Ancient Ephesus, Izmir Province, Turkey

Ephesus in the modern day province of Izmir, Turkey, is considered one of the impressive cities of the ancient world and is an UNESCO world heritage site. The city was founded in the 10th century BC as an Attic-Ionian colony on the site of an earlier settlement, the mythical founder of the city was a prince from Athens named Androklos. Androklos was a successful warrior and as king he was able to join the twelve cities of Ionia together into the Ionian League. The city prospered under Androklos and to this day his image and that of his dog are depicted in a frieze on the Hadrian temple. Around 650 BC the city was attacked by the Cimmerians who destroyed most of the city, in the aftermath the city was ruled by a series of tyrannical leaders which caused its people to revolt. The city was then ruled by a council and flourished as a city of poets, painters, physicians and philosophers such as the poet Hipponax and the philosopher Heraclitus. In 560BC the city was conquered by the Lydians under king Croesus, who although a strict ruler helped rebuild much of the city. A few years later Croesus led an unsuccessful invasion of Persia and the Persians conquered Ephesus. In 479BC the Ephesians participated in a revolt against the Persians and took back the city, only to again lose the city during the Peloponnesian War. It was Alexander the Great who finally defeated the Persian forces and liberated the city in 334BC. For around 70 years from 263BC Ephesus came under Egyptian rule but eventually became ruled by the Roman Republic in 129BC. Under the Romans the city grew and became the second most important city, only Rome being considered greater. It became a important site in the history of Christianity as St John wrote his gospel here and St Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians. The city was sacked by the Goths in 263AD however Constantine the great rebuilt it once more. Ephesus remained the second most important city of the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries. Ephesus fell into decline after attacks from the Arabs in the 7th and 8th century. The city was ruled by Turks from the 14th century and was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1390 before the city was completely abandoned in the 15th century. Ephesus is an absolute marvel to visit but due to its prominence can be very crowded even in late September as was the time of our visit. However the Amphitheatre and the Library of Celsus are both so breathtaking they make the visit worth it regardless.

GPS: 37.93917, 27.34117

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