Ancient Ephesus is located near the coast of Turkey in Asia Minor, about twenty minutes from the modern port town of Kusadasi, a popular stop for cruise ships and sailboats. The brilliant turquoise blue of the Aegean Sea lures travelers from all over the world who enjoy shopping in the Turkish bazaar for handmade rugs, intricate porcelain dishes, “genuine fake” watches and yet another cup of apple tea. Ephesus is dotted with purple and red flowers and set against a backdrop of mountains full of secret caves and ruins. This ancient city boasts some of the most well preserved ruins anywhere in existence.
Ephesus was one of the most important cities of the ancient world, its marble roads walked by Antony and Cleopatra as well as the Biblical apostles Mark, Luke and Paul. Ephesus is a popular stop on Christian tours as the great evangelical Paul preached in the theater, established an early church in the city, and wrote encouraging letters to the populace that are found in the book of Ephesians in the Bible. You can walk that marble road today and explore the same theater, enjoying the beautiful mountainous scenery of the area that has been much unchanged in over 2,000 years.
Ephesus photos can be seen on the Photos Tab of this guide
Ephesus videos can be watched on the Video Tab of this guide
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Ephesus is a city of ruins and as such, has a minimum of places to eat and shop, although they do exist. Travelers stay in nearby Kusadasi or visit on a shore excursion or day tours from large cruise ships. Rows of ancient columns welcome you and line the main road of the city, which is a treasure trove of marble carvings, mosaic floors, ruins of residences (some two-story) and stray cats. Ephesus was a thriving city whose graces are still obvious even in their ruined state.
An ancient public toilet- a row of holes in stone, beckons for a photograph. Nearby you will find the world’s earliest known advertisement carved in the marble pathway, directing the good men of Ephesus to the city’s whorehouse. This brothel can be found across the street from the staggering Ephesus library, a true wonder of architecture, and the third most important library in the ancient world. The wives of Ephesus were no doubt unaware of the secret underground tunnel that led from the library to the brothel next door. The Temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the very well-preserved Theater of Ephesus still boasts amazing acoustics; you can hear a pin drop on stage from the highest row of seats.
Even those who are not buffs of archaeology or the ancient world will not doubt be inspired by the ruins of this great city, which affected the development of the culture of the Western world and whose beautiful bones still adorn the stunning Turkish countryside today.
Note: As Ephesus is a city of ancient ruins, all hotels are located in the nearby modern town of Kusadasi
Liman Hotel: great value, spotless rooms if a bit dated, very helpful and friendly staff
Villa Konak: up the hill, beautiful hotel with nice pool, great views and staff