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Genereal Information About Ephesus

It can be said that Ephesus is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the world. In ancient times, because of its location, it was one of the important commercial cities of Anatolia. But the silting up of its harbor gradually resulted in the loss of its prominence. The city’s importance as a commercial center declined by silting up by the Cayster River( Küçük Menderes).

It was also a cult center attracting thousands of pilgrims for traditional worship of the female first Cybele, then Artemis and finally Virgin Mary in the Christian Period. Ephesus contained one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation.
It was one of the twelve cities of Ionion League during the Classical Greek Era. ( Other ones are Miletus, Myus, Priene, Colophon, Lebedus, Teos, Clazomenae, Phocaea, Chios, Erythrae, Samos)



History of Ephesus

The area surrounding Ephesus was already inhabited during the Neolithic Age (about 6000 BC). The city of Ephesus was founded as an Attic-Ionian colony in the 10th century BC on the Ayasuluk Hill, three kilometers from the center of antique Ephesus. The mythical founder of the city was Androklos, son of king Kodros and a prince of Athens, who had to leave his country after the death of his father.

According to a legend, in the year of 10 B.C. Androclus, the son of a King of Athens-Kodros, was searching a place establishing a site. As it was customary in ancient times to consult an oracle before any important event, Androclus did it about where to found a settlement. The answer was simple “at the place which will be indicated by a fish and a wild boar.”

Androclus and his colony were running from the Dor invasion in Greece, they arrived in Anatolia. While they were camping somewhere near Ephesus, a frying fish fell down from the pan irritated a hiding boar behind the bushes. The feared boar escaped immediately. Remembering the words of oracle, he decided to found the settlement there. Ephesus has been located at different places in different times and ruled by different emperors after the foundation. Androklos drove away most of the native Carian and Lelegian inhabitants of the city.
Ephesus was ruled by the Lydian king, Kreisos, in the mid 6BC. The city reached the "Golden Age" and became a good model to the Antic World in culture and art, as well. that age haven’t been revealed.


Later, Ephesus was dominated by Persians. Alexander the Great won Persians and the Ionian cities got their independence in the year of 334. Ephesus was in great prosperity during the times of Alexander the Great. When Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces us in 334 BC, the Greek cities of Asia Minor were liberated. In 356 BC the temple of Artemis was burnt down, according to legend, by a lunatic called Herostratus who wanted to be remembered in the feature; he succeded it because i said his name to you and the other visitors everyday as the other guides ?

This was the night that Alexander the Great was born. The inhabitants of Ephesus started with the restoration. When Alexander the Great saw that the temple of Artemis was not yet finished, he proposed to finance the temple and have his name as an inscription of the front. But the inhabitants of Ephesus refused, claiming that it was not fitting for a god to build a temple for another god. After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, Ephesus came under the rule of Lysimachus, one of Alexander's generals, in 290 BC. As the river Cayster was silting up the harbour, due to the destruction of the port by the alluviums, and the inhabitants were forced to settle in the new place named "Arsinoeina", the name of Lysimakhos’ wife. The city was surrounded by wide stone walls in 10 meters height and 9 meters length. And, "Arsinoeina" was changed into "Ephesus" again, to be forgotten eternally. After the death of Lysimachos, Ephesus came under Egyptian rule between 263-197 BC.


Ephesus was controlled by the Romans in 190 BC. The city was given to the Bergamian kings for a time. With the death of King Attalos 3 in 133BC, the city was re-ruled by the Romans. Ephesus reached to its height and was notorious for its wealth and luxury between 1-4 AD., especially during the reign of Augustus. During the period, the population of Ephesus increased to 225 000, and the city became the capital of the new Asia. By cleaning the river Caystros from the alluviums, the great trade port of Ephesus, a gateway to foreign countries, enriched the prosperity of the city and continued to thrive with commerce and culture.
Ephesus became a state of Seljukian in the year of 1090, for a time was held by Byzantine. In 1307 Seljukians controlled the city again. However, years later, the River Caystros was silted up, leaving the site far inland. Therefore, the city of Ephesus has lost its significance, due to the development of the ports of Izmir and Kusadasi in sea-trade.

Importance of Ephesus For Christianity

Ephesus is one of the important centers of Christianity. Apostle Paul probably spent two and a half years in Ephesus during his third missionary journey until a riot forced him to leave the city. Ephesus was also the site of third Ecumenical Council.

(Ephesus has played significant roles during the date, in the early Christianity, as well. The prestige of Ephesus increased with the arrival of Saint Paul, for spreading the Christianity to the Ephesians worshipping to Artemis. St. Paul and the disciplines of Christianity were strictly refused by Ephesians, elderly. With the long tiring struggles of St. Paul, Christianity was accepted by the most of the population around Ephesus. St. Paul had also sent one of his most famous letters to the church in Ephesus. Additionally, St Jean and Virgin Mary visited Ephesus and Virgin Mary settled down the Mount Bulbul, located close to Ephesus, around the years of 42 AD.)

Ephesus Map

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