Calling all history buffs, archeology buffs, photography buffs, and people watchers! You all would have a field day at Ephesus in Turkey. It is one of those heavily touristy places that is heavily touristy for an actual good reason. It’s incredible and is highly recommend.
A sample of what to see:
Library of Celsus: The Library of Celsus was originally built circa 125 AD and it once held about 12,000 scrolls, making it one of the richest libraries of ancient times.
Curetes Street: It is one of the three main streets of Ephesus and is THE street that everyone photographs.
Theatre: It was used for “exciting local events” such as gladiatorial combats. This was the largest outdoor theatre in the ancient world.
Terrace Houses: These were the homes of the rich and are an interesting peek into ancient Roman family life, Beverly Hills style. It costs extra to get into the Terrace Houses but it is worth it especially if you enjoy mosaics. It is also a good way to escape the sun and crowd as not many people take the time to visit the Houses. You follow a set path around the units, allowing you to see various mosaics and frescoes as well as the work stations of restorers who have to piece the tiny tiles back together.
Did you know?
Ephesus was founded as an Attic-Ionian colony in the 10th century BC.
One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis (built by 550 BC), is near here…at least what’s left of it…
From AD 52–54, Paul (yes, “the” Paul) lived in Ephesus. He pissed off local artisans, whose livelihood depended on selling statuettes in the Temple of Artemis (Acts 19:23–41). He also wrote 1st Corinthians (a letter that is now a Biblical book) while in Ephesus between 53 and 57 AD.
A legend, dating back to the 4th century AD, purported that Mary (Jesus’ mom) spent her last years in Ephesus.
Ephesus holds the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. And not all of it has been excavated as of yet – not even 20%!
Tip I: A visit to Ephesus should take place in mid- to late afternoon for two reasons: First is that many of the giant tour groups, especially ones from cruise ships, would be gone. The second reason is sunlight – bright overhead sunlight is utter crap for photos so the later you go, the better the light.
Tip II: Read up on what to see beforehand – signage is a hit and miss. And the ones that are there, you may not even see due to the sheer mass of humanity at this place.
Tip III: Take a hat and water – everything is overpriced in the site and with all that bright light bouncing on the white stone and marble, it is a recipe for heat stroke.
Tip IV: Give yourself 3-4 hours to see this place if you are a photography or history buff. Also gives you time to eavesdrop on a few tours if you so choose.
Tip V: The dolmus (minibus) from Selçuk leaves from the main bus station at the back – pay, wait for the bus to fill, and off you go. The return dolmus departs from the parking lot of Ephesus. Minibuses go and depart in intervals of about 15 minutes.