Ephesus An Iconic Ancient Greek City
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, located Izmir Province of Turkey. The city was built by the Attic and Ionic people on the site of the former capital of Arzawan. The city was considered to be one of the top twelve cities in the Ionic league during the Greek era. This ancient city of Ephesus has glorious history; much of it is in ruins but can well be seen. In the ancient period the city of Ephesus had developed into a prosperous commercial center.
During the Roman period also the Ephesus city was the third largest city inhabitants. The Carians and the Lydian were the first inhabitants of this area. They had the settlement directly open to the sea. St. Paul stayed for almost three years in this city for the missionary journey, the main church was later named after St. John and it became a pilgrimage center during the Byzantine era. This was one of the seven churches in Asia referred to in the Book of Revelation.
Ephesus was ruled by the Lydian King Kreisos from mid 6 BC. During his reign the city reached a zenith and this was the Golden era for the city which played as a role model in culture and art to the Antic world. The excavations are not complete to unfurl the complete story. The city of Ephesus was also in its full glory during the period of Alexander the Great.
About the Ancient City:
The city was popular for the temple of Artemis built around 550 BC. The Temple was listed as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Goths damaged and destroyed the Temple and the city in 268 AD. During raids and this was the onset of the downfall of the importance and size of the city, coupled with the silting up of the harbor the city lost its importance.
There is a Gymnasium of Vedius to the left of the city on the slope of the hill. The visitors can also see the remains of the wrestling hall, the Palaestra. To the south of the Gymnasium of Vedius there is Stadium dating back to 54-68 AD, the Nero era. To the west of the Gymnasium are the remains of the Virgin Mary Church complex.
During the reign of Claudius between AD 41-54 the construction of the Great Theatre was initiated which was later completed during his successor’s rule. This is immensely impressive for its huge size and the preserved monument. The Theatre is huge with the capacity of 25000 people in the 3 X 22 tiers of seating arrangements. One can get a fine aerial view of the old harbor by climbing to the top.
Agora, the market square is only partly excavated and is at the southwest of the Great Theatre. This shows that there was rebuilding of the original structure in 3rd century. This was a large square measuring 116M on each side and surrounded by the housing, shops and offices.
From the Upper Agora starts the main street in Ephesus and to the east is the Magnesian Gate, while the ruins of Eastern Gymnasium, located in the north of the Magnesian Gate. Similar to the other three Gymnasiums of Ephesus there is also a rectangular building with large halls. This is also termed as Girl’s Gymnasium due to the plentiful statues of girls there.