In Tourist Places part, one can find important touristic places around Ephesus and information about hotels, travel agencies, shopping opportunities in these places.
According to the famous historian Herodotes, the city was founded by Androklos, son of Kodros, the King of Athens. Around 1000 B.C., immigrants from Greece came to the western coasts of Anatolia for trading. According to legend, Androklos was one of them. His father, before entering a war with one of the neighbouring cities, went to a seer and asked who would win the war. The seer answered, "The army of the king who dies will win the war." After hearing this, Kodros let the enemy soldiers kill him. To avoid a struggle with his brothers for the throne, Androklos began to search for a city to call his own, after the death of his father. He went to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, which was considered the center of oracles at the time and inquired about the most suitable location of the city that he was planning to establish. The seer gave a mysterious answer: "A fish and a boar will show you the place." Androklos did not understand this explanation and sailed off across the Aegean Sea, eventually arriving at the coastline where Ephesus was to be. To cook a fish they had caught, they lit a fire; but the bushes nearby also caught on fire, and a boar, which had been hiding in the bushes, ran out terrified. Seeing this, Androklos pursued the boar on his horse and shot him down. Later he remembered what the seer had said, and they established the city in the area where the boar was killed.
The city was first established in 6000 B.C. At that time, the plain on which the town of Selcuk is located was a protected bay with its east, south and northern sides surrounded by hills. On the shores of the bay were prehistoric settlements, one of which is located in the tumulus called Çukuriçi. This tumulus, which covers an area of approximately 4000 square meters, was on the southern edge of this bay, 400 meters from the Magnesia Gate. During excavations here by the Museum Directorate, Neolithic ruins dating back to 6000 B.C. were discovered. The buildings of the tumulus had walls of sun-dried bricks and polished grindstones. Obsidian and bronze cutting and drilling tools, arrow points, sickle blades, and stone axes were found as well. The bones of many game animals and birds, as well as mussel and oyster shells were also discovered. Thus, the settlers of Çukuriçi Tumulus are known to have been hunters and fishermen. The bay gradually filled with silt carried by the River Kaistros and the Marnas brook, coming from southeast of the city. In this way, the tumulus, which was once by the sea, now lies five kilometers from the shoreline.
The second important prehistoric settlement in Ephesus is on Ayasuluk Hill. Until 1990, the oldest of the remains exhibited in the Ephesus Museum were from a Mycenaean tomb that was discovered during the construction of the parking area in front of the castle. After these remains, dating back to 1400-1300 B.C., were discovered, the question of whether a Mycenaean settlement might be under the hill was put forward. Because such a settlement was not found, a theory was proposed that perhaps the tomb belonged to a Mycenaean trader who had come to the area temporarily. Finally, in 1990, archeologists from the Museum found dishes shaped by hand and walls of sun-dried bricks dating back to 3000 B.C. These were not the remains that they were looking for, but this finding filled in an important gap in the history of Ephesus. Hittite writings mention "Aphasas," as capital of the Ahiyava Kingdom. Because the location of Aphasas was unknown, linguists proposed that the word "Ephesus" had been derived from "Aphasas." Scientists now believe that these ruins belong to the capital of the Ahiyava Kingdom, Aphasas. When further excavations were performed just east of the Aphasas ruins, the Mycenaean settlement was finally found as well. The Aphasas and Mycenaean settlement excavations are still in progress.
When immigrants from the west arrived in the region, they met the Kharians and Lelegs peoples. Even though they initially quarreled among themselves, eventually they assimilated. The Kharians are the first known people group of Anatolia. Others coming from the west came not to settle, but to establish trade colonies here. The history of Ephesus from the tenth to the eighth centuries B.C. is unclear because remains from this period have not been found. Later, the city was attacked by Cimmerians from Thrace, who occupied the city and dismantled the Temple of Artemis. In the sixth century, the famous King of Lydia, Kroisos, attacked Ephesus. The citizens of Ephesus, thinking that Artemis could surely protect them, laid a rope between the temple and the city and believed that the Lydian army would be unable to cross it. The army of Kroisos did enter the city, but the King had a friendly approach - contrary to the fears of the citizens, he aided the construction of the archaic Temple of Artemis, which had been destroyed earlier. As a gift to the city, he had carved columns, the Columna Caelata, made, which stood along the front of the temple. On one column found during excavations by J. T. Wood in 1868 are the words, "Presented by King Kroisos." This can be seen in the British Museum.
During the rule of the Lydians, Persians began to attack Ephesus from the east. The Lydian army was eventually defeated and King Kroisos taken prisoner. The Persian King Kyros wanted Kroisos and his throne to be burned on a pyre, and this event is pictured on many vases from that period. At the moment the fire was lit, Kroisos cried out, "Ah Solon!" Kyros, who did not understand his cry, had them extinguish the fire and asked for the meaning of what he had said. "When my country was at its height of prosperity, and I was very rich, I asked the Athenian, Solon, to come to Sardes, my capital. I showed him my palace and my treasures, and asked, "Tell me Solon, could there be anyone happier than I am?" Solon replied, "I cannot say if you are happy or not until I see you as you're dying.' Then Kroisos declared, "Now I understand the truth of your words." After hearing this, Kyros decided not to burn Kroisos; and made Kroisos his adviser. The Persians first invaded Sardes; then starting with Phokai and going south, their strong army under the command of Harpagos invaded all the Ionic cities. In 546 B.C., the Persians united Lydia, Ionia, and Pamphylia under the name 'Ionian States' and made Ephesus the capital city of this province. The chief administrator, the satrap lived here, and the city began to grow, depending strongly on foreign trade. The Persians collected annual taxes, and in addition, conscripted soldiers and appropriated shipping vessels from the Ephesians when necessary. In the sixth century B.C., Priene, Kolophon, and Smyrna were at their summit in science and art, and were added to the group of 'Ionian States' under the Persians. The Ephesian poet, Kallinos, and the scholars Heraclitus and Hipponaks also lived during this period. Many gold, ivory, amber, and ceramic works of art from this period have been discovered during temple excavations, where they had been presented as gifts.
The tyrannical rule of the satraps continued during the reigns of the Persian kings Kambises and Darelos who succeeded Kyros. Citizens in the Ionian cities had become restless, and finally revolted under the leadership of Miletos. Historians call this the Ionian Revolt. The rebels gathered in Ephesus, and traveling up the Kaistros River valley, reached Sardes and burned the city down. The houses, which were mostly made of wood and straw, burned down easily. The Temple of Kybele was destroyed as well. The Ionian Revolt ended when the Ionian naval force defeated the rebels in front of Lade Island near Miletos in 494 B.C. The Persians invaded the revolting cities once more, but this time they plundered and completely burned down the cities. Because Ephesus had not played an important role in this revolt, it was spared from total destruction.
The Macedonian emperor Alexander the Great, after unifying Macedonia and Greece, started his sweep through Anatolia after passing through the Dardanelles with a strong army. The Persians gathered by the Granikos River. The Satrap of Ionia, Spithridates, came from Ephesus to join the resisting army. The historian Arrianos, transcriber of Alexander the Great's diary, called this the 'Cavalier's War.' During the battle when the satrap was about to thrust his sword into Alexander, he was killed by the spear of a Macedonian soldier. Alexander the Great, winning the war against the Persians in 334 B.C., went to Sardes, then on to Ephesus, where he met no resistance. In fact, the citizens greeted him as a saviour. He wanted to meet the expenses of the reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis, which had been burned down by the madman Herostratos during the night, on the exact date of Alexander's birth. According to mythology, because the goddess Artemis had gone to help with the birth of Alexander, the temple had been left unprotected when it was set on fire. The Ephesians refused his financial help, saying that it was inappropriate for 'a god to make a temple for worship to another god.'
After the death of Alexander the Great, the city of Ephesus was ruled by several of his generals; and in 287 B.C., General Lysimachos began to rule the city. The city was reestablished in the valley between Mt. Panayır and Mt. Koressos with streets laid out in a grid, a Hippodomic plan. He encircled the city with strong walls and changed its name to that of his wife, Arsinoe. This name lasted only a very short time however. When General Lysimachos invited the citizens living around the Temple of Artemis to move to the new city, no one came. He thereupon stopped up the drainage ditches to flood the old city, and thus forced them to finally move. Arsinoe was a schemer, and knowing that after her husband's death, his son Agothocles from his first wife would become king, she started rumors that Agothocles had made plans to kill his father. King Lysimachos believed this and had his son killed. After this, the first wife and some of his commanders were afraid of being killed as well, so they took refuge with Seleucos. Seleucos then attacked the territories of Lysimachos with a strong army. General Lysimachos was defeated and died in the battle at Korou Pedion, east of Manisa. In 281 B.C., Ephesus was in the hands of the Seleucosians. After this, Ephesus changed hands between the Ptolemaiosians and the Seleucosians several times, and with the Treaty of Apameia, Ephesus was given to the Kingdom of Pergamon in 188 B.C. In 133 B.C., Rome began its rule when the Kingdom of Pergamon was conquered.
Emperor Augustus, combining the area known as Pamphylia, between Antalya and Alanya, with Ionia, founded the Province of Asia. Ephesus was named capital of the province, and thus became the most important city and trading center of Asia, and the permanent location of the Roman magistrate. Trade improved rapidly, and because of its sheltered seaport, goods coming from the interior of Anatolia could be easily exported to Mediterranean countries. The city reached its climax in wealth and government, with favorable reforms having been made in Roman laws. The term of the magistrate was reduced to one year, and the magistrates who had been consuls before, could be appointed to Ephesus. So, many including the Emperors Antonius Pius and Pupienus, were appointed to Ephesus as magistrates. The city continued to advance. The Province of Asia and the Province of Africa became the most important states of the Empire. Approximately two hundred thousand to two hundred fifty thousand farmers, traders from abroad, Roman citizens, sailors, soldiers, artists, and slaves were living in the city. There were pagans, Jews, believers in the Egyptian religions and Christians among them.
Christianity became firmly established in Ephesus within a short time. From 37 to 42 A.D., Christians were driven away from Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul first came to Ephesus in 53 A.D. Staying for three years in the region, he taught in the synagogues and established the church. An Ephesian named Timothy was Paul's helper. The new teaching continued to find followers, and this irritated artisans like the jeweler Demetrius, who produced silver statues of Artemis. In time, he and others feared that no customers would remain to purchase their silver idols. Finally, they gathered in the Theatre with other citizens and began shouting, "Great is Artemis of Ephesus!" This caused quite an uproar in the city, and even though Paul wanted to face them, his followers didn't let him do so. Finally, city officials silenced the protestors, advising them that if they had any complaints they should be officially taken to the city courts. Finally Paul left Ephesus for other destinations on his missionary journey, but years later, when he was traveling from Macedonia to Jerusalem, he met the leaders of the church in Ephesus at Miletos for a final farewell. Although St. Luke does not mention the Apostle John in his Acts of the Apostles, it is believed that John was in Ephesus at the time. In the Book of John, when Jesus Christ was on the cross he turned to St. John and, pointing to his mother Mary said, "Man, here's your mother." Then turning to the Virgin Mary he said, "Woman, here is your son." and thus entrusted her to St. John's care. Since persecution in Jerusalem made it difficult for Christians to live there, many believe that St. John took the Virgin Mary with him when he went to Ephesus. For a time they stayed in a house near the Museion, which is now known as the Council Church. Later she moved to her house on Mt. Bülbül and lived the rest of her life there. Meanwhile St. John tried to strengthen the Church of Ephesus and wrote his books of the Bible while here. When he died, according to his will, he was buried on Ayasuluk Hill, which was a graveyard or necropolis. A wooden basilica was built over his tomb in the fourth century A.D. In the sixth century, with help from Emperor Justinian and his wife, Theodora, a larger basilica was built, the remains of which we see today. From 1920 to 1921, the Greek archeologist, Sotiriu, removed a skeleton from the tomb during his excavations. Many Christians consider this an important site.
The harbour of Ephesus was the key to the city's wealth and trade, but silt carried by the River Kaistros (the Small Menderes River) began to cause problems during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, from 117 to 138 A.D. By the fourth century, the harbour could hardly be used. Commerce decreased significantly, and Ephesus found itself facing an unavoidable decline. In the sixth century, by reducing the area enclosed by the city walls, they attempted to simplify its defences. But when even this proved inadequate for their defence, they built a citadel on St. John's Hill. Much of the population moved inside the walls. In the seventh and eighth centuries, Arabian armies threatened the city. Caliph Suleyman's armies reached Ephesus in 716. The ancient city was completely abandoned by the tenth century, the remaining people finding the village of Şirince, a few kilometers to the east up in the hills, more suitable. When Turks arrived at the beginning of the fourteenth century, they found Ephesus completely in ruins with no inhabitants. Later, when the Turkish Aydınoğulları Dynasty ruled the region, the name of the city - inspired from Hagios Theologos - was changed to 'Ayasuluk.' When the famous traveler Bin Battuta visited Ayasuluk later in the fourteenth century, he recorded that Ayasuluk was the most prosperous city in western Anatolia. The population of the city increased, the harbour was moved further to the west and trade slowly developed again, with the additional help from the consulates of Venice and Genoa. The İsabey Mosque was built, and inns and baths adorned the city. In shipyards that were here, Turks began to make war ships. Later on, Izmir took over Ayasuluk's trading and cultural activities, and the population decreased again. In the 19th century, the Ayasuluk train station was built, as a service for the people of Şirince. Ephesus had disappeared, and on top of the once greatest city of the world, only figs and tobacco were growing. After the Turkish Republic was founded, Turkey's cultural riches began to be more highly appreciated. When the potential for increased tourism was also appreciated, the small town of Selçuk was established nearby.