Visiting Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis

One of the must visit places in Turkey is the ancient city of Ephesus. This is one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities I have seen in my life and I have been to Greece and Italy many times. Ephesus, to me, is a new understanding of how the cities looked like thousands of years ago. If you know something about the seven wonders of the Ancient World you would know that there is one of them right next to Ephesus – the temple of Artemis. In this guide I explain all about visiting Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis

Small Theater
Small Theater

There are many different ways to visit the ancient city of Ephesus and the temple of Artemis. You can get there with a tour group from pretty much any resort towns like Kemer, Alanya or Antalya, or you can get to Ephesus by yourself if you are travelling all over Turkey and not just doing packaged beach vacations like many Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish people. 

Read more: How To Visit Ephesus On Your Own

If you are planning to go to Ephesus on your own here are a few things you need to know before going on your trip:

  1. Bring a hat, sunscreen and water. You won’t find much shade on the streets of Ephesus, so do bring a hat and sunscreen. There are no shops once you enter the gates, so bring enough water for a walk. You also can get all of these items at the souvenirs shops. Water 1L ($0.1) is 4 TL ($0.5), Hat (baseball cap) – 30 TL ($3.8).
  2. Wear comfortable and preferably not slippery shoes. The city of Ephesus is a few thousands years old and every stone there was polished by water and many feet for the same amount of time, so the streets of this city can be extremely slippery when wet. 
  3. Buy a guide book at one of the shops next to the upper gate. Okay, this is not really necessary, but the guide books have pictures of the sites showing how they looked before they were destroyed, and tons of information about the city. Book prices are between 60 ($7.7) and 100 TL ($12.8)
  4. Take a taxi to the upper gate and start exploring the ancient city going down the hill. The upper gate is a proper entrance to the city of Ephesus, although you can start at the bottom and work your way up the hill as well. The taxi will cost 30 TL ($3.8). It is a standard price and you won’t find it cheaper (I have tried).
Visiting Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis

If you listen to my advice and go straight to the upper gate the first thing that you will see after entering is a Roman bath or Bath of Varius, and the State Agora. I must tell you that the remains of Agora look fantastic. You can clearly  imagine how big and grand the place once was. The Agora had many rooms that were used for different purposes including trade and government business. 

Small Theater
Small Theater

Behind the State Agora is the Odeon. It looks like an amphitheater and is also called the “Small Theater”. This is the place where the senate held their meetings as well as small concerts.

Agora
Agora

The next place that you will see is the Prytaneion. This was the place where a flame burned day and night. It was dedicated to the goddess of the family (some kind of an eternal flame). Nowadays only two massively tall columns remain of a place that once looked like a grand temple. 

Visiting Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis
Visiting Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis

After the Prytaneion on your left you will see a viewing terrace. This view is amazing and it allows you to see that Ephesus even now is not just a bunch of the stones, but a proper city with a few streets and many buildings. That’s what surprised me the most!  In Athens and in Rome the ruins aren’t connected and I couldn’t draw for myself a clear picture of how the whole city looked like. Ephesus on the other hand gives you a chance to see the whole infrastructure. 

the fountain of Trajan
Trajan’s fountain

Down the street on your right you will see the fountain of Trajan, one of the most well regarded, if not the most, Roman Emperor. The fountain had two stories and two pools. Between the columns on each story were statues of Roman Gods and members of the imperial family. The statues that were found at this site were taken to the Ephesus museum. 

Read more: 10 Things To Do In Cappadocia (Goreme)

Further on you will see a covered building which is called the house blocks on the slope. This is a place that needs a separate ticket to get in. This house is one of two luxurious houses that were built on the street. This house had three floors with many frescoes and mosaics all over, along with a central heating system and wooden furniture. 

Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus

One of my favorite parts in the old city of Ephesus is the Library of Celsus. The facade of this building was well preserved and restored and even now you can see all the small details in the amazing decoration. Pay attention to the ceiling, it is fantastic and gives you a wider perspective to imagine how grand and beautiful this building once was.

Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus

Unfortunately, behind the facade there is nothing to see, just an empty space. 

The final site that you will see before exiting the old city of Ephesus is the Grand Theater. The theater has a 24,000 people capacity, which for its time was an unbelievably high number. The theater is still undergoing some restoration work. 

Grand Theater
Grand Theater

To get to the temple of Artemis you can go by walking (around 30 minutes) or just take a taxi at the exit of Ephesus city. The taxi should cost not more than 20 TL ($2,5).

Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis

The temple of Artemis is part of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and although there is not much to see, except one column and a few other pieces, it is a must-visit place while you are visiting Ephesus.

Visiting Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis

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