Ephesus and Around Ephesus
There were three entrances to Ephesus; The Magnesian Gate (on the road the house of Mother Mary), the Koressos Gate (at the back of the Stadium) and the harbor.
Engineer and architect J.T Wood discovered the Magnesian gate around 1869 during his search for the Temple of Artemis. The original building was possibly erected in the Doric order with a passageway 3.70m wide and an almost square courtyard on the city side.
This building was actually a bath-gymnasium complex, erected in about the 2C AD.
It lay immediately north of the Magnesian Gate. There was a lecture hall (palaestra) at the entrance. During the excavations, the statues of healing god Asclepius, Aphrodite, Dionysus, Hygeia, Pan were found enriching here. They are in Izmir Archaeology Museum today.
There were enormous bathing halls in the centre of the structure, surrounded on three sides by vaulted halls for physical exercise, games and for strolling after the bath.
Early Christian Basilica
A church was built over the Hellenistic city wall to the east of the lecture hall in the late 4th or 5th century.
Then it was converted into a three-aisled basilica with narthex and arcades. Most of the floor surface was covered with decorative mosaics. The church was abandoned after the fire in 7C AD.
St Luke’s Grave
Apostle or Evangelist Luke is the author of the Gospel of Luke, the companion of the Apostle Paul (Phil 1:24, 2 Tim 4:10-11). He was born in Antioch, studied Greek philosophy, medicine, and art in his youth. He came to Jerusalem where he came to believe in Lord Jesus. He and Cleopas met the resurrected Lord on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24).
In addition to his Gospel, St. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. Luke was 84 years old when the wicked idolaters tortured him for the sake of Christ and hanged him from an olive tree in the town of Thebes, in Boethia. He was the patron of the medical profession. He was reported to be a fine painter and is also patron of artists, painters, sculptors, craft workers and lacemakers.
His symbol was the bull, the third symbolical beast mentioned by Ezekiel (1:10), which is a symbol of Christ's sacrificial and priestly office, as pointed out by St. Irenaeus.
In Ephesus, there was a circular structure which was described as the grave of St Luke because of the bull carved into the door.
Bath of Varius
The ruins to the east of the Basilica belong to the bath of Varius, dating to the Roman period. The construction dates to the 2nd century A.D and the mosaics in the 40 meters long corridor dates to the 5th century.
It is built of cut blocks of marble. It has three sections, frigidarium (cold water), tepidarium (warm water) and caldarium (hot water). The excavations have not been completed yet.
The agora on the southern part of the Basilica is the State Agora, and was built in the Roman Period in the first century B.C. This agora was used not for commerce but for business, it played an important role as a meeting place for the governmental discussions. During the excavations in the northeast corner of the Agora were found a great number of graves from the 7th-6th centuries B.C and a stone-paved road, and a archaic sarcophagus of terra cotta. From this it is understood that in the archaic period this part of the Agora was used as the necropolis of Ephesus. There is a water reservoir at the corner of the Agora, which played an important role in Ephesus. Its water was brought to the city through the Pollio Aqueduct, the remains of the Pollio Aqueduct can be seen 5 kilometers away, along the Selçuk-Aydin highway.
The agora is 160x73 meters, with stoas on three sides and a temple in the center, dating from the 1st century A.D The temple was dedicated to Isis, surrounded by ten columns on the long side and 6 on the short side. It was collapsed during the reign of Augustus and was not re-built again, as Emperor Augustus' dislike of anything Egyptian. On the facade of the Temple, there were group of statues describing the legend of Odysseus and Polyphemos which are now displayed in the Ephesus Museum.
Temple of Isis
Ephesus throughout its history always had a large Egyptian population and Isis was a very important Egyptian goddess. She is the wife and sister of Osiris and the mother of Horus. There was a temple of Isis rectangular in shape and in the center of the State Agora. The temple was built during the Hellenistic period when Ephesus had close relations with Alexandria.
Her name literally means "Queen of the throne", which was portrayed by the emblem worn on her head, that of a throne. She is known as being the goddess of magic and healing. Ancient Egyptians believed that the Nile flooded every year because of her tears of sorrow for her dead husband, Osiris. He was killed by her other evil brother, Set, god of chaos and destruction.
Her origins are uncertain but are believed to have come from the Nile Delta; however, unlike other Egyptian deities, she did not have a centralized cult at any point throughout her worship. First mentions of Isis date back to the Fifth dynasty of Egypt which is when the first literary inscriptions are found, but her cult became prominent late in Egyptian history, when it began to absorb the cults of many other goddesses. It eventually spread outside Egypt throughout the Middle East and the Roman Empire, with temples dedicated to her built as far away as the British Isles. Worshipping of her remained in Christian Europe as late as the 6th century.
Isis gave the hope of eternal life or resurrection. In Anatolian religions this idea gained popularity because there had been no belief in an after life before her. Today the name Isis is still a beloved name among modern Coptic Egyptians, and in Europe the name Isadora is very common.
The Temple of Isis in Ephesus was destroyed during the reign of the Emperor Augustus because of Augustus’ hostility towards Anthony and Cleopatra. Some of the parts of this building was used for the construction of The Polio Fountain.
On the southwest corner of the State Agora there are the remains of a fountain. According to an inscription the magnificent construction of this fountain was ordered by Gaius Laecanius Bassus in 80-82 AD. The facade of this fountain constructed by Bassus, one of the governor of Ephesus, was richly decorated, and consisted of two floors which faced the street. The statues of Tritons and Muses (sea creatures and river gods), which were found at the fountain, are now on display at the Ephesus Museum. Because of the enormous size of the fountain it has been referred to as the "Water Palace".
This fountain is connected to another fountain which is located just opposite it to the west of the State Agora, and also at the same time to a storage cistern. The main section consists of a body in the form of a semicircle and was built in the 2nd century AD. The fountain building aligned with Domitian Lane and the terrace of the Temple of Domitian. The main basin was measuring 12.35 by 8.30 m, which served as a water reservoir, had the U-shaped aediculated facade.
The fountain underwent repairs in the reign of Constans and Constantius II (337-350) when the present wings were added. In inscriptions, this structure is referred to as the Nymphaion. It is the terminal point of the Aqueduct of Sextilius Pollio, which was built during the reign of Augustus between 7 -15 AD. The aqueduct was 3.5 kilometers long, and its remains may still be seen along the Selcuk-Aydin highway. There was a cistern in the upper part of the fountain, and the surroundings of the structure were decorated with statues of the Emperor.
It is a typical Roman Basilica. It is 160 meters long, and located on the northern part of the state agora and has a nave and three-aisles. The Ionic columns in the basilica are adorned with bulls' head figures dating to the 1st century A.D.
The basilica was used for stock exchange and commercial business. Meetings of the law courts were also held there in the basilica. It has three gates opening onto a stoa leading to the Bath of Varius. The statues of Augustus and his wife Livia were found at the east end, and now they are displayed in Ephesus Museum. So we can understand that the Basilica was rebuilt for the last time during the reign of the Emperor Agustus.It was destroyed by an earthquake in the middle of the Fourth Century AD.
This building has the shape of a small theatre with the stage building, seating places and the orchestra.It had double function in use. First it was used as a Bouleuterion for the meetings of the Boulea or the Senate. The second fuction was the Odeum as a concert hall for the performances.It was constructed in the 2nd century A.D by the order of Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife Flavia paiana, two wealthy citizens in Ephesus.
It had a capacity of 1500 spectators. It had 3 doors opening from the stage to the podium. The podium was narrow and one meter higher than the orchestra section. The stage building was two-storeyed and embellished with columns.The podium in front of the stage building and some parts of the seating were restored. The Odeon used to be enclosed with a wooden roof.
Two councils administrated Ephesus. These were Demos or the parliament which was open to the public was taken place in the great theatre and the Bouleia which gathered in this small theatre. The members of the boulea were chosen from the aristocratic class of Ephesians. The most important decisions and city matters were discussed here.
There used to be two temples between the Prytaneum (town hall) and Odeon (Concert hall). They were Imperial Cult erected in the 1C AD with the permission of Augustus in honor of his adoptive father Julius Caesar, and of Rome. The Imperial Cult never became a true religion.
They aimed to have good relationship with emperors and flatter. There was an altar serving the worship of Artemis and Augustus.
Behind the basilica is the Prytaneion, where religious ceremonies , official receptions and banquets were held. The sacred flame symbolizing the heart of Ephesus was kept constantly alight in the Prytaneion. The construction of the building dates to the 3rd century B.C, during the reign of Lysimachos, but the ruins of the complex dates to the Augustan age.
The four-cornered pit in which the sacred fire is burned is a relic from the reign of Lysimachos. The front of the building is four columns, beyond the columns is a courtyard surrounded by a portico, and on the north is the center of the building, the ceremonial hall, and its side rooms. The eternal flame was here in the center of the ceremonial hall, the red color on the floor determined the location of the flame. Towards the back, there was a large area with wooden roof, the base of an altar is still recognizable today.
The double columns on the corners of the hall held up the wooden roof. During excavations, archeologists found 2 artemis statues, which are now presented in Ephesus museum.
Domitian Temple gave this area its name. It was the first temple to be built in the name of an emperor (81 - 96A.D.) and located next to the Domitian Square . The Polio Fountain and Memmius Monument stands opposite of each other.
The Polio Fountain was situated on its left side of this temple. Water brought by aqueducts is distributed from this fountain by a branching system of baked clay pipes. Richly decorated sculpture from the Hellenistic period was excavated there. The sculpture depicts Odysseus while he was blinding Polyphemus (cyclops) in order to escape from his cave.
Memmius Monument was a memorial which was dedicated to Memmius, son of Caius and grandson of Sulla.
Temple of Domitian
Located to the south end of the Domitian Street, it is the first structure in Ephesus known to be dedicated to an emperor. It was built on a high and wide terrace set by 50x100 meters in size, on vaulted foundations. The northern size of the terrace seems to be two-stories high, reached by stairs. The stairs are still visible today.
The temple, built in pro-style plan, had eight columns on the short side and thirteen columns on the long side, and four additional columns in front of the cella. At the northern side there was an u-shaped altar, which is now displayed in Izmir museum.
It was in the reign of Domitian that an emperor gave permission to built an Emperor Temple; that is the permission to be the 'neocoros' for the first time, which was a great honor for a city.
When the unpopular emperor was killed by his servant, public quickly took vengeance and erased his name from many inscriptions. However in order to not lose its neocoros status , the Ephesians re-dedicated the temple to Vespasian, the father of Domitian.
Fountain of Pollio
The Pollio Fountain was located to the south of the State Agora, across the Odeion. It was built in 97 A.D by the rich Ephesian C.S.Pollio and his family.
The water was brought to the fountains of Ephesus from three main sources through aqueducts and distributed from fountains by a branching system of baked clay pipes. The sources were Kencherios (42km) at Kuşadası, Çamlık village stream of Marnas (15km), and the Cayster River (20km).Water was free of charge by the city in the public fountains. Also they provided refreshment in hot summer days for the streets.
It has a high arch facing the temple of Domitian. It is known to be decorated with a number of statues. One of these statues is the Head of Zeus which is on display in the Ephesus Museum today. Some of these statues were thought to be taken from the Isis Temple, probably after an earthquake, to repair the fountain. The statue group of Odysseus and Polyphemus , that once were on the basin, are now displayed also in Ephesus Museum.
This Monument is situated on the north side of the Domitian Square. It was constructed during the reign of Augustus in the 1st century A.D by Memmius, the grand son of dictator Sulla. One can see the figures of his father and grandfather on the blocks today. The structure has four facades, in the 4th century A.D, a square fountain was built on the northwest facade.
Dictator Sulla was a hero for the Romans in Ephesus.When the taxes were too high in Ephesus they were fed up with the yoke of Rome.They needed a miracle and it was Mithridates of the Pontic Empire on the Black Sea Coast.His famous motto was ‘Asia for Asiatic’. He killed 80,000 Romans with his army.Three years after his revolt, the Roman army, under the command of Sulla, conquered Mithridates and brought security.This monument was built to remind this conquer in 87BC.
Located towards the end of the Curetes Street, it was called the Hercules gate because of the relief of Hercules on it. It was brought from another place in the fourth century AD to its current place, but the relief on it dates back to the second century AD.
Only the two side of the columns remain today and the other parts of it have not been found. The relief of the flying Nike in the Domitian Square is thought to also be a part of this gate.
The Heracles Gate narrowed the access to the street, preventing the passage of vehicles.We can understand that from the Fourth Century, the street had become a pedestrian area.
In these reliefs Heracles was depicting with the skin of the Nemean lion in myhtology. The Nemean lion had been terrorizing the area around Nemea, and had a skin so thick that it was impossible to kill it. Finally he wrestled the lion to the ground, eventually killing it by thrusting his arm down its throat and choking it to death. Heracles was the god of power and strenght.
It is one of the three main streets of Ephesus between The Hercules Gate till to the Celsus Library.This street took its name from the priests who were called as Curetes later.Their names were written in Prytaneion.
There were fountains, monuments, statues and shops on the sides of the street. The shops on the south side were two-storied. Ephesus had many earthquakes, in which many structures including the Curetes Street were damaged. These damages especially on the columns were restored by the new ones, but after the earthquake in the 4th century, the columns were replaced by the other ones brought from different buildings in the city. The differences between the design of the columns can be seen today. The street has its appearance from the 4th century.
There were also many houses on the slope.These were used by the rich of Ephesians.Under the houses there were colonnaded galleries with mosaics on the floor were located in front of the shops with a roof to protect the pedestrians from sun or rain.
Fountain of Trajan
Built in around 104 C.E, it is one of the finest monuments in Ephesus. It was constructed for the honor of Emperor Trajan, and the statue of Trajan stood in the central niche on the facade overlooking the pool.
The pool of the fountain of Trajan was 20x10 meters, surrounded by columns and statues. These statues were Dionysus, Satyr, Aphrodite and the family of the Emperor. They are now presented in Ephesus Museum. The restoration has not been finished yet .
Ephesus terrace houses are located on the hill, opposite the Hadrian Temple. Also called as "the houses of rich", important for the reason give us information about family life during the Roman period. They were built according to the Hippodamian plan of the city in which roads transected each other at right angels.
There are six residential units on three terraces at the lower end of the slope of the Bulbul Mountain. The oldest building dates back into the 1C BC and continued in use as residence until the 7C AD.
Ephesus terrace houses are covered with protective roofing which resembles Roman houses. The mosaics on the floor and the frescos have been consolidated and two houses have been opened to the public as a museum.
They had interior courtyards (peristyle) in the center, with the ceiling open. They were mostly two-storied, upper stores have collapsed during time. On the ground floor there were living and dining rooms opening to the hall, and upstairs there were bedrooms and guest rooms.
The heating system of the terrace houses were the same as that in baths. Clay pipes beneath the floors and behind the walls carried hot air through the houses. The houses also had cold and hot water. The rooms had no window, only illuminated with light coming from the open hall, so that most of the rooms were dim. The excavations of the terrace houses started in 1960. The restoration of the two of the houses have been finished and can be visited today.
It was built in the First Century and restored in the Fourth Century by a rich Christian lady called Scholastica. On the left of the eastern entrance, you can see her statue without head.
The original structure was thought to have been three-storied but by the time the upper two stories collapsed. The baths have two entrances, one from the Curetes Street, which is the main entrance, and the other from the side street. When you enter you see first the dressing room (apodyterium) with ten cabins,then cold room (frigidarium) with its pool,and then the warm room (tepidarium) to relax, and finally the hot room (caldarium) with its developed heating system.The second floor was used for masseage and scrubbe as a therapy.
It was used not only to bathe but also to socialize and discuss the topics of the day.The importance of discussing in the bath is well-known and effective developing of Roman philosophy.
The custom of Roman baths was continued during the Byzantine era and with the arriving of the Turks reached its heyday.During the times of the Ottomans, it won another dimension.It is recommend you to visit one of the traditional Turkish Bath to feel this culture.
Temple of Hadrian
It is one of the best preserved and most beautiful structures on Curetes Street. It was built before 138 A.D by P.Quintilius and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, who came to visit the city from Athens in 128 A.D The facade of the temple has four Corinthian columns supporting a curved arch, in the middle of which contains a relief of Tyche, goddess of victory. The side columns are square. The pedestal with inscriptions in front of the temple, are the bases for the statues of the emperors between 293-305 CE, Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius I, and Galerius; the originals of the statues have not been found yet.
Inside the temple above the door, a human figure, probably Medusa stands with ornaments of acanthus leaves. On both sides there are friezes depicting the story of the foundation of Ephesus - Androklos shooting a boar, Dionysus in ceremonial procession and the Amazons. The fourth frieze portrays two male figures, one of which is Apollo; Athena, goddess of the moon; a female figure, Androkles, Herakles, the wife and son of Theodosius and the goddess Athena. The friezes that are seen today are copies, and the originals are displayed in Ephesus Museum.
Emperor Hadrian was one of the Five of Good Emperors. The Five Good Emperors is a term that refers to five consecutive emperors of the Roman Empire— Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. The term is first coined by the political philosopher, Niccolò Machiavelli in 1532. Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born on 24 January AD 76, probably at Rome, though his family lived in Italica in Baetica. Emporor Trajan was his cousin. Hadrian was schooled in various subjects particular to young aristocrats of the day, and was so fond of learning Greek literature that he was nicknamed Graeculus ("Little Greek").Hadrian was active in the wars against the Dacians and reputedly won awards from Trajan for his successes. Due to an absence of military action in his reign, Hadrian's military skill is not well attested, however his keen interest and knowledge of the army and his demonstrated skill of administration show possible strategic talent.
Hadrian appears to have been a man of mixed sexual interests. The Historia Augusta criticizes both his liking of goodlooking young men as well as his adulteries with married women.It is belived that he tried to poison his wife. When it comes to Hadrian's homosexuality, then the accounts remain vague and unclear. Most of the attention centres on the young Antinous, whom Hadrian grew very fond of. Statues of Antinous have survived, showing that imperial patronage of this youth extended to having sculptures made of him. In AD 130 Antinous accompanied Hadrian to Egypt. It was on a trip on the Nile when Antinous met with an early and somewhat mysterious death. Officially, he fell from the boat and drowned.
Hadrian died in 138 on the tenth day of July, in his villa at Baiae at age 62. However, the man who had spent so much of his life traveling had not yet reached his journey's end. He was buried first at Puteoli, near Baiae, on an estate which had once belonged to Cicero. Soon after, his remains were transferred to Rome and buried in the Gardens of Domitia, close by the almost-complete mausoleum. Upon the completion of the Tomb of Hadrian in Rome in 139 by his successor Antoninus Pius, his body was cremated, and his ashes were placed there together with those of his wife Vibia Sabina and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138. Antoninus also had him deified in 139 and given a temple on the Campus Martius.
They were part of the Scholastica Baths and built in the 1C AD. They were the public toilets of the city. There was an entrance fee to use them.
In the centre, there is an uncovered pool and the toilets are aligned along the walls. The columns surrounding the pool supported a wooden ceiling. There was a drainage system under the toilets.
Octagon was a vaulted burial chamber placed on a rectangular base with the skeleton of a 15 or 16 year old woman in a marble sarcophagus. According to an interpretation Octagon was a monument to Ptolemy Arsinoe IV, the youngest sister of the famous Cleopatra VII,was murdered in Ephesus in 41 BC.
Arsinoe IV (ca. 68/67 – 41 BC) was the fourth daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes, sister of Ptolemy XIII and Cleopatra VII, and one of the last rulers of the Ptolemaic dynasty of ancient Egypt. When their father died, he left Ptolemy and Cleopatra as joint rulers of Egypt, but Ptolemy soon dethroned Cleopatra and forced her to flee Alexandria.
When Julius Caesar arrived in Alexandria in 48 BC and sided with Cleopatra's faction, Arsinoe escaped from the capital with her mentor Ganymedes and joined the Egyptian army under Achillas, assuming the title of pharaoh. When Achillas and Ganymedes clashed, Arsinoe had Achillas executed and placed Ganymedes in command of the army. Ganymedes initially enjoyed some success against the Romans, negotiating an exchange of Arsinoe for Ptolemy, but the Romans soon received reinforcements and inflicted a decisive defeat on the Egyptians.
Arsinoe was transported to Rome, where she was forced to appear in Caesar's triumph. Despite usual traditions of prisoners in triumphs being strangled when the festivities were at an end, Caesar spared Arsinoe and granted her sanctuary at Ephesus. Arsinoe lived in the temple for many years, always keeping a watchful eye for her sister Cleopatra, who saw her as a threat to her power. Her fears proved well-founded; in 41 BC, at Cleopatra's instigation, Mark Antony ordered her executed on the steps of the temple. She was given an honorable funeral and a modest tomb.
A peristyle house on the corner of Curetes Street and the Marble Road is known as the brothel, because in the excavations, a statue of Priapus with an oversize phallus was found in the house. The statue is now presented in Ephesus Museum.
The construction of the building dates to the Trajan (98-117 A.D.) It has two entrances, one from the Marble Road and one from the Curetes Street. It has a hall on the first floor , and on the second floor there are number of small rooms. On the west side of the house there is a reception area with colored mosaics on the floor, symbolizing the four season. The chamber next to it is the bath of the house with an elliptical pool. On the floor of the pool, there is a mosaic describing three women eating and drinking, a waitress standing, a mouse and a cat nibbling crumbs.
Heroon was a 2C BC U-shaped building with an open Ionic upper story. Water ran through a channel in front of the building.
The gable and frieze had reliefs depicting Androclus killing a wild boar,the foundation story of Ephesus. The building is thought to have been a monument dedicated to Androclus.
Hadrian’s Gate is located at the junction of the Curetes Street and the Marble Street. The gate house has three stories. On the first story there are three entrances.
The one in the center is wider and spanned by an arch and the other two side entrances are capped by architraves. The second story was formed of four pillars and the third story of six pillars. A gable marks the top of the building.
This library is one of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus. It was built in 117 A.D. It was a monumental tomb for Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the governor of the province of Asia; from his son Galius Julius Aquila. The grave of Celsus was beneath the ground floor, across the entrance and there was a statue of Athena over it. Because Athena was the goddess of the wisdom.
The scrolls of the manuscripts were kept in cupboards in niches on the walls. There were double walls behind the bookcases to prevent the them from the extremes of temperature and humidity. The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls. It was the third richest library in ancient times after the Alexandra and Pergamum.
The facade of the library has two-stories, with Corinthian style columns on the ground floor and three entrances to the building. There is three windows openings in the upper story. They used an optical trick that the columns at the sides of the facade are shorter than those at the center, giving the illusion of the building being greater in size.
The statues in the niches of the columns today are the copies of the originals. The statues symbolize wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia) and valor (Arete). These are the virtues of Celsus. The library was restored with the aid of the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the originals of the statues were taken to Ephesus Museum in Vienna in 1910.
There was an auditorium ,which was for lectures or presentations between the library and the Marble Road, was built during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.
Gate of Mazeus
The gate with three passage ways at the right of the Celsus Library was built in 40 A.D by the slaves Mazeus and Mythridates for their emperor, Augustus, who gave them their freedom.
The passages are vaulted, the front side of the vault facing the Celsus Library is made of black marble, while the other side is white. A Latin inscription with inlaid letters made of bronze is still visible on one side of the structure. Part of the inscription states: "From the Emperor Caesar Augustus, the son of the god, the greatest of the priests, who was consul twelve and tribune twenty times; and the wife of August Livia; the son of Lucus, Marc Agrippa who was consul three times, Emperor, and tribune six times; and the daughter of Julio Caesar Augustus, Mazeus and Mythridates to their master and the people."
The small area in front of the gate was used as an auditorium. The steps around the gate, in front of the library and the round pedestal were used as seats. In Byzantine Period, the walls in the small area were built when the city walls were reduced in length.
Being the most important trade center of Ephesus, Agora was built in the third century B.C in the Hellenistic Period, but the ruins date from the reign of Caracalla (211-217 C.E)
It is in the form of a square, each side 110 meters, and surrounded completely by columns. The Agora has 3 gates, one from the front of the theatre on the northeast, the other one opening to the harbor on the west and the third one from the Celsius Library. The north side of the Agora is left open, and the other three sides are surrounded by a portico, in which there are rows of shops. At the center of the Agora was a sundial and a water-clock.
Temple of Serapis
This temple was built for the Egyptian merchants. It was located on the Commercial Agora near the western gate. There is also another entrance into the temple from the south-west corner of the Agora through stairs.
There are certain indications that suggest the temple was never finished fully. It is estimated that the construction of the temple was started in the 2nd century A.D.
There is a statue found inside the temple made by using the Egyptian granite. Also some inscriptions found inside the temple indicate that the temple was constructed for those who believe in Serapis. In Ephesus Museum there is a monument on which the main Goddess of Ephesians, Artemis, and the principal god of Egypt, Serapis, take place together with garland as a symbol of peace.
It is well documented fact that Ephesus had a very strong commercial link with the influential port city of Egypt, Alexandria. During these ancient times Egypt was the biggest producer of wheat. They exchanged wheat with other commercial items from Ephesus and other Ionian cities.
It was converted to a church during the following Christian period. There are remains of a baptisterium in the eastern corner of the temple.
It is the road starting form the great theatre to the Celsus Library, which is the portion of the sacred way that leads past Panayirdagi to the Temple of Artemis. The construction of the marble road dates to the 1st century A.D, and it was rebuilt in the 5th century. The western side of the road is enclosed by the agora wall, and on the wall is a higher platform, which was constructed during the reign of Nero. It was built over the wall, for pedestrians.
On the marble road, there are some drawings believed to be an advertisement of the Brothel. This advertisement is known as the first advertisement in history. There is a footprint on the advertisement, one finger showing the library, and other showing the brothel. The known explanation of this sign is that the footprint shows that one should turn at that point; the woman's head symbolizes the women waiting in the Brothel and the heart shows that the women are eager for love. The busts and statues of the important people were erected along the road, and the letters from emperors were carved into the marble blocks to let people read.
This is the most magnificent structure in Ephesus ancient city. The Great Theatre is located on the slope of Panayir Hill, opposite the Harbor Street, and easily seen when entering from the south entrance to Ephesus. It was first constructed in the Hellenistic Period, in the third century BC during the reign of Lysimachos, but then during the Roman Period, it was enlarged and formed its current style that is seen today.
It is the largest in Anatolia and has the capacity of 25,000 seats. The cavea has sixty six rows of seats, divided by two diazoma (walkway between seats) into three horizontal sections. There are three sections of seats. In the lower section, Marble pieces, used for restoration, and the Emperor's Box were found. The seats with backs ,made of marble, were reserved for important people. The audience entered from the upper cavea.
The stage building is three-storied and 18 meters high. The facade facing the audience was ornamented with relieves, columns with niches, windows and statues. There are five doors opening to the orchestra area, the middle one of which is wider than the rest. This enhanced the appearance of the stage, giving it a bigger, monumental look.
The theatre was used not only for concerts and plays, but also for religious, political and philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights.
The building is situated at the eastern end of the Arcadiane Street. It is one of the Ephesian bath-gymnasium building. The form of its palaestra (place of exercise) with a tribune shows that it had a specific function. The bathing section has been partially excavated and so inaccessible.
There were lobbies, warm bathing pools, frigidarium, recreation rooms and halls for training.
This street is situated between the Harbour Baths and the great theatre. Entering from the port, traders and sailors would first arrive in this street. So it was designed gorgeous with marbel slabs and colonnades. It was constructed in the Hellenistic Period, but then was restored during the reign of the Emperor Arcadius (395-408 AD.), from whom it takes its present name.
The street was 530 meters long and 11 meters wide, and on both sides of the street there were shops and galleries, and gates in the form of monumental arches. There were four higher columns with the statues of four apostels on the top.
It was one of the three lighted street at that time along with Rome and Antioch.50 streetlights lit up its colonnades and water, sewerage channels ran beneath the marble flagstones.
The first building near the theatre is called the Theatre Gymnasium.It is a Second Century AD building with two floors and numerous rooms.It was used for sports ground.
At the entrance of the port there were the Port Baths or the Harbour Baths.They were built in the year 2 AD.The Baths are also called the Baths of Constantine, for they were restored by Constantine II (337-361). It was one of the largest building with 160 m wide, 170 m long and 28 m high.
There was a gymnasium in the middle part of the bath-gymnasium complex. Its ancient designation was probably Gymnasium of Emperors and consists of a square peristyle court, corresponds to the palaestra of a Greek gymnasium.
There were rooms varying size and furnishings and served, in Roman times, for cultural and spiritual edification. There was a large sports field in the middle of the gymnasium.
The large bath-gymnasium complex north of the Arcadiane is planned symmetrically. It consists of three parts: baths, gymnasium and athletic grounds.
This building may have been begun at the time of Domitian and it was rebuilt before the middle of the 4th century AD.
The Double Churches
This Roman building is dated to the 2nd century A.D as the ‘Hall of the Muses’. It was used as an education and cultural center. After the christianity became the official religion of Rome, they converted this building into a basilica. It was the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
It was 260 m. in length, and was built with columns in the form of a fine basilica with baptistry. After it was partly destroyed, the western part formed a domed basilica, and when this too was ruined, the eastern part of the old basilica was turned into a church. So it is also called as the Double Churches. The baptistry of this church is the best preserved in Asia Minor.
The Third Ecumenical Council was held in Ephesus, Asia Minor, in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II, grandson of Theodosius the Great. It is also known as the Council of Ephesus. Approximately 200 bishops attended. Here, the divine character of Christ and the Virgin Mary was discussed. Nestorius (380-451), the founder of the school of Antioch and the Patriarchate of Istanbul, rejected the divine nature of Christ and regarding Mary not as the mother of God but as the mother of a human being. The Alexandrian school, on the other hand, claimed the more mystical, more traditional view that Mary was the mother of God and in the end Nestorius was sent exile. So at this counsil it was decided that Christ had a double nature as God and man, and the Virgin Mary was theotokos, god-bearer.
It was the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Also the house of Mary is over Panaya-Kapulu mountain, is the most beautiful natural residence in this region.
The Stadium was located to the south of the Vedius Gymnasium. The spectators' seats on the south was resting on the slopes of the Mount Pion (Panayirdag). The seats on the northern section were placed on the heightened vaulted galleries. There was a monumental entrance gate to the Stadium on the west. Its last shape was mainly given and enlarged during the Roman Emperor Neron's reign in the 1st century A.D. As all Roman stadiums from the classical era, it was planned in a U-shape then.
But none of the pieces of seating tiers were kept. They were used the restorations of the other buildings in Ephesus and also in the construction of the Basilica of St. John.
It was first built in the Hellenistic Age. It was purely used for ceremonies and sports activities. But during the 3rd and 4th centuries other than the sports activities and ceremonies, gladiator and wild animal fights became very popular especially in Roman Period. It is known that certain families, such as the Vedius, owned gladiator schools.Also Christians were persecuted here and were thrown to the lions. So when Christianity became the official religion of Romans in 413 AD. they destroyed it and built the Persecution Gate also as a symbol of these sufferings.
It is easily seen when entering the Ephesus city from the south entrance. The construction of the gymnasium dates around the second century AD, funded by Publius Vedius Antoninus and his wife Flavia Papiana. They dedicated the gymnasium to Goddess Artemis and to Emperor Antoninus Pius. In Ephesus, gymnasiums were the schools for young people in which one could take lessons for art, sports, literature, drama and speech. The most important and beautiful of these gymnasiums was the Gymnasium of Vedius. The entrance of the gymnasium is on the east, and when entering there is a palaestra (courtyard), surrounded by columns. The hall of emperors is also on the east, with statues and floors covered with mosaics.
The gymnasium included a bath, with a tepidarium, a caldarium, and a frigidarium. There was a pool at the frigidarium, with the statue of the god of the River Kaistros in the north end, pouring water into the pool from the amphora that the god was leaning on. Today, the statute is displayed in Izmir Museum.
Temple of Artemis
The temple of Artemis is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. It has been built in the areas of Ephesus on a flat area which has over the centuries turned into a swamp. If you visit Ephesus today, you can only see the ruins of the foundations of this marvelous construction of the Hellenistic Age, entirely made of marble and full of sculptured columns' capitals and shafts. The most beautiful remaining of this temple are today exhibited in the London British Museum.
The oldest remaining found date back till the 6th century BC. It was surrounded by 36 huge columns, later enlarged upon the orders of the Lydia King, Kreisos, during the 6th century BC. Most of the exhibits in the London British Museum belong to this period.
The new Artemis has been rebuilt in the 2nd century BC. Located on top of the previous one, it had tremendous dimensions: 127 columns of each 17,5 meters high. Unfortunately this one has also been destroyed by fire, reconstructed and again demolished by earthquakes, rebuilt and at last looted by Goths one year later.
The statue of many-breasted Artemis was the symbol of the temple but also of abundance, hunting and wild life. The genuine statue of Artemis, removed during the fire, is today exhibited in the Selcuk Museum. Many copies of this statue found during the latest excavations date back from the Roman period.
House of Virgin Mary
House of Virgin Mary is located on the top of the "Bulbul" mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, the shrine of Virgin Mary enjoys a marvelous atmosphere hidden in the green. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Mary preferred this remote place rather than living in crowded place.
The house of Virgin Mary is a typical Roman architectural example, entirely made of stones. In the 4th century AD, a church, combining her house and grave, has been built. The original two-stored house, which consisted of an anteroom (where today candles are proposed), bedroom and praying room (Christian church area) and a room with fireplace (chapel for Muslims). A front kitchen fell into ruins and has been restored in 1940's. Today, only the central part and a room on the right of the altar are open to visitors. From there one can understand that this building looks more like a church than a house. Another interesting place is the "Water of Mary", a source to be found at the exit of the church area and where a rather salt water, with curative properties, can be drunk by all.
Paul VI was the first pope to visit this place in the 1960's. Later, in the 1980's, during his visit, Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary has a pilgrimage place for Christians. It is also visited by Muslims who recognize Mary as the mother of one of their prophets. Every year, on August 15th a ceremony is organized to commemorate Mary's Assumption.
Basilica of St. John
It is believed that the evangelist St. John had spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and buried in the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill. Three hundred years after the death of St. John, a small chapel was constructed over the grave in the 4th century. The church of St John was changed into a marvelous basilica during the region of Emperor Justinian (527 -565 AD).
St John or the Apostle John was the writer of the Fourth Gospel and the book of Revelation. The accounts of the Gospels agree that he is the son of Zebedee; together with his brother James, began to follow Jesus while fishing in the Lake Galilee. He became one of the Christ’s closest disciples and was with him on various significant events such as the Transfiguration and the Crucifixion. At his writings when Jesus was on his torture stake he said that : ‘Mother, this is your Son’. And to his beloved disciple, ‘this is Your Mother’(John 19:26-27).The beloved disciple is thought to have been St John.
The second half of the first century was full of persecution for the early Christians.Apostle James and Stephen were killed in Jerusalem.Paul was sent to Rome and executed. According to tradition John took The Mother Mary and came to Ephesus.He wrote his Gospel in Ephesus and the Revelation in Greece Island, Patmos in 96AD.
The monumental basilica was in the shape of a cross and was covered with six domes. Its construction, being of stone and brick, is an extremely rare find amongst the architecture of its time. Raised by two steps and covered with marble, the tomb of St John was under the central dome, that was once carried by the four columns at the corners. The columns in the courtyard reveals the monograms of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora. Constructed in the 5th century AD, the baptistery is north of the nave, with its key hole shape. Rampart walls around the church were constructed for protection from the Arabian attracts in the 7th - 8th centuries AD. The impressive 10th century AD frescoes representing St John, Jesus and a Saint, ornament the chapel. With the invasion of Turks, the chapel was used as a mosque in the 14th century; unfortunately Basilica of Saint John became unusable due to the serious earthquake in the same century.
Ephesus Archaeological Museum
In Ephesus, the works of art dug up between 1867-1905 were transported to the British Museum ; those from 1905-1923 taken to Vienna. Then Turkish Republic forbade taking antiques out of the country and founded a museum in Selçuk near Ephesus.Its present form was given in 1983.
The Ephesus Museum is different from other many museums.It is not designed according to chronological order on the contrary it has rooms with a theme.For example the rooms are called as The House Findings Room, The Hall of The Fountain Relics, The Hall of The Funerary Relics, The Hall of Artemis, The Gladiators Section.
Isa Bey Mosque
Isa Bey Mosque is one of the most delicate examples of Seljukian architecture, situated below the basilica of Saint John. The mosque was built by the master Syrian architecture Ali son of Mushimish al -Damishki, between the years of 1374 and 1375.
The mosque was styled asymmetrically unlike the traditional style, The location of the windows , doors and domes were not matched, purposely. In the entrance of the mosque, an inscription from the god decorates the doorway. The columns inside the house of prayer are from earlier ruins in Ephesus, making an interesting contrast to the mosque . The domes are ornamented by turquoise and blue faience, revealing the characteristic of Ottoman style. Crown-like doors from Seljukian architectural style later combine with the specific decoration elements of architectural style. The mosque was repaired in 1934.
Located on the northern slopes of Mount Pion, near Ephesus, The Grotto of Seven Sleepers has been discovered by both Christians and Moslems with a growing interest. According to the Christian legend seven young men were walled in during the reign of Decius (250) and yet were seen alive in the streets of Ephesus during the reign of Theodosius II some years after the Council of Ephesus (431). In the Koran, it is claimed that the sleepers slept 309 years in their tombs. A church has been built above this Grotto by the Christians.
During excavations in the area, the church and several tombs have been brought to daylight. Some inscriptions of Seven Sleepers have been noticed on the walls of the church.
This pretty old Orthodox village, 12 km away from Ephesus and 30 km from Kusadasi, was once Cirkince ("ugly"). Indeed its habitants gave this name on purpose as they did not want to be bothered by foreigners nor to share the beauty of their village.
Still after years, visitors understood that the village was not ugly at all and called it Sirince ("pretty"). As the village is located on the top of a mountain, anyone will enjoy the impressive wine yards' and peach trees' views on his way.
Today the village is a perfect synthesis of Turk-Greek culture as of the 1920's: after the Independence War, people exchange between Greek and Turks has occurred and all those typical Greek houses, though they kept their original outside characteristics, have received the local layout inside. The most beautiful specimens are open to visitors. And even in the courtyard of one of them, one will discover a nicely restorated Orthodox church.
All the narrow streets of the village belong to the women, selling handcrafts of all kinds, olive oil. Another attraction of Sirince is its wine: try its taste in small cafés or in the former municipal school restorated.
Though Sirince Village is developing its tourism very quickly, it has been able to preserve its authenticity and the meaning of its name.
Kirazli village - which takes its name from the organic cherries grown there. It is a cute, non-spoilt Turkish village where you may still observe the traditional village life of Turkish farmers. A fifty year old marble sign is still standing nearby the towns coffee house, giving visitors information such as population, general crops grown, how many schools the village has.. Sitting at one of the coffee houses, you may watch the villagers pass by, an old man on his donkey riding home, women carrying fruits, youngsters playing soccer on the streets, street dogs and cats being nice to strangers for a piece of bread, school kids in their uniforms, grandmas chitchatting sitting at the edge of their doorways. If you are a foodie, Kirazli is the place for you to enjoy the organic food market on Sundays, several restaurants offering delicious Turkish traditional dishes, and wonderful farms to walk by and maybe pick up cherries, mandarins, pomegranates, figs and olives. It is easy to make new friends in Kirazli, Turkish people are well known for their hospitality and friendliness. They greet strangers with a nice smile and even invite them for a cup of tea or coffee. If you are done with touristy places and seeking for nature and sincerity, visit Kirazli soon!