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Ephesus, Turkey was an ancient Greek city that later became the second in importance and size only to Rome within the Roman Empire in early AD.
Ephesus is a well known destination in South-West Turkey. In fact it is considered a ‘Must-do’ for a most Turkey itineraries. I visited the ruins and the adjacent modern town of Selcuk last week. If you plan a trip to Turkey here are some helpful things to now before you go.
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How to get to Ephesus Turkey
Ephesus is just outside the modern town of Selcuk. The town itself is surprisingly pleasant. A number of blocks of downtown are a pedestrian zone (as far as this goes in Turkey). There are a number of great and cheap restaurants and budget hotels. I really enjoyed spending a night in town. The Ephesus Museum isn’t really worth a visit though- you are better off watching some Ephesus information on Youtube or read Wikipedia.
Selcuk is connected to most of Turkey via minibus and bus. There are direct buses from Izmir (every hour), Bodrum and many other cities. These buses range from basic (shorter distances) to luxurious for longer distances. Some have WiFi, drinks and snack service and more. From Selcuk the minibus gets you to the ruins for TRY 2.50 or you can taxi to the upper gate for TRY 20) which seems the preferred variant for most visitors (so you only walk downhill – but it is not very steep).
How to plan your trip to Ephesus Turkey
If you plan to visit the ruins in summer (as I did) – keep in mind that the temperatures hit 100+ every day in the region. Since the valley has precious little wind – it will feel even hotter.
The ruins will therefore be most crowded in the morning. If you can visit in the evening (around 5 PM) and you will have the site mostly to yourself. Few people venture there until 8PM (which is when the site closes at night).
The entrance fee is TRY 30 but the Terrace Houses charges an additional TRY 15. Kids under 12 are FREE if you bring a valid ID (i.e. Passport). The Terrace Houses charge for all kids older than 6 years old.
The crowds aren’t crazy though even in the busy summer mornings. It was high season and there were maybe 200 people at the same time as us in the whole exhibition area.
What can you see in Ephesus Turkey
Only a small portion of this once large city has been excavated – lots of old buildings are still covered by the hill side.
The most important (and wonderfully) rebuilt monument is the Library of Celsus.
The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is sadly, not really visible – as just a few pieces have been found so far.
The excavations have unearthed the ancient concert hall and the huge stadium which once served 20,000 people.
The Terrace Houses have a separate entrance (which had a line which were were not ready to wait for) but are considered a prime example of living quarters in Roman times.
You can also see the agora (marketplace) and the old street leading to the Ephesus port. Ephesus is now several miles from the sea. Making it even more impressive – how much tings shifted in two thousand years.
Ephesus Turkey – my verdict
I really like ruins and I love painting the life as it used to be when visiting. I, for instance, loved the ruins in Pompeii. So Ephesus was great! – However I expected a bit more wow factor.