"History in Stone" Ephesus by Tom_Fields

Ephesus Travel Guide: 531 reviews and 2,008 photos


The first historical record of Ephesus dates back to around 2,000 BC. It later became a Greek colony, under Ionian rule. During the Pelooponnesian Wars, Sparta took the city-state from Athens. Alexander the Great came here, as did his successor Lysimachos. Lysimachos moved the city to higher ground, and built part of what can be seen today.

The Romans took control in 190 BC. Under their rule, the city enjoyed a period of unprecedented peace, prosperity, and construction. Most of the ruins still visible now date from this period. The Roman emperor Theodosius convened the Third Council of Christian churches, held at the Church of St Mary.

The New Testament contains references to St Paul coming here (Acts 18:19 and 19:26). He criticized local artisans for making silver miniatures of the Temple of Artemis, and selling them. He said that man-made idols could not be gods. This led to a confrontation between Paul and the local smiths, which ended up in court. The decision was to evict Paul from the city.

St John also lived here for a while. So this city is a center of Christian pilgrimages. After Istanbul, this is Turkey's most historic city.

  • Last visit to Ephesus: Oct 2000
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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