March 30, 2021

The Ancient Ruins of Ephesus

Western Shores of Turkey
Moderate
3+hours

Turkey is full of archeologically exquisite places. One of them is the ancient ruins of Ephesus. These remaining structures date back to the 10th century BC. Ephesus was once a major trade and religious center. Today, the Ancient Ruins of Ephesus are a popular sight in Turkey enjoyed by both locals and tourists. Not only is Ephesus full of rich history, but it’s also an incredible sight to behold. 

Ancient City

The city was called Ephesos in Greek and Efes in Turkish. The ancient city of Ephesus is located in Selcuk, a town about 30 km away from Kusadasi. Ephesus is located near the western shores of Turkey, where the Aegean Sea meets the River Kaystros. The city was the most important Greek city in the Mediterranean region. It was a port city and was known to be the most important trade and commercial center. Ephesus is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

It was so cool to see the Theater of Ephesus, which is the largest theater in the Asia Minor. It can accommodate 25,000 people with 24,000 seats and 1,000 standing places! The theater served as a stage for dramatic performances, social, political, and religious events, and for gladiator games. 

History 

Ephesus played a huge role in ancient times because it’s located in a very fertile valley. Over the years, the city made it through several invasions and switched conquerors many times. Legend has it the Ionian prince, Androclos, founded Ephesus in the 11th century. Androclos was searching for a new Greek settlement, so he turned to the Delphi oracles for guidance. The oracles told him a boar and a fish would show him the location.

One day, Androclos was cooking fish over a fire. The fish flopped out of the pan and landed in the bushes. A spark from the fire ignited the bushes and a wild boar ran out. This was the sign he was looking for. So, Androclos built a settlement where the bushes were and named it Ephesus. There’s another legend out there that says Ephesus was founded by the Amazons, and they named the city after their queen, Ephesia.

The Fall of the City

In the sixth and seventh centuries, there were huge earthquakes that destroyed much of the city. After the city was rebuilt, the Arab invasions forced most of the population of Ephesus to flee and start a new settlement. In the fifteenth century, the Ottoman Empire took control. However, the city was deteriorating and its harbor was practically useless because silt was built up in the harbor. This meant no ship could reach the city. Without ships, trade was gone. By the end of the century, Ephesus was abandoned. Now, it’s a famous sight that draws in visitors around the world to see the ancient ruins.

Our Experience

In conclusion, we had such an amazing time exploring the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Not only did we learn so much about this incredible city, but we were also able to capture some amazing photos. I would highly recommend checking out this attraction if you’re visiting Turkey. In other words, if you’d like to read more about our adventures in Turkey, you can catch up here. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.

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Big Guy Big World is a travel blog, following Mark Jacoby’s journey as a big guy on a bigger journey, exploring the world during a global pandemic. Follow along as we experience some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places.

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