Visiting the Ancient City of Ephesus

We visited Ephesus on our recent trip to Turkey and it was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday. It is an extraordinary place to visit. Ephesus was one of the most important cities in the ancient world and the site has been extremely well preserved and restored.

As my 11-year-old says, “I am quite sure there is not an equal for Ephesus in the whole world. It is a brilliant place, where you can play hide-and-seek among the ruins and walk where the Romans once trod. You can cool down under the trees and walk up the grand entrance to the amphitheatre.”

According to legend, Ephesus was founded by the female warriors known as the Amazons and it was a major city for both the Ancient Greeks and the Romans and became one of the wealthiest cities in the Mediterranean. It was incorporated into the Roman Empire as the province of Asia and is home of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, now in ruins after being destroyed in a raid by the Goths.

From the 1st Century AD, Ephesus was visited by Christian disciples spreading Christianity. Paul wrote the letter I Corinthians from the city and the gospel of John may also have been written here. Legend claims that Jesus’s mother, Mary, spent the last years of her life living in Ephesus with St John and the House of the Virgin Mary here is now a place of Catholic pilgrimage.

Most of the buildings that have been restored were constructed during the reign of Emperor Augustus. There is a whole city to walk around, complete with avenues, temples, a concert hall and a library. You can see the communal toilets and the brothel, the Temple of Hadrian and the Hercules Gate.

You see the massive amphitheatre on the hill as soon as you walk into the site. It can seat 24,000 people and is believed to be the largest outdoor theatre in the ancient world. In Ancient Roman times it was used for wild animal fights in the mornings and gladiator contests in the afternoons.

We walked down the Arcadian Way, the colonnaded main street which would have been paved with marble and lined with shops, and make our way to the Library of Celsus. This stunning building was originally built in the 2nd Century AD and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. The sculptures on the exterior are beautiful and there is a real feeling of calm inside – despite the large crowds.

TIPS FOR FAMILIES

Go early in the morning or late in the afternoon: Ephesus gets very hot and crowded during the Summer months so it’s best to get there early (around 9am) or later (around 4.30pm).

Take your children’s passports: The ticket office lets children in free of charge but they won’t let them in free unless you’ve got their passports to prove their age. It’s ridiculous, I know. It hadn’t occurred to us to take along our passports and I tried putting the 9-year-old in front of the booth to prove he was just a child but it was no use – we still had to buy tickets for the children.

Take plenty of water: You will need plenty to drink and it’s expensive to buy it at the site.

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12 thoughts on “Visiting the Ancient City of Ephesus

  1. Pingback: My Four Favourite Boutique Hotels for Families | suitcases and sandcastles
  2. That first photo is superb, capturing the sheer size of the building. I love your son’s comments, he really does sound enthused by the visit.
    #citytripping

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  3. I love ancient sites like this and Ephesus has been on my bucket list for a while – having said that, I didn’t know a lot of the history so that’s really interesting to read. A good tip about the children’s passports too (although how ridiculous!) #citytripping

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  4. What a mature and lovely sounding son you have! (His comment). And how absurd that a 9 yo wasn’t a kid unless he had a passport! I haven’t been to Ephesus but I’d certainly love to go and I think my boys would enjoy it too.

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  5. Very interesting post! I didn’t know much about Ephesus but I now know I need to go and visit! Beautiful pictures. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

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  6. Pingback: City Tripping #6 - Wander Mum
  7. Turkey has some specialty that one would like to carry visit. There are carpets, rugs and kilims are some the products that you can buy from there. Turkey is also known for its creative and exclusive Turkish carpets. Due to the less value of its national currency Lira, Turkey becomes cheaper to visit. This gives the travellers an advantage of converting their Euros or Dollars into Lira and enjoying a wonderful opportunity of spending money on various things. Enjoy Ephesus tour with aboutephesus.com. Keep blogging like this.

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