History is always Indestructible from our life; it always teaches something to the present world. The emergence of the city is the beginning of humans settling in one location and raising communities. Historically Ephesus was regarded as the most important Greek city and the most important economic centre in the Mediterranean region. As a result, in 2015, UNESCO inscribed Ephesus, Turkey, on the World Heritage List. By understanding this ancient city, we observe how people and societies behave. The entire city was abandoned and how is now reborn as a large open-air archaeological museum

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Library of Celsus_©i.stock.com

Formation and Location

This historically significant city is situated near modern-day Turkey’s western beaches, where the Aegean River meets the old estuary of the river Kay stros, some 80 kilometers south of Ixmir. According to tradition, the Ionian prince Androclos sought a new town and eventually created Ephesus in the eleventh century BC. with the help of the Delphi oracles. According to another mythology, the Amazon, a female warrior, built Ephesus. Furthermore, the city is named for its queen, the Ephesians. Throughout history, Ephesus has resisted multiple assaults and changed hands countless times. Today, the stunning Ephesus Roman structures draw travellers from around the globe. Ephesus is home to one of the world’s oldest marvels and an important historical monument.

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Arial view _©AA Photos

City planning 

Ephesus was home to immigrants because it is the central port city and its geographical location. Ephesus, which acts as a door between east and west, Furthermore it was an important port city at the same time. Because of this characteristic, Ephesus was likely to have been an important trading and political centre of that period. The population was believed to be around 200,000 at the time. According to the situation at the time, the population was extremely crowded. The junction of all streets at right angles is one of Ephesus’ most outstanding characteristics. Ephesus was one of the most sophisticated cities in the world. During that specific era, its most notable aspect is ornamented with high technology and marble work abilities. The ancient city of Ephesus had libraries, temples, wide streets, and accommodation structures. The Ephesus contains a building complex that includes the Artemis Temple, Celsius Library, Virgin Mary’s House, Seven Sleepers, Isa Bey Mosque, Hadrian Temple, Serapis Temple, Domitian Temple, Mary Church, St Jean’s Church, Stadium and Gymnasium, Theater Gymnasium, Harbor Bath, Port Gymnasium, and St John’s Castle.

Artemis Temple

The Temple of Artemis was built for the goddess Artemis. Rectangular temples are the most common and well-known form of Greek public architecture. Its construction was very long, required several generations of contributions, and lasted for a long time. This temple was founded in the 6th century BC. Furthermore, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This iconic temple was destroyed by a deliberate fire and then rebuilt, and it survived until late antiquity and the Gothic invasion of 267 CE. Sculptures by renowned Greek artists Polyclitus, Pheidias, Cresilas, and Phradmon, as well as paintings and gold and silver gilded columns, adorned the sanctuary only the foundation and one pillar remain on the site.

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Artemis Temple one of the ancient wonder_© cdn.britannica.com

Library of Celsus

Ephesus, the fourth-largest city in the Roman Empire, is home to stunning Roman architecture that has stood the test of time for almost two thousand years. The library is one of the rare remaining instances of a Roman Empire library and is considered an architectural treasure. What makes this structure unique is that both a library and a mausoleum. The east-facing marble façade of the library is beautifully adorned with plant motifs and portrait statues. Design features include acanthus leaves, scrolls, and face symbols. Besides, four female statues position in the façade’s niches are also interesting. The sculptures symbolized Sofia (Wisdom), Arete (Virtue), Ennoia (Insight), and Episteme (Knowledge), as evidenced by the inscriptions on the bases. The library held around 12,000 scrolls. It was the third richest library in ancient times, after Alexandra and Pergamum.

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Library of Celsus_© www.designingbuildings.co.uk

Ephesus Theatre

Among all antiquity’s archaeological remains, the most spectacular structure in Ephesus’ ancient city is the theatre. The theatre, built on the slopes of Mount Panayir, was established during the reign of Lysimachos and afterwards altered several times. Like every other ancient theatre, it also divided into 3 areas: the scene (stage building, the orchestra (place of action for the actors), and the cavea (auditorium) in which the spectators were seated. The auditorium stood at least 30 m above the orchestra and was capped at the top by a porticoed building whose purpose was to enhance the acoustics in addition to that complex. The caveat, which is made of three by 22 tiers of seats divided into sections by 12 stairways, may accommodate up to 25,000 people. The audience-facing front is embellished with reliefs, columns with niches, windows, and sculptures.

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Great theatre_©General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums

Other architectural characteristics

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Public toilet_©toursaroundturkey.com

The Ephesus Marble Routes connect the Great Theater to the Celsus Library and are part of the sacred road that leads past Panayir dagi to the Temple of Artemis. It was developed in the first century A.D. but was most certainly renovated in the 5th century by a man named Eutropius, who arranged for its pavement. The roads were made of irregular marble fragments. The deep grooves of the wheels may still be seen in locations that were rebuilt during the High Medieval era on this road, which was utilized for carriage traffic.

A latrina, a public toilet, was erected at Ephesus in the first century AD. The toilets were placed next to each other without partitions. In the centre, there was a rectangular pool. The floor was paved with mosaics. Waste was discharged from the underground waterway into the sea, and a long basin in front of the toilet.

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Terrace Houses_©Austrian Archeological Institute

The Terrace Housing complex in Ephesus is made up of opulent apartments. The terraced home complex is located on the western side of the bottom part of the street, where excavations have uncovered exquisite mosaic floors and frescoed walls. The structure has been roofed to safeguard the mosaics and frescoes.

Ephesus’s Fall

Ephesus was devastated by the Goths. In 262 A.D, the Temple of Artemis was demolished. Although the city was restored, it never recovered its former glory. Emperor Theodosius eradicated all evidence of Artemis throughout his rule. He outlawed religious freedom and many other privileges they had previously enjoyed. Throughout the sixth and seventh centuries A.D, a catastrophic earthquake and the harbour’s continued deterioration left Ephesus a shell of what it once was, and Arab conquests forced the bulk of Ephesians to flee and create a new colony. The cause was a buildup of silt in the harbour, which eventually prevented ships from reaching the city. Trade died as a result of the lack of ships. In the fifteenth century, the Ottoman Empire seized complete control of Ephesus. However, the city was in desperate straits, its harbour nearly useless. Before the end of the century, Ephesus had been abandoned.

Ephesus’ current situation

J.T Wood began archaeological excavations in Ephesus in 1863, supported by the British Museum, to discover the Temple of Artemis. In the course of the excavations, which have now lasted over a century; only ten per cent of the ancient city of Ephesus has been unearthed. Excavations and restoration activities in Ephesus will continue for many years. Its legacy is left to archaeologists, historians, and thousands of visitors who flock to the region each year to see the ancient ruins.

Since the fifth century, the House of the Virgin Mary, a church seven kilometres from Ephesus, has been a popular destination for Christian pilgrims. Because of the monuments’ pristine condition, this is one of the greatest sites in the world to experience a Classical-era city. In 2015, It was included on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. Visitors from all over the world come to explore the well-preserved Roman streets, amaze at the massive monuments, and soak in the ancient essence of this lost city.

Tourist walking on marble streets_©youarecurrent.com



As a budding architect with Inquisitive eyes on architecture, she loves to construct those understanding into words. She feels that architecture allows one to perceive the world through new eyes together with understanding the language of art.

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