Extraordinary Ephesus Turkey

Ephesus, the extraordinary ancient city with its Great Theater, Celsus Library, Temple of Artemis and  Terrace Houses still being uncovered is a must stop if you’re planning to visit Turkey.

Located in present day Selçuk, Ephesus was originally a Greek city renown for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. When the Romans made their march on, well, everywhere, Ephesus became a Roman city and ultimately the capital of Asia Minor. There were spring festivals for Artemis (Diana to the Romans) and Ephesus became the largest city in the area with about 400,000 inhabitants.

Food Travelist Ephesus Largest Excavation In The World
Ephesus Largest Excavation In The World


As the Roman empire declined, Ephesus lost its place in the spotlight until in the mid 19th century when archaeologists began excavating it. To their astonishment, there is much to find! Less than 1/4th of the city has been uncovered but it is still the larges excavation in the world.

Food Travelist Terrace Houses at Ephesus
Terrace Houses at Ephesus


The Terrace Houses, extraordinary dwellings with creature comforts that we know today like heating systems and private baths, were homes to the rich and important of the day. The frescoed walls and mosaic floors are being painstakingly reconstructed and their incredible details are being rediscovered.

Food Travelist A Huge Job Ephesus Excavation and Reconstruction
A Huge Job Ephesus Excavation and Reconstruction


The Great Theater is a huge outdoor amphitheater that seats some 25,000 people. Known in biblical times as the place where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians, in modern times it has been used for concerts because of its near-perfectly designed acoustics. Fans and performers alike marveled at the environment and mega-stars such as Elton John, Diana Ross and Sting. Concerts by performers from around the world are still given (though no major rock concerts because of the structural damage caused by the volume).

Food Travelist Great Theater Accoustics
Great Theater Accoustics Are Just About Perfect


The Celsus Library is also interesting. It was built to hold 12,00 scrolls and serve as a tomb for a Roman senator, who is buried in a sarcophagus beneath the library. But what may be even more interesting is that there was a “secret” tunnel that connected the library to a local brothel, enabling gentlemen who did not wish their whereabouts to be scrutinized could head to the library and then steal away for entertainment elsewhere without observation.

Food Travelist Celsus Library in Ephesus
Celsus Library in Ephesus


Ephesus it is a popular location for extraordinary weddings, cocktail parties and other celebrations that can be catered, including at the House of the Virgin Mary, which is  a small dwelling built by the Apostle John where Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived to the end of her life. Restaurants like Prince of the Castle, Yavuz’un Yeri and Artemis are popular places to eat in the area and there are some quick bites and sellers of wine, oil and other goodies nearby too.

Food Travelist Ephesus Perfect Place for A Party
Ephesus Perfect Place for A Party


The residents of this ancient city took advantage of the Market Square or Agora, where they could purchase food and other manufactured goods. Bread, wine, olives, figs and cheese, staples of the residents would taste especially good on a modern visit too. If you listen carefully, you might just hear the ancient voices whispering about the next great meal…

Food Travelist Wine Stand Near Ephesus
Wine Stand Near Ephesus


THE QUICK BITE: Ephesus, the extraordinary ancient city with its Great Theater, Celsus Library, Temple of Artemis and  Terrace Houses still being uncovered is a must stop if you’re planning to visit Turkey.


15 thoughts on “Extraordinary Ephesus Turkey

  1. Very interesting! I loved how you blended the history with what visitors can see today.

    1. Thanks Marilyn! My favorite part of traveling is exploring the history. There’s so much to learn!

  2. Wow! I’d love to see a concert in the amphitheater and your story of the illicit tunnel in the library had me smiling. Turkey’s on our 2015 list and this post has got me really inspired! How amazing to find out there’s still so much to uncover as well as how huge the excavation is!

    1. There’s so much to take in you’ll want to spend a good amount of time at Ehpesus. You will absolutely love Turkey we enjoyed every moment we were there

  3. My sister and I were there 12 years ago and found it to be absolutely fascinating especially because we had semi-unintentionally humorous guide. It’s nice to read about and see it again!

  4. Believe it or not, I was in Ephesus in 1971. Although, my memories are a little “vague”, I do remember how much I loved it, and have always wanted to go back. There has been so much excavated since I was there.

  5. I love the mix of ancient history, gossip and contemporary uses you highlight. What a truly beautiful and astonishing place.

  6. Everyone says Ephesus is a must. There is a beautiful section in Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd about visiting Mary’s home. I am so intrigued with the idea of seeing this wonderful area and brushing up on my Biblical history.

  7. I’m in the very early stages of starting to think about planning a trip to the Middle East and Ephesus has always been a place that seemed worthy of a visit. You post has confirmed that for me.

  8. Ehpesus looks extraordinary. The excavated buildings are gorgeous. I appreciate the history you provided – it makes the place come alive for me. Thanks.

  9. Ephesus is one of the most amazing places you’ll ever visit. You can feel the history with every step!

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