Celsus Library at Ancient Ephesus City

Ancient Ephesus City

Ephesus was founded in 10th century BC as an Attic-Ionian colony was one of the best tourist places in Turkey, & the world. It’s now one of the world wonders, because of it’s magical past & present, that the history books tell us about until today. Thus, it was one of the most important Mediterranean cities that mixing great culture, diversity, and civilization. Ephesus has a great history in Asia Minor in Romans time, more than 250,000 people lived here!

Brief Introduction

Celsus Library Ephesus viewEphesus was hiding from our world until 1863, when the British engineer John Turtle Wood began searching, to find the remains of the Temple of Artemis. John succeeded in identifying it’s location, then dedicated five years to the excavations in this area, where the next round of archaeological took place from 1895 to 1913, conducted by German and Austrian archaeologists under the direction of Otto Benndorf and Carl Humann. Until today, archaeologists keep discovering new ruins. Because all discovered ruins until today are only 20% of the actual city and because of that more than a million and a half tourists all over the globe are visiting per year. Imagine what will happen when all the ruins get discovered?

Historical Ephesus Location Map - (Image Credit:Robert John Langdon)Ephesus is located near the western shores of modern-day Turkey, about 80 kilometers south of Izmir, where the Aegean Sea meets the former estuary of the Little Meander River (Kaystros), near the historic city Selcuk in Izmir district. Thus, it’s not a city anymore, it’s ruins of an ancient city that once was a large settlement in spite of that, it’s located in Turkey now. The most spoken language in it back then was Greek. Ephesus is pronounced as [efΙ™sΙ™s] and also known as; Ephisus, Ephasus or Ephesis [ ph = f ].

It means in Greek: β€œoverseer” and in the Bible: β€œdesirable” and in Hebrew: "Asia", as in the past when referring to Asia people meant Ephesus.


Was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, 2 kilometers southwest of present-day Selçuk in Izmir Province, Turkey.

Today, about 80 kilometers drive away from Izmir Port. While it is 62 kilometers drive away from Izmir Airport. If you would like to come to Ephesus from Izmir Airport or the port alone, you can do so by bus or minibus, note that most of them will drop you at Selcuk bus station, where you will ride another short trip with a minibus to drop you at the main entrance gate of Ephesus which is a 1km drive away from Selcuk. City ruins are 18 kilometers drive away from Kusadasi Port. You can go in front of any big hotel, buses are passing from there to go to Selcuk, then minibus from there will drop you off at the main gates of Ephesus. Looking for Antalya, it is 405.9 kilometers drive away. Jerusalem is 1,812.3 kilometers drive away. Last and not least it’s 518 kilometers drive away from Istanbul. Want to know more about the location and distances?

Visiting Ephesus

You can visit the ruins whether by self travel or by booking a tour to avoid the hassle.

When to visit?

Grand Theatre of Ephesus view 1The best time to visit is spring (March to June) because the weather is moderate throughout the country and the days are long. It's recommended to visit in April to have milder weather, but get ready for one or two days of rain: The main advantage of visiting in April or in May is the ancient city ruins will be free of the crowd. Consider wearing flat shoes that don’t slip and you can also wear sneakers or trainers to enjoy walking. If you prefer to visit in summer, it’s hot, make sure to have your sunblock/sunburn cream, a hat and sunglasses. Also make sure that you arrive early in the day to avoid the crowd to be able to make the most out of other surrounding historical attractions or landmarks. One day is enough but there are nearby attractions with those you need 2 days. Just for the ancient city ruins, you'll need 6 hours’.


When visiting, you can walk around the Souvenir shops and you may like to buy Nazar Boncugu: The Evil Eye, Traditional Turkish Carpets, Clay Pottery, Nargile (Shisha / Hookah) Pipes, Quality Leather goods and also Gold and diamond pieces of jewelry. In some shops, there are; Mosaic Glasses and Gourd Lamps, Beautiful Ceramic and Copper handmade plates, many choices of Sweet Turkish Delights β€” Sweet Baklava and Exotic Spices: Why not try traditional Turkish food like Manti! It’s a meat-stuffed miniature ravioli, get yogurt or butter with it, Kofte (Turkish meatballs) β€” Lahmacun (is like a pizza but flat and crispy served with a topping of minced meat), Sis Kebap β€” Doner and many more!. Also, at the gates of Ephesus, don't forget to feed the cats as they belong to everyone because they are the residents of Ephesus as well, enjoy giving them food and water.

Inside City Ruins

Inside view of Terrace HousesLet us take a look at top individual historical attractions. It had the third biggest library of the ancient World; Celsus Library. Romans’ decorated with amazing mosaics and frescoes; Terrace Houses. Also known as β€œHouse of rich” that had the underfloor central heating. Latrines, well-preserved public toilets of Ephesians. Hadrian Temple; Androklos and his dog which depicted on the temple frieze dating from the 2nd century.
The Grand Amphitheater; which was two-storied and heightened by one story at a later date, it wasn’t only served for dramatic performances, but for demonstrations of a social, political, economic, religious nature and gladiator games, that even many musicians performed in the theater such as Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Julia Iglesias, Ray Charles and many more.

The Odeon which is a small theater for meetings of the Boule or the Senate, you will also see the Brothel; which is located at the crossing of the Marble and Curetes street, there were two entrances one from each street and the building consisted of two floors, the first one housed a hall, the reception area which adorned with mosaic floors, and a bath.

Church of the Virgin Mary; The House of Virgin Mary, is a Catholic and Muslim shrine up in the hills of Bulbul mountain next to the city ruins, where Pope St. Paul sermoned.

Tomb of Apostle John at Great Basilica of John dating to the 6th century.

The Ephesus Museum holds the best of the archeological objects excavated at Ephesus as well as a few artifacts from the great Temple of Artemis.

History of Ephesus City

Ephesus HistoryAn ancient Greek city on the western coast of Asia Minor, in modern Turkey, the site of the temple of Diana. It is an important center of early Christianity. St. Paul preached here, and St. John is said to have lived here.

Augustus decided to rule and develop when he discovered that the size of it is big enough to meet his goals, which was (1,030 acres) & Occupied: 224 ha (550 acres) because of the development that was done it became both the seat of governor and major center of commerce, and was well-preserved because of that. The Goths destroyed in 262 AD by performing a series of raids in 3rd century. The city got abandoned in the 15th century AD, the main reason was that the silt build up in the harbor prevented the ships from reaching Ephesus Port. If the archaeologist John Turtle Wood didn't try to find Artemis Temple, we may have never known or discovered Ephesus until today and that’s why Ephesus is famous for Artemis Temple while it’s not located in Ephesus itself but very close by.

While only 20 percent of the ancient city got discovered it’s now global, that even one of the most known brands in the world ( Starbucks ) their logo idea inspired from the Medusa from Temple of Hadrian gate.

Biblical history

Ephesus was mentioned in the Bible Acts 19:27 in the New Testament.

Pope at House of Virgin Mary

β€œ{19:27} Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? {19:27} But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me. {19:27} Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home.] {19:27} So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.”

7 Churches are: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.

The first temple built is The Temple of Artemis, the temple used for honoring Artemis, which is the goddess Diana in the Bible and was built by Croesus (Chersiphron) the king of Lydia about 550 BC: One of the reasons that got Ephesus important is the temple, while it’s not close to any other ruins inside, you may need to know that the floods, arson and looting destroyed the temple but you can visit to see the remains of it.

Grand Theatre of Ephesus view 2Artemis guarded Apollo & her virginity and she transformed one of her nymphs into a bear and then killed her. She punished Agamemnon and teamed up with Apollo to kill the children of Niobe. Then she spent most of her time roaming the forests with her nymphs and she was described as both hunting animals and protecting them. She armed herself with a bow and arrows made by Hephaestus and Cyclops and she protected the chastity and nurturers of the young.

Historical people and their significance

People who lived in Ephesus:
  • The most famous is the Philosopher Heraclitus
  • Soranus (Musician)
  • Rufus (eye doctor)
  • Zenodotus of Ephesus’ first editor criticized Homer's work
  • And the first superintendent of the library of Alexandria and many more.
  • Paul the Apostle (established the church A.D. 52), wrote the letter Ephesians (Around 60 A.D while he was in prison in Rome) to the saints and preached to Ephesus. Paul sailed with Priscilla and Aquila from Corinth to Ephesus then left them there and sailed for Syria (Acts 18:20-21). This makes Paul the first preacher and Paul was buried in the grottoes.
  • St John buried in the Basilica of St. John, in Selcuk Died c. AD 100 (aged 93–94). St. John also known as John of Patmos died by natural causes.
  • Timothy, The Apostle was the pastor in Ephesus, when the 80-year-old bishop tried to halt a procession in honor of the goddess Diana, by preaching the gospel, the angry pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets and stoned him to death.
The first Love

Ephesus’ first love: was from Christ's last words to his church by John Barnett.

A major theme in Ephesians is the keeping of Christ's body (that is, the Church) pure and holy thus, be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk-in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Share this page

Private Ephesus Tours

Kusadasi Ephesus Tour

Private tour to Ephesus Ancient City Ruins and near by attractions. Excursion takes approximately 6 to 7 hours.

Izmir Ephesus Tour

Starting from Izmir, the tour of Ephesus. Covers the most important attractions around and takes 5 to 6 hours.

Istanbul Ephesus Tour

Fly from Istanbul to Izmir and explore the marvels of Ephesus & around privately.

Wondering what to see?

Celsus Library
Celsus Library

Celsus Library is one of the finest buildings in Ephesus. The two-story building contained over 12,000 hand-written books, making it one of the largest library collections of its time.

Testimonials & Reviews

β€œWe were on a 2-week cruise throughout the Mediterranean and thanks to reading reviews like this one, we decided to book a private tour through Ephesus Breeze. It turned out to be one of our best decisions on the trip and one that I would recommend without any reservation.”

GC48, Minneapolis, Minnesota

β–Ό We are everywhere! β–Ό