Ephesus Archaeological Site


Location: 3 km (2 mi) West of Selçuk   Map

Tel. (0232) 892 60 10

Info: Selçuk tourist office

Tel. (0232) 892 69 45


Open: 8:30am- 4:30pm daily

8:30am- 7pm daily (summer)

Ephesus (Greek Ἔφεσος, Latin Ephesus, Turkish Efes) is an ancient city on the western coast of Asia Minor, at the confluence of the Caistrus River (modern Small Menderes), south of Smyrna (modern Izmir) and west of the city of Selcuk (modern territory of Turkey) . According to some opinions, in the 1st century AD. e. the population of the city reached 225 thousand inhabitants, according to others - about 50 thousand, and the city ranked third in terms of population in the Roman province of Asia after Sardis and Alexandria of Troas.

Ephesus owes its fame to a large extent to the local cult of the eastern goddess of fertility, who was eventually identified with the Greek goddess Artemis. The worship of the goddess has been going on since time immemorial, but the construction of a temple dedicated to her, one of the seven wonders of the world, began in the first half of the 6th century BC. e.

The city was founded on the shores of the Aegean Sea as a port and quickly developed through trade. In the 500s AD, the city was moved to Ayyasoluk Hill near the present city of Selcuk, as the bay became shallow due to river sediments and became completely unnavigable. Subsequently, the sea continued to retreat from the city, which became the reason for its gradual decline. Earthquakes and landslides finally buried the ruins underground, thereby preserving them for archaeologists. Today, the ruins of Ephesus, mostly reconstructed, are located about 6 kilometers from the seashore on a saddle between two hills.

Ephesus (also spelled Ephesus) and its inhabitants are mentioned many times in the Acts of the Apostles (see Acts 18:19-21, Acts 18:24-26 and almost the entire 19th chapter of Acts). The Church of Ephesus appears in the Revelation of John the Evangelist as one of the seven churches of the Apocalypse (see Rev. 1:11, Rev. 2:1-7); these books, as well as the Epistle to the Ephesians of the Apostle Paul, are part of the New Testament.

In 1869, English scientists carried out the first archaeological excavations of the city on the mountain founded by Lysimachus, as a result of which the beauty of the ancient city was revealed to the world. Currently, the archaeological zone of Ephesus, more than ten kilometers in size, is located in the vicinity of the Turkish city of Selcuk. The Selcuk Museum contains unique finds from Ephesus and neighboring ancient cities and settlements.


General Layout of Ephesus Archaeological Site

There were three entrances to the ancient Ephesus. The harbor was the most common since Ephesus was an important trade city and thousands of sailors and traders came here annually. Additionally there was Koressos Gate that is situated behind a Stadium and the Magnesian Gate that stood on the road that led to the house of Saint Mary, Holy Virgin. It was discovered by engineer and architect J.T. Wood in 1869 in his search for legendary Wonder of the World, Temple of Artemis. Much of the original gate was destroyed. Its stones were probably re used in construction of farmers' houses near by. But by the layout of the ruins we can tell that the gate was just about 3.70 meters in width and contained a small square courtyard on the city side. Apparently it was a way to secure the city by checking every person who entered the city. New comer would be surrounded by soldiers on all sides of the courtyard walls before his or her identity would be checked.




Neolithic and Bronze Age

The surroundings of Ephesus were inhabited back in the Neolithic era, as evidenced by the excavations of the mounds of Arvalya and Cucurici.

During excavations in recent years, settlements of the Early Bronze Age were found near Ayazuluk Hill. In 1954, not far from the ruins of the Basilica of St. John, a cemetery from the Mycenaean era (1500-1400 BC) was found. Among the finds were ceramics.

Judging by Hittite sources, the city was called Apasha (Apasa), from where the later “Ephesus” comes, and was for a short time the capital of the kingdom of Peace, as well as the confederation of Arzawa, which included this kingdom, hostile to the Hittites and allied to the Achaeans.

In the post-Hittite Bronze Age, Ephesus was the capital of a small Carian state, then settled by Ionian Greeks from Athens.

The Mermnad dynasty from Lydia, according to Winfried Held, originated from Ephesus, as it donated significant sums to the sanctuaries of this city, which was very remote from Lydia.


Ionian period

In the 11th century BC. e. the territory of the future city was captured by the Ionians. According to legend, Codrus' son Androcles, who led the Ionian settlers, founded a city 1.5 km from the temple on the seashore; this coastal settlement was a classic Ionian city. Temples of Athena and Apollo were built in the city. Almost nothing remains of the acropolis (today, on the site where the acropolis is located, there is a Byzantine spring). The location of the acropolis is a small rounded hill in front of the stadium. The son of the Athenian ruler Codra, Androcles, ruled the state until the 6th century BC, its structure was considered semi-aristocratic. Until the middle of the new century, state government acquired the features of a dictatorship.

Subsequently, relationships were established with the rulers of Lydia. In 541 BC. The Lydian king Croesus, after capturing the city, forced its inhabitants to move to a valley closer to the temple of Artemis. During his reign, Ephesus achieved significant prosperity. Despite his harsh ruling style, Croesus treated the inhabitants of Ephesus with respect and spent large sums of money to decorate the new large temple of Artemis. At that time, people such as Heraclitus, who had a great influence on the development of ancient philosophy, and Callinus, an elegiac poet, lived here.

Ephesus continued to prosper, but after tax increases under Cambyses II and Darius I, the city's inhabitants took part in the Ionian Revolt against Persian rule. In 498 BC. the Battle of Ephesus took place, in which the Greeks were defeated. In 479 BC. the Ionians, with the support of Athens, were able to oust the Persians from the shores of Asia Minor. In 478 BC. The Ionian cities created, together with Athens, the First Athenian Naval League against the Persians. Ephesus did not provide ships to the union, but provided financial support. At the final stage of the Peloponnesian War, Ephesus left the alliance and fought against Athens on the side of Sparta. After the Corinthian War, when Spartan troops left Asia Minor, Ephesus again came under Persian control. In 334 BC. after the Battle of Granicus, the city was liberated from the Persians by Alexander the Great. Later in 283 BC. Ephesus was captured by one of Alexander's successors, Lysimachus.

Over time, the valley was covered with alluvial sediment from the Small Menderes River, which began to impede the full communication of Ephesus with the sea. The river valley was swampy, and the city's population was in constant danger of a malaria epidemic.

Lysimachus decided to resettle the population of the city to a valley located 2 km from the modern mountains Panair and Bulbul. This, it seemed to him, was supposed to increase the level of well-being and safety of the city. After the resettlement, Lysimachus ordered the construction of high fortress walls. The remains of these walls have survived to this day. The townspeople who did not want to move were forced by Lysimachus to submit to his plan by deliberately cutting off the water supply channels, but then their functioning was resumed.

The new city was named Arsinoe, in honor of his wife. The city had stadiums, gymnasiums and a theater, and, according to some reports, it was a rich trading center. Thanks to the efforts of Lysimachus, Ephesus achieved its greatest prosperity and prosperity. The period of prosperity lasted until the end of the Hellenistic and the beginning of the Roman period of the city's history.



For a very long time, the most popular image on the coins of Ephesus was the bee, and both tetradrachms and very small bronze coins were minted in the city. The bee was associated with Ephesus for many reasons. According to the writer Philostratus the Elder, the Athenians who came to colonize Ionia, where Ephesus is located, came with muses who took the form of bees. In addition, the priestesses of Artemis were called the “bees” of the goddess. Later Ephesian coins most often featured a stag and/or a torch on the reverse side. The deer and the torch were the attributes of Artemis.


Roman period

After the death of Lysimachus, Ephesus was for some time under the control of the Ptolemies and Seleucids, and in 190 BC. became part of the Roman Republic. The city participated in the suppression of the uprising of Aristonicus of Pergamon: in a naval battle, the Ephesian fleet defeated the rebel fleet.

Having become part of the Roman state, the city immediately felt the influence of the metropolis. Taxes increased significantly, as a result of which cases of robberies became more frequent; in addition, at first, the peace of the townspeople was disturbed by frequent wars. In 88 BC. the city joined the anti-Roman uprising of the cities of Asia Minor, which was led by King Mithridates of Pontus. As a result of the uprising, about 80 thousand Roman citizens were killed, many of whom lived in Ephesus. However, after seeing how Zenobius, the general of Mithridates, treated the inhabitants of Chios, the Ephesians refused to join his army. Zenobius was killed, for which Ephesus was severely punished by Mithridates. However, the city gained self-government, but not for long. Already in 86 BC. Mithridates was defeated by Lucius Cornelius Sulla. This ended the first Mithridatic War, and Ephesus returned to Roman rule. Together with other cities of Asia Minor, Ephesus had to pay a huge indemnity imposed by Sulla, which complicated the financial situation of the city for a long time.

During the civil war in Rome, which followed the assassination of Caesar in 44 BC., both sides received tribute from Ephesus, but in 27 BC, under Augustus, the city actually became the capital of the Roman province of Asia, which occupied the western half of Asia Minor. The city began to develop rapidly and over time became one of the largest in the empire. According to Strabo, Ephesus was second in importance only to Rome itself.

In the first two centuries AD, Ephesus experienced a new cultural and economic upsurge. Extensive construction was underway in the city: a large marble theater and the famous Library of Celsus, new temples and administrative buildings, aqueducts and fountains. Ephesus became one of the cities of the second sophistry.

The importance and influence of the sanctuary of Artemis increased even more. It is not for nothing that the outstanding orator of the 2nd century Aelius Aristides in one of his speeches called the temple of Artemis “the treasury of all Asia” (Or. 23.24).

It was not until 262 AD that Ephesus, like other Greek cities, was sacked by the Goths, who sailed across the Hellespont and landed in Asia Minor (SHA XXIII.IV.6). The Goths not only plundered, but also set fire to the sanctuary of Artemis (Jordan. Getica 20).


Byzantine period

In the 5th-6th centuries, Ephesus was one of the five most important cities of the Byzantine Empire. Under Emperor Constantine I the Great, the city was largely rebuilt, and new baths were built. By the 4th century, most of the Ephesians appear to have converted to Christianity, and in 401 the Temple of Artemis was finally destroyed. The stone from which it was built was used to build other buildings, including the St. Sophia Cathedral. In 431, the Third Ecumenical Council was held in Ephesus, attended by 200 bishops. In 449, the Second Council of Ephesus took place in Ephesus, which was not recognized by the Universal Church. Under Emperor Justinian I, the Basilica of St. John was built in the city.

In 614 the city was partially destroyed by an earthquake. Subsequently, the city's importance as a center of trade waned as the Ephesian harbor gradually filled with silt from the river. Repeated attempts to deepen the bottom could not save the situation. Today the harbor is located 5 kilometers from the city. Having lost the harbor, the city also lost access to the Aegean Sea, which immediately hit trade. People began to leave the city, moving to the nearby hills. Temple ruins were used as a source of building stone for new dwellings.

Arab robberies in 654-655, 700 and 716 further accelerated the decline of the city. By the time of its conquest by the Seljuk Turks in 1090, only a small village remained. In 1100, Byzantium regained control of the settlement (renamed Agios Theologos, in honor of the Apostle John the Theologian) and held it until 1308. In December 1147, during the Second Crusade, a battle took place with the Seljuks in the immediate vicinity of the city. When the Crusaders arrived in these places, the village of Ayasoluk was located on the site of a bustling port city. Even the Temple of Artemis was completely forgotten by the locals.


Ottoman period

In 1304, the fortress of Agios Theologos (Turkish Ayasoluk) was occupied by the troops of Sasa Bey, the commander of the beylik of Menteshe. Soon he retreated to the beylik of Aydinogullar, and a strong fleet appeared here, carrying out raids in the surrounding area from here. This began a new, short period of prosperity, already under the rule of the Seljuks. The city again experienced a short period of prosperity in the 14th century under the new Seljuk rulers. New significant buildings appeared in the city - the Isa Bey Mosque (1374-1375), caravanserais and Turkish baths. In 1391-1392 the territory became part of the Ottoman Empire.

A Central Asian commander, Tamerlane, defeated the Ottomans in Anatolia in 1402, and the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I died in captivity. After a period of unrest, the region was reincorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1425. In the 15th century, Ephesus was completely abandoned. The neighboring town of Ayasoluk was renamed Selcuk in 1914.



Cult of Artemis

The Bay of the Small Menderes River is considered the birthplace of the cult of the Great Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. In archaic times, even in the pre-Ionic period, the goddess of fertility, the mistress of animals, was worshiped in these places. The inhabitants of these places - the Carians and Leleges - worshiped and addressed her as “Great Mother”.

Studying the culture of the ancient period, scientists were convinced that the image of this goddess was used in various forms of worship. Because of this, the name Artemis was not always used (in the Roman tradition the name Diana appeared), and yet the goddess was revered without fail. In a later period, the Ionians who arrived in these places called her Artemis in Greek. Arriving at the bay of the Little Menderes River, they discovered a temple located between two roads starting from the port and extending to the very center of this area, the temple was surrounded by fortress walls. Inside the fortress walls there was a statue of Artemis made of wood. This statue is the predecessor of the famous statue of Artemis. The Lydian king Croesus, having conquered these lands, destroyed the temple of Artemis. Later, by order of the king, a stone temple of Artemis was built on the road between Seljuk and Ephesus, 100 or 150 m from Seljuk. The King of Lydia brought several columns as a gift.

Researchers note a certain connection between Alexander the Great and the Temple of Artemis. In 356 BC. e. On the night of Alexander's birth, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was set on fire. This was done by a mentally unstable man named Herostratus, who thus planned to perpetuate his name. He achieved his goal, since his name is still part of such popular expressions as “Herostratus’ glory”, “Herostratus’s laurels” and others. In those days, the Ephesians were often asked the following question: “Why didn’t Artemis escape the fire?” To which the answer was given: “That night Artemis assisted in the birth of Alexander in Pella near Thessaloniki.” As a result, almost no traces remained of this ancient monument. After the fire, the temple was restored and decorated with statues by Praxiteles and other outstanding sculptors. The statue of the goddess was decorated with gilded and shiny marble, shimmering in the light.

In 334 BC. e. Alexander the Great, after defeating the Persians, arrived in these places. He organized a ceremonial procession in honor of the goddess Artemis and promised the population of Ephesus to maintain a new temple and pay old expenses. However, the people of Ephesus rejected Alexander's proposal and responded thus:
Gods do not build temples for gods!

There is an expression “great is Artemis of Ephesus,” which arose at the beginning of the Christianization of the city during times of conflicts between worshipers of the goddess and Christians. According to surviving information, the leader of the Christians was the Apostle Paul. A jeweler named Demetrius made miniature temples of Artemis from silver for sale. However, Paul condemned the worship of idols made by human hands and considered this type of worship to be an erroneous and unacceptable religion. Demetrius, having learned about this, gathered all his colleagues and conveyed the words of the Apostle Paul. People who worshiped the goddess Artemis and made a living from crafts gathered together and rushed to the Great City Theater shouting: “great is Artemis of Ephesus.” The largest crowd of people was near the theater building. Numerous speeches were made, and the popular unrest was stopped by the state authorities. The case was referred to the judicial authorities. Paul was forced to leave the city. The Temple of Artemis went down in history not only as an architectural monument, but at the same time served as a temple for the worship of thousands of people. A large number of artists and sculptors took part in its construction.



Apostle John
Jesus' apostles Paul and John lived in Ephesus. Saint Paul stayed in Ephesus for three years and was engaged in religious activities (Acts 20:31), preaching with him was his disciple, Timothy, who later became the first bishop of Ephesus, founding the Ephesian Archdiocese (existed until the 11th century). Saint John spent the last years of his life in Ephesus and here he began to write the Gospel. The place of his burial is considered to be Ayasoluk Hill, where his grave is located. On his grave, the Roman emperor built a church, which became the most significant medieval monument in the region.

According to the Gospel, the crucifixion of Jesus took place in front of the Apostle John and the Blessed Virgin Mary; At that moment, Jesus, looking at His Mother, said: “Behold, your son,” and looking at John, said: “Behold, your mother.” After this, the Apostle John accepted Mary and never left her alone. After the crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem, the situation among the population was unstable. As a result of the murder of the brother of the Apostle John, the Apostle James, he decided to leave Judea. Between the ages of 37 and 48, detailed information about John's life is missing. The disappearance of the Apostle John for 11 years presumably indicates his presence in Ephesus. Like the other apostles, John was busy spreading Christianity. In the first half of the 6th century, by order of Emperor Justinian I, a basilica was erected on the tomb of the Apostle John.

Saint Mary
An excerpt from one account of the third council, convened in Constantinople, confirms that St. Mary, along with John the Evangelist, actually moved to Ephesus. There is no detailed information available about life after Christmas and the death of Jesus' mother, St. Mary. The information given by the apostles Luke and John is relatively contradictory. In the Gospel of Luke, Mary is portrayed as a person of deep faith and great hope for the future. The Apostle Luke describes the life of the mother of Jesus before the ascension of Christ.

The Apostle John described events on a slightly different plane. The birth of a new religion was accompanied by unrest within the people, however, the new creed spread quite quickly. After the crucifixion of Jesus, Mary left Judea. John talks about the Mother of God, who was entrusted to him by Jesus. The Apostle John took her into his care, as Jesus commanded.

As a result of the crucifixion of her son and the beginning of the persecution of Christians, Mary left Jerusalem. She moved to a valley surrounded by forest, not far from Ephesus, her house was on a mountain, not far from a wooded ravine. In these places, Saint Mary found a permanent refuge for herself. Once a year, the Ephesians climbed Mount Solmissos to honor Artemis, but they did not know about Mary’s presence on this mountain. Only the Apostle John knew about this.

Not all religious scholars support the version that Saint Mary died in Ephesus; many call the place of her death Jerusalem, and the place of burial - the Garden of Gethsemane. F. Stricher speaks out in support of the version associated with Ephesus:

Worship Mary the intercessor, who is not in Rome, but in Ephesus. — Schweizer Kirchenzeitung (Swiss Church Newspaper)

Seven Youths of Ephesus
According to legend, during the time of Emperor Decius Trajan, seven young men, fleeing idolaters, found shelter in a cave and spent 200 years sleeping in it. According to another version, the seven sleepers woke up in the 5th century during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I. The Seven Youths of Ephesus are also revered in Islam. As a result, many Christians wished to be buried in this place, and their wishes were fulfilled. So a small church appeared here and was built first, then a cemetery with a hundred graves, the number of which grew; As a result, the city contained a large cemetery and a monastery. The number of graves grew until the 6th century, and these sites were the destination of many Christian pilgrims until the beginning of the 12th century. Later these places were abandoned and destroyed.

Lazarus of Galicia
The monk Lazarus, who was originally from the city of Magnesia (Lydia), moved to the vicinity of Ephesus on Mount Galicia (identified with the mountain where the ruins of the Temple of Artemis were located), where he became a stylite. A monastic community soon arose around Lazarus and a monastery was formed. He died in 1053 and was buried by his disciples in the pillar on which Lazarus performed his monastic exploits.



Islam in Ephesus began to spread with the beginning of the Ottoman period in the history of the city, that is, starting from the first half of the 14th century. In 1375, the first mosque in Ephesus, Isa Bey, was built on the Ayasoluk hill. It was built by the Damascus architect Ali ibn Mishimiş, commissioned by Aydinoglu Isa Bey. The mosque itself occupied 1/3 of the complex and 2/3 of the courtyard area. The entire complex was 57 m long, 51 m wide and occupied a fairly large area. There is an entrance to the courtyard of the mosque with dilapidated domes from the western gate. The main entrance to the mosque passes through a three-arched gate. The two domes are supported by black granite columns. The domes and columns are matte white and dark blue with faience covering. For the construction of the Isa Bey Mosque and other mosques in the area, building materials brought exclusively from Ephesus were used. Granite columns and capitals were brought from the port baths. The Isa Bey Mosque is one of the best examples of Islamic architecture in Asia Minor. The windows and doors of the mosque are decorated with special care. The dome has wooden support vaults located on both sides.



Temple of Artemis

It is believed that the Temple of Artemis was originally built by the Amazons. Pliny the Elder indicates that this temple was attacked seven times. The Lydian king Croesus, having arrived in Ephesus, decided to sponsor the construction of the temple by the Cretan architects Hersiphron and his son Metagenes; the king presented them with columns decorated with relief drawings in the lower part (two of his inscriptions were preserved on the bases of the columns of the temple).

200 years later in 356 BC this archaic temple was set on fire by a man named Herostratus. Ultimately the temple was restored. One of the wonders of the world retained its size even after restoration. The width of the Temple of Artemis was 52 meters, length - 105 m, height of columns - 18 m. The temple existed until the 3rd century AD., in 253, after the attack of the Goths, the temple was again subjected to robbery, looting and arson. Due to the spread of Christianity in this territory, the temple was no longer restored. After the destruction of the temple, most of its marble columns were taken to Constantinople and used for the construction of the St. Sophia Cathedral.

The remains of the temple were discovered at the end of the 19th century by English scientists. Architectural and sculptural fragments of the Temple of Artemis are in the British Museum. The Istanbul Archeology Museum and the Ephesus Museum display valuable artifacts made of gold and ivory.


Library of Celsus

The library was built during the imperial era during the reign of Hadrian according to the design of the architect Tiberius Julius Aquila, who wished to dedicate it to his father Tiberius Julius Celsus. Construction began in 114 AD. and was completed before 135 AD.  already the heir of Tiberius, who bequeathed a large sum of funds for the purchase of books and the maintenance of the library. In the 2nd half of the 3rd century, during the Gothic invasion, the interior of the building was completely destroyed by fire, which spared the façade of the building. However, in the late Byzantine period the façade was destroyed by an earthquake.

In the 1960s and 70s, a large-scale reconstruction of the facade was carried out in order to give it its original appearance. The two-tier façade, decorated with columns, looks like a theatrical set. The columns of the lower tier, which stand on the podium of the central staircase of nine steps, are grouped in pairs in four rows and are crowned with capitals of the Corinthian order. The columns of the upper tier are smaller. Triangular and semicircular tympanums crown the columns of three central pairs. On the lower floor, behind a scenic colonnade, you can see three portals framed by the finest ornament imitating a relief frieze. Above the portals there are three large window openings. The entrance to the library began with a 9-step staircase. On the upper podium there were four sculptures representing Wisdom, Virtue, Thought and Knowledge.



The ruins of the agora date back to the Roman Empire, most likely built during the reign of Emperors Augustus and Claudius. The agora, which was finally built up under Theodosius (IV century), was decorated with a double colonnade of a portico, under which shopping arcades were located. There was once a water clock in the center of the agora. This clock was restored and moved to the eastern gallery. The agora was a center of trading activity, where merchants from all over the empire gathered. There was also a slave market here, and meetings were held in the agora on occasions of religious and secular holidays. To the north of the agora are the ruins of the colonnade of the basilica, built during the dynasty of the Augustan emperors.



Grand Theatre

The Bolshoi Theater was located at the very beginning of Port Avenue, adjacent to the hills of Mount Panair. The front and sides of the theater building are surrounded by high walls. The theater scene, which is of significant cultural significance, has survived to this day and is well preserved. The theater building was three-story with a special decorative arrangement of columns, sculptural monuments in niches and elegant relief drawings. The second floor of the theater was built by order of Emperor Nero, and the third by Emperor Galba.

The theater building was discovered as a result of many years of archaeological excavations. The last construction work in the theater was carried out during the reign of Emperor Trajan. The theater accommodated 25,000 spectators and had a diameter of 50 m. The passage located in the upper part of the building had a connection with Kuretov Street. The slabs and stones of this theater building, however, as in other cases, were used in the construction of other buildings. The artistic significance of this building is quite great: not only as an example of a theatrical building, but also as the site of the culmination of the struggle between Christians and idolaters. In the early years of Christianity there was a constant confrontation between those who worshiped Christ and Artemis. In the vicinity of this theater, there were popular unrest on religious grounds, and city services had to intervene.



The semicircular structure, also known as the Small Theater, stands on the hillside, north of the agora. Judging by the inscription, it was built in 150 AD.  Publius Vedius Antony. The original purpose of the odeon was the bouleuterium, the meeting place of the city senate. The first indoor building, designed for 1,400 seats, was used alternately: either for meetings of the Senate or for theatrical performances. The architectural design of the odeon is similar to classical models: the auditorium with its two-tiered semicircle of rows, divided into four main sectors by staircases; the design of the proscenium suggests that the structure was intended more for meetings of the Senate than for theatrical performances. Although there is a version that the theater was not used at all due to the lack of devices for draining rainwater.



The sign for the brothel on Marble Avenue showed a footprint. According to one version, the brothel could only be visited by someone whose foot was no smaller than the footprint on the marble. The brothel building was located on the left at the end of Marble Avenue and dates back to the 4th century. In the brothel, compliance with hygiene and sanitary standards was carefully monitored. So the visitor had to go to the hall through a narrow corridor for inspection with a mandatory requirement regarding the cleanliness of hands and feet. To maintain hygiene, the brothel had all the necessary conditions and items. The establishment was built in honor of Aphrodite. The main salon was marble covered and decorated with sculptures of Aphrodite.


Temple of Hadrian

The inscription engraved on the architrave of the temple indicates the date of its construction - around 138 AD. - a little-known architect P. Quintilius, who dedicated the temple to Emperor Hadrian. In front of the monumental pronaos rise pedestals from four statues that once adorned the temple. From the inscriptions that have been preserved on the pedestals, it can be determined that these were statues of the emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius Chlorus and Gallery. The Corinthian order of the temple is unmistakably identified at first glance by the sophistication of the sculptural ornaments. Two central columns support a light, delicate arch - all that remains of the original triangular tympanum that once crowned the building. The arch's ornamentation seems to continue the motif of the friezes, which run in a solid line along the entablature; in the center of the arch there is a bust of Tyche (the patron goddess of the city). The architraves of the portals are richly decorated using antique ornaments. Above the main portal, which leads to the naos, there is a semicircular lunette, where, against the background of a delicate interweaving of flowers and acanthus leaves, a female figure is presented, which is reminiscent of ancient images of Medusa. In the middle of the naos you can see part of the original podium that once supported the statue of Emperor Hadrian. The temple was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 20 million lira banknote of 2001–2005 and on the new 20 lira banknote of 2005–2009.


Kuretov Street

The Street of Curetes stretches along the slope from the Library of Celsus and the Gate of Hercules to the agora. The appearance that it has today was given to it at the turn of the 4th and 5th centuries, when work was carried out to renovate it after a strong earthquake in the mid-4th century, which completely destroyed the street. The paving made of marble and natural stone is in harmony with the ruins of ancient buildings that stand on both sides of the street. You can see columns, stone pedestals, a podium, capitals, friezes, statues and the remains of shops and residential buildings. Of these ancient ruins, often brought here from other parts of the city, the covered galleries with columns, the covering of which are made of valuable fine mosaics, stand out impressively. Statues once stood on empty pedestals facing the columns. Many pedestals still have inscriptions engraved on the stone. For example, on the left side of the street in the south was a statue of the grandson of the Roman dictator Sulla, Memmius. Most of the statues were placed in a museum. The name of the street is associated with mythological characters who gave their name to the sacred caste of the Curetes. They first led the famous cult activities in the Temple of Artemis, and over time they began to play a major role in Prytaneum, where many inscriptions have been preserved that tell about their activities. The same inscriptions are found throughout the city. On this and other streets of the city there were pits covered with bars where those convicted of murder or rape were placed. Every passerby had the right to spit in the pit, thereby expressing his condemnation. There is also a marble wall on the street, on which all the city laws are engraved.


"Houses on the Hillside"

On the opposite side of the Temple of Hadrian there is an original ensemble of buildings called “Houses on the Hillside”, facing Kuretov Street. Mostly representatives of the privileged strata of society lived here, which is why the street has a different name - “Houses of the Rich”. They are placed in such a way that each house serves as a kind of terrace for the house next to it. The so-called House of Peristyle II is distinguished by a large number of decorations. It was built in the 1st century, but was rebuilt several times over time until the 6th century. Numerous rooms inside the houses have mosaic floors and wall frescoes from the 4th century. The house of Peristyle I was also restored. The dating of its construction is the same as that of the previous house, that is, the 1st century. One of the rooms is known as the “theater” because its walls are decorated with frescoes depicting theatrical scenes. Some frescoes depict scenes from the plays of Menander and Euripides. Other frescoes depict male and female nude figures. The complex was discovered in 1969 during excavations of the fifth terrace.



In ancient times, prytaneum was the name given to a building that was intended to house office services, where festive receptions and banquets were also held for the city nobility. It can be compared to a municipality. The prytaneum building was found as a result of lengthy excavations. Columns, slabs and a sculpture of Artemis were also discovered. The rooms were grouped around a sacred hearth. The lower part of the building dates back to the Hellenistic period, and the upper part to the Roman period. It is assumed that the prytaneum was built by Emperor Augustus in the 1st century AD. there was a small flower garden in front of the municipality, and in order to enter the building, one had to go through a second courtyard, built in the Doric style. The building was also used as a home for guests from the provinces. The columns supported the roof of the room in which the eternal sacred fire burned.


House of the Virgin

The discovery of the house of the Virgin Mary is associated with the personality of the nun Anna Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824): two years before her death, she allegedly had a vision associated with this house. The house was discovered in 1892 thanks to excavations initiated by the priest P. Jung. It is also believed that this house was later a church built in honor of St. Mary in the 9th century. The house is square in shape and built of stone. You can get inside through a small door at the front. In 1896, Pope Leo XIII spoke out in support of the fact that the Virgin Mary actually lived in the house. Since the 20th century, the house has been actively visited by pilgrims.


Basilica of St. John

Saint John arrived in Ephesus, lived in this city and began to write the Gospel in the old basilica, where he was buried. Archaeological finds discovered here showed that in this place there were his grave and five other graves in the shape of a cross; some archaeologists believe that this arrangement of graves was carried out at the request of the Apostle John. However, it is quite difficult to draw a final conclusion, since most of the artifacts found here were secretly exported to Greece, Austria and other countries. Since the early periods of Christianity, this basilica has served as a place of worship for many pilgrims. However, in a later period, the basilica collapsed due to unfavorable climatic conditions. By order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, the church was rebuilt and columns were built around it. The basilica was two-story with 6 large and 5 small domes, 110 m long. The domes were mosaic and decorated with fresco paintings. During the excavations, a fairly large number of coins dating back to the 1st century were discovered. From this it follows that the grave of the Apostle John and the church named after him were a place of constant pilgrimage.


History of the study of Ephesus

The history of archaeological research in Ephesus dates back to 1863, when the British architect and engineer John Turtle Wood, who had been designing railway station buildings on the Smyrna-Aydin line since 1858 and was interested in the temple of Artermis at Ephesus, which had disappeared without a trace, mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 19:34) , received permission (firman) and funds from the British Museum, began searching for the Temple of Artemis. In February 1866, while excavating the theater of Ephesus, Wood found a Greek inscription that reported that gold and silver figurines were transported from the temple to the theater through the Magnesian Gate. In 1867, he discovered the Sacred Way that connected Artemision to the city. Wood began excavations and on December 31, 1869, found out that the ruins of the temple were covered with an almost 6-meter layer of sand. During excavations from 1872 to 1874, approximately 3,700 cubic meters of sand, earth and stones were removed, and approximately 60 tons of fragments of sculpture and architecture were sent to the British Museum. Unfavorable conditions and deteriorating health forced Wood to abandon his excavations in 1874 and return to London.

In 1895, the German archaeologist Otto Benndorff, having received a subsidy of 10,000 guilders from the Austrian Karl Mautner Ritter von Marhof, resumed excavations. In 1898, Benndorf founded the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which today plays a leading role in the exploration of Ephesus. Benndorf received permission to excavate from the Ottoman Sultan and in the course of his work explored most of the Ephesus territory discovered so far. After the founding of the Turkish Republic, the government transferred everything to state ownership. Since that time, Austrian excavations have been carried out all the time, with the exception of the periods of the two world wars, and have continued continuously since 1954.

Since 1954, excavations and restoration have been carried out not only by the Austrian Institute, but also by the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. Through intensive work since 1954, they have discovered and restored important artifacts and landmarks. In 1979, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism accelerated this joint work as part of its program "Selcuk-Ephesus Excavation, Restoration and Systematization of the Surroundings".

In recent years, the project has given new perspectives. The emphasis is no longer on excavating ancient buildings and public spaces, but rather the care and conservation of buildings that have already been discovered. Accordingly, over the past 15 years the project has restored important buildings and monuments. During excavations that have been going on for more than a century, only 10% of the total area of ​​the ancient city of Ephesus has been explored. Long-term continuation of excavations along with restoration work is planned.

In September 2016, Turkey suspended the work of Austrian archaeologists due to deteriorating relations between Vienna and Ankara. It is expected to continue after clarification of relations between the countries.

Various artifacts found in the city are exhibited, among others, in the Vienna Ephesus Museum, the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selcuk and the British Museum.