Ephesus Overview

Discover Ephesus, an ancient city near Izmir, where history comes alive. Stroll through the remarkably preserved ruins, including the grand Library of Celsus and the expansive Great Theatre. Once a vibrant port and a key player in early Christianity, Ephesus offers a captivating glimpse into the past with every step you take.

Ephesus is a breathtaking ancient city near the modern-day town of Selçuk in Turkey's İzmir Province. This city has played a pivotal role throughout history. It was originally founded in the 10th century BC by Greek colonists. Ephesus is renowned for its massive and intricate structures, such as the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Over the centuries, it became a vital Roman city and a significant early Christian site, with structures that echo tales of a rich and varied past.

The ruins of Ephesus offer a unique glimpse into ancient life, with streets lined by the remnants of grand temples and public buildings. Highlights include the Library of Celsus, a stunning facade that once housed thousands of scrolls. Ephesus also houses the Great Theatre, which could accommodate 24,000 spectators and still hosts events today. Visitors can also explore residential areas like the Terrace Houses, which showcase detailed mosaics and frescoes. Each corner of Ephesus tells a story, making it a key destination for historians and tourists alike. Explore these remarkable historical treasures on Turkey tours, where the allure of ancient wonders beckons enthusiasts and wanderers alike.


• Explore the extensive ruins of Ephesus, once home to the Temple of Artemis, a Wonder of the Ancient World.
• Walk through the grand ancient Theatre of Ephesus, which once accommodated up to 24,000 eager spectators.
• Marvel at the ornate Library of Celsus, a striking testament to the architectural brilliance of the Romans.
• Visit the richly adorned Temple of Hadrian, featuring intricate friezes and detailed classical sculptures.
• Discover the historic Basilica of St. John, a significant site where early Christian history vividly comes alive.

How To Reach

  • By Road: Ephesus is located around 82.6 kilometres from Izmir city centre. 
  • By Bus: Buses to Ephesus depart regularly from Izmir’s central bus station to Selçuk, the nearest town to Ephesus. The journey takes about an hour, and buses run frequently throughout the day. From Selçuk, the ancient city is 3.4 kilometres away. This journey can be covered via local Dolmus (minibuses). 
  • By Car: Driving from Izmir to Ephesus offers flexibility and convenience. The route via D550/E87 is the most straightforward, covering a distance of approximately 82.6 kilometres. The drive typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • By Rail: Trains operated by Turkish Railways (TCDD) from Izmir to Selçuk run several times daily. Take the mane-Denizili train from Basmane Station in downtown Izmir, which takes 80 minutes. Once in Selçuk, Ephesus is just a short taxi or bus ride away.

Best Time To Visit

Ephesus is a captivating destination year-round, offering unique experiences in every season. Its rich historical backdrop and well-preserved ruins make it fascinating regardless of the weather.

  • Best Season: Visit in the spring (April to May) or autumn (September to October) for mild weather. These seasons provide comfortable temperatures for exploring the extensive ruins without the intense heat of the summer months.
  • Best Day of the Week: Weekday visits to Ephesus are preferable as they typically experience fewer visitors. This makes it easier to enjoy the site without crowds. It also provides a more intimate experience with the ancient architecture.
  • Best Time of Day: Aim for early morning or late afternoon visits. Ephesus opens at 08:00 a.m., and arriving early lets you enjoy cooler temperatures and softer light. Late afternoons are equally magical as the sun highlights the ancient structures beautifully.

Other Essential Information

Tips to Visit:

1. Ephesus is open to visitors all year, offering a unique historical journey.

2. Wear comfortable shoes as the ancient city covers a large area with uneven surfaces.

3. Bring a hat and sunscreen, as most areas have little shade.

4. Carry water with you to stay hydrated while exploring the extensive ruins.

5. Consider purchasing a combined ticket if you also plan to visit the House of the Virgin Mary.

6. Check opening hours before visiting, as they vary by season and holiday.

7. Allocate half a day to appreciate the site's historical significance fully.

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Point of Interest for Ephesus
Explore the Grand Theatre

Explore the Grand Theatre

Step into the Grand Theatre of Ephesus and feel the ancient vibes resonate through its stone steps. With a capacity to hold 24,000 spectators, this colossal structure hosted theatrical performances and gladiatorial combats during Roman times. As you sit on the weathered marble seats, imagine the roar of ancient crowds echoing against the theatre's grand arches. The theatre’s stage was equipped with an advanced acoustic design. It allowed voices to carry clearly to the upper tiers, showcasing the ingenuity of ancient engineering. Visiting here is an exhilarating reminder of Ephesus’s vibrant cultural history. 

Wander through the Library of Celsus

Wander through the Library of Celsus

Visit the Library of Celsus, a monumental tribute to the Roman architectural genius and one of Ephesus's most photographed structures. Built to store over 12,000 scrolls, this library was also a mausoleum for Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. Walk through its towering façade and experience the wisdom of the ancients. Feel the weight of history as you trace the intricate reliefs that depict the virtues of wisdom and knowledge. The library’s façade is a masterpiece of Roman art, featuring columns with Corinthian capitals and a series of statues representing knowledge and virtue.

Marvel at the Temple of Artemis

Marvel at the Temple of Artemis

Once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus now stands as a solitary column, a testament to its former glory. Although little remains, the site's tranquil atmosphere invites you to marvel at the splendour of what was once a magnificent sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Stand where ancient worshippers once gathered in vast numbers and let your imagination rebuild the grand temple around you. The temple, renowned for its size and ornate sculptures, served as a religious sanctuary and a marketplace, highlighting its importance in ancient society.

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