As the capital of Roman Asia Minor, Ephesus was a vibrant city of around 300,000 inhabitants. With many traders, sailors and pilgrims, it was here where you could experience the full diversity of the Mediterranean world and its people as its busy seaport ferried goods from Asia to Greece, Italy and beyond.
As a very important and wealthy city, Ephesus' greatest claim to fame was its temple to the goddess Artemis. This temple was almost four times larger than the Parthenon in Athens. Today you can visit what is left of the temple en route to Selçuk, and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
One of the most photographed ruins in Ephesus is the Library of Celsus, originally built in AD 115-25, with the interior measuring 70 by 80 feet and it held approximately 15,000 scrolls. Other places to visit include the Terrace Houses, Commercial Agora, and the Theater, which was built in the Hellenistic period and originally held 25,000 people.
Ephesus is also a sacred site for Christians due to its association with several biblical figures, including St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary. The House of the Virgin, located in a nature park between Ephesus and Seljuk, is believed to be the last residence of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. This site is sacred to both Christians and Muslims and is visited by many tourists and pilgrims each year.
Ephesus is 45 minutes drive from the airport of Izmir. You can book a private tour or go independent and take the bus from Izmir Bus Station. You can arrange a bus ticket to Selcuk or Kusadasi.
From Istanbul you can to fly to Izmir, which takes about an hour. There are no trains between Istanbul and Selcuk but there are intercity buses which are quite comfortable and frequent, but it takes approx. 10 hours.
Coldest time of the year is January and February and the rainy season is between October and April. The warmest time of the year is July and August, so the best time to visit Ephesus is around April, May, October and November.
Entry ticket costs for Ephesus and nearby sites are as follows:
- Ephesus: 12.5 Euro per person (AUD 19.80)
- House of Mary: 7 Euro per person (AUD 11.00)
- Temple of Artemis: Free of Charge
- Sirince Village: Free of charge
- Isa Bey Mosque: Free of Charge
- Terrace Houses: 7 Euro per person (AUD 11.00)
- Basilica of St. John: 4 Euro per person (AUD 6.35)
- Archeological Museum of Ephesus: 4 Euro per person (AUD 6.35)
Ephesus is a major stop on many cruise and tour itineraries of Turkey.
Check out some tours below that include Ephesus: