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The ancient site of Ephesus, from one temple to another

So, you read somewhere that Ephesus was a port, but you bizarrely find yourself several kilometres away from the sea... Don't worry: since the golden age of the site, the Greek era, the coastline has progressively changed, so much so that the ancient site is now found 7 kilometres away from the Aegean Sea! Take a whole day to visit it: the site is very spread out, and there are numerous remains to see.

An exceptionally well-preserved, ancient city

With comfortable shoes and a hat, start your visit of the Ephesus site early in the morning, especially if you're passionate about archaeology and ancient history. You will not be alone, but I am sure that you will not be disappointed either...

The town developed at the mouth of the Cayster River and became an important port on the Aegean Sea, starting with all the ports of the Mediterranean. It preserves the Greek and Roman eras with the grid pattern of its streets, which can still be taken today, as well as numerous monuments: a theatre, a magnificent odeon, a stadium, thermal baths, the Library of Celsus (if I had to remember just one monument from my visit, it would be this one), several temples (Domitian, Hadrian...), villas...

A tribute to the beautiful Artemis

Unfortunately, of the famous temple dedicated to Artemis, there only remains a few meagre remains: a reconstructed pillar to give the visitor an idea of its height, and some scattered fragments. This temple, constructed and reconstructed several times since the 7th century B.C., was considered as the seventh Wonder of the World. It was actually particularly large and sumptuously decorated with bas-reliefs attributed to the Greek sculptors, Skopas and Praxiteles.

Perhaps it was these ornaments that incited greed and lead to its destruction? It is still the case that its stones have since supported other famous monuments, like the Hagia Sophia church, which became a mosque.

Fragment of a statue of Artemis of Ephesus

In Ephesus, the worship of the goddess Artemis took on specific aspects : protector of fertility, she was associated with the Phrygian mother goddess Cybele and was represented by the bust covered in ornaments resembling breasts, immediately recognisable. If you take the time to visit the site's very rich museum, ou will be able to admire a magnificent statue... unless you'd prefer to laze around in the shade of the Library of Celsus, in the company of the many cats which populate these places...

Marie TSOUNGUI
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Updated 5 January 2016
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