you want to visit a place where you
can really get a feel for
what life was like 2000 years ago during
the glory-days of Greece and Rome, Ephesus (also
spelled Efes, Ephesos or Ephessos) is
the place. In terms of ruins, it's
better than Rome itself.
Tours are available
Istanbul, İzmir, Kuşadası and
other towns. You
can even fly from Istanbul to
tour the archeological site, and
return to Istanbul the same day.
Ask any of my recommended
travel agencies to
make the arrangements for you.
If you visit in summer, it's
best to visit Ephesus first
thing in the morning, before
the sun gets too hot and before
of group tour buses gets too heavy.
can see the impressive ruins in 2
to 3 hours if necessary,
though half a day or more is better.
your hotel is
or if you come from Şirince by minibus, you can walk the
pleasant 3 km (2 miles) to the
ruins in the cool
morning along tree-shaded Dr Sabri
Yayla Boulevard in 30 to 40 minutes
(map). This will
take you to the main parking lot
and northern entrance. Otherwise, minibuses run past the access road frequently for a fare of TL2.50 from Selçuk.
the walk you'll pass the Artemision,
the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven
Wonders of the World. More...
you ride to the
ruins, many people prefer to start
at the southern (upper) entrance
by the Magnesia Gate so they can
walk downhill, so ask the driver
you there. This entrance is on the
road to the House of the Virgin Mary (Meryemana).
Ephesus costs TL30, plus another TL15 if you want to see the mosaics in the Terrace Houses. Besides paying at the entrance, you can buy tickets in advance online with a credit card, print them, and validate them upon entering. More...
Ephesus is simply terrible (compare
the far better signage at Aphrodisias),
which no doubt promotes the sale
of guidebooks, audio
tours and the services
guides, all of which are available
at both entrances. Quality of human guides vary by the guide, but most are entertaining
and informative. The books are mostly
pretty expensive for what you get.
Some are not very informative.
the audio tours,
which are pretty good, you
for a paper map and the rental of
the audio device, plus a TL100 refundable deposit. If you like, you can rent
the audio device at once entrance
and arrange to return it—and
to retrieve your driver's license—at
the other entrance.
Ephesus was a prosperous,
rich Roman city
with a busy port and
a brisk pilgrimage
trade to the Temple
of Artemis. Here are the important
things you'll see:
Built into the slope of Panayır Dağı,
this is the Roman reconstruction
(41-117 AD) of the earlier theater
built by Lysimachus. Though huge,
with 25,000 seats, its ingenious
engineering gives it excellent acoustics.
It's still used for performances
and special events.
Harbor Street (Arcadian Way)
The avenue leading from the theater
to the harbor was a grand affair,
with colonnades, fountains, monuments
and even street lights along it,
and water and drainage conduits beneath
its marble paving stones.
This aptly-named street leads
south from in front of the theater to
the Brothel and Library of Celsus. West
of it are the remains of the spacious Commercial
A lavish building, now in ruins, it
stands across from the library, a
reminder that prostitution was not
looked upon as degrading in some
ancient societies. Just outside it,
seek the Men's Toilets—immediately
Library of Celsus
A technological wonder, with double
walls to keep out the damp and moderate
the extremes of temperature, it is
also perhaps the most beautiful building
at Ephesus, finely restored. To the
right is the Gate of Augustus, a
monumental arch leading to the Commercial
This splendid hillside street, starting
in front of the Library of Celsus,
is longer and even more interesting
Along it you'll find...
Hillside Houses (Yamaç Evleri)
The wealthy of Ephesus resided in these
beautiful villas with mosaic floors
and classic decoration. After years
of painstaking and expensive restoration,
they are open to visitors, and are
well worth the extra TL15 admission
must pay to see them.
Temple of Hadrian
The head of Medusa is
the most famous bit of decoration on
this fine temple built in 118 AD to
honor Emperor Hadrian (and extensively
rebuilt several centuries later). Facing
the temple across Curetes Way are ten shops.
Note the fine mosaic in front
Gate of Hercules
The two-storey structure half-way along
the street dates from the 300s AD.
A side street leads south to the Museum
Ephesus's city council met in this
fine small theater-like council space.
Opposite the Odeon are other badly-ruined
structures, including the Prytaneum (city
hall) and Temple
of Hestia Boulaea. On the
other side of some badly-ruined baths is
the Magnesia (upper, southern) Gate into the Ephesus Archeological Site.
On the far (eastern) side of Panayır
Dağı, the hill holding the Great Theater,
are the caves called the Grotto
of the Seven Sleepers. You
can walk or drive to the grotto, which
is actually a Byzantine necropolis (cemetery).
Near the summit of Bülbüldağı ("Nightingale
Mountain," the ancient Mt Koressos)
to the south of Ephesus is the House
of the Virgin Mary (Meryemana). More...
—by Tom Brosnahan