Ephesus & Around
Ephesus Ancient City
Ephesus was an ancient city which is located on the west coast of Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the fourth largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. Here was the capital of Roman Empire in Asia Minor. The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Cayster River (Küçük Menderes). Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC.
Today, it contains one of the largest collection of Roman ruins in the world. Ephesus’ main attraction is the fact that much remains intact and so little imagination is needed to see what the Roman city would have looked like. Archaeological site of Ephesus lies 3 kilometers southwest of the town of Selçuk, in the Selçuk district of İzmir Province, Turkey. Only 15% of its area was explored by archaeologists. The ruins that are visible give some idea of the city's original splendor, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. The ruins of Ephesus are a favorite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport and via the port of Kusadasi. In additionally, here is one of the great outdoor museums of the world.
The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ephesus is also a sacred site for Christians because of its association with several Biblical figures. Here was one of the seven churches of Asia Minor that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here. Probably, John the Apostle brought Virgin Mary to here after Jesus was crucified and both of them were died here. Tomb of John the Apostle is here even today.
House of the Virgin Mary
It is known with certainty that the Virgin Mary went to Ephesus and lived there for some time. Whether or not she died in Ephesus was not known until Anne Catherine Emmerich’s vision. The stigmatized German nun who had never been to Ephesus had a vision of the House of the Virgin Mary and described it in detail to the German writer Clemens Brentano who later published a book about it. Catherine Emmerich died in 1884. In 1891 Paul, Superior of the Lazarists from Izmir read about her vision and found a little building which corresponded with Emmerich’s descriptions. Archeological evidence showed that the little house was from the 6C AD but that the foundations were from the 1C AD.
This place was officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church in 1896, and since then it has become a popular place of pilgrimage. Pope Paul VI visited the shrine in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
Saint John Church
The Basilica of St. John was a great church in Ephesus was constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the apostle, evangelist (author of the Fourth Gospel) and prophet (author of Revelation).
The basilica is located on the slopes of Ayasoluk Hill near the center of Selçuk, just below the fortress and about 3.5 km (2 miles) from Ephesus.
Temple of Artemis
Artemis was the Greek goddess, the virginal huntress and twin of Apollo, who replaced the Titan Selene as Goddess of the Moon. At Ephesus a goddess whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was passionately venerated in an archaic icon. The original was carved of wood, with many breast-like protuberances apparently emphasizing fertility over the virginity traditionally associated with the Greek Artemis. Like Near Eastern and Egyptian deities (and unlike Grek ones), her body and legs are enclosed within a tapering pillar-like term, from which her feet protrude.
On the coins minted at Ephesus, the many-breasted Goddess wears a mural crown (like a city’s walls). She rests either arm on a staff formed of entwined serpents or of a stack of ouroboroi the eternal serpent with its tail in its mouth. Like Cybele, the goddess at Ephesus was served by hierodules called megabyzae, and by maidens (korai).
Ephesus Archaeological Museum
The Ephesus Archaeological Museum is located in Selcuk, near the entrance to the Basilica of St. John. The museum rooms display excavations from the ancient city of Ephesus, the nearby Temple of Artemis and the Basilica of St. John. In Ephesus, the works of art dug up between 1867-1905 were transported to the British Museum, those from 1905-1923 taken to Vienna. Then Turkish Republic forbade taking antiques out of the country and founded a museum in Selçuk near Ephesus.Its present form was given in 1983.
The Ephesus Museum is not designed according to chronological order on the contrary it has rooms with a theme. For example the rooms are called as The House Findings Room, The Hall of The Fountain Relics, The Hall of The Funerary Relics, The Hall of Artemis, The Gladiators Section...
Highlights include two colossal statues of the Ephesian Artemis. Both statues feature rows of bull testicles, thought to be breasts or eggs, but all symbolically related to the idea of fertility.
Ephesus terrace houses are located at the slope of hill, opposite the of Hadrian Temple. Here is called as “the houses of rich people”, important for the reason give us information about family life during the Roman period. They were built according to the Hippodamian plan of the city in which roads transected each other at right angels.
There are seven residential units on three terraces at the lower end of the slope of the Bulbul Mountain. The oldest building dates back into the 1C BC and continued in use as residence until the 7C AD. Ephesus terrace houses are covered with protective roofing which resembles Roman houses. The mosaics on the floor and the frescos have been consolidated and two houses have been opened to the public as a museum.
They had interior courtyards (peristyle) in the center, with the ceiling open. They were mostly two-storied, upper stores have collapsed during time. On the ground floor there were living and dining rooms opening to the hall, and upstairs there were bedrooms and guest rooms.
The heating system of the terrace houses were the same as that in baths. Clay pipes beneath the floors and behind the walls carried hot air through the houses. The houses also had cold and hot water. The rooms had no window, only illuminated with light coming from the open hall, so that most of the rooms were dim. The excavations of the terrace houses started in 1960. The restoration of the houses have been finished and can be visited today.
The village of Sirince is referred in ancient sources as the Ephesus on the Mountain suggests long established settlement. Although there seems to be no concrete indication of how it came onto the stage of history, the dominant theory is that a small group of people resettled on the mountain, following the fall of the city of Ephesus and its harbour being moved to Kusadası (Scala Nova). The people might have preferred to move and settle in the mountains due to problems caused by the silting and the flooding of the river Meander.