Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, three kilometres southwest of present day Selçuk in İzmir Province. Built in the 10th century BC, the city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. According to estimates Ephesus had a population of 33,600 to 56,000 people in the Roman period, making it the third largest city of Roman Asia Minor.
The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis , one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In 268 AD, the Temple was destroyed or damaged in a raid by the Goths. Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. The town was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The city’s importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River.
Ephesus is the 2nd best preserved ancient city in the work, and comes second only to Pompeii. It is believed at this stage, only 25% has been excavated. Due to the surrounding towns and cities, it may be impossible to ever fully excavate the site.
The site has been key in the formation of religions, as such, churches, a mosque and last year a synagogue have been found on this site.
The city is a major tourist attraction as you will see from the photos, it was hard to get really good set shots, but hopefully they will give you a feel of the place which was in truth amazing.
Small theatre. This theatre would have been used for small music events our council meetings.
Door leading to the upper stalls of this theatre.
The Prytaneion or “Palace of the council” housed the executive council that ruled Ephesus.
There are many columns on this site, showing the obvious Roman influences on the town.
As I mentioned earlier, this site was a key centre for new religions. John, the youngest apostle of Jesus came here, and it may have been the location where “the book of John” was written. He was buried near Selcuk and a church was built in his honour.
Many fig and olive trees can be found in the area.
Curetes Street. This street was closed off from the main streets and housed the import members of the council. The street was lined with exclusive shops and led down to the library. The metal structure to the left covers the only houses in the town centre.
The streets and many of the buildings were constructed of marble, and much of it has been preserved in place.
The Fountain of Trajan. This would have been small swimming bath.
A mosaic street outside what would have been shops.
The temple of Hadrian. One of the best looking structures in the city, this was constructed by Theodusius in tribute to his father. The carvings around the building depict stories and history as well as a carving of Medusa for protection.
Another angle on the temple.
Public toilets would have been used by both men and women until it was banned due to the towns poor reputation of adultry. Fresh water would take the waste away and another stream of water would run in front of the users to allow them to clean themselves. The toilet seats would have been made of pure marble, and as such would have been cold to sit on. Romans would use their slaves to warm their seats up before using them.
Toilets were seen as an important social meeting point and as such would have been made to look nicer with fountains or ponds.
Library of Celcus. Carefully reconstructed using all original materials, this library is believed to be the 3rd biggest in the Roman empire.
Street ruins still to be reconstructed.
The theatre was constructed by the Greeks by cutting into the cliff face, and then refurbished by the Romans who added a stage and additional seating to the structure. The columns shown would have supported a raised stage with rooms below.
Theatre floor. You can tell from the gap around the edge and drainage that gladiators would have fought here.
The Roman’s extended this theatre to suit the city’s growing population and would have held around 10% of the people.
This road would have led to the old harbour which became redundant when the sea retreated back leaving the once thriving harbour 6 miles from the sea. This sea retraction still happens today.
Temple of Artemis. Originally erected to Roman and Greek god Diana/Artemis, this temple was completely destroyed. The column in the middle of this picture is a fake reconstruction, the original blocks are in British museums. Interestingly, this picture show’s many stages of the country’s religion. The ancient temple in the foreground, the church of St John higher up in the centre, with a mosque to the left.
This site is incredibly fascinating and was well worth the trip. There was so much to see and visit that I doubt i caught even a fraction of it, so if you want to learn more about the site you can check out this site which has a lot more information.
I hope you enjoy these photo’s as much as I did the city.