Despite the fact that only 10% of Ephesus has been excavated, the untouched details of the ruins take your imagination back to the 11th century BC, and you can vividly feel how people lived in the city back in the day when you visit the communal public baths, with its latrines packed close together. You can imagine how important the trade was to the city if you look at how huge the agora or market area is; and with temples often coming into view and the cementery for gladiators who fought to entertain an ancient audience, you can feel as if you really traveled back in time.
Even after the hundreds and hundreds of years that have passed since Ephesus was founded, these ruins are now considered the best preserved of any Roman site in the Mediterranean.
You find the ruins along the slopes of two hills, with two level sites inside connected by the Steet of Curetes. On the lower site near the ancient harbor, there is a huge amphitheater, with a capacity of 25,000 people. And as incredible as it may sound, they continue giving concerts nowadays. Just ask if there is any special concert or event during your stay.
On the same level, you can visit the most impressive ruin at Ephesus: The Library of Celsus, with its spectacular views at sunrise. What remains from this building is the front façade with its entrances, statues, and windows, and two stories of towering pillars. The fact about this building that will definitely catch your eye is the perfect technique they used to build the Library, with precise techniques to manipulate your perspective. When you look at the building from ground level, it looks much larger than it originally is.
A Quick View of Ephesus’ History
Ephesus was originally founded by the Greeks, who arrived around the 10th century BC. In those days, Ephesus was an enormous and very important city and seaport, with about 200,000 people living and moving around. Later, in the 2nd century BC, the Romans took over the city and then it became an important center of Christianity. The Temple of Artemis, also known as Diana, was built during the Greek reign and was declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
There are many more highlights from the city, like the Ephesus Museum with its collection of statues and relics, and the Terrace Houses, which were the houses of the rich during the Roman era. To visit the Terraces you’ll have to pay some extra money, but it’s totally worth looking at the mosaic and frescoes.
Ephesus is, without a doubt, a relic of a city with ruins of classical Greek and Roman architecture and an incredible amount of classical culture, with that particular charm of its own. For sure, this is a place that lovers of classical culture and architecture will adore.
How can you get there and where can you stay?
At Izmir, you have the closest airport to Ephesus, 30km away from the town of Selçuk. You can visit the ruins from 8 a.m., before the summer sunrise hits them, to 7 p.m. But generally, you can wander around for another hour. On special events, the ruins are lit at night and you don’t want to miss this impressive sight, so don’t forget to ask if there are any events at the time of your visit. Also, if you want to explore Ephesus in depth, we recommend that you stay in Selçuk, only 3km away from the ruins, at the Hotel Kalehan.
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