Written by ssullivan on 30 Aug, 2013
For our day trip to Ephesus, we elected to fly to Izmir, and then rent a car to reach Ephesus. Izmir Adan Menderes International Airport is located about 60 km from the Ephesus archeological site, and the drive is less than an hour via the…Read More
For our day trip to Ephesus, we elected to fly to Izmir, and then rent a car to reach Ephesus. Izmir Adan Menderes International Airport is located about 60 km from the Ephesus archeological site, and the drive is less than an hour via the E87 highway. Izmir is served out of both Istanbul airports by Turkish Airlines with multiple flights per day, and we were able to tag the Istanbul-Izmir segment onto our Washington Dulles-Istanbul award ticket for no additional miles, and only a few extra dollars in taxes. That left us just needing to purchase a one-way ticket from Izmir back to Istanbul, which cost us less than $50 per person, making for a relatively cheap day trip. Other options for getting to Ephesus from Istanbul include taking a bus or driving, which provides a more scenic, but much longer trip. Because we only had one day to go to Ephesus and come back, we opted to fly.On the day of our trip, we left the hotel early in the morning, taking a taxi to the domestic terminal at the Istanbul airport, for our 9:00 AM flight. Check in was fast and easy, especially since we were just traveling with a couple of camera bags, and we had plenty of time to grab breakfast and coffee in the terminal before our flight boarded.Once on board, service on the short, 65 minute domestic Turkish Airlines flight was quite pleasant. We were seated in business class, and the flight attendants welcomed us with a choice of tea or lemonade as a pre-departure beverage. Once airborne, we were served a full hot breakfast, which was rather tasty. It seemed like no time at all before we were on final descent into Izmir.Upon arrival at Izmir’s airport, we proceeded to the Avis counter to pick up our rental car. We were given a nice Mercedes sedan for our trip. When renting a car at the Izmir airport to drive to Selçuk and Ephesus, you should consult with the rental car agency about how to rent an electronic tollway tag for the drive. We did not know to do this, and found out by mistake that the E87 tollway does not allow for cash collection of tolls. As a result, on the drive down, we were forced to drive through a tollbooth, which generated an alarm. Fortunately we were not stopped by the police (at one tollbooth this was a legitimate concern, as a police officer was stationed there), and never received any citation from Avis. However, it is best to just avoid being put in this situation, and after returning the car to Izmir that night, we learned we could have rented an electronic toll tag for the car that would have allowed us to pay the toll.For our return trip to Istanbul, we elected to map out a more scenic drive from Ephesus back to the Izmir airport, staying off the main highway and instead making the trip via smaller roads along the coastline. This trip was slower, but allowed us to enjoy a drive along the coast and through several small towns. This drive can still be made in about an hour, and provides an alternative to the faster, but tolled, E87 highway.Back at the Izmir airport, we had plenty of time to grab a dinner of pasta from a restaurant before the check in counter opened for our flight. Check in for the flight back to Istanbul was easy, and we were given access to the Turkish Airlines lounge at the airport, where we waited for our departure. Our flight back to Istanbul was booked into Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, Istanbul’s secondary airport. The cab ride from this airport back to our hotel was about the same length as the ride to Ataturk International, the primary Istanbul airport, and we were back at our hotel before 10:00 PM that evening, wrapping up an incredible day. Close
Written by Mark Gokingco on 26 Oct, 2010
The port Kusadasi (pronounced Koo-she-da-see) is a fairly short drive away from the ancient Roman city of Ephesus (Eh-fe-soos) which was built and rebuilt 4 different times following the vital River front that connects to the Mediterranean Sea. The main sites of attraction are…Read More
The port Kusadasi (pronounced Koo-she-da-see) is a fairly short drive away from the ancient Roman city of Ephesus (Eh-fe-soos) which was built and rebuilt 4 different times following the vital River front that connects to the Mediterranean Sea. The main sites of attraction are the house where the Virgin Mary lived the rest of her natural life after Jesus died. This site is a very popular pilgrimage for many Christians especially Catholics. The ruins of what was left of the ancient city of Ephesus are fascinating in an archeological standpoint and a lot of the place (though in ruins) is impressive to see especially the facade of the Main Library. This is also one of the cities Mark Anthony and Cleopatra were known to have visited often. For our tour, I chose to use Port Promotions on this destination because it was a bit cheaper and that I wanted to see if they indeed have smaller groups as oppose to the buses and buses of people from the Cruise ship. Well, it was all very easy. As my wife left the port terminal, right outside was a sign with my name on it as well as another couple who turned out to be some retired teachers from Toronto, Canada (Lou and Sharon). Ilknur Keser (Nur for short) was our tour guide who worked for a company that hired her called Eurway. She spoke very good English as she learned English in London. I rated her one of the better guides in all my trip so I'm glad she was there. I hope Port Promotions keep using her.The tour started us of towards the Virgin Mary’s house which was quite busy but a good experience. Many pilgrims as expected here. The remains of the Roman city of Ephesus were next and it was quite nice. Be prepared to wear comfortable shoes since you will walk through paths through the ruins itself and some of the footing can get quite tricky. Take the photo of the rebuilt façade of the Library of Ephesus which is the photo opportunity of the excursion. Afterwards, we went up the mountain a bit to a very nice restaurant (Artemis Restaurant) for some local Turkish cuisine consisting of some kabobs of chicken and lamb, various cold side dishes and a salad along with some wine. The area reminded me much like Napa Valley in California. Our final stop was the remains of St. John’s Basilica which was destroyed by a massive Earthquake and was long forgotten. Close
Written by J. G. Nash on 26 Dec, 2004
Ephesus (the place is called Efes on Turkish maps), is an easy hour's drive south of Izmir, which is where about 40% of its visitors stay overnight. Another 40% come from cruise ships; the remaining 20% are either staying in the city of…Read More
Ephesus (the place is called Efes on Turkish maps), is an easy hour's drive south of Izmir, which is where about 40% of its visitors stay overnight. Another 40% come from cruise ships; the remaining 20% are either staying in the city of Selcuk (which is part of Ephesus, or the other way round), or will head on out to the east after visiting the popular tourist attraction. Indeed, so popular is Ephesus that on most days, it looks more like Orlando's "Mouse House" than the 2,300-year-old archaeological site it is. There are only three other places in Turkey as popular with visitors—Istanbul, the Turquoise Coast, and Cappadocia—each of which I plan to write about in the near future.
To the best of our knowledge (which isn't very good at all), Ephesus was founded in pre-Ionian times (the 13th century BC) by Carians and Lelegians, and/or Lydians, who were probably attracted by the location in a rich, fertile area, protected by mountains and with access to the sea. Those peoples are believed to have soon erected a temple to their "goddess mother"; the bare-bones foundation of that temple (the Temple of Artemis) are all that remain, and they are often submerged in a seasonal pond in the city of Selcuk.
Over the centuries, many other peoples came to covet the city's location: Ionians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Seljuks, and, finally, the Ottoman Turks all added to the destruction, as well as to new construction. In the 4th century, the seat of the Roman Empire was in Constantinople, where the emperors, bent on building ever greater monuments to themselves, plundered Ephesus, along with other ancient cities, for marble columns and works of art which ended up as part of such as the church called "Aya Sophia" and the great underground cistern in Constantinople. Within another hundred years, the port, which had been pivotal to the city's economy, silted up, and the once-grand city shrunk into a small area inside fortified ramparts, surrounding a church built over the tomb of St. John.
In the 11th century, the Crusaders arrived from the west, and the Turks came out of the East. The Byzantines held out until 1304; by the 15th century, the town fell under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, and it was named Selcuk in 1914. Although Ephesus suffered predictably from periodic warfare and from the theft/relocation of its monumental treasures, it remains one of the world's largest and most impressive archaeological sites. Let's take a look at its major attractions as they exist today.
In the city of Selcuk itself, you'll find a marvelous museum of artifacts discovered during excavation of the main part of Ephesus. Not surprisingly, one of the more popular and better known exhibits is a 10-inch-high, baked clay statuette of a god called "Bes," which was reportedly unearthed in a brothel in Ephesus. Appropriately, perhaps, the little statue sports an erect phallus nearly as big as the god himself. There's really nothing to see of the original Temple of Artemis, which was once one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Apostle John's tomb is under the base of an altar, in the ruins of a 6th-century basilica. Nearby, you can see fragments of the town's ramparts. We leave Selcuk by the road towards Kusadasi, turn left at the Tusan Motel, and soon arrive at one of Ephesus’s two large parking lots. After buying our tickets (10,000,000 Turkish Lira each), we begin walking on the fabled Arcadian Way, which once stretched from the 25,000-seat theater (still used today for various functions) all the way to the port, from whence Cleopatra arrived to visit Ephesus. The Way was paved with marble and lined by covered archways filled with shops; it was said to have been illuminated with thousands of flickering oil lamps at night.
After we leave the theater, we enter upon the Marble Road, which takes us past the brothel on our left and soon to the most famous structure (partially rebuilt) of all: the library named in honor of Emperor Julius Celsus. In its reading room, you can see slots in the marble that were used hold rolls of papyrus (the "books" of that time). The library faces a 350-foot square, or agora, which today swarms with camera-wielding tourists. It's nearly impossible to take a photograph without including a hundred people in it.
As we head uphill from the library, on the road of Kuretler (or "Curetia"), we'll pass by several partially restored arches, the most interesting of which is that of the Temple of Emperor Hadrian, whose name is attached to major construction all over Turkey. At the top of the marble-paved road, there's a little odeon (theater) where some 2,000 spectators could sit and listen to readings of poetry, philosophy, and/or music. The street ends at what was called the "Manisa (or Magnesia) Gate," where the second major parking lot is.
Though not properly part of Ephesus, there's another major attraction nearby which few visitors miss by choice. High on the side of a mountain range, just a few miles south of Ephesus, is the place where the Virgin Mary is said to have lived out her years after the crucifixion of Christ and from where she ascended to Heaven. A simple stone chapel is believed to have been her home. At one time, cast-off crutches and other similar symbols of terrible diseases were piled against one wall of a room therein, bearing mute testimony to miracles believed to have taken place in that special place. Today, the crutches are all taken away, and no photographs are permitted inside the little chapel. Just down the hill a bit is a fountain with several metal spigots, from which flows water so special that long lines of visitors wait patiently for an opportunity to fill plastic water bottles with the blessed fluid. Next to the fountain, someone has started a tradition of stuffing paper notes into a stone wall; it's apparently an idea taken from Jerusalem's Wailing Wall.
Turkey is home to more, bigger, and better ruins, such as Ephesus, than are Greece and Italy combined. Ephesus isn't my favorite from among those archaeological sites, but it is certainly worth six or more hours, if you're anywhere near.
Written by Taylor252 on 26 Aug, 2003
The city of Ephesus was, according to myth, founded by the Amazons--specifically, a Queen named Ephesia. The date somewhere around 1200 to 1100 B.C. The Amazons were reputedly fierce warriors going so far as to remove one…Read More
The city of Ephesus was, according to myth, founded by the Amazons--specifically, a Queen named Ephesia. The date somewhere around 1200 to 1100 B.C. The Amazons were reputedly fierce warriors going so far as to remove one breast so they could use bows and arrows more efficiently. They are also supposed to have been outstanding horsewomen, and locally they are credited with forming the first cavalry. Another legend found in a series of friezes on the Temple of Hadrain in Ephesus suggests that the son of Codrus, the King of Athens, a fellow named Androclus founded Ephesus. As the story goes, upon the death of his father, Androclus, because of some troubles, needed to get out of Athens quickly. He went to the Oracle at Delphi and was told a fish and boar would show him where to found a new city. Several days later his men were starting to cook some fish. One jumped out of the pan and landed in a bush frightening a boar who had been hiding there into running. They chased the boar finally bringing it down. On that site the city of Ephesus was supposedly founded. While that all sounds pretty fanciful, boars and fish symbols are common in Ephesus and figure prominently on their coinage. According to Heroditus, the Carians & Lelegians & possibly even the Hittites were earlier dwellers of this area. A Mycenaean necropolis dating to the 14th or 15 cent. B.C. has been uncovered as well.
Ephesus was, in antiquity, on the seacoast and we don't really know much more than that about the first 400 years or so of the city. We only know from early writers that little feuds between the city states around Ephesus occasionally occurred and that Androclus expanded the influence of Ephesus during the early years.. Then there is a period of history where Ephesus is ruled by those they call the Tyrants. (we are still pre-Roman) Then in 600 BC the people forced these rulers to bow to pressure from the populace and accept the creation of a parliament. The name of Curetes was used and and each year 6 members of the Curetes were replaced. There followed eras of peace and the rule by the Lydians and then Persians in 547 BC. The Persians were removed with help from Athens in 470 BC. Then the Athenians lost the Pelleponese War with a Spartan/Persian alliance and Ephesus was given back to the Persians again. In spite of all the conquering and reconquering going on, Ephesus social life remained about the same. Men and Women enjoyed almost equality. Women were educated and became poets, scholars, admirals and even female judges.
The next step in Ephesus history is Alexander the Great. He got rid of the Persians and then died very young. One of his general Lysimachus took over and began the process of moving the town. The river Meander was silting in the harbor. First came a swamp which began to cause outbreaks of malaria in the 4th cent. B.C. In 133 BC. Ephesus became Roman without a fight. This was the cites most brilliant time, between the 1st and 2nd Cent. BC when she became the second greatest city of the East after Alexandria. In about 53 AD. Paul arrived and the first Christians were converted. Then is often happens after a period of greatness, gradually Ephesus lost prominence but, the site was not completely abandoned until about 450 A.D. When the Ephesians, now mostly Christian moved to the area around St. John?s Basilica. After the 11th cent. A.D. most of the Ephesians left, departed the area because of Arab and urban pirates attacks. That left only a small village of Turkish tribesmen. This was then abandoned when the Ottoman Empire was established a century or so later.
Excavations of the original city site were begun in 1869 and have continued till the modern day. Only 4-5% of the city is uncovered. The ruins contain both Greek and Roman elements and the city is one of the best preserved in antiquity.
Written by smmmarti guide on 11 Oct, 2000
Ephesus, with its primo position as gateway to trade routes with Asia, had a long and fascinating history both culturally, politically and religiously. With this positioning it was bound to be a center for development and change, the perfect site to overthrow both government…Read More
Ephesus, with its primo position as gateway to trade routes with Asia, had a long and fascinating history both culturally, politically and religiously. With this positioning it was bound to be a center for development and change, the perfect site to overthrow both government rule and philosophy. As a hub, traders and seafarers were bound to spread the news, the buzz, of Ephesus to the world.
Founded in 12-11th century B.C. by the Amazonians and/or Ionian Greeks, it was subsequently conquered by Cinneriians in 7th century b.c., then by Croesus in the 6th, who built the reportedly beautiful, awesome Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world). Artemis was patron of the city's founders, the Amazonians. Later ruled by Cyrus the Great, King of Prussia, who was driven out by Alexander the Great in 333 b.c. Alexander was born, ironically, the night the crazed Herostratus, seeking to find eternal fame, had burned down the Temple of Artemis. Alexander restored the temple after coming into power there.
Ephesus flourished under Macedonian rule but passed to Roman rule in 189 b.c. It became one of the wealthiest cities of the Middle East under the Emperor Augustus. Excavations show evidence of the wealthy and sophisticated lifestyle enjoyed by segments of the population (200,000-300,000) who lived here during its heyday. Realizing the relative population of the earth B.C., that's a very large and prosperous city.
Tourists and sailors were an important part of the city's commerce. Evidence of the accommodations made for them is pointed out on the tour. Sailors took to the baths at the port to clean up for the clean city. A rare beach flowing with fresh spring water and the typical Turkish style baths awaited them. Following that icons guided them on the signposts and sidewalks (sailors speak foreign languages, you know) to the center of town where the brothel and happy citizens greeted them.
Other pilgrims came to visit the great city to go shopping and purchase souvenirs of their trip from local gold and silversmiths who sold miniatures of the gods and goddesses represented in the many temples and statuary about town. A long-standing tourist tradition handed down from Ephesus!
Which is why when Paul came here to spread Christianity he found huge acceptance by some, but great resistance from those whose living depended upon the reverence for the pagan gods. You can witness the 'graffiti' art of the early Christians carved into the marble streets of Ephesus; the letters of Ichthus each superimposed on one another creating a wheel-like image.
During it's pagan period, the rabble rousers, Paul included, were run out of town. The faithful Christians were then dependent upon Paul's letters to the Ephesians for guidance. Were Christians actually fed to the lions in that amphitheater? Was John the Baptist buried here? Did Mary, the mother of Jesus live her final years here. They say so.
Some accounts suggest the Christian religion got a stronger foothold here by tapping into the already present Mother-goddess cult of Artemis with the promotion of the doctrine of the Virgin Mary as Mother of Christ. Certainly a huge political and philosophical uproar took place as a result
Persistence paid off for the religious rebels. The Edict of Theodosius in 381 AD prohibited pagan worship. The Council of Ephesus was called in 431 AD to clarify the heretical doctrine being promoted by Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, in his refusal to acknowledge Mary as the Virgin Mother of God. He lost the argument and his position in the church.
All these takeovers and shifts of power changed the facades of Ephesus over time. Invading forces had destroyed much of the original amphitheater. The stone was then reused in new churches and buildings. Eventually the Turks/Ottomans constructed mosques and shrines from remains of other cultural buildings.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the river and port continued its silting and eventually Ephesus’ grandeur was diminished as plunderers and aggressors destroyed much of the physical architecture in tandem with Mother Nature, perhaps the most powerful of mother-goddesses. We don't know about the extent of destruction caused by the earthquakes common in this region, but it was a suggested cause of the city's demise and burial as well. Fortunately for us tourists, archeologists have been working since the mid-nineteenth century unearthing and piecing together what was over time a truly great city.
These days you can enjoy this site regardless of your culture, religion, or heritage simply for the amazing tangible example it provides of historical drama and evidence of human endurance and cleverness. You can be a pilgrim and purchase your choice of souvenir, replicas of ancient Roman coins, fertility god or goddesses, statues of Artemis or the Virgin Mary. It can be viewed as a revered site whether by those partial to Mother-goddesses, Christianity, or their Muslim heritages. Learning of its history is bound to raise a few questions about all you have known and not known.
Sit on the steps of the great library and ponder a moment all that went before you and imagine all the pilgrims who might similarly walk some day in the steps of your astounding little suburban streets, so little actual difference between then and now, here and there. At least that’s what I did.
Written by walkman on 02 Aug, 2000
In the times of fame for Ephesus, when the city was alive and full of inhabitants, it was a famous seaport. Today Ephesus is situated three kilometres from the nearest beach. It's because of expanding marshes around the place. Still there are ruins of ports…Read More
In the times of fame for Ephesus, when the city was alive and full of inhabitants, it was a famous seaport. Today Ephesus is situated three kilometres from the nearest beach. It's because of expanding marshes around the place. Still there are ruins of ports in Ephesus and it seems a little bit strange when you do not know that historically, there was sea near the place you are standing, even if not exactly in that spot. Close
Written by akakd on 28 Oct, 2008
If you end up in Ephesus on a tour, ask the tour guide to see the ancient latrine. These early public toilets are, to say the least, VERY public. It was interesting to note that some pretty flowers grew here. Perhaps from…Read More
If you end up in Ephesus on a tour, ask the tour guide to see the ancient latrine. These early public toilets are, to say the least, VERY public. It was interesting to note that some pretty flowers grew here. Perhaps from good human fertilizer?!? Close
Written by NiceGinna on 12 Mar, 2009
Ephesus was a major reason for choosing this cruise and one of the great archeological sites in the world. The four of us rented a taxi for the day and he drove us out to the site, stopping along the way at a couple…Read More
Ephesus was a major reason for choosing this cruise and one of the great archeological sites in the world. The four of us rented a taxi for the day and he drove us out to the site, stopping along the way at a couple of interesting places, including Selcuk to explore the ruins of the Basilica of St. John, said to be built over his tomb. Then we arrived at Ephesus: he left us there and said he would meet us at the other end of the excavations, whenever we were ready.The porticoed streets, paved with mosaics and lined with shops and temples. lead to the famous Library of Celsus and the Great Theater which held 24,000 citizens. We also visited the Terraced Houses - a separate ticket but a MUST SEE. The houses - more like condos, one on top of the other - are filled with artistically painted walls and mosaic floors with intricate designs. It must have been quite a life for the citizens! Close
Early signage. The foot points in the direction of the heart(to left of foot, dotted). Another symbol signifies that cash is accepted. This is an ancient sign to a brothel.…Read More
Early signage. The foot points in the direction of the heart(to left of foot, dotted). Another symbol signifies that cash is accepted. This is an ancient sign to a brothel. Close
1) As long as the lines are for the women’s water closet or WC, crossing your legs is almost a necessity. Thus the sign for the women's WC is telling.2) Truth in advertising.(See photos.)…Read More
1) As long as the lines are for the women’s water closet or WC, crossing your legs is almost a necessity. Thus the sign for the women's WC is telling.2) Truth in advertising.(See photos.) Close