Being an entirely unique city, according to ancient myths; Ephesus (Efes in Turkish), was established by female warriors known as the Amazon. The name of the city based on Apzas from a city in the kingdom of Arzawa, which means the Mother Goddess city.
Ephesus is one of the most important civilizations, culture, science, and art centers of the ancient world it is located on the borders of Selcuk county of Izmir. Each year, an average of 1.5 million people visited, is among the most beautiful ancient cities in Turkey. Excavations in Ephesus continue for over 100 years. There are the many attractive buildings in Ephesus such as Celsus Library, Slope Houses, Antique Theater, King’s Road and each one a magnificent architectural masterpiece.
It was established in 9000 BC. The excavations in Ephesus show traces of Neolithic Age. In the antique era, the ancient city is located at a point where the East and the West juncture. With help of port city identity, political and commercial development became capital of the Asian state of the Roman state. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, Artemis Temple, placed in Ephesus. Therefore, the city attracted more visitors. Ephesus Ancient City has entered the UNESCO Temporary List of World Heritage Sites in 1994, and the main list in 2015. It is thought that the Ephesus, along with the UNESCO process, will be in the travel plan for more visitors.
Ephesus: A Unique Ancient City
The Carian and Lelegians were probably among the first inhabitants of the city. According to the myths, the city was established the second time by Androklos, the son of Kodros on the shore of the Kayster River where they went to the sea, guided by a fish and wild pig on the advice of the priests. On the other hand, archaeological evidence shows that local folk lives in the region until the end of the second millennium BC. According to Hittite source, this place is probably Apazas the capital city of Arzawa, which can be matched with the Ayasuluk Hill. If this assumption is true, we should expect a regional power that is closely related to the Hittite Empire, although not much of the Aegean, Mycenae and Crete influences are mentioned. There is an observable increase in Greek influence in 100 BC and after. It is highly probable that the first colonists from the Greek island settled along the eastern shore of the Aegean Sea, in what is now called Ionia.
The cities of Ionia develops after the Ionia migrations join a confederation under the leadership of Ephesus. During the Lydian Kingdoms, Ephesus became one of the richest cities of the Mediterranean world. Lydian king Croesus was defeated by the Persian king Kyros. This leads to the spread of Persian sovereignty over the entire Aegean coastline. At the beginning of the 5th century, when the cities of Ionia revolted against the Persians, they quickly separated from the rest of them and thus were saved from destruction. When Ephesus entered the period of fifty years of peace and tranquility, it was under the sovereignty of Persian until the rise of Alexander the Great in 334 BC. Lysimakhos wanted to develop the city which he called Arsinoeia after his wife Arsinoe. A new port builds a defensive wall on the slopes of Panayırdağ and Bülbüldağ, and the city moved 2.5 km southwest. In 281 BC, the city was rebuilt in the name of Ephesus and became one of the most important commercial ports of the Mediterranean.
In 129 BC, King Attalos of Bergama (Pergamon) inherited his kingdom to the Roman Empire for the entire region to join the Roman Empire as an Asian state, and they benefited from the conditions of this testament.
Ephesus became a very important trade center in the period of Augustus and after. Historian Aelius Aristides describes Ephesus as the most important trading center in Asia. At the same time, the second philosophy school in Aegean is the leading political and intellectual center. Ephesus has an important privilege position of the East and the West with its exceptionally good climate, and it also has the importance of having the Artemis structure. Artemision also had an economic role, apart from a civilization. A bank has become increasingly an investment because it is the most important local landlord and multifunctional as a refuge for refugees.
From the 1st century onwards, Ephesus was visited by the disciple who tried to spread the belief in one God of Christianity doctrine and therefore forced to escape from the Roman cruelty. As we have learned from the written sources, St. Paul stayed in the city for three years from 65 to 68 years. It is where he gave his famous sermons and told listeners to embrace one God’s faith. Later in the 1st century, Evangelic St. John came to Ephesus – along with the legendary Virgin Mary – and eventually buried in Ayasuluk Hill. The 2nd century AD witnessed the golden age of Ephesus. Numerous honorable monuments are built to the public and the people of Ephesus by private citizens. Ephesus gained the privilege to build the temple for two emperors, one in honor of Hadrianus, the other of Domitianus.
In the 3rd century, Ephesus and its surrounding country are devastated by Goths. In addition, the entire city becomes fell into ruin with a severe earthquake that lived around AD 270. At that time, the earthquake and destruction of the Gothic tribe, which the temple of Artemis was still practiced, had serious consequences for the future religious development. The temple continued to function until 381. Despite the continued worship, the people of Ephesus turned to religious ideas based on salvation. The Egyptian god Serapis and Christian Jesus Christ have grown up and become more popular alternatives to the old official cults.
During the reign of Emperor Theodosius I in 380 AD, everyone in the empire Catholic faith was imposed and paganism was ‘officially’ dead. This new movement, rising with the spread of Christianity, leads to the gradual abandonment of all the structures that witness the existence of polytheism culture, and to the building of Christian churches in their place. In 431 the third ecumenical consul is made in Ephesus. The city is moved to the old port area where public buildings, churches, and habitats were built. Life in this area continued until the 14th century. However, at the beginning of the 10th century, a second Byzantine settlement developed around the near of Ayasuluk Hill. The exchange of power relations shows itself in the 11th and 13th centuries. After 1206, for the first time under the sovereignty of the Laskarid Dynasty, a longer peace period was provided. The center of Ephesus / Ayasuluk or Altaluogo settlement according to name in Italian sources, is located around St. John’s Basilica. Eventually, in 1304 Ephesus was captured by the Turks, but continues to be an important center for Christian crucifixion and is visited by countless travelers on the Holy Land route. Despite the economic difficulties, Ephesus / Ayasuluk remains an important commercial center and regional maritime power. Ephesus is the important port sultan’s son from the city of Aydın and after 1348 it became the capital of the empires.
Ephesus city passes the last years of prosperity at the beginning of the 14th century and at the beginning of the 15th century under the rule of the Aydinogullari of the Seljuk Emirate. In 1402 the city was attacked by the Mongols under the command of Timur. After the Mongols have left the city, the emirate will reestablish. After 20 years of sovereignty, the Ottomans conquered the city in 1425. Prosperity continues throughout the 15th century. But there is a significant regression soon. In the 17th century, in this old metropolis, which has been ruined, only 100 people live, malaria caused to dead people and animals.
When the time is the 20th century, the sand carried by Menderes had extended the oven to 5 km. After Ephesus was abandoned and slowly began to collapse, the ruins of old glorious structures were used as a source of raw material. These structures were disintegrated, reused and processed. In the early modern period, these tremendous ruins, which provide information about Ephesus and Ayasuluk for travel reports and sketches, have been the targets of numerous tradesmen. During the following centuries, the settlement was often mentioned in the descriptions of travelers primarily in English and French sources. Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi has made the most detailed and best description of the Turkish remains while European travelers mainly deal with ancient relics.