The Ephesus Ancient Site, located in Izmir’s Selçuk district, features remnants of several civilizations, including Roman, Greek, and Turkish. The ancient city of Ephesus, which is quite large, has libraries, temples, vast roads, and structures that offer accommodation. The city was once regarded as the most significant Greek metropolis and the most important trading center in the Mediterranean.
Ephesus Ancient Site, founded in 6000 BC, is home to numerous notable structures, such as the Temple of Artemis, the House of the Virgin Mary, and the Ashab-ı Kehf. Ephesus, which has a crucial role in history and nowadays, also raised significant figures like Heraclitus, Artemidorus, Hipponax, Zenodotus, and Soranus of Ephesus. Nonetheless, Ephesus was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.
If you want to get more detailed information about this fascinating site, which was founded before Christ, this guide is for you!
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What to See in Ephesus?
The Ancient City of Ephesus stands out for its rich and sophisticated architecture, which includes the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the world.
The massive theater with a seating capacity of around 25 thousand people, the stadium, the commercial and state agoras, the Odeon, and the ancient harbor are among the must-see sights if you visit this city, which is located in the Selçuk region of Izmir.
- House of the Virgin Mary: There is a small Byzantine church in the ruins of the House of the Virgin Mary, which can be reached by passing via the upper gate of Ephesus. It is believed that Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived and died here.
- Seven Sleepers (Ashâb-ı Kehf): According to sources, Ashab-ı Kehf is the place where seven Christian youths took shelter. It is said that there is a cave in this location where these seven young people escaped the oppression and persecution of the Roman emperors and slept for 309 years.
- The Temple of Artemis: The Temple of Artemis is regarded as one of the world’s seven wonders. The Temple of Artemis, also known as the Temple of Diana, is a spectacular monument dedicated to the Goddess Artemis. It is supposed to be the earliest settlement of the Ephesians.
- Library of Celsus: The Library of Celsus is one of the most important buildings of the Ancient City of Ephesus. It was built on behalf of the governor of Ephesus, Celsius, by his son, Gaius Julius Aquila, between 110 – 135 AD. The library, which has a magnificent appearance, is also a mausoleum.
How to Go to Ephesus?
Since Ephesus is within the borders of Izmir province, you must first go to Izmir.
Travel to Ephesus from Izmir: You can get to this ancient city by taking a minibus from the Izmir bus station to the Selçuk district. On the other hand, it can be reached the city by utilizing the public transportation IZBAN.
Ephesus is about 3 kilometers from the Selçuk neighborhood. Izmir and Ephesus are 75 kilometers apart. Further, you can easily get to the city by following the signage along the road if you consider visiting this place by car.
Travel to Ephesus from Istanbul: If you are planning to visit Ephesus by coming from Istanbul, you can come to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport from Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gökçen Airport, and use IZBAN, which is located directly next to the airport.
Going to Selçuk station via IZBAN will help you to reach Ephesus easily. If you are going to travel by car, you can reach the ancient city after about an hour’s journey by following the signs in the direction of Selçuk. Selçuk is approximately 65 km away from the airport, located in the Gaziemir district.
Entrance, Tickets & Facilities at Ephesus
Entrance: Ephesus is open 7 days a week, in summer and winter, except for the first day of Turkey’s religious holidays. The ancient city, available between 08.30-17.30 in the winter season from October to April, is open to visitors between 08.00-19.30 from April to October in summer.
Tickets: You can enter Ephesus for free if you have a Museum Card (MüzeKart). However, if you do not have it, you must pay 150₺ for entrance. There is also a MüzeKart sales point where you can buy one right away for only 60₺. Since the MüzeKart is accepted at the entrance to the city, getting a card before visiting the museum would be more advantageous.
For more detailed information about MüzeKart and entrance to the Ancient City of Ephesus, you can visit its official website.
Facilities at Ephesus:
- Restaurants near the Ancient City of Ephesus
Selçuk Pidecisi: Selçuk Pidecisi is located 2.5 kilometers from Ephesus. It is a popular restaurant in the Selçuk district. Selçuk Pidecisi serves a variety of pitas as well as dishes such as chicken and meat on tiles. Daily and fresh produce are used in the restaurant.
Ejder Restaurant: Ejder Restaurant is a small, lovely restaurant. It is well-known for its grilled meatballs and skewers, which are served with stuffed aubergines, haydaris, and tasty appetizers. Pita bread is also widely popular. The restaurant is around 2.5 kilometers from the Ephesus Ancient Site.
- Cafes near the Ancient City of Ephesus
Cafe Carpouza: Cafe Carpouza is located right across from the Selçuk Train Station; thus it is a very convenient and cute cafe at the same time. The business stands out with its various beverage options and reasonable prices. Besides, Cafe Carpouza, run by the Municipality, is among the places with a pleasant ambiance where both residents and tourists spend a lot of time during the spring and summer months. The cafe is 3.5 km from the Ephesus.
Tent Cafe (Cadir Cafe): Tent Cafe (Cadir Cafe), located right across from the Ephesus Museum, stands out with its rich beverage menu, alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, and delicious snacks. The cafe, which gets a full score from its customers regarding hygiene, service, and taste, also offers various alternatives for lunch.
- Shops near the Ancient City of Ephesus
Sultan Jewellery & Fine Handmade Ceramic Art: Offering, so to speak, authentic treasures for every budget, Sultan Jewellery & Fine Handmade Ceramic Art is one of the souvenir shops you should definitely stop by if you come to the Selçuk region of Izmir. Located in Izmir Selçuk bazaar, the shop provides service with friendly and helpful employees.
Moon Light Souvenir’s Silver Shop: Moon Light Souvenir’s Silver Shop is one of the popular souvenir shops in Selçuk, offering silver, ceramics, tile, and textile products. If you are looking for a quality and authentic gift for yourself and your loved ones, this place is just for you.
Where to Stay near Ephesus?
Ephesus Ancient Site, where a single day’s visit will not be enough, will be a region where you can visit to the fullest if you stay in the surrounding hotels for a few days. So, we have compiled some hotels near Ephesus for you.
Hotel Ayasoluk Boutique:
Hotel Ayasoluk Boutique is one of the luxury boutique hotels located in the Izmir/Selçuk region. Located only 3.5 km from the Ancient City of Ephesus, the facility stands out both with its service quality and its location. The hotel offers its guests amenities such as an outdoor pool and a terrace pool. It is home to practical and comfortable rooms as well as aesthetically pleasing. Address: 1051. Sokak No: 12 | Ataturk Mahallesi, Selçuk 35920, Türkiye
- View of Ayasoluk Boutique Hotel Prices
Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa:
Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa is one of the luxury hotels in Ephesus, located near the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, aka Ashab-ı Kehf. Offering a comfortable and enjoyable holiday to its guests, the facility has various amenities such as an outdoor pool, sauna, spa services, and free parking. Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa is located only 2 km from the Ancient City of Ephesus. Address: Ataturk Mah. 1079. Sok. No.21, Selçuk 35920, Türkiye
Richemont Ephesus Beach Resort:
Richemont Ephesus Beach Resort is a 5-star comfortable, all-inclusive resort located on a beach overlooking Pamucak Bay. The hotel is located 10 km from Ephesus Archaeological Museum. If you have a car, you can reach the ancient city of Ephesus and the surrounding areas in 10-15 minutes.
With its Blue Flag beach, sandy sea, luxurious rooms, and rich services, Palm Wings Ephesus Beach Resort is an excellent option for both those who want a relaxing holiday and want to see the Ancient City of Ephesus closer. Address: Pamucak Mevki, Efes Antik Şehir Plajı, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir
History of Ephesus
The Ancient City of Ephesus, which attracts 1.5 million tourists annually, has a rich historical texture. On average, the city’s history dates back to 8000 BC. There are traces of the neolithic age in this unique structured city.
Ephesus Ancient Site, which has a long history, was founded as a campus between the Panayır and Bülbül Mountains by Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great’s successors. Ephesus, which had been occupied as a living place for many years, was included in Rome in 129 BC and became the capital of Asia Minor. The city also experienced Hellenistic and Roman periods, and its population peaked at 250 thousand people.
The influence of being a port city on the development of Ephesus, which is accepted as one of the noblest cities of every period, is an undeniable factor. Consequently, the Ancient City of Ephesus, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2015, has left its mark on history as the home of numerous significant figures.