The Ruins of Ephesus

The first establishment of the antique City of Ephesus within the boundaries of Selçuk district of Izmir province dates back to 6000 BC, to the Neolithic age. During the researches and excavations, settlements from the Bronze Age and Hittite period were found in the tumuluses around Ephesus (pre-historic tumulus settlements) and on the Ayasuluk Hill where the castle stands. During the Hittite period the city was named as 'Aphasas'.

The harbour city Ephesus where also immigrants from Greece settled moved to the neighbourhood of the Artemis Temple in 560 BC. Ephesus which is being visited by many tourists today was founded by Lysimakhos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great in the year 300 BC. Ephesus which experienced its most glorious days during the Hellenistic and Roman Ages had a population of 200.000 as the capital and the biggest harbour city of the Asian province.

Ephesus changed place during the Byzantine period again and moved to the Ayasuluk Hill in Selçuk where the antique city was originally found. Ayasuluk which was invaded by Turks in 1330 and became the centrum of Aydınoğulları started to get smaller and was given the name Selçuk after the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Today it is a touristic place with a population of 30.000 people.

The remains of Ephesus are situated in a large area since the city changed many places throughout its history. Many excavations, restorations and reorganizations have been carried out within the remains spread over an area of about 8 km², and it is open to tourist visit.

Ayasuluk Hill (The earliest settlement dating back to 3000 BC and the St. Jean Church an important Byzantine building for Christianity)

Artemision (An important religious centre between 9th and 4th centuries BC; Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World)

Ephesus (Archaic - Classic-Hellenistic-Rome and the settlement in the Byzantine period)

Selçuk (The settlement in Seljuk and Ottoman period and the modern town, including the antique settlement, as an important tourism centre)

Having been an important centre of civilization in the Antique Periods, Ephesus is one of the leading tourism centres today with an average 1.5 million visitors annually.

The first archaeological excavations in Ephesus were initiated by J. T. Wood on behalf of the British Museum in 1869. D. G. Hogarth continued Wood's researches aiming at finding the famous Temple of Artemis as of 1904. Austrian excavations in Ephesus which are continuing today were initiated by Otto Benndorf in 1895.

Excavations carried out by Austrian Archaeological Institute which were suspended due to 1st and 2nd World Wars resumed in 1954 and have continued without interruption. Besides researches of Austrian Archaeological Institute, The Ephesus Museum has also been carrying out excavations, restorations and reorganizations in the site in the name of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey since 1954.

Thanks to the research over 100 years, on the one hand scientific results which have brought new dimensions to the Ephesus History and Anatolian archaeology have been obtained; on the other hand buildings and monuments unearthed during excavations have been restored and redesigned along with their environment.

Excavations carried out by The Ephesus Museum in recent years:

Çukuriçi Tumulus: It is located in the southwest of Magnesia gate. The remains found show that prehistoric settlements dating back to 4000 BC have been unearthed.

Ayasuluk Hill Excavations: Have been carried out in the southeast hillside of the castle. The findings show that the tumulus dates back to 3500 BC.