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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Ephesus and Selcuk Fortress - Turkey

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

Ephesus was a city in ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia, 1.9 miles southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era, it was one of twelve cities that were members of the Ionian League. The city came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

The city was famous in its day for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), which has been designated one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Its many monumental buildings included the Library of Celsus and a theatre capable of holding 24,000 spectators.

Ephesus was also one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation; the Gospel of John may have been written there; and it was the site of several 5th-century Christian Councils (see Council of Ephesus). The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263. Although it was afterwards rebuilt, its importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. In 614, it was partially destroyed by an earthquake.

Today, the ruins of Ephesus are a favorites' international and local tourist attraction, being accessible from Adnan Menderes Airport and from the resort town Kuşadası. In 2015, the ruins were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Selçuk is a town in İzmir Province in the Aegean Region of Turkey. It is located 2 kilometers (1 mile) northeast of the ancient city of Ephesus, that was once home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Selçuk is one of the most visited tourist destinations within Turkey, known for its closeness to the ancient city of Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary, and Seljuk works of art. The 6th century Basilica of St. John the Apostle, which, some claim, is built on the site of the Apostle's tomb,[citation needed] is also inside the town. Procopius said that the basilica was a most sacred and honored place in Ephesus. It was severely damaged in the invasion of Selçuk Turks in 1090. The place was excavated in 1927, and Pope Paul VI paid it a visit and prayed there.[5]

This recently renovated castle was built during the time of the Byzantine Empire and later remodeled by the Turks. On the outside you will see the emblematic Turkish flag and the face of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, father of the modern-day Republic of Turkey.

Conversations/Things we learned:

This is a special place my wife and I visited several times. This is a location for historical and religious enthusiast and is a must for everyone’s bucket list. We found both the Greek ruins and fortress were amazing and takes the visitor back to Greek and Roman Empire timeframe. It was an honor for us to visit this location.

As with any travels to other countries, one must consider the current climate of these countries to ensure safe traveling.

Additional Travel Information:




Seluck Fortress

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