In the Beginning
Ephesus began life as an ancient Greek settlement, then a major Roman City on the Ionian Coast, which is now present day Seljuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. Ephesus is the best preserved of the classical cities of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Ephesus is also cited as one of the seven Churches of Asia mentioned in the Christian Bible’s Book of Revelation and there are many claims that the Gospel of John was written here. One of the most striking features of Ephesus is how many layers of civilizations are laid bare for all to see, walk through and gain inspiration in the present day.
Ephesus’ environs were already inhabited in the Neolithic Age circa 10,000 B.C. as has been revealed in archaeological excavations. The Bronze Age which followed exhibits burial grounds from the Mycenaean era circa 1500 B.C. where ceramic pots have been discovered. Historical scholars believe the area surrounding Ephesus was founded as a territory called Apasa notable as a Bronze Age 14th century B.C. settlement of Hittites. Homer refers to the area as Ahhiyawa in the period of the Mycenaean Expansion also during the 14th century B.C.
Ephesus as it is called today was established as an Attic-Ionian settlement in the 10th century B.C.. Legend has it that Prince Androcles of Greece founded the city after being forced out of Athens upon the death of his father. He considered Ephesus as the true site of the Oracle at Delphi.
Ephesus was attacked by the Cimmerians in the 7th century B.C. The city rose from the ashes of this defeat very soon after its conquering. The 6th century B.C. was one of prosperity for Ephesus. In the following years, the Lydians and then the Persians claimed the city as their own. Alexander the Great in 344 B.C. easily captured Ephesus as the city offered up no defense. Upon the death of Alexander the Great, Ephesus was ruled by Lysimachus, a Macedonian companion of Alexander the Great. The preservation of the great works of art that are part of the Ephesus wonders of today is attributed to the period of Lysimachus.
Any visitor to Ephesus will be astounded by the visible record of the many layers of civilizations that bring such an overwhelming sense of history to the place. There is unmistakable evidence all around of the ancient civilizations that once claimed this Mediterranean city as home and left their buildings, roads, temples, and way of life to posterity.
Visitors to Ephesus today are allowed to walk along the streets as citizens would have when the various civilizations were thriving and alive. The streets, buildings, monuments and temples are well marked to give the visitor a better understanding of what they are viewing, when the particular structure was built, its purpose and historic significance.
As one wanders throughout the various streets, buildings appear on different levels putting the visitor back into ancient times and ancient civilizations. Given the treasures to be discovered here, it is difficult to point to one or another and declare that as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The entire site is the true wonder of the ancient world and remains so to this day.