Some sources say that the city was founded by the Amazons in the 3rd millennium BC. The inhabitants of this small settlement were Amazons, Carians, Lelegians. The Amazons were a race of woman warriors who lived in Anatolia. We see the mention of Amozons in the epic of Iliad and Odyseey by Homer. According to Epic of Odyssey, Amozons fought with the Trojans against the Mycaneans and Spartans in the Trojan War.
At that time, their queen was killed by the Achaean hero Achilles who was Brad Pitt in the last Troy movie. According to the legend Amazons were furious women fighters who did not like men but used men for fertility reasons. They were very good in arching and to be faster in arching, used to amputate their right breasts. Sources say that "Ephesos" was derived from the name of a successful Amazon queen named as Apasas. As it is known there are also Amazons in South America in Brasil today. The name is given by a German Traveller in the 17th century when he saw the woman warriors along side the river among the rain forests, similar to the ones mentioned in the Epics of Homer.
In 11th century BC, Dor invaders coming from North, Macedonia migrated to mainland Greece and drive off the inhabitants to migrate. Among the minorities Ionians, Aiolians and some of the Dors migrated to western Asia Minor. Aiolians went to North of Smyrna. Ionians were here in Ephesus and around. Herodotos say "The best weather is in Ionia. The soils of Aiolia is much fertile but not the weather." They founded 12 major new cities such as Miletus, Priene, Colophon..etc. Dors went south and were assymilated by the Carians. Ephesus became an important port city. in the 6th century BC. The city extented around where the Temple of Artemis stands today. Today this area is called Ayasoluk. The name is derived from the word "Hagios Theologos" According to the legend Androklos, son of Kodros who is the King of Athens leaded this migration. He landed here after conquering the Island of Samos. At that time a permission from the Gods had to be taken to found a city. Androklos sailed to Delphi, to the Apollon Temple to ask the oracles where to found the city. Oracles said "A boar and a fish will guide you and will mark the place where the city should be founded." This did not sound very logical to Androklos how a boar and a fish is going to meet. One day, during a barbecue. A fish jumped out from the grill with a burning coal sticked to it and caused a fire. This fire scared a wild boar close by and Androkos hunted the boar and decided to found the city where the boar is killed.
Ephesus was under Lydian and Persian rule till 4th century BC. Ephesus was in Attika-Delos alliance and her contribution was 7 talents a year while Colophon was contributing with 3 talents. Afterwards the famous Commander Alexander the Great librated the city from Persians. After his death, one of his generals and successors Lysimachos ruled the city. During his time: The alluvial deposits carried by Kaystros river silted the harbour and constantly rising sea level submerged the old settlement and made the harbour impassable. The unfavourable condition of the harbour affected trade. Ephesus was located on low ground, and was completely flooded by the sea. A new enriched settlement including Gymnasiums, stadiums, fountains... is ordered by Lysimachos. The reasons for the new conception of the city were, the rise in level of the ground water, and the necessity of a new harbour due to silting. Inhabitants were transferred to the new city where it stands today; between two hills Preon and Pion. The new city followed the grid plan set down by Hypodomos of Miletus. The streets crossing each other at right angles. The plots, buildings appears as a chess board when viewed from the air.
Ephesus was distinguished with the Temple of Artemis (Diana). Great crowds of people were attracted to Ephesus by the cult of Artemis and her famous temple. Temple of Artemis is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Turkey houses another wonder, which is 120 miles away from Ephesus in the Carian city of Halicarnasus. "Mauselleum of King Mosolos"
In 2nd century BC Ephesus sided with Antiochus, the king of Syria against the Romans. After the defeat at Magnesia (Manisa) which is 100 miles north of Ephesus. Ephesus went under the rule of the King of Pergamon, an ally of Rome. After the Kings death, it became a Roman city. During the reign of Roman Emperror Antonius Pius, the city bore the title of "the first and greatest metropolis of Asia."
The peak times of Ephesus were during Hellenistic and Roman times. Ephesus, the jewel of Ionia, the largest Metropolis of Asia Minor, consisted of 200.000 citizens and 25.000 slaves (2nd century AD). During the feast days honouring Artemis, the population tripled. The city became the capital of Province Asia during the Roman Emperror Augustus in the eartly first century AD. During this time Ephesus became a center for Art & Culture and a meeting place for Philosophy. The most famous philosopher from Ephesus is Heraklitos who lived at 4th century BC. In 2nd century AD many marble buildings were build and the streets were decorated with marble statues. %46 of the marble reserves & quaries of the world are located in Turkey. The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct & sewage systems in the ancient world, with multiple aqueducts of various sizes to supply different areas of the city, including 4 major aqueducts.These advanced aqueduct system used to supply 120lt of water per second. Today in Kusadasi 200lt supplied per second.
Why was Ephesus abandoned?
Although sacked by the Goths in 263 AD, Ephesus remained one of the most important city of the Byzantine Empire after the city of Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries. However, other destruction by the Arabs in the year 8th century AD caused a quick decline: the city was largely abandoned when the harbor was completely filled in with river silt despite repeated dredges during the city's history. The silt removed its access to the Aegean Sea. When the Seljuk Turks conquered it in 11th century, it was a small village. The Byzantines resumed control in 1100 and kept control of the region until the end of the 13th century. During Byzantine period the major settlement was in its first place at Ayasoluk (Hagios Theologos) Hill. Emir of Aydin, a Turkish state conquered the city in 14th century. Starting from 16th century city lost its importance and ruled by the Ottoman Empire.
Where is Ephesus today ?
Today the modern name of Ephesus is Selcuk. A small Turkish town which has a population of 36.000 people and located at the Western Turkey. The main industry of Selcuk is agriculture. Selcuk is 60 km south of Izmir and 18 km away from Kusadasi Port.
Is Ephesus worth visiting ?
Ephesus is one of the most preserved Greco-Roman cities of the world. It is the largest archaeological park of Turkey. Visited by 200.000 travelers annually. It is one of the main highlights of Turkey.
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