Ephesus Turkey

One of the great cities of Asia Minor, Ephesus Turkey was once an important city in the Greek Empire boasting the ancient Temple of Artemis. Today the spectacular temple ruins of the Artemis at Ephesus are a major tourist attraction.

Located near the Aegean Sea the Temple of Artemis Ephesus is a regular feature for travelers on Mediterranean cruises as well as tourists on local Ephesus travel tours of the many other sites found here.

The ruins of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus remain a sacred site for Christians the world over. Its association with biblical figures including St Paul and the Virgin Mary at other local sites make it a popular destination for spiritual Ephesus tours. Even the pope visited!

Artemis was a Greek goddess, virgin huntress and twin of Apollo. An ancient statue of Atemis is on display at the Ephesus Museum. The statue portrays the goddess with many breasts. While looking slightly ridiculous it is nevertheless intended to represent her fertility.

The Artemis at Ephesus temple was constructed to honor the revered goddess. The original temple of Artemis Ephesus was built entirely of marble and in its full glory was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is estimated that each of the buildings 127 columns once stood over 60 feet in height. The temple was destroyed by an arson attack in 356 BC on the very night that Alexander the Great was born. All that remains of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus now is a lone surviving column standing up from the marsh land that it was built on.

Away from the temple ruins, the city of Ephesus Turkey lends itself to fascinating Ephesus tours of perhaps the largest collection of Roman city ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Ephesus Turkey is superbly well preserved and one of the best places in the world to experience what life was like around that period. The Roman ruins are a visible reminder of the far reaching influence of one of the world’s ancient superpowers.

Much of the city has been excavated by archaeologists uncovering a remarkable number of Roman era buildings. These include a huge open air theatre, basilica (used for commercial business), bath and gymnasium complex and even a brothel. Other surviving ruins include the Temple of Hadrian and the Gate of Augustus. Perhaps best preserved is the Library of Celsus. The entrance to the library has been carefully reconstructed and is a stunning example of Byzantine architecture. It is thought that the library once held around 12,000 scrolls.

A large number of artifacts from excavations can be found in the local Ephesus Archaeological Museum. Visiting the museum as part of Ephesus tours of the Roman city will add more depth to your experience.

The city also contains many other wonders including sites of biblical reference. An Ephesus travel destination of much interest for Christians is the house of Virgin Mary. It is believed that the Virgin Mary came to Ephesus to escape Christian persecution and live out the last days of her life. The house she was thought to have lived in sits atop a mountain and can be visited freely.

Pilgrims can pay homage to the evangelist St John. The Basilica of St John now stands over the site of the apostle’s tomb. The Virgin Mary was said to have accompanied St John to the region where John lived and preached. The site has increased its popularity as an Ephesus travel destination since the pilgrimage of the pope to the sacred shrine.

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