This morning, you will meet your guide on the pier for your tour to Ephesus. Ephesus was originally founded as a Greek colony in the 10th Century BC. It gradually prospered and became a major trading hub and an important religious center for the worship of the Mother Goddess Cybele. Ephesus was ruled for a period of time by the Macedonian general Lysimachus. After his death, the city came under Egyptian, and later under Roman and Byzantine rule. Ephesus was incorporated in the Ottoman Empire in the 14th Century.
Today’s visit will begin at the Ephesus Archaeological Museum located in Selcuk and just a few minutes’ drive from the site of Ephesus itself.
Many of the works of art excavated in Ephesus between 1867 and 1905 were transported to the British Museum; those excavated from 1905 to1923 were taken to Vienna. The Turkish Republic then forbade taking antiques out of the country and founded the museum. The present museum dates to 1983.
The Ephesus Museum is different from other many museums in that it is not designed according to chronological order but the rooms are laid out with a theme, e.g. The Hall of the Fountain, The Hall of Funerary Relics, the Hall of Artemis and so on.
Most of the structures surviving today at Ephesus are from the Roman period. The Library of Celsus was built in the 2nd Century to store some 12,000 scrolls and is one of the few remaining examples of ancient Roman libraries. After a massive restoration project, the front façade of the building was rebuilt and now serves as a prime example of Roman architecture. The statues in the niches of the façade are of Sophia – the goddess of wisdom; Arete – the goddess of virtue; Ennoia – the goddess of intelligence; and Episteme – the goddess of knowledge. Next to the library you will see the Gate of Augustus.
Your guide will show you the Temple of Hadrian, one of the best preserved and most beautiful structures on Curetes Street. It was built before 138 AD and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, who came to visit the city from Athens in 128 AD.
You will also walk along the Arcadian Way, the main street in Ephesus and see the Temple of Domitian and visit the remains of the Hellenistic theater, which once had an estimated 44,000 seating capacity and is believed to have been the largest outdoor theater in the ancient world. Other sites included in the visit will be the Odeon, Temple of Hadrian and the Fountain of Trajan.