The ancient city of Ephesus (Ephesos) takes you on a unforgettable journey through history. According to legend it is the final home of the Blessed Virgin Mary, its story stretches back to the Neolithic period and it was inhabited in the greatest period of the Roman Empire. This ancient city was valued for a long time as a harbour town, and due to excavations which have uncovered new and artefacts every year, the city continues to suprise its visitors and to maintain its historical value. Many famous classical philosophers, who are still read today, such as Heraclitus, lived in the scientific, artistic and cultural city of Ephesus. The ancient city of Ephesus, and especially its Temple of Artemis, one of the first temples, is a recognised as one of the seven wonders of the world and since 2015 it has been included in the ''World Heritage List''. Over the years the site has grown and it is now spread over an area of 8kms. This breath-taking city attracts approximately. 1.5 million tourists annually. It is believed that parts of the Bible were written here and that the Virgin Mary died here, which gives it a special significance for Christians.
It is believed that Ephesus was founded as far back as 6000 BC and was built to pay homage to Artemis, the fertility goddess. The city of Ephesus was geographically, economically, politically and culturally significant. It was the capital of Hellenic Greece, one of the 12 cities of lonia during the Classical Green Period, and the capital of the Roman Empire's province of Asia. Today, to Christians, it is place of pilgrimage. It is said that the city took 120 years to build. On the day in 356 BC that the Temple of Artemis, which was located within the boundaries of the city, was set alight by a Greek, Alexander the Great was born.
The ancient city was built in four separate main areas: the Ayasuluk Hill, Artemision, Ephesus and Selcuk. Within the boundaries of the city are extremely valuable buildings, monuments and artefacts including the Temple of Artemis, the Celcus Library, House of the Virgin Mary, the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, the İsa Bey Mosque, The Prytaneion (Municipal Palace), Domitianus Square, St. John's Castle, the Temple of Hadrian and the Basilica of St. John. The city's famous ancient theatre could accommodate 24,000 people with its three-storey spectator stand. It played host to sporting competitions, gladiator battles and art performances, and is still popular among tourists. Terraced houses built on the hills are thought to have been inhabited by the city's rich merchants and nobility.