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Ephesus: the dream capital of Rome in Asia

Isabella Laiden – Ephesus was once the Asian capital of the Roman Empire: it was the jewel city of the time; as a cosmopolitan, cultural and commercial center, it was second only to Rome; they called it the “second Rome”; It was the most important commercial center in the Mediterranean region; it was one of the most populous and richest cities in the ancient world; It was the birthplace of the famous philosopher Heraclitus. It was one of the centers for the spread of Christianity; It was where Santa Maria lived; Ephesus, which possesses such an inestimable heritage, continues today to attract the attention of the whole world as an important archaeological city and place of pilgrimage for Christians.

The city of Ephesus, which is one of the international meeting points, and the house of the Virgin Mary and its surroundings have been a place where I felt good and found peace from the very first day I visited. That is why I would like to begin the traces of the Roman Empire with the city of Ephesus. It is not possible to describe all this magnificent history and all the treasures it has at once. Therefore, I will try to draw a general picture made up of priority structures. Of course, we will do detailed investigations in the next few days. We are starting…

Ephesus under Roman rule

After being connected to the Roman Empire in 129 BC, the city experienced its golden age. As the capital of the Province of Asia, it became the first major city that comes to mind after Rome. Thanks to the reforms of the city by Augustus, Ephesus lived its most prosperous period until the third century AD.

Among the ruins that make it one of the best know archaeological sites in the Mediterranean are its huge theater, the temple of Hadrian, the public space (agora), the Library of Celsus, numerous public baths and aqueducts. Most of the ruins seen in the city today were built during the Augustus period. During the reign of Tiberius, Ephesus developed as a port city. A trading center was opened around 43 BC and served large volumes of goods from ports and caravans traveling on the ancient Royal Route.

Ephesus has been sacked many times, it has suffered earthquakes, it has changed hands, but it has always existed. However, he could not resist the final prepared by Little Menderes. When the river flooded the port, maritime trade ended and the decline of the city began. With the declaration of Istanbul as the new capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the city was weakened. When the devastating earthquakes of the 6th and 7th centuries joined the populations fleeing the Arab invasions, the city could not return to its old days. The history of this city, which hosted several civilizations, was the capital of Rome in Asia and competes with Rome, is also reflected in its architecture. Even though life in the city is over, the historic ruins still retain their charm in taking visitors on a journey through time…

Getting to know the lifestyle, art and culture of Ephesus, which carries the spirit of Rome, is visiting it, seeing it and touching it. Time travel takes a lot of time … We recommend that you plan your schedule accordingly …

The Temple of Artemis

Antipater of Sidon, who compiled the Seven Wonders of the World, including the Temple of Artemis, says:

“Above the superb Babylon I saw the wall of the chariots, the statue of Zeus in Alphaeus and the hanging gardens. the colossal of the sun (statue of the sun god Helios in Rhodes) and the gigantic craftsmanship of the high pyramids and the vast tomb of Mausolos (Mausoleum of Halicarnossus); but when I saw the house of Artemis built on the clouds, all the other wonders lost their splendor, and I said: Here, outside Olympus, the sun has never seen anything so great”.

Artemis, the goddess of hunting, chastity, childbirth and wild animals, was revered more than any other god in Ephesus as a goddess and protector of the city. The Ephesians built sacred places for their goddess Artemis. The first was an altar with 4×8 wooden columns, built around 680-650 BC. After its destruction, a huge temple with marble columns was built by the Lydian king Creseo in 570-550 BC. Artemis, a Greek goddess, is thought to be a continuation of Cybele, the Anatolian fertility goddess, and was synthesized in Greek culture. Eunuchs brought from elsewhere, called Megabyzos, served as priests in the temple. They were served as virgins. The temple was used both as a place of worship and as a commercial center with the bazaar around it, as well as a place of refuge. In the shopping area, clay pots and statues were sold for use by temple visitors. The Temple of Artemis, built in 120 BC He was burned on July 21, 356 by a madman named Erostratus, who wanted to become famous. The same day is the birthday of Alexander the Great, king of Macedon, who conquered almost half of the world. The temple, restored in 323 BC, was destroyed and rebuilt 7 times. Very few remains of him remain today. Some of his remains are in the British Museum, including a column bearing Croesus’ signature.

The House of the Virgin Mary and Christianity

Ephesus, which was constantly busy, was home to people of many religions and races. Building on the atmosphere of tolerance here, St. John around A.D. He took his mother, Mary, whom Jesus had entrusted to him in 36 BC, after the crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem, to safety. Saint Paul, who worked hard to spread Christianity, gave one of his famous sermons here. SM. Beginning in the first century, these people converted those who worshiped Artemis around Ephesus to Christianity. In this context, Ephesus has been very effective. After Christianity became Rome’s official religion in 313, paganism ended in the city in 380 years. Among the 12 apostles of Jesus, St. John was also the author of the Bible. Ephesus is mentioned several times in the New Testament. The third of the Ecumenical and Hz Councils was held in this city. It is accepted that Mary is the saint who “begat God”. Hz. Mary’s house was also found thanks to the reported dreams of Anne Catherine Emmerich, a Catholic nun in the 19th century. Hz. House of Mary and S. Jean’s tomb can be visited today.

Church of the Virgin Mary

The Church of Maria, where the Meeting of the Consuls was held in 431, is the first church built in the name of Mary. It is located north of Harbor Bath. It is among the 7 churches in the religion of Christianity.

St. Basilica of Giovanni

In the center of the 6-domed basilica, one of the largest structures of the time and built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great, S. It is claimed that the tomb of Jean John was found. Here S. There is also a monument erected in the name of Jean. This church, considered very important for Christians, is located in Ayasuluk Castle.

Seven Sleepers

It is believed to be the cave where seven young Christians fleeing the persecution of pagans during the reign of Decius, one of the late Roman emperors, took refuge on the edge of Mount Panayır. It was transformed into a funerary church during the Byzantine period. There are 33 cities in the world that claim this cave is within their borders. But according to most Christian sources, this city is Ephesus, which is considered holy. A church built over this cave in Ephesus was unearthed during an excavation between 1927 and 1928 and tombs belonging to the 5th and 6th centuries have also been found as a result of the excavation. The inscriptions are found both on the tombs and on the walls of the churches.

Temple of Hadrian

It was built as a monumental temple in the name of Emperor Hadrian.At the entrance to the temple, the legend of the 3000-year-old founding of Ephesus takes place with the following phrases:

“Androklos, the brave son of Kodros, the king of Athens, wants to explore the opposite side of the Aegean. First, consult the Oracle of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. The oracles tell him that he will establish a city where the fish and the pig aim. Thinking about the meaning of these words, Androklos sails towards the dark blue waters of the Aegean … When they reach the bay at the mouth of the Kaystros River (Küçük Menderes), they decide to go ashore. While cooking the fish they caught by lighting a fire, a wild boar came out of the bushes and escaped kidnapping the fish. Here the prophecy came true. They decide to found a city here…”

Temple of Domitian

It was built on behalf of the Roman emperor Domitian. The temple, one of the largest buildings in the city, is located in front of the Trajan’s Fountain. Today only the foundations of the temple remain. It was determined that there were columns next to them. The head and arm of the statue of Domitian remained.

Domitian square

To the east of the square, north of the Temple of Domitian, are the Fontana del Pollio and a building thought to be a hospital, and the Memmius Monument to the north on the street.

Odeon Senate

Ephesus had a bicameral administration. One of these, the Advisory Council meetings, was held here. It was also a place where concerts were held. It has a capacity of 1,400 people. Therefore this is also called Bouleterion.

Upper Agora and Basilica

It was built by Emperor Augustus and is the place where official meetings and stock exchange transactions are held. The Agora was the commercial and cultural center of the city. It is an area of ​​110 meters by 110 meters, open in the middle, surrounded by arcades and shops.

Gate of Heracles

This gate, built at the end of the Roman era, transformed the Curetes street into a pedestrian path. It got this name because of the reliefs of Heracles, the God of power, on its front.


Monumental Fountain

The square in front of the Odeion is the “State Agora” (Upper Agora) of the city. In the center was the temple of the Egyptian gods (Isis). The Monumental Fountain, built by Laecanus Bassus in 80 BC, is located in the southwest corner of the State Agora. From here it is possible to reach Piazza Domiziano and structures such as the Pollio Fountain, the Temple of Domitian, the Monument to Memmio and the Gate of Heracles are grouped around this square.

Trajan’s Fountain

It is one of the two-story monuments on the street. The globe seen under the feet of the statue of the emperor Trajan, standing in the center, symbolizes the world.

Fontana dell’Erone

It is a fountain structure built in the name of Androklos, the legendary founder of Ephesus. The front was modified in the Byzantine era.

Fontana Monumentale

La piazza di fronte all’Odeion è l’Agorà di Stato (Agorà Superiore) della città. Al centro c’era il tempio degli dei egizi (Iside). La Fontana Monumentale, costruita da Laecanus Bassus nell’80 aC, si trova nell’angolo sud-ovest dell’Agorà di Stato. Da qui è possibile raggiungere Piazza Domiziano e le strutture come la Fontana del Pollio, il Tempio di Domiziano, il Monumento a Memmio e la Porta di Eracle sono raggruppate attorno a questa piazza.

Fontana di Traiano

È uno dei monumenti a due piani sulla strada. Il globo visto sotto i piedi della statua dell’imperatore Traiano, in piedi al centro, simboleggia il mondo.

via del porto

Un altro nome è Arkadiana King’s Road. Liman Street (Via Arcadiane), fiancheggiata da colonne e marmo su entrambi i lati, che si estende dall’antico teatro all’antico porto completamente riempito di oggi, è la strada più lunga di Efeso. I monumenti furono costruiti sulla strada lunga 600 metri durante l’era cristiana della città. In mezzo alla strada si trova il Monumento ai Quattro Apostoli con quattro colonne, ciascuna con la statua di uno degli apostoli. Qui si svolgevano importanti cerimonie e sfilate.

Via del Marmo

È la strada che si estende dalla piazza della biblioteca al teatro.

Magnesia Gate (Cancello Superiore) e Palestra Est

Efeso ha due ingressi. Una di queste è la Porta della Magnesia sulla Via della Casa della Vergine Maria, che è la porta orientale delle mura cittadine che circondano la città. L’East Gymnasium si trova proprio accanto alla Porta della Magnesia, ai piedi della Montagna Fiera. La ginnastica è la scuola dell’età romana.

Porta di Mazeus Mitridate (Agorà sud).

 Fu costruito durante il regno dell’imperatore Augusto, prima della biblioteca. Dal cancello si passa all’Agorà Commerciale 

Conoscere lo stile di vita, l’arte e la cultura di Efeso, che porta lo spirito di Roma, è visitarla, vederla e toccarla. Il viaggio nel tempo richiede molto tempo… Si consiglia di pianificare il proprio programma di conseguenza…

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