Ephesus, the most renowned of the ancient towns founded in the Ionian region in Western Anatolia, is located on the south of Izmir's Selcuk County. It is considered as one of the most important centers not only in Western Anatolian civilization but also in the history of word civilization. The ruins of Ephesus take on a value and a special significance among the innumerable sites of an archaeological interest: this is due to its inestimable artistic patrimony, its enormous heritage of history and culture, and the inexhaustible beauty and charm of its archaeological site.
The original site of Ephesus was most likely established on the Aegean coast, on the shores of that sea which today is located eight kilometres (5 miles) away from the archaeological excavations. Over the centuries, in fact the rubble brought onto the plain of the Küçük Menderes has enlarged the alluvial plain surrounding the archaelogical zone, leaving behind in actual fact the shores of the Aegean. Read more information about Ephesus >>
The foundation of Ephesus took place between the 16th and 11th centuries B.C., and this assertion is confirmed in part by sebsequent archaeological findings. Certainly its founders were if Greek ancestry. In the mean time, the Ionic colonization in Asia Minor progressed rapidly, and very soon the new Ionic cities united in the Ionic Confederacy.
Visits of personalities such as Brutus, Cassius, and Cicero gave testimony to the importance which Ephesus held in the Roman world. During the Hellenistic, Pergammonian and Roman era the importance of the town was sustained. It was the Roman era in which the city grew to become an important commercial center. It was also one of the first five cities of the Roman Empire. In 17 AD a disastrous earthquake brought down the city. The city was re-built later in 123 AD by Tiberius and Hadrian.
During the Christian era Ephesus became a magnificent metropolis of the ancient world such as Alexandria and Antioch. The city was also one of the seven churches of Asia. John the Apostle, is buried (in the church named after him) is also located near Ephesus. Virgin Mary is also believed to have spent her life after the Crucifixion near Ephesus. Both of these events make Ephesus one of the most important landmarks in the history of Christianity.
Virgin Mary was verified as the God's Mother by the council convened in the Mother of Mary Church in Ephesus in 453 AD.
The decline of the city began with the invasion of Goths in 262 AD by which the town was burnt down. Ephesus was never to reach its former splender again. Nevertheless in Justinian era (6th century A.D.), landmarks like the Basilica of St. John, was erected by the same Emperor. When Seljuks invaded the city in 1090 AD, Ephesus was far from its past glamour and prominence.
Ephesus which has been of great archaeological value has been first excavated in 1869 by an Englishman. Today excavations are continued by the Austrians and the Turks.
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