Hi everyone! If you are planning to have Ephesus Tours, this is a perfect blog post to learn the most common questions & tips about Ephesus Ancient City! In this article you will see below topics;
General information about Ephesus Ancient City!
Ephesus is one of the most important of the cities which figured in the Ancient World, and the largest open-air museum in Turkey. In addition, it is one of the most important destinations which are operated daily tours today. Ephesus was founded on a fertile coastal plain in Western Anatolia, surrounded by mountains and watered by the river Kaystros. The city with its powerful Goddess cult, and the Temple of Artemis, was an important religious center in pagan time.
Christianity in Ephesus Ancient City!
The late period of the Ephesus with the rise of Christianity, especially the time started with the visits of St. John the Apostle, had the good fortune to become, through its churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. John, a leading center of Christianity.
The works of St. John and St. Paul, and the establishment of churches dedicated to them and to the Virgin Mary, helped to set up a strong Christain community. Today, Catholics around the World come to complete their pilgrims in the House of Mary. And, those come to visit & pray in the Basilica of St. John the Apostle where he has written the Gospel, constructed around 4th century A.D.
If we shortly highlighting the Ephesus; it was very famous during the all-time with its religious places. In pagan times; Temple of Artemis which was the largest Temple dedicated to Greek Goddess Artemis was homed by Ephesus. And, in Christian times which was the late period of the Ephesians, the House of the Virgin Mary, the Tomb of St. John and the Church, and the Cave of the Seven Sleepers were all homed around Ephesus.
Attracting large numbers of visitors, the city assumed an international character and became an important travel center for the three continents surrounding the Mediterranean. Particularly, on account of the festivals and ceremonies held during the period when the Artemis cult was dominant in Anatolia which is dated to earlier Greek Period of the Ephesus.
The founding of the Ephesus in mythology by Androcles
According to the sources, the founder of the city, which was located on the slopes of Mt. Pion, was Androcles; one of the sons of the legendary King of Athens in the 11 century BC. Androcles decided to set a new city by crossing the Greek Peninsula from Anatolia. Before he starts sailing, the Delphi Oracle center advised him to set a city at the place which would be shown to him by a fish and a boar.
One day, Androclos was cooking a fish on an open-air in the Ionia Coastline, a fish flew from the pan. And, wild boar hidden behind the bushes started to run away to get rid of the flames. Androcles has realized the oracle which had given to him before he left the Delphi and started following the wild boar.
Once he caught it, he has established his new settlement in the place he killed the boar. From that time until today, Ephesus has accommodated thousands of different cultures. And still, keep accommodating millions of visitors from all around the World…
History of Ephesus
The Achaeans established a highly developed civilization in Greece, migrated to this part during the long period of time that followed the decline of the Anatolian Hittite Empire(6000 BC, Located on Ayasuluk Hill). When they have settled in Anatolia the large section of the population was Leleges, Carians, and Lydians.
Then developed the city and the Acropolis. Then, distributed the fertile land to his people – good fishermen and farmers reached the level of the richest and most brilliant civilization of Western Anatolia, maintaining close contacts with Lydia. In a short time, they developed their city; constructed many breathtaking buildings, and the largest Temple dedicated to their goddess Artemis comes from the Pagan cult.
Also, this temple shows us the first banking system of all history from the known World. At around 650 BC, Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis vandalized by the Cimmerians. At around, 560 century B.C. Ephesus was conquered by the Lydians under leader king Croesus and was re-built the temple of Artemis. And, he moved the settlement from a top of the mountain to around the Temple of Artemis.
In 404 B.C, when the Ionian city’s rebellion against Persians was defeated, Ephesus was left untouched, although Miletus, the largest and most prosperous city of the time was destroyed. In the fact that Ephesus had not, joined in the rebellion. After this, Ephesus remained a free city and a solid democracy was founded.
In 356 B.C Erostratos, a person from who has lived in the Ephesus, wished his name to immortalize. As a result, he set fire at the Temple of Artemis. During the night when the temple was burnt down Alexander the Great was born in Macedonia, the eventual destroyer of the Persian Empire, and who will Support the Temple of Artemis many years later during his conquers on Mesopotamia. According to Hegesias of Magnesia, the fire could not be prevented by the Artemis, because she had left the temple to attend Alexander’s mother’s birth.
In 334 B.C After Alexander’s great victory at Granikos, Ephesus was saved from the Persian Empire.
In 323 B.C At the death of Alexander the town passed into the hands of Lysimachos, one of Alexander’s most important generals. He has realized that their port is silting up and they will need a bigger size port to extend their business opportunities. He has found a new city which is lying to 3 km. area, excellently planned, sheltered by Panayır and Bulbul mounts.
Emperor Hadrian (117-138 A.D.) came twice to Ephesus, at the time when the River Kaystros’ silt deposits were out and a new river bed was created. The Emperor Antoninus Plus (138-161) honored the town with the name the greatest Metropolis of Asia. In this period, large numbers of the Ephesians embraced a new faith, Christianity. And they played a leading part in spreading it, started with the visits of John the Apostle and great continuous effort of him. The Apostles St. Paul and St. John had both preached in the Amphi-Theatre and Ephesus became the lead city of the Seven Churches of Asia.
In the 3rd Century A.D., Ephesus retained its political and religious importance but it never again enjoyed its old wealth and prosperity. The most outstanding event of this century was the invasions of the Goths to the Temple of Artemis, part of the city, and the raining of its treasury. Lysimachos‘ harbor and its surroundings were submerged in marshland and malaria had begun to threaten the people’s health more and more.
The Emperor Justinian, who was the emperor of the Constantinapolis at that time, ordered to built a magnificent church over the tomb of St. John(527-565 AD). Those who disliked the unhealthy atmosphere of Ephesus began to move to the slopes of the hill where the church was; the famous Ephesus of the coast began to be neglected. Thus, in its last period, the town of Ephesus was formed around the Seljuk Town of today.
In the 9 Century A.D, Ephesus was known as ‘’Hagios Theologos’’. The Aydinoğulları enriched it with works of art such as mosques, caravanserai, fountains, and tombs. However, 15 km to the West of Kuşadasi Town, a harbor was built. And 77 km. to the east there was the fabulous development of the city and harbor of Izmir. On this hand, it declined and became forgotten because of the new rising stars.
Those were linked to the Ottoman Empire for the first time in 1390.
In the end, Ephesus was entirely desolated in the 15th century and lost her former fame and glory. The place located nearby Ayasuluk Hill was renamed Selcuk in 1914 and keep the same name till today. And, it is an open-air museum which we hold Ephesus Tour today!
Note: Ephesus is one of the Unesco listed sites! To see more about it, you may click here; UNESCO List – Ephesus!
Today, there are 3 different types of Ephesus Tours! Ephesus Tours from Cruise Ships, Ephesus Tours from Izmir Airports, and Ephesus Tours from Izmir City and Istanbul!
As we mentioned in the text that there are 2 ports around Ephesus today. And, these ports are one of the main destinations of the cruise lines. Especially, Kusadasi town is a vital destination for both cruise lines and for Ephesus Ancient City. In a normal season, roughly 600 hundreds of big cruise ships ducks to Kusadasi Cruise Port, and thousands of travelers taking a guided tour to Ephesus. If you are the one who looks for this, you may visit the below link to see our Ephesus tours from Cruise Ships!