in this amazing ancient auditorium.
Take a look through my Photo Album to see the many more noteworthy sights Ancient Ephesus has to offer. If you get the opportunity to visit the Izmir Province of Turkey, be sure to take a trip to Ephesus!