Ephesus is the best-preserved Roman city in the Mediterranean region, and one of Turkey’s top sights along with Istanbul and Cappadocia, but the Ephesus archeological site is not the only reason to visit this region.
Selçuk, the town 3 km (2 miles) east of the Ephesus archeological site, lies at the foot of Ayasoluk Hill, topped by a Byzantine-Ottoman fortress. On the slope are the St John Basilica and İsa Bey Mosque, both worth a visit, and below them the scant remains of the renowned Artemision. The Ephesus Museum holds the excavation treasures. More…
Selçuk has a big weekly market on Saturday, rivaling the famous weekly market at Tire (TEE-reh), a town 42 km (26 miles) northeast of Selçuk.
Good beaches are at Pamucak, Kuşadası and Altınkum, or you can take a day-trip for beach and windsurfing to charming Alaçatı.
You can see the Ephesus archeological site on a flying day-trip from Istanbul, but you could easily fill two, three or four days in this area, visiting the ancient cities of Priene, Miletus and Didyma on a day excursion, and Aphrodisias, the Belevi Monumental Tomb, the hot mineral water spa of Pamukkale, and taking a day-trip or overnight excursion via Euromos to Bodrum.
If you want to visit a place where you can really get a feel for what life was like 2000 years ago during the glory-days of Greece and Rome, Ephesus is the place. In terms of ruins, it’s better than Rome itself.
St Paul’s New Testament Letter to the Ephesians was written to the citizens of Ephesus. St John is believed to have written his Gospel here, and to have been buried in the St John Basilica. More…
The Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days on earth here, and you can visit the reconstructed House of the Virgin Mary (Meryemana) on a mountaintop to the south of the Ephesus archeological site.