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Ephesus Ancient City

Kusadasi Day Trips - Ephesus ToursEphesus (ɛfəsəs); Ancient Greek Ἔφεσος, Ephesos; Turkish Efes) was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selcuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world.

The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Emperor Constantine I rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. Following the Edict of Thessalonica from emperor Theodosius I, the temple was destroyed in 401 AD by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom.

The town was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The city’s importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Cayster River (Kucuk Menderes). Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here.

The city was the site of several 5th century Christian Councils, see Council of Ephesus. It is also the site of a large gladiators’ graveyard. Today’s archaeological site lies 3 kilometers southwest of the town of Selçuk, in the Selçuk district of İzmir Province, Turkey. The ruins of Ephesus are a favorite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport and via the ports of Kusadasi and Izmir.

House of the Virgin Mary

Ephesus was an important center for Early Christianity from the AD 50s. From AD 52–54, Paul lived in Ephesus, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands. He became embroiled in a dispute with artisans, whose livelihood depended on selling the statuettes of Artemis in the Temple of Artemis (Acts 19:23–41).

Kusadasi Day Trips - Ephesus ToursHe wrote between 53 and 57 AD the letter 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (possibly from the “Paul tower” close to the harbour, where he was imprisoned for a short time). Later Paul wrote the Epistle to Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD). Roman Asia was associated with John, one of the chief apostles, and the Gospel of John might have been written in Ephesus, c 90–100. Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in Revelation, indicating that the church at Ephesus was strong.

Two decades later, the church at Ephesus was still important enough to be addressed by a letter written by Bishop Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians in the early 2nd century AD, that begins with, “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory” (Letter to the Ephesians). The church at Ephesus had given their support for Ignatius, who was taken to Rome for execution.

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