Ephesus (Efes) guide - Side trips to Ephesus from Marmaris

Tourist information and guide to ancient city of Ephesus in Izmir, Turkey...


Ephesus is an ancient Greek city located in Selcuk-Izmir, whose many structures still stand as well as they did thousands of years ago, as if they were built also for the purpose of stunning visitors to the city today. The ruins, rather than being mere broken columns and pieces of rubble, have retained much of the form of the magnificent buildings they once were, along with the Roman art and friezes which adorn their walls. This city, which is home to the biggest collection of Roman structures in the world and is the best preserved exhibit of classical Mediterranean architecture, so you’ll need to allocate the best part of a day on your Turkey holidays to properly visit this ancient metropolis.


Set in the rolling hills near the tourist resort of Kusadasi on the western coast of Turkey, Ephesus was founded in the 10th century B.C. as an Attic-Ionian colony, after which it endured being attacked by Cimmerians, conquered by the Lydians, invaded by Persians and Romans before being destroyed by the Goths in 263A.D. Even afterwards, this city remained an important commercial centre and harbor throughout the Byzantine era until the Turks finally took control in 1304A.D. Even though this city has seen the passage of so many different rulers, most of the structures still standing were constructed or renovated in the Roman era.

Things to Do & See in Ephesus

House of the Virgin, Ephesus
It is recorded that St.John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the death of Christ and that she spent her last days in a small house, House of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Evi) built for her on Mount Bulbuldagi (Koressos). Now a popular place for Christians and Muslims the house has received the official sanction of Vatican, and Christians observe a commemoration ceremony every year on August 15th.

Since there are so many striking ruins in Ephesus, we’ll tell you about some of the best and let you discover the rest yourself. One of the grandest and most breath-taking ruins is the Odeion theatre; a semi-circular structure comprising predominantly of rising steps with a capacity of 1400 spectators and which originally provided coverings from the sun. Made entirely out of marble, the Odeion glistens in the sun and superb views of the city can be gained from climbing to the highest seats. This theatre was also used as a council chamber, and has a narrow marble podium just before the stage building.

The Pollio Fountain is located to the east of Domitian Square, and although small, it displays stunning works of ancient Roman art along its sides; statues carved into marble slabs showing the adventures of Odysseus in the Aegean following the Trojan Wars.


The Gate of Heracles can be found at the beginning of Curetes Street and whose two-story high reliefs of Heracles which are built into the gate tower over visitors. In the lower story of this edifice, a wide-arched passageway has let countless inhabitants and visitors into the main Curetes Street, while the two centrally located columns on the second level are the lintels of the gate, which have the two reliefs of Heracles wrapped in a Nemea lion skin.

One of the most well preserved structures with the greatest wealth in art reliefs and history is the Temple of Hadrian, built around 138A.D. during the period of Roman rule. The doors are fantastically decorated with motifs of eggs, strands of pearls and a figure resembling Medusa amongst flowers and acanthus leaves. The four columns surrounding the front of the temple are fronted by bases which contain ancient inscriptions and statues of the four emperors who shared the throne of the Roman Empire between 293A.D. and 305A.D.; Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius. The friezes along the remaining parts of this structure show off scenes from Roman life and battles.

The Ephesus Library is one of the most awe-inspiring edifices still remaining, its columns, statues and windows towering over visitors many stories high. Completed by the Romans in 117A.D. out of exquisite marble, its facade is elaborately decorated with massive Corinthian columns and statues of Eros and Nike which are surrounded by reliefs of rosettes and garlands.

All of this rests on a 21 meter wide podium reached by nine marble steps, and inscriptions underneath the statues read ‘Wisdom’ (Sophia), ‘Knowledge’ (Episteme), ‘Intelligence’ (Ennoia) and ‘Virtue’ (Arete).

The interior, burnt by the Goths in 262A.D. is 10.92 by 16.72 meters and covered in marble, and whose walls are covered in rows of niches where scrolls were kept. This stunning sight dominates Ephesus and is one of the best displays of Roman architecture and art in Turkey.

How to Get there?

Ephesus is near a small town called Selcuk where you’ll need to travel to for an Ephesus excursion on your Marmaris holidays, which is 17km away from the tourist resort of Kusadasi. If you’re travelling from Kusadasi, you can simply get an excursion bus from the resort to Selcuk. The nearest airport to Kusadasi is Izmir Airport, which is small and domestic, so you’ll have to get a flight from Istanbul or elsewhere to reach Izmir. A taxi fare straight from Izmir Airport to Selcuk is about 100 Turkish Lira, although a much cheaper option is to get a taxi from Izmir Airport to Gaziemir/Tansas Supermarket for 10 TL, then a minibus from Gaziemir to Selcuk for 7TL.

You are able to find buses to Izmir and Ephesus from Marmaris bus terminal. Or you may participate culture tours to Ephesus. Distance between Marmaris to Ephesus (Selcuk) is 200 km and 55 km. from Ephesus to Izmir.




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