Ephesus ruins are among the most visited places in Turkey. Famous for the legendary Temple of Artemis and the Library of Celsus, Ephesus welcomes an average of 3 million visitors a year. In this article, you can find the things to do in and around Ephesus. In addition, Ephesus ticket price & opening hours in 2024 are noted.
Ephesus Ruins attract visitors from all over Turkey during the tourist season. Daily tours are organized to Ephesus from important holiday destinations such as Istanbul, Bodrum and Antalya. Ephesus receives the most visitors from Mediterranean Cruises coming to the cruise port in Kusadasi.
Ephesus can be crowded in spring and summer, which is Turkey’s tourism season. During these periods, you can join guided group tours to avoid waiting in line at the entrance of Ephesus.
If you want to enter Ephesus Ruins with fast track, you can purchase Ephesus skip-the-line ticket from this link. Although these online tickets cost a little more than the standard entry ticket, they offer you a fast track and guided visit.
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The History of Ephesus
The history of Ephesus dates back to 1000 BC. Founded by Androcles, who immigrated from Ancient Greece, Ephesus soon became one of the most important cities on the Aegean coast.
Ephesus was the most important city of the Ionian League, established among 12 Greek cities on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Ephesus also had the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. For this reason, it also gained the feature of being a religious capital in its region.
Ephesus was a city on trade routes and had a very important harbor. For this reason, it had been occupied by many states throughout history. The first person to seize Ephesus was Croesus, the king of Lydia.
Ephesus fell under the domination of the Persian Empire for a period after the Lydians. Alexander the Great, who saved Ephesus from Persian occupation, was one of those who admired the Temple of Artemis.
After the early death of Alexander the Great, Lysimachus, one of his generals, took Ephesus. Lysimachus, who built new walls in Ephesus, also cleaned the city’s port, which was filled with alluvium.
Afterwards, Ephesus came under the rule of the Roman Empire. The period when emperors such as Trajan and Hadrian ruled was the golden age of Ephesus. Fountains, temples and Library of Celsus built during this period can still be seen in Ephesus.
Ephesus also became one of the centers of the early Christian period. Ephesus, where Virgin Mary and Apostle St John lived after the death of Christ, has an important Christian heritage.
Ephesus, which continued its existence in the Byzantine Empire period, became the place where one of the first 7 ecumenical councils of Christianity gathered. Ephesus began to lose its importance in the late antique age and was abandoned when the harbor was filled with alluvium and moved away from the city.
Places to See in Ephesus Ruins
Places to see in the ruins of Ephesus will take you on a journey through the ancient world. The historical artifacts of Ephesus from the peak period of the Roman Empire are exciting for history lovers.
1. Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis was the most beautiful temple in the ancient world. The temple, whose fame has reached the present day, is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Although there is little left of the Temple of Artemis, it is still one of the most important places to see in Ephesus.
2. Curetes Street
Curetes Street is one of the main roads of Ephesus Ruins. While walking on this road, you can feel yourself as a person living in ancient times. Among the historical artifacts surrounding the street are places dedicated to Rome’s greatest emperors.
3. Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus is the most beautiful building in Ephesus from the Roman period. Celsus Library, one of the three largest libraries of Antiquity, was built in honor of a Roman governor. The façade of the library is still standing and decorated with magnificent sculptures.
4. Temple of Hadrian
Temple of Hadrian is one of the most attractive historical artifacts to see in Ephesus. The historical building, which has a monumental entrance, stands out as the pearl of Curetes Street in Ephesus.
5. The Great Theater
The Great Theater is the most magnificent Roman building of Ephesus. There are two ancient theater halls in Ephesus, one being Odeon and the other being the Grand Theater. With this rich heritage, Ephesus once again proves to its visitors that it was the cultural center of the ancient age.
Each of these structures on the list of places to see in Ephesus has a sophisticated history. For this reason, you can hire a private tour guide or join guided group tours to fully understand the history of the Ephesus.
You can find a recommended guided small group tour in Ephesus by clicking this link. These guided tours, which provide fast entry advantage in addition to the Ephesus entrance ticket, will make your visit to Ephesus easier.
Things to Do around Ephesus Ruins
There are many things to do around Ephesus. You can find the most popular of these below. Of course, these are not the only places to visit around Ephesus, but these are the most important places recommended for those who have limited time in the region.
1. House of Virgin Mary
House of Virgin Mary is located 9 km from Ephesus Ruins. According to tradition, after Jesus’ death, the apostle St John came to the west coast of Asia Minor to spread Christianity.
Before Jesus died, he had entrusted his mother to Saint John. Then John placed Mary in a beautiful house in Ephesus and ensured that she was safe. Mother Mary spent her remaining days here.
Today, the House of Virgin Mary attracts Christian pilgrims from all over the world. One of the most interesting things to do around Ephesus would definitely be to visit this house.
2. Basilica of St John
St John Basilica visit is one of the most unique things to do near Ephesus. St John, who ensured Mother Mary’s safety, later built a church to spread Christianity in the region.
This first period church, which was damaged by earthquakes and fires, was rebuilt in the Byzantine period. The person who built the church was the famous emperor Justinian, who was also the founder of Hagia Sophia.
Justinian had built this unique church with a plan similar to the famous Church of the Holy Apostles of Constantinople. The Church of the Holy Apostles was the first monumental building in Roman era Istanbul built by Constantine the Great.
3. Sirince Village
Sirince Village was essentially a Greek town. After the population exchange following the First World War, those living here immigrated to Greece. However, many features of Sirince in history still exist.
For example, you can find the best fruit wines of Turkey in Sirince. This small village surrounded by trees will provide you with the opportunity to relax after your visit to Ephesus. You can have a great time in Sirince, which is famous for its food and wine.
Ephesus Ruins Ticket Price 2024
Ephesus Ruins ticket price is 700 Turkish Liras as of 2024. Museum Pass Turkey is valid for this museum. The information about the entrance fee was last updated on December 19, 2023.
Guided Tour Tickets for Ephesus Ruins
There may be long queues at the entrance of Ephesus during tourist season. For this reason, buying Ephesus guided tour tickets will save you time.
You can buy a skip-the-line ticket by clicking this link and join a guided small group tour to Ephesus. Although these tickets are more expensive than standart Ephesus entry fee, they allow you to visit the archaeological site with a guide.
Ephesus Ruins Opening Hours 2024
Ephesus Ruins opening hours are between 08:00 in the morning and 18:30 in the evening. Ticket sales end at 17:30. Information about visiting hours was last updated on December 19, 2023.
Visiting times of the Ephesus may change due to some renovations. So before you go, you can visit the official website of Ephesus Archaeological Site to see the latest situation. Thus, you will confirm the current visiting hours and entry fees.
Although Ephesus is a place that draws attention with its Greco-Roman heritage, the places to see in the vicinity are not limited to the archaeological site. There are many things that can be seen in the town known as Selcuk today, both from the Roman and Christian periods.
If you are planning a visit to Ephesus, you can access a more detailed travel guide via the article titled Things to do in Ephesus. Also, if you’re wondering about accommodation options around Ephesus, you can take a look at my article on Where to Stay in Ephesus.
Written by Serhat Engul