An incredibly preserved ancient city in southwestern Turkey dating to the 10th century B.C., Ephesus provides an unrivaled journey through history. Here, you’ll find the famed Temple of Artemis, built around 550 B.C. and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. St. John is said to have preached in these streets, and Mary is believed to have lived out her final days at the House of Virgin Mary.
In fact, much of Ephesus can be considered an important Christian landmark. The city played a part in the lives of many biblical figures, and is noted in the Book of Revelation among the seven churches of Asia. Many believe that the Gospel of John was composed here.
Before the Common Era and well into the Middle Ages, Ephesus was successively governed by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and then Turks. Today, the city allow visitors to peel away these layers of history, providing a detailed window into the ancient past.
Located a short distance from the modern-day Turkish city of Selçuk, Ephesus remains a well-traveled historical, religious and archeological site. Among the best-preserved cities from antiquity, Ephesus holds the key to understanding one of the earliest civilizations.
Ephesus Sights and Landmarks
In the middle of this ancient city sits the majestic Greek Theater, which was built during the Hellenistic period. The theater went through many renovations over the next few centuries, and is now largely a reflection of the Roman Era’s architectural sensibilities.
The Temple of Hadrian is one of Ephesus’s most sacred landmarks, built in the 2nd century to honor one of Rome’s great emperors.
The Roman Library of Celsus was erected in 135 in homage to Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, a Roman senator. He was entombed underneath the ground floor of the structure. The library held over 12,000 scrolls and featured an auditorium that was used for lectures. The magnificently marbled building is ornamented with statues and Corinthian columns and is the most celebrated structure for its elaborate two-story façade.
Ephesus Shopping and Entertainment
The Lower Gate at Ephesus houses a large variety of craft stalls where local artisans showcase their many talents and invite visitors to take a piece of Ephesus back home with them. You’ll find a large collection of traditional arts and crafts at the Lower Gate.
Nearby, visit the beach at Pamucak for an afternoon of horseback riding and swimming in the crystal clear waters that open up to the beautiful Aegean Sea. The public beach there also boasts a waterpark, seaside food and drinks to refresh the spirit, and a dreamlike sunset.View Cruises to Ephesus