The last segment of our Turkey escapade was one of the oldest, and best preserved ruins and ancient sites in the world- Ephesus. The glorious city of Ephesus is a one of the most important and famous Greco-Roman sites of the eastern Mediterranean. Ancient Ephesus was one of the great trading cities which fell under the control of Croesus and, later, the Persians. It was visited by Alexander the Great and re-established itself as the Roman capital of Asia Minor under him. When Ephesus was at it’s prime, it was the second largest Roman city in the world after Rome It was also a major trading port until the sea started edging away.
Excavations here actually started in the 1970’s which still continues. And what you see today is just hardly anything. Still 70% of the city is undiscovered. The moment you enter the area, it has a different feeling all together. You can’t stop imagining how it would have looked in its prime.
The whole Ancient site takes close to 3 hours to cover. You can hire a guide or take your guidebook and spend the day there in the beautiful ruins. Despite its age and years of plundering, Ephesus remains surprisingly intact, especially its marble streets, the much photographed library and massive amphitheater
As we pass through the gates, the ancient marble streets flocked by trees was the perfect way to start the walk. The first major sight you see is the ancient massive Amphitheatre, While you walk along the path which use to come from the sea, you can feel how massive that place would have been. The impressive column-lined Arcadian St leads to the ancient harbour that is long silted up. Today Ephesus is 10km from the sea.
The amphitheater in its glory days could seat 25,000 people at once. The acoustics in the amphitheater are fantastic. We watched and listened as a tourist group sang and recited something and we could hear it way back up the stairs. Stand on the top most part and see the whole area. It’s just a magnificent view.
While you walk across the old busy shopping street, you can see the area where the old shops and pathway would have been. Library of Celsus, the most recognizable structure and is one of the most clicked places. It dates to 125 AD and acts as the main tourist draw, enticing an average of 1.5 million visitors to the site each year. The impressive facade of the Library has been carefully reconstructed from the original pieces.
Every ruins, every structure will get you a sense for how large and important this city would have once been. The grandeur of the ancient city is just unmissable.Over the years the city, its temples and treasures were repeatedly plundered and it was the subject of many takeovers being ruled variously by Turks, Egyptians, Ionians, Lydians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. And today remains of Ephesus is a wonderful experience to imagine and envisage how life must have been in its Roman heyday.
Don’t miss to visit Terrace Houses, The town of Sirince, The Ephesus museum,The virgin Mary’s house which are around the ancient site. It is believed the Virgin Mary spent her last days here. Both apostles Paul and John also lived here.
Ephesus can be visited by staying in the surrounding town of Selcuk. From the Selcuk bus station, the site can be reached on foot in about 25 – 30 minutes (there is clear signage and the path is flat and easy to navigate) or you can take a local transport which is easily available. You can look for cheap and affordable hostels around Selcuk which will provide you a dorm for 10 Euros. We recommend ANZ guesthouse whose owner is an Australian and is a big Raj Kapoor Fan.
The site is explored by foot and is open daily from 08:00 – 17:30 (later in the summer). Admission is 25 TL, an additional 15 TL for the Terrace Houses. Carry lots of water along with you as inside the area there are no shops. Also Go either in the early morning or a late evening to protect yourself from the sun and massive guided tour crowd.
If you have done with the ancient site exploration you can visit the Kusadasi beach to admire the Aegean Sea.
DID YOU KNOW FACT- The bible mentions the ancient ruins of Ephesus, several times. Read the Book of Revelation and you will find it is refereed to as one of the seven churches of Asia. The seven churches are all along the Aegean coastal line of Turkey.