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Why Visit Ephesus?

Ephesus, a city located in the far west of Turkey, is the jewel of the ancient world. It is an old town in Asia Minor, where you can see all the Greco-Latin heritage of its buildings, mixed with the new culture. Ephesus is a symbol of tradition, of past history and in it you will find multiple clues to culture and religion in all its forms.

The city of Ephesus, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2015, is bordered by the waters of the Aegean Sea, which is why it has functioned as a highly relevant trade center since ancient times. Hence its wealth and capacity to house multiple buildings that still surprise tourists from all over the world today.

Civilizations that marked the course of humanity were part of its territory: Greeks, Romans, Ionians and Weights. Do the names of Alexander the Great, Cleopatra or Marco Antonio ring a bell? For they walked and ruled the streets of Ephesus. In fact, in this city you can find one of the seven wonders of antiquity, the temple of Artemis. What to say, it really is a city-museum!

Main Attractions of Ephesus, Turkey

Street of the Curetes

The street of the Curetes, also called the Via de los Curetes, is one of the three main streets of the city of Ephesus, which extends from the gate of Heracles to the library of Celsus. "Curetes" was the name given to the priests who walked these streets every day, where there were formerly multiple monuments, statues, fountains and shops.

Today some columns that adorn this street are preserved. Here you can see the monument to Memmius, grandson of the Roman Emperor Sulla. It is located in the northern area of ​​the Plaza de Domitiano and dates from the year I AD.

Temple of Domitian

It is the ruins of a prominent building from ancient times dedicated to the Emperor Domitian, which has two floors specifically. In the past, this emperor was considered by some members of the people to be a tyrant, while others praised him for the prosperity he brought to the city. These ruins are also found within Via of the Curetes, surrounding Mount Pion.

Celsus Library

Continuing along the Via de los Curetes, after passing through the Temple of Domitian, you will find the ruins of the Library of Celsus. It is a mausoleum built in honor of Tiberius Julius Celsus, an ancient Roman senator and consul of Ephesus. Inside it stored around 12,000 parchments (something exceptional for the time). On its exterior you can see the representation of the 4 virtues Sophia, Episteme, Ennoia and Arete, which mean "wisdom", "knowledge", "intelligence" and "honor". It is said that the construction was commissioned by Celsus' son, Tiberius Julius, around the year 114 AD.

The Great Theater

After walking along the Via de los Curetes, you will end up on the Via Marmórea and there you will find the largest theater in Turkey, the Gran Teatro. This building dates from the Hellenic period and its construction continued with the Roman Empire. It has three floors and was used as a recreation and debate center (concerts, politics and philosophy).

Temple of Hadrian

The Temple of Hadrian in Ephesus represents the history of the founding of the city and you can find it by walking along the Via de los Curetes. This historical fact is embodied in the side friezes of the temple that show Androclos hunting a wild boar and Dionysus in a ritual.

The temple is a small building supported by two pillars and columns. It has the bases of four statues, which were dedicated to the Roman emperors Diocetian, Maximian, Constantine and Theodosius. In turn, at the top of the temple you can see the relief of Tyche, goddess of fortune, which is adorned with curls that resemble the head of a jellyfish, in order to ward off evil spirits.

Via Arcadia

It is a street that worked to connect the port of Ephesus with the Great Theater. It was 500 meters long and 11 meters wide at the beginning, and was rebuilt by Emperor Arcadius. It had columns with sculptures of the imperial family and 50 lighthouses that illuminated the entire route. It was a highly traveled place in the past by merchants. All this showed how modern the city of Ephesus was for the time, due to its riches, buildings and cosmopolitan climate.

In the port of Ephesus, the street began at the Baths of Scholastica, which have a statue dedicated to this woman, a Christian figure of great importance during Antiquity.

Temple of Artemis

The temple of the goddess Artemis in Ephesus, also called Diana by the Romans, is a construction carried out by King Croesus of Lydia, which dates back to the 8th century BC and lasted around 120 years, as it succumbed to a fire, it is said, the same night that Alexander the Great was born.

Archaeologists mention that it took many years to be completed, although previously this place was already destined to worship the goddess. It is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world due to its gigantic dimensions and the number of internal buildings it contained. This temple can be observed today in engravings that represented it, but physically only the few ruins that remained of it can be seen.

If you want to visit the remains of the Temple of Diana, head about 50 km south of the city of Ephesus.

Getting to Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey and has connections to different parts of the country.

It is best to visit the city on a tour. Another way to travel to Ephesus is by public transport, in this case the Izban line, from nearby cities, such as Izmir. You can also take the dolmus (minibus) from Selçuk to Ephesus.

In turn, the Ephesus sites are located 450 km from the city of Istanbul, so you can travel from Istanbul to Ephesus as an alternative. The bus transfer from Istanbul to Ephesus takes around 9 hours.

One last option is to fly from Istanbul to Izmir Airport and then travel by car from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport to the city of Ephesus. This last stretch by car takes 45 minutes.

Sleep in Ephesus

The city of Ephesus, Turkey, does not have hotels in its location, as it is an archaeological site with ancient ruins. In case you want to spend several days there, we recommend staying in the city of Selçuk or Izmir, which are located a few kilometers from this site.

Entry into Ephesus

During Ephesus high season (April to October) the site is open from 8am to 6:30pm. In contrast, in low season (from November to March) it opens its doors between 8:30 and 17:30.

01
How many days do I need to visit Ephesus

The number of days to visit Ephesus really depends on the monuments you want to see. However, allocating 1-2 days to enjoy these deposits is perfect.

02
Best date to visit Ephesus

The reality is that to visit Ephesus it is not necessary to think about a certain time of year. If you like the heat and want to take advantage of the whole day exploring, we recommend that you go during the high season (summer). If you don't like crowds and prefer mild weather, we recommend the low season.

03
What to do in Ephesus one day

If you plan to visit Ephesus for a day, we recommend you visit the main tourist attractions offered by these sites, among the already mentioned streets of the city, temples, the Library of Celsus, the Great Theater, among others.

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