Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, 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 second largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome, the empire's capital.Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it the second largest city in the world.
The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BCE), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple was destroyed in 401 CE by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom.Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. The town was again partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614. The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation.The Gospel of John may have been written here.It is also the site of a large gladiators' graveyard.
Today's archaeological site lies 3 kilometers southwest of the town of Selçuk, in the Selçuk district of ?zmir Province, Turkey. 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 Ku?adas?.
Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Only an estimated 15% has been excavated. 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 theater dominates the view down Harbour Street, which leads to the silted-up harbor.
The Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from all original pieces, was built ca. 125 CE by Gaius Julius Aquila in memory of his father and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. Designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light.
A part of the site, Basilica of St. John, was built in the 6th century CE, under emperor Justinian I over the supposed site of the apostle's tomb. It is now surrounded by Selçuk.
The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is represented only by one inconspicuous column, revealed during an archaeological excavation by the British Museum in the 1870s. Some fragments of the frieze (which are insufficient to suggest the form of the original) and other small finds were removed – some to London and some to the Archaeological Museum, Istanbul.
The Odeon was a small roofed theater constructed by Vedius Antonius and his wife around 150 CE. It was a small salon for plays and concerts, seating about 1,500 people. There were 22 stairs in the theater. The upper part of the theater was decorated with red granite pillars in the Corinthian style. The entrances were at both sides of the stage and reached by a few steps.
The Temple of Hadrian dates from the 2nd century but underwent repairs in the 4th century and has been reerected from the surviving architectural fragments. The reliefs in the upper sections are casts, the originals being now exhibited in the Selçuk Archaeological Museum. A number of figures are depicted in the reliefs, including the emperor Theodosius I with his wife and eldest son. The temple was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 20 million lira banknote of 2001-2005 and of the 20 new lira banknote of 2005-2009.
The Temple of Domitian was one of the largest temples on the city. It was erected on a pseudodipteral plan with 8 x 13 columns. The temple and its statue are some of the few remains connected with Domitian.
At an estimated 44,000 seating capacity, the Theater is believed to be the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world.
The Tomb/Fountain of Pollio was erected in 97 CE in honor of C. Sextilius Pollio, who constructed the Marnas aqueduct, by Offilius Proculus. It has a concave facade.
There were two agoras, one for commercial and one for state business.