A Prelude to Ephesus

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” says, the famous philosopher of Ephesus, Heraclitus. If anyone can have the privilege of visiting this ancient city, they will never be the same again thanks to the greatness of its structures, the wisdom, and the knowledge hidden in each ruin.

Visit Library of Celsus with Ephesus Tour Guide Hasan Gulday

When we speak about Ephesus, we are not speaking of an ordinary, touristic sightseeing spot. First of all once Ephesus was the second biggest city in the ancient world and one of the cultural, economic capitals. Due to its geopolitical location, all the major events of the ancient ages left some traces here like ”The Battle of Ephesus” where Greeks encircled by Persian tyranny fought for freedom, construction of ”Artemis Temple” which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, becoming the capital of the western Anatolia and having a population estimated to be in the range of 200,000 to 225,000, hosting St. Paul and St. John, hosting The First Council of Ephesus which was the third ecumenical council of the early Christian Church, held at the Church of Mary in Ephesus, the birthplace of Pope John VI and the list goes on more and more.

Statue of Goddess Artemis of Ephesus
Statue of Goddess Artemis of Ephesus

The site still possesses many well-preserved ruins side by side with a rich history. The most significant ones are, the odeon, used as a concert hall and city council with the capacity of 1.500 people, Temple of Hadrian dating back to the second century where one of the best sculpture craftsmanship can be seen, Curettes Street hosting many monuments and countless columns on the sides of its marble-paved ground, a fountain dedicated Emperor Trajan where a part of a remaining statue shows us that Romans knew the round shape of the world in the first century AD long before than Galileo Galilei, Latrines (toilets) where it can be seen how they cared about public sanity.

Apart from the ones above two of Ephesus’s outstanding monuments holds importance not just for their home city also for the world’s cultural and architectural heritage. The first one is a library of Celsus which is located at the end of Curettes Street. Celsus library looks like a two-storeyed building seen from the facade but as we know it used to have three stories inside. The facade of the building shows us rarely found craftsmanship. Also, the library used to be the third biggest library of the ancient world, having after the libraries of Alexandria and Pergamon. Anyone who stands in front of this monumental building can understand why did it take twenty years (115 AD to 135 AD) to complete it. The second one is Ephesus’ grand theatre which had a capacity of 25.000 spectators. It was not just a place of art also as we know it was used for animal and gladiator fights. With its great dimensions, it makes one think about how minuscule my moment in time really is. It’s one of the sacred ruins of Ephesus, according to the Acts of the Apostles (19:23-41), the theater was the site of the “riot of the silversmiths” in which those who made silver figures of Artemis the pagan goddess of the city rioted because Paul’s preaching was bad for business. In the 1st century AD, the Apostle Paul spent over three years in Ephesus and he sermonized many times, disapproving pagan worship, in this theater.

This small article above is nothing compared to what awaits you in Ephesus. Contact me to learn more about Ephesus Ancient City and to hire a licensed professional Turkish tour guide for Ephesus Ancient City and surrounding attractions such as the House of Virgin Mary, Saint John’s Basilica, Isa Bey Mosque, the Temple of Artemis, and many more!

Like it was said for the famous poet of Ephesus ”Here lies the poet Hipponax. If you are bad, do not approach the tomb; but if you are honest and from worthy stock, sit down in confidence and, if you like, fall asleep.