Located on Turkey’s South West coast, Ephesus is not only an important historical site but is also the best preserved of all the classical ancient cities of the Mediterranean.
Located in the heart of an extremely fertile valley, in its day Ephesus was a thriving centre of trade as well as being a great religious centre. St Paul preached to the Ephesians here and it is thought that the Gospel of St John was written at Ephesus. In the Book of Revelations, Ephesus was cited as one of the Seven Churches of Asia.
Ephesus is one of the world’s greatest outdoor museums. The history-laden streets are embedded with the mysteries of the influences which have formed Turkey. You will enter the site down a parade of welcoming should this be Eucalyptus trees, which are a feature of the entire landscape around. Turkey’s sun can be relentless so a word of warning – if you visit Ephesus in the summer months be sure to take a hat, as these Eucalyptus are the only shade in the entire site.
As you walk along the smooth, slippery marble streets – one aptly named Marble Sacred Street – you can get a feel of what life could have been like in ancient times, when they were filled with bustling traders and thriving port life. Some of the sidewalks are paved with intricate mosaics, and they lead alongside streets that take you to partially restored hill houses. You will pass the old theatre still in wonderful condition, and the stunningly restored facade of the library.
Ephesus is also famous for being the home of the magnificent Temple of Artemis – one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, though, the only surviving relic of the temple is a reconstructed column. Other sites which you will see on your visit to Ephesus are the Basilica of St John; The Cave of the Seven Sleepers and the House of the Virgin; all of which hold great significant religious importance in Christian history.
A day spent exploring the ruins of Ephesus will leave you with a new understanding and appreciation of the history of towns such as Selcuk. Turkey is a multi-layered country, and a day trip to the ancient ruins of one of its most fascinating cities will leave you wanting to learn more.