Ephesus, the most renowned of the ancient towns founded in the Ionian region in Western Anatolia, is located on the south of Izmir's Selcuk town, 19km to the north of Kusadasi. The ancient city of Ephesus is in Unesco World Heritage and it is one of the ancient cities referred in the New Testament which makes it an important site for Christianity as well.
The ruins of Ephesus are today in great condition thanks to nature that covered the site and protected it till its excavations starting from 1868.
Ephesus was once an important harbor at the end of Asia on the Aegean coast. Because of the silt carried by River Meander that filled the sea, the ancient city today is 5km inland from the Aegean coast.
Although the city was ruled by the Roman Empire since the 1st century BC, with the Hittites’, Ionians’, Amazons’, Lydians’, Persians’, Alexander the Great’s and the Pergamonians’ existence at the history of the region , today the ancient city caries as rich variety of architectural remains.
Especially during the Roman era the importance of the town was sustained. It was the Roman era in which the city grew to become an important commercial center. It was also one of the first five cities of the Roman Empire. In 17 AD a disastrous earthquake brought down the city. The city was re-built later in 123 AD by Tiberius and Hadrian.
During the Christian era, Ephesus became a magnificent metropolis of the ancient world such as Alexandria and Antioch. The city was also one of the seven churches of Asia. St John the Apostle lived in Ephesus and his grave is in the church named after him which is also located near Ephesus. St Paul came to Ephesus in year 52 AD and lived for a while in Ephesus. Virgin Mary is also believed to have spent her life after the Crucifixion near Ephesus. Both of these events make Ephesus one of the most important landmarks in the history of Christianity.
Virgin Mary was verified as the God's Mother by the ecumenical council convened in the Mother of Mary Church in Ephesus in 453 AD.
Today the city is impressive with its Library of Celsus, the Great Theatre, the Latrines, the Terrace Houses, its marble streets and many more that offers a time travel for the visitors.