The ancient city of Ephesus was built in the 10th century BC, but it flourished under Roman rule after 129BC. This port city, sitting on the Ionian Sea, played an important rule as it ferried goods from Asia to Greece, Italy and beyond. Ephesus was famous for the Temple of Artemis, a Greek goddess, which was completed around 550BC. Now only a few columns remain of this ancient wonder of the world. It was almost four times larger than the Parthenon in Athens, but unfortunately, was destroyed or damaged in a raid by the Goths in 268AD.
But, there is still much to see. The Library of Celsus (which has been reconstructed), the Theater and the Terrace Houses are some of the highlights. I highly recommend using a licensed guide which most hotels in the area will assist you with. Or Wander Your Way can book for this for you in advance. All guides (certified, licensed guides) in Turkey are highly educated and trained to give the visitor the best and most accurate information on this country that is so rich in history. The guide will cost extra and price will be dependent on the size of the group and which tour you take (you can do a half day or a full day). But, it is well worth it (and transportation will be included to the site). A tour of the Terrace Houses will cost extra, but only about 10TL. Again, this is money well-spent.
Having been to this fascinating, historical site, I can honestly say it is one of the most impressive sites I have seen. While it is heavily touristed, it is incredible to walk on stones that the ancient people walked on. It’s pretty heady stuff!
The best place to base yourself is in the town of Selçuk. It’s only a few kilometers from Ephesus and has the bonus features of the ruins of St John’s Basilica and the recently opened Ayasuluk Fortress. The Hotel Bella is a fabulous place to stay, with a rooftop terrace done up in Ottoman style and a rooftop restaurant that offers up fantastic Turkish dishes. If you are there between March and August, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of Bella’s residents storks. It’s amazing to see them nesting and sometimes you can catch a glimpse of the babies. The owners and staff are extremely friendly and helpful. You’ll enter as a guest, but you’ll leave as a friend.
So, are you ready to go back in time? If so, Ephesus is a stop you should definitely make. Contact us for more information on this intriguing, ancient destination.