|Ephesus is one of the most beautiful ancient sites in the world and is considered one of the great outdoor museums of Turkey. It was established as a port andwas used to be the most important commercial centre but the silting up of its harbor gradually resulted in the loss of its fame. Besides it was a trade centre of the ancient world, it was also a religious centre of the early Christianity and today, and it is an important tourism centre in Turkey.
Ephesus is located a small town, Selcuk, 30km away from Kusadasi. Actually Ephesus was located at different places in different time of the history. It is believed that the city was established 4 times at different places.Thecity was established 6000 BC. Ephesus I was located on Ayasuluk Hill and it was inhabited by ancient Anatolians. Ephesus II was on the north slope of Mount Pion and it was ruled by Lydian legendery king Croesus in the mid-6 century BC. Ephesus the III was established between Mount Pion and Mount Coressus by Lysimachus, commender of Alexander the Great. Ephesus II chanced it location here because in the 4C BC the harbour threatened to silt up the settlement. Later the city was ruined by Pergamum King and eventually it became a Roman city and the capital of a provience of Asia Minor. After the 6C AD the city chaned its location back to Ayasuluk Hill because of the earthquakes, persistinting silting up the harbor and Arabs attacks.
It is believed thatthe number of people living at Ephesus was 250,000 so this made the city 4th largest city in the ancient world after the Rome, Alexandria and Antioch.
According to mythology of the foundation of Ephesus, Androclus,the son of legendary king of Athens, wants to establish a city in Anatolia but he can not decide where to setle in so he goes to a oracle in Apollo Temple and asks him. The oracle tells him to establish their new city at the location which will be indicated by a fish and a boar. When Androclus comes to Anatolia he wants to cook fish, but the the friying fish jump off the pan and a boar escapes there. He remembers the oracle advice and he establishs his new city in this location at the northern foot of Mount Pion.
EXCAVATIONS IN EPHESUS
The first archaeological excavation in Ephesus was started in 1869 by British engineer J. T. Wood. In 1895 the excavations was made by the Austrian Archaeological Institute under the control of Otto Benndorf. In 1954, the Ephesus Museum hasstarted excavations and restoration in Ephesus.
Today Ephesus has two entrances to the site. One is from upper gate and the other is from lower gate. But in the history of Ephesus there were three entrances; The Magnesian Gate, The Koressos Gate and the harbour.
BATH OF VARIUS
The Bath of Varius is a 2C AD Roman baths complex. It have not been completely unearthed. It is a typical Roman bath. It was consisted of three main sections. These are frigidarium (cold water), tepidarium (warm water) and caldarium (hot water).
In Ephesus, the springs were far from the city so Ephesians used aquaducts to bring water to the city. The water brougt by aquaducts was distributed baked clay pipes from the fountains. In the excavations many fountains were unearthed.
THE STATE AGORA
The state agora was built in the 1C BC in Roman period and it was reconstructed in the ruin ofAgustus. It was a place where political and religious meetings were held in.
The northern stoa of the state agora was turned into a basilica. It is 160 meters long andin Ionic style. The basilica was used for the meetings of the law courts and for stock exchange and commercial business.
It was constructed 2C AD. It resembles a small theatre. It has three main sections which are also found in the theatre these are; cavea, orchestra and skene. It was covered with a wooden roof and it has a capacity of 1.400 person. It was used as an odeon during the concert times and as a bouleterion for civic meetings.
The Prytaneion was constructed in the 3rd century B.C, during the reign of Lysimachos. Here was a official administrative building where religious ceremonies , official receptions and banquets were held in. In prytenion in the city’s hearth the sacred fire was burned. This flame symbolized the existence of city.
TEMPLE OF DOMITIAN
This temple was dedicated to the emperor Domitian in 81 - 96A.D. and It was the first temple to be built in the name of an emperor. The temple was built in pro-style plan, had eight columns on the short side and thirteen columns on the long side, and four additional columns in front of the cella. 5 meters tall statue of emperor Domitian was erected inside the temple was but today only the some parts of the statue are displayed in Ephesus Museum.
FOUNTAIN OF POLLIO
The Pollio Fountain was located to the east of Domitian square. It was built in 97 A.D. this fountain was the main fountain of the cityand thewater which was brought from the aqueducts was distributed from here by a branching system of baked clay pipes.the water sources near Ephesus were these; Kencherios (42km) at Kuşadası, Çamlık village stream of Marnas (15km), and the Cayster River (20km).
This Monument is situated on the north side of the Domitian Square. It was constructed during the reign of Augustus in the 1st century A.D by Memmius, the grandson of dictator Sulla. Dictator Sulla was a hero for Ephesians. The taxes were too high in Ephesus and Ephesians weretired of this. When dictator Sulla came to city he increased the tax prices and brought securityto the city.This monument was a memorial which was dedicated to Memmius and Sulla.
This gate was located towards the end of the Curetes Street andit was called the Hercules gate because of the relief of Hercules on it. Originally it was not on this place but it was brought herefrom another place in the fourth century AD. This gate was constructed narrow to prevent the wheeled vehicles enter from this gate. Only the passangers could use this gate. Only the two side of the columns remain today and the relief of the flying Nike in the Domitian Square used to be situated here.
THE TERRACE HOUSES
These houses were located in the centre of the city for this reason they are also called houses of the reach. These houses are date back to the 1C AD and they were remodelled until the 7th century. Two of the houses have been restored and opened to the visit with the household items unearthed during arcaelogical excavations. Thehouses were three-storied and they had big courtyard also they had runnig water and some of them had well or cistern in their courtyard. These houses were heated by the hypocaust system. Inside the houses the floors and the walls were decorated with mosaics and frescos. On this mosaics and frescos mythological themes, gods and goddesses were depicted.
THE TRAJAN FOUNTAIN
It was constructed in 2C AD and was dedicated to Emperor Trajan. It was a very ornated and decorated fountain. At the facade there is pool in the centre and in the central niche there used to be a statue of Emperor Trajan. Only the foot of the Emperor Trajan andround shape which symbolized his rule of the world can be seen today.
TEMPLE OF HADRIAN
It was built before 138 AD and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian who came to visit the city from Athens in 128 A.D. In front of the facade there are four Corinthian columns supporting a pediment in the middle of which contains a relief of Tyche, goddess of victory. On the second frontal over the door there is a figure of Medusa. On the frizes inside the temple there are some scenes relating to the legendary founder of the city Androclus. From left to right, Androclus, killing a wild boar, Hercules rescuing Theseus, Amazons, Dionysus, Athena and Artemis.
The Latrines were the public toilets of the city and they were built in 1C AD. In the centre of the structure there is a square pool, row of toilets and a drainage system under the toilets.
Some archeologist believe that the two storeyed structure could be a brothel and the upper floor belonged the ladies and the lower floor belonged the visiters.
The Celsus library was built in the beginning of the 2C AD by Julius Aquila to be a memorial to his father Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, governer of the Asian province. When he died in 114 his son Julus Aquila built this library as a heroon for his father. He was burried in a marble grave in a burial chamber in the library.
This library is one of the most beautiful edifices in Ephesus. It reflects the characteristics of the Roman age. The facade is collanaded and two-storeyed. Between the columns there are niches with statues. These statues symbolize the wisdom (Sophia), knowledge (Episteme), intelligence (Ennoia) and valor (Arete). These are the virtues of Celsus. These are the copies of the originals. The originals of the statues were taken to Ephesus Museum in Vienna in 1910 by the Austrian Archaeological Institute who restored the library.
The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls and it was the third biggest library in the ancient time after the Alexandra and Pergamum. To prevent humidity, the scrolls were kept in cupboards in the niches.
THE GATE OF MAZEUS AND MYTHRIDATES
Mazeus and Mythridates were the slaves of the Emperor Agustus and when they were set free from their master Emperor Agustus they constructed a monumental gate and they dedicated it to Emperor Agustus and his family.
THE COMMERCIAL AGORA
The commercial agora was first built in the 3rd century BC and gained its final shape during the reign of Emperor Caracalla between 211-217. it has a square plan and surrounded by columns. The three sides of the Agora surrounded by a portico and there are rows of shops. In the middle of the Agora there used to be a sundial and a water clock.
THE MARBLE ROAD
This street stretches from Celsus Library to theater. It was paved with large marble slabs. It was constructed in the 1st century A.D, and it was rebuilt in the 5th century. On the marble road there is figure of woman’s head, a left food anda heart. It is believed that this is the earliest advertisement in the world a lady in the brothel. Wheeled vehicles traces can be seen here.
The theater which is one of the most impressive building in Ephesus was constructed during the reign of Lysimachos in 3C BC. It was originally a Hellenistic theater but then it was enlarged by Romans. It has a capacity of 24.000 people. It has three main sections; skene,orchestra and cavea.
From the main building there are five doors open to the proskene. The theatre was used for concerts, plays, religious, political and philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights.
THE HARBOUR STREET
The harbour street streches between the theater and the harbour. It was built in the 1st century BC. It was an important role where the roads from Anatolia ended here. This street was lit in the ancient time and during antiquity only Rome, Ephesus and Antioch were lit.
THE CURETES STREET
This street streches from the Heracles Gate to the Celsus Library.